President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Greetings, friends, residents of Nizhny Novgorod and guests of this great city!
I sincerely, from my heart congratulate you on the 800th anniversary of Nizhny Novgorod. I congratulate all those who were born and grew up here, those whose lives, studies, achievements, first love and the warmest family memories are connected with this wonderful city, those who feel a special respect for it and admire its grandeur and beauty, and the awe-inspiring Volga landscapes.
Nizhny, as it has been called warmly since the old times, keeps the key to understanding our people’s generous soul, faith and unbending will, its striving for creating and cooperating. The cultural code, national identity, the might and the calibre of the Russian people are all condensed here.
They are represented by the old churches, the sacred spiritual places, modern art centres, the Kremlin, which has never surrendered to the enemy, the modern industrial plants, the Oka and Volga rivers, the ancient trade routes and the motorways connecting all of Eurasia. As Ilya Repin made a good point once, Nizhny is a city “majestically enthroned over the entire east of Russia.”
People of tremendous inner strength have always lived here. At all times, Nizhny Novgorod residents stood up to defend our Fatherland and felt their connection to our common great and glorious destiny.
It was like that both in the late 14th century, when Nizhny Novgorod lands played a crucial role in strengthening a unified state, in gathering the historical Russian lands, as well as in the early 17th century, when Nizhny Novgorod residents, acting together, united and led by Minin and Pozharsky, did everything in their power to put an end to the Time of Troubles and recover the country’s sovereignty.
I know that the city’s residents are not just proud of their ancestors’ feat. It is an example for all of you, and we can see that. It is no accident that in the current difficult times so many people in Nizhny Novgorod and across the region are actively involved in the volunteer movement, helping those in need. They feel a responsibility for those around them, for their native land, and for entire Russia.
Patriotism, civil engagement and bravery run in the blood of the city’s residents, as do diligence, business sagacity, entrepreneurship, engineering and science talents.
As you know, mechanic Kulibin and mathematician Lobachevsky were born here; there was bustling trade here at the famous fair, one of Europe’s largest trade venues of the time, whereas Sormovo factories and the launch of the first open-hearth furnace came to symbolise Russia’s massive industrialisation of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Nizhny Novgorod was known as Gorky during the Great Patriotic War. However, its residents’ nature remained the same as that of their ancestors. The city residents displayed heroism not only on the frontlines but also on the home front as they produced, under enemy shells, everything the army and the navy needed. Therefore, Nizhny Novgorod was rightly given the title The City of Labour Valour.
During the Soviet time, our economic and defence capabilities, unique technology of the peaceful atom and the nuclear shield of our country were created here in the city’s enterprises, both historical and those built from scratch, and in research institutes.
Nizhny Novgorod is a blend of old time and modern age. Actually, history is always made through development, through people’s talents, dedication and daring.
Now, in the 21st century, Nizhny is one of the country’s key industrial and technological centres which has concentrated both traditional and the most cutting-edge industries and where an international IT cluster is emerging as well as a research and education centre of the world-class level, where new materials, quantum and digital technologies, and smart transport systems are being designed and solutions are being sought for healthcare and environmental protection.
The living environment must meet the demands of future tasks as well. It should be comfortable, modern, opening broad opportunities for initiatives in technology, business, the arts and civic initiatives.
The region’s authorities – and I have just discussed this with the Governor – have far-reaching plans for the city’s development. They include, first of all, a creation of a modern public space in Strelka, building an ice palace, turning the vacant land in the city’s centre into a quarter of high technologies, where over 10,000 high-tech jobs will be created (and those 10,000 will be just a start, a beginning), and a university campus. I am sure that all these facilities will be erected by using advanced materials and architectural and digital solutions.
It also directly concerns the upgrading of the transport system, which is used annually by around half a billion passengers of the entire Nizhny Novgorod agglomeration. It includes, among other things, building transit hubs and metro stations as well as thoroughfares running parallel to Gagarin and Lenin avenues. The region will make full use of our new development mechanism, infrastructure loans, to implement such large-scale and socially important projects. Decisions have already been taken on these issues.
Let me stress that comfortable and safe transport arteries will give an extra boost for the development of the southern and eastern parts of the city, where around 12 million square metres of modern residential space and social facilities – kindergartens, schools, clinics – will be built within the current decade.
We must certainly cherish our great past as we embark on strategic plans and approach the future. A powerful development rate can only be ensured by resting on our roots.
The landmark city centre, the Kremlin and Chkalov stairs were renovated for the city’s anniversary, and the famous city park which we just visited was revamped. Over 30 billion rubles were allocated to that end from all sources. I am sure that this money became an investment both in the preservation of historical heritage and in the new quality of life for Nizhny Novgorod residents and improving the tourist potential.
By the way, I would like to take the opportunity and advise those who so far have been putting on hold a trip to Nizhny to come and visit it by all means. The city has been transformed in the past years and keeps developing. It enchants and charms with its beauty.
I believe that Nizhny Novgorod will continue its transformation and confidently move forward into the new century of its history while preserving its identity and uniqueness. It will take pride in technological and scientific breakthroughs, athletic and cultural achievements, the success of business and public projects. They will become an engine that will give a boost to the entire region, its cities and towns. There is certainly a lot of work to be done there but it concerns the development of the entire Volga region and our big country, Russia.
As it always used to be, the present and future of this cosy and yet dynamic city will be made by the hands and talents of the people who study, work, do business, start families and raise children here.
Please accept my congratulations on this remarkable date. I wish you the very best, good health and happiness, and, of course, prosperity to Nizhny Novgorod and to our whole wonderful and huge country of Russia.
Happy holiday! Congratulations!