The award ceremony for the 16th ‘My Country – My Russia’ contest took place on 8 June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum with the support of the Roscongress Foundation. The contest is an initiative run by the Russia, Land of Opportunity non-profit organization, which was established upon the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This year’s edition of the contest was held across 19 categories, many of which were supported by educational institutions, government bodies, non-profit organizations, and business partners.
More than 34,000 people entered in 2019 – a record number, and an almost five-fold increase on the previous year. The off-site stages of the contest and on-site defences took place in April–May in Moscow and Yekaterinburg. These were hosted by Rospatent, the Russian Academy of Education, the Ural State Medical University, and the Senezh Workshop – the educational centre run by the Russia, Land of Opportunity organization. The winning projects were those that demonstrated originality, innovation, applicability to tackling challenges in their regions, and scalability across the entire country.
Among those to congratulate the winners were Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation Magomedsalam Magomedov, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Russia, Land of Opportunity Vladislav Davankov, and coordinator of the ‘My Country – My Russia’ contest and Chair of the Youth Socioeconomic Initiatives national union Larisa Pastukhova. Other figures taking part in the ceremony included Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Mikhail Kotyukov, Chief Executive Officer of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev, Head of Rospatent Grigory Ivliev, President of the Russian Academy of Education Yury Zinchenko, Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Oleg Salagay, and representatives of partner organizations. Each guest awarded the individuals behind the year’s best projects in their respective categories.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his personal greetings to participants, organizers and guests of the award ceremony:
“It gives me great pleasure to greet and congratulate the winners of the 16th ‘My Country – My Russia’ national contest. Your forum has proven to be an authoritative and vital platform for encouraging young people to tackle pressing socioeconomic development challenges in the Russian regions. It is for this reason that it has rightly earned its place as part of the ambitious and open project run by Russia, Land of Opportunity.
“I would like to note that the initiatives presented at this contest have clearly demonstrated the impressive and genuinely inexhaustible creative potential of our young people. There is a clear sense that these people care deeply about the future of their homeland, of their towns and villages. Their desire not to be passive observers, but instead to make a personal contribution to improving these places and helping them to flourish, is tangible. They have put forward interesting and creative approaches to tacking such crucial issues as improving infrastructure, living conditions, study and work environments, and urban planning, while maintaining their regions’ distinct and unique features, along with their historical and cultural traditions. I have every confidence that your enormous energy, along with your proactivity and civic-mindedness, will lead you to success and the realization of your plans. I wish you all the very best for the future.”
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation Magomedsalam Magomedov drew attention to the contest’s genuinely nationwide and inclusive status: “It is a rare thing for an initiative such as this to encompass more than 34,000 people. It clearly indicates that every region across Russia was directly involved. For me, it is important to see people from all corners of our vast and multi-national country among the winners. It is also important to see that these young people are implementing their projects in different regions – from rural villages and small towns to large cities. You are the most talented, creative, and educated group among our young population, and your future is bright. Your talent, your potential, are what will shape the future of Russia, and will determine its competitiveness in a globalized world.”
“Why are we supporting our youth? Because these are the people who will create the Russia of tomorrow, and beyond. Russia is a land of opportunity. It has always been a great pleasure for the Roscongress Foundation to invite young people to all of its events and to support competitions of this kind. I am delighted to welcome you to Roscongress’ Building Trust space,” said Roscongress Foundation Chief Executive Officer Alexander Stuglev.
Chairman of the contest’s federal organizing committee and Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Mikhail Kotyukov also welcomed the participants and winners: “It is vital to give young people living in the regions the opportunity to be heard and to show what they can do. The ‘My Country – My Russia’ contest is a platform for exactly that. The examples these active young people provide through their actions are making a real contribution to the development of towns and villages across Russia.” Kotyukov also drew attention to the record number of entrants, saying, “These people make up a priceless human resource base for our regions. The very act of participating in a nationwide competition for development projects is a major gesture of responsible citizenship. It not only allows entrants to identify key issues for particular regions, but to propose their very own solutions in the form of a fully-fledged project. This contest has a practical focus in its approach to education, and helps mentors to flesh out young people’s ideas for projects and to solve socioeconomic development challenges in the Russian regions.”
“This year’s edition of the ‘My Country – My Russia’ contest was integrated in the Russia, Land of Opportunity platform, and we have seen a great many changes as a result. The five-fold increase in the number of entrants is just one example. The on-site defence stage has been a regular feature for several years now, and it is clear to see the excitement and sense of satisfaction among those behind the winning projects. After all, the people who achieve success are those who show real endeavour, and who do not give up after the first attempt. I would like to express my hope that your projects become reality – you are the ones who make Russia a land of opportunity,” said Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Russia, Land of Opportunity Vladislav Davankov.
“Our contest has changed substantially since it was integrated in the Russia, Land of Opportunity platform this year. Among those assessing the entries were finalists of Leaders of Russia – a major nationwide competition in the human resources sector. There is no other initiative quite like it in Russia or the world, and the people involved will become mentors to the winners here. We have planned and set the objective to provide substantial post-contest support for the best entrants. Each one of you here can therefore be ready for a number of training events this autumn which will help you to implement your projects,” said contest coordinator Larisa Pastukhova.