Following the massive May Day march through Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, was awarded the Lenin Prize by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation’s Central Committee, “for his exceptional contribution to the construction of socialism and his work to consolidate the principles of justice, humanism, and social progress.”
Upon receiving the distinction from Iván Mélnikov, first vice president of the State Duma and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Raúl said he accepted the honor “not in a personal capacity, but on behalf of our entire people, of Party members, and as a recognition of our Party’s leadership.”
He added that Cuban revolutionaries owe the Soviet Union, and especially the heroic Russian people, eternal gratitude, recalling words that Fidel once spoke to him: “Without the help of all kinds that we received from the Soviet Union, it would have been difficult, despite the heroic resistance our people, to emerge victorious in those hard years.”
During the simple ceremony – which took place at the José Martí Memorial and was attended by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and other members of the Party Political Bureau – Mélnikov stated that Raúl merited the distinction on the basis of his work in the international fight against anti-communism and colonialism, and his consistent efforts to strengthen the friendship shared by Cuba and Russia.
The Lenin Prize, created in 1925, was one of the Soviet Union’s most important distinctions and is announced every year on April 22, the day the leader of the Russian Revolution was born.