Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with those who supported him most actively during the presidential election campaign
5 march 2012
Vladimir Putin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, friends. I would like to thank all of you for taking part in this election campaign. It was a vigorous struggle, and each of you made an important contribution. I can tell you that you have missed a big opportunity. Other candidates paid money for people to take part in commercials, and you did this for free without a second thought.
Remark: We haven’t missed out on anything.
Vladimir Putin: I’d like to thank you sincerely for all that you've done. I’m very pleased that you responded so graciously to my appeal for us to work together. First of all, I’m proud that you took part in this work, but this is not the main point. I think what matters the most is that this obvious struggle has led to the consolidation of our society. And I believe this is the most important result: that at a certain point in time, the overwhelming majority of our people realised that they needed to make a decision, and you facilitated this by setting the tone for people. That's all I have to say. I won’t make a long speech. I’d just like to say that your work has been important, not only for the election victory of a particular candidate, which certainly matters to me on a personal level – but even more important is the consolidation of society as well as the understanding of the importance of this event. Unity is more vital still. This is a serious step towards the development of social consciousness. It may become a major guarantee of our sovereignty in the future. Thank you very much once again.
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After delivering a brief speech, Prime Minister and President-Elect Vladimir Putin walked through a group of supporters at a meeting with a glass of champagne in hand and talked to some people. Everyone congratulated Mr Putin on winning the presidential election.
Alexander Zaldostanov, a.k.a. The Surgeon, president of the Night Wolves biker club, invited Vladimir Putin to attend a bike show scheduled in Volgograd next year. The prime minister promised to consider this offer.
Further, paralympic athlete Alexei Yermokhin, member of the national organisation for disabled Afghan War veterans, gave Vladimir Putin a badge shaped like a five-pointed star and a red tulip in honour of the organisation's 20th anniversary. Yermokhin said this badge was awarded to those who show concern for armed forces veterans and disabled war veterans.
General Vladimir Shamanov, a politician and a public activist, recalled the first years of Vladimir Putin's presidency and said they had been very difficult. "It was hard at that time. But you sided with us, and we sided with you. Welcome back and please be our Commander in Chief once again," General Shamanov said.
In all, over 30 Putin supporters, including famous politicians and public activists, government members, artists and athletes, attended the meeting with Vladimir Putin.