In the run-up to Nuclear Industry Worker Day, Vladimir Putin met with industry representatives.
The Kremlin, Moscow, September 23, 2020
7 of 21Meeting with nuclear industry workers.
Before the meeting, the President presented the star of Hero of Labour to Georgy Rykovanov, research advisor of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre – Zababakhin All-Russian Research Institute of Engineering Physics. The ceremony took place at the Kremlin’s St Catherine Hall.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
Before we sit down and start talking, I would like to personally congratulate your colleague, outstanding physicist Georgy Rykovanov, on receiving the title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation. You are well aware of who he is and his achievements. He is a Doctor of Science, academician and a specialist in a number of research areas, including thermonuclear fusion. Mr Rykovanov is a research advisor of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre – All-Russian Research Institute of Engineering Physics in Snezhinsk and successfully works with critical issues in civil and special military areas.
Mr Rykovanov, let me present you with this high award for your special labour services and major contribution to improving our country’s defence capability.
Georgy Rykovanov: Mr President,
I am grateful to you for the high assessment of Rosatom’s nuclear weapons complex performance. We have always achieved the goals you have set for us. This year, despite the challenging circumstances, the nuclear weapons complex did not stop working for even a day. We will complete the state defence order assignments and the assignments set in your executive orders.
I must say that thanks to your attention and – I want to emphasise this – your control, the nuclear weapons complex has regained its balance, and is operating based on its own research, experimental, design and production base, and will remain the guarantor of our country’s security.
Thank you once again.
Vladimir Putin: Once again, I congratulate your colleague and invite you all to sit down so we can continue our conversation in a less formal setting.
Please go ahead.
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We are meeting just before Nuclear Industry Worker Day. I believe I signed the executive order establishing this professional holiday in 2005. Congratulations on this upcoming professional holiday to you and all your colleagues in the Russian nuclear industry– scientists, researchers, engineers, and workers – everyone who chose to pursue this career and this profession, who have devoted their lives to this amazing, wonderful, difficult, sometimes dangerous work, which is so necessary and so forward thinking. I believe it will always be this way. The industry will change, but it will still be at the leading edge.
It is certainly a symbol of scientific audacity, daring, selflessness, and sometimes personal courage and heroism. Unfortunately – I am saying “unfortunately” because the industry has seen tragic events; we have witnessed episodes that we all know about.
I would like to thank everyone for their great dedicated work, for their loyalty to their job and the traditions that were established by their predecessors. Three quarters of a century ago, without exaggeration, they accomplished a great deed, defended their Fatherland, achieved a true revolution in science, technology and industry.
Back then, in extremely difficult historical conditions, they made a leap in the shortest possible time from theoretical research to the practical use of their projects in the interests of Russia’s security and socioeconomic development. What they did is still amazing in its scale, meaning, and depth.
It took them only a few years to cover the distance from formulating an extremely difficult and unprecedented task all the way to testing the first working model of a nuclear weapon, the RDS-1 bomb, in August 1949.
At that time, without exaggeration, the entire country worked for that result, having barely emerged from a terrible world war with its daunting consequences. The people involved in the atomic project did not spare themselves either. They worked as if they were still at war. The government, realising the importance of what they were doing, provided everything that was needed, literally the shirt off its back, to address this urgent task.
You probably know the story, for sure, it is popular in the industry, and your colleagues gave me the phrase from those years: if atomic scientists need mercury, pharmacies will run short of thermometers. They gave everything, this is how it was.
Without the right to make a mistake, the research teams under the leadership of Igor Kurchatov explored several projects at once, and their technological achievements also pushed forward other industries that were more or less closely related to the atomic project: the rocket industry and space exploration. Moreover, an entire new industry grew out of it – civilian nuclear energy.
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