Putin about Shaimiyev’s award: ‘To an extraordinary politician, a person of exceptional wisdom’
How the first president of Tatarstan turned out in line with Peter I, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov and Dmitry Likhachyov
First President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev became the 24th recipient in the 24th year since the restoration of the Order of Andrew the Apostle as the highest award in the country. There are few order recipients nowadays — it is eminent public figures, scientists, doctors and artists that made a huge contribution to the country’s development. Realnoe Vremya writes about the unique award, its history and people who received it.
For sincere love for the Fatherland
First President of Tatarstan and State Adviser to the republic Mintimer Shaimiyev was awarded the Order of Andrew the Apostle. President of the country Vladimir Putin personally handed over Russia’s highest public award. The award ceremony took place in the Kremlin’s Catherine Hall on 23 May.
“A huge contribution to strengthening the Russian statehood and federalism, interethnic harmony, to Tatarstan and all Russia's socio-economic development is, of course, Mintimer Shaimiyev’s credit. He is a strong, extraordinary politician, a person of exceptional wisdom and responsibility,” President of Russia Vladimir Putin pronounced when awarding the highest award of the Russian Federation to the first president of Tatarstan.
The head of the country stressed that “the history of achievements we admire and feel proud of is created” thanks to such people:
“Dear friends, you have proven and prove every day with your example how powerful the sincere love for the Fatherland, a desire to work for the common good, achieve outstanding successes in different activities is... The quality of life of our citizens directly depends on the well-managed, well-coordinated work of different branches and levels of power.”
Mintimer Shaimiyev thanked Vladimir Putin paying attention to the fact the country was united at the moment. The state adviser to the republic added that there were a lot of opinions in the world where Russia is seen weak, but opponents would suffer bad luck, he is convinced: “I want to say that thanks to the labour one manages to do one’s obligations in life, the state, the government always notice and create conditions for further work, the interests of our state, which is multiethnic, multireligious.”
“I would like to say today that we have to take into account, though I am sure everybody is staying up-to-date, Mr Putin, despite all the difficulties we are going through now or are involved, taking part in all difficult processes — political, economic — I would like to say that our path has never been easy,” noted Mintimer Shaimiev in his return speech. “My age allows saying this as it is, so to speak. Expressing the deepest respect for the president of our country on behalf of everybody, in these conditions, even if we take the latest development indicators of the Russian Federation, [including] this year, despite everything happening in the world, we continue strengthening and demonstrating the feeling of unity. In life, when you are in this process, I have the moral right to say that you manage to bring our people together. It is multiethnic, multireligious. And in these conditions, I want to pay attention, dear friends, to the key development indicators of the Russian Federation in recent times, in the last years and even in the last quarter, I would say. The country is an adequate situation in key economic indicators like never before, and we make sure the unity of our state becomes stronger further.”
“We are proud of you, Mr Shaimiyev, we are sincerely happy. You deserve this gift. We are proud of you!” Tatarstan Rais Rustam Minnikhanov congratulated his predecessor on the deserved award in turn.
Award for few
As the modern statute of the Order of Andrew the Apostle reads, “outstanding state and public figures, commanders, prominent representatives of science, culture, art and various sectors of the economy for exceptions merits facilitating the prosperity, grandeur and glory of Russia, providing its national security and sovereignty,” as well as leaders of foreign countries “for outstanding merits in the Russian Federation.” While portraits of people awarded the order are exhibited in the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia.
The order bears St Andrew’s Cross covered with blue or sky-blue enamel the crucified saint. The cross has Latin letters SAPR on it (Sanctus Andreas Patronus Russiae). An insignia and a start of the Order of St Andrew the Apostle with swords are awarded for distinguished achievements in battles. The motor of the order is “For Faith and Loyalty.”
This award is given for exceptional merits to the Fatherland, this is why there have been just 1,101 order recipients in its history. The award was given 1,076 times before 1917 when the order was abolished, it was awarded another 25 times after its revival in 1998.
The first order of the great empire
The order of Andrew the Apostle has a long history: the first order in the Russian Empire was founded by Peter I on 10 December 1698 on the remembrance day of Saint Andrew (according to the Julian calendar). Diplomat Fyodor Golovin — Peter’s supporter who took the would-be first Russian emperor to the Troitsk Monastery during a riflemen’s riot, which perhaps, saved his life and later played a leading role in the creation of the Russian fleet and development of Russian diplomacy, became the first person who was awarded the order. Precisely Golovin awarded Peter himself the insignia of order in 1703 as the first recipient of the order.
There was an incident with the highest award of the empire in the order founder’s life, moreover, very soon: Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Mazepa who sided with Charles XII in 1708 and was divested of awards and titles.
However, most pre-revolution order recipients are people with unite fates and huge merits to Russia. It is Peter I and Catherine II’s supporters — militaries and diplomats who built the empire and protected its borders, heroes of the Patriotic War in 1812 and subsequent wards. Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Peter Bagration, Alexey Yermolov received this award. Of course, many high-ranking foreigners and members of the imperial house received the order in 219 years. The award ceremony stopped on its own in 1917: after great Prince Roman Petrovich who received the order by birth in 1916, King of Denmark Frederick XI, Shah of Persia Ahmad Shah Qajar, King of Belgium Albert I and King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III became order recipients.
From anthem’s author to engineer of legendary weapon
The contemporary history of the Order of St Andrew the Apostle started in 1998 when the president of Russia reinstated it as Russia’s highest award. Political figures, militaries, religious clerics have been award it in 25 years of “modern” history.
Patriarch Alexy II was the first to receive the high award from the Russian president, third President of Azerbaijan Geydar Aliyev is second on the list, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev is 18th.
Academician Dmitry Likhachyov and arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, author of three versions of the USSR and Russia Sergey Mikhalkov, composer Alexandra Pakhmutova, surgeon Boris Petrovsky, transplant surgeon Valery Shumakov, rocket and spacecraft engineer Gerbert Yefremov, singers Irina Arkhipova and Lyudmila Zykina, choreographer Yury Grigorovich and writer Daniil Granin.
The list also includes first President of Russia Mikhail Gorbachyov, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Patriarch Kirill, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matviyenko. First Chairman of Russia’s Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin is the latest order recipient today.