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Monument to Russia's first President Boris Yeltsin unveiled in Yekaterinburg

Dmitry Medvedev and Naina Yeltsina took part in the unveiling ceremony. Today, on February 1, 2011 Boris Yeltsin would have turned 80.

Yeltsin Monument and Dmitri MedvedevThe monument by sculptor Georgy Frangulyan has been installed in front of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre.

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Mrs Yeltsina,

Today we remember Boris Yeltsin. On this day, the first President of our country would have turned 80 years old. And today, here in Yekaterinburg, we are unveiling a monument to Boris Yeltsin.

I think this is truly a landmark event in the life of our state, and it's very good that the celebrations of President Yeltsin's birthday begin here, in the Urals. After all, it is here that he began his political career and it is here that he developed as a statesman. People who live here feel deep affection for Boris Yeltsin because he was a true leader, even in the most difficult years for our country. Boris Yeltsin was always sincere in his communication with people who live here in the Urals, he was an open person.

The path of the first President of our country was far from easy, and that is clear today to every citizen of our state. The first President always has to address extremely complex issues and changing public attitudes, and Boris Yeltsin tackled all those challenges.

Time passes fast but let us remember the events that took place in our country 20 years ago. On the one hand, we all anticipated significant changes, political and economic. On the other hand, let us admit openly that no one expected these changes to be so dramatic. This is the challenge that faced Boris Yeltsin and he endured all these trials with honour.

Today we have a modern country, a country that is developing and moving forward, though not without problems, and that is the achievement of Russia's first President Boris Yeltsin and all those who helped him during that period to establish the foundation of the new state. After all, it was then that the foundation was laid upon which our state rests today, as well as the basis for a market economy, although it was a very painful process. Nevertheless, the reforms were carried out, and as a result we have an economy that lives by modern laws. It was then that we built the foundation of the political system and adopted the current Constitution by popular vote, the Constitution of a modern and strong state.

Boris Yeltsin loved his country and he was a part of this country. He was certainly a very brave and resolute man, a man who never compromised on any issues, whether minor or significant. He always tried to promote his agenda. It was not easy, but in that situation, it was absolutely necessary. The strength of Mr Yeltsin's character helped our country to go through a very difficult period, to survive in that difficult moment when the foundations of our new state were being laid.

This year we will celebrate 20 years of our new state. According to traditional historiography, our country will be 1,150 years old next year. This is symbolic both of continuity and modernisation. I believe that present-day Russia should be grateful to President Yeltsin for the fact that, in our most difficult period, we did not sway from the path of change, continued with a very difficult transformation, and are moving forward today.

We are witnessing the unveiling of a monument to Boris Yeltsin. I think this monument embodies the best features of the first President of Russia: his determination and his strong will, and we can see that in this monument. I think it's those traits that distinguished citizen of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin.


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