Dear friends, associates!
August 18 marks 175 years since the foundation of the Russian Geographical Society! I congratulate everyone who cares about this name. The veterans who gave decades of their lives to the Russian Geographical Society. The young people who are just getting introduced to our values. The millions of those who participate in our events, share our goals and ideals.
There were different periods in the life of the Russian Geographical Society. There was a period of prosperity, when ideas and projects of national importance were born within the walls of the Society. So large-scale that they ensured the successful development of the country for decades.
The research and development of Siberia, the Arctic and the Far East - regions with vast natural resources - took place under the flag of the Russian Geographical Society.
At the end of the 19th century, it was from the environment of the Russian Geographical Society that the statesmen emerged, under whose leadership Russia made an industrial breakthrough: Sergei Witte,Michael von Reutern , Ivan Vyshnegradsky.
The largest entrepreneurs of that time saw the RGS as an important tool for the development of trade and industry. It was for this that they financed geographic research and expeditions.
In the year of the anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, one cannot but recall the geographers, cartographers, surveyors - those who, with their work, brought this victory closer.
There were difficult periods in the life of the Russian Geographical Society when it lost its influence and could have even died. Fortunately, this did not happen. When 10 years ago I was entrusted to lead the Society, it became not only a great honor, but also a serious challenge. The goal was to revive its fame and authority.
We resumed active expeditionary activities. I remember how I went to the excavation site in Kyzyl-Kuragino. During this expedition alone, we have studied seventy archaeological sites in six years, and donated thousands of artifacts to museums. And there was also the cleaning of the Arctic, a comprehensive study of the Kuril Islands, a round-the-world expedition in honor of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors, unique dives of specialists from our Underwater Research Center. You can't list everything!
The Russian Geographical Society is one of the keepers of the historical memory of our people. And I'm not just talking about the richest scientific archives of the Russian Geographical Society. The Konstantinovskaya Battery was restored from ruins and turned into a museum complex. We have returned from oblivion this monument to the courage of our people.
Grants for scientific research are allocated, programs for the protection of rare species of animals are supported. Our Geographical Dictation is written in more than a hundred countries of the world by hundreds of thousands of people.
But no such project would be successful without you - without people who get involved in the work with amazing energy and enthusiasm, participate in expeditions, and become volunteers. It would also be difficult for us without the trustees who support us financially, reviving the traditions of patrons of the past. This is your holiday, your anniversary!
This year, on the day of the foundation of the Society, for the first time officially, at the state level, we celebrate Geographer's Day. The honorary title "The Distinguished Geographer of Russia" was established. These are all striking examples of how the prestige of the cause we serve is getting restored.
The Russian Geographical Society is a great history, a bright present and, I am sure, a worthy future.
I sincerely congratulate you on your anniversary! Don't stop there. After all, any new project of the Russian Geographical Society is a step towards the knowledge and the development of our country. And this is our main, common goal.