On the Occasion of the National Day of the Russian Federation
Secretary of State
I congratulate the people of Russia as you celebrate your National Day on June 12.
Today is an appropriate moment to reflect on the deep connections that exist between Russian and American culture — from Balanchine's "Jewels" to Brodsky's "Urania," Rostropovich to Tolstaya, Baryshnikov to Rothko. Through the decades, freedom of expression and thought have produced great artistic and intellectual accomplishments that have enriched lives and lifted spirits in both our countries and lie at the heart of what each can offer the world.
This year also marks the 90th anniversary of Vladimir Mayakovsky's epic journey through the United States, memorialized in his "My Discovery of America." Mayakovsky's words are a powerful reminder of the importance of people-to-people ties in fostering mutual understanding and respect.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of end of World War II this year, we also honor the tremendous shared sacrifice of those who fought against Nazism, including the millions of Russians who fought in the great battles and the millions who lost their lives.
On this special day, the United States joins the Russian people in celebrating the many links that bind our two nations; may the citizens of both share in a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future.