MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated International Women's Day Monday by rewarding his nation's top female achievers, RTR Russia Television reported.
Putin presented awards to 16 Russian women, according to BBC monitoring.
"March 8 is a day of celebration of women, a celebration of kindness, wisdom, beauty and spiritual strength," Putin said. "The women of our country are not inferior to men in anything, not in education, not in their active position in society."
Awards went, among others, to St. Petersburg police captain Yelena Nikitina for excellence in protecting public order and to Yelena Gagarina, daughter of the legendary first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. She was named cultural worker of merit for her efforts in running the Kremlin museum in Moscow.