Maya Plisetskaya receives the medal 'For service to the Russian state'
On 21 December 2006, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, presented Maya Plisetskaya with the medal 'For service to the Russian state', first degree. The ceremony took place in the Kremlin's Catherine Hall as part of the traditional New Year's State Awards Ceremony to award, in the words of the President, 'all those who improve and strengthen Russia'. Putin thanked the ballerina for her contribution to the development of the art of choreography in Russia and all over the world. He called her 'prima in all', referring not only to her personal merits in the ballet scene but also to the state's - including his own - reaction to these merits.
Maya Plisetskaya is the only person who has ever received the medal 'For service to the Russian state', third, second and first degrees, and the first woman who has ever been awarded the First-Degree Medal. By the way, the list of men who received the First-Degree Medal is not very long too. Among them are the former President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Lushkov, the French President Jacques Chirac, as well as the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II. In the field of creative arts, there has only been one person up to now who received the First-Degree Medal, namely the founder of the Folk Dance Ensemble Igor Moiseyev who was awarded this medal on the occasion of his 100th birthday.