At a ceremony in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin presented passports to young Russian citizens – winners and medalists of contests, academic, artistic and sporting competitions, top students, children who committed acts of heroism, winners of the We Are Citizens of Russia nationwide contest.

The nationwide campaign We Are Citizens of Russia, a ceremony to present passports to school students, was launched by the public organisation Russian Movement of School Students together with the public organisation the Russian Youth Union.

Following the presentation of passports, the President gave participants in the ceremony a tour of his office.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

As you know, today is a special day. Today is a holiday called Russia Day, it is a celebration of our country. And what is a country? It is the people, the country’s citizens. All of us become citizens at birth. This, naturally, is part of our laws, practice and tradition, and at the age of 14 you receive your passports.

By 14, you have managed to achieve, to do a lot. Some of you, as I believe will be mentioned here as well, have displayed the best human qualities – courage, you could even say self-sacrifice. I am referring to those of you who were not scared to lend a hand to another human being in a very difficult situation, to essentially save a life

The most important thing is that possessing such good inclinations, such qualities, you have every chance of doing big, brilliant, important things in your lives. Today, on Russia Day – as you might have seen from the media – here, in the Kremlin, National Awards were presented to our outstanding citizens for their achievements in their narrow field over many years. Each of you, after you choose your own path, will have a chance to do the same.

I am counting on it, and I would like to wish you luck, because, while pursuing individual achievements, we, of course, everybody, including you in the future, will be making a substantial, serious contribution, which is greatly needed for the country, for its development, for preserving its greatness, for its future. You are the future for us, because soon you and your peers will have to shape the destiny of Russia – this much is clear.

I sincerely congratulate you on receiving this very important document, your passport, and wish you all the best.