Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Russia’s women as “beautiful, brilliant and charming” in his traditional address on International Women’s Day in Moscow on Friday.

“It is hard to imagine our history, the progress of our country without the creative contribution of the great women of Russia. In our age you can conquer the highest professional heights,” he said.

“And you remain beautiful, brilliant, charming, the centre of gravity inside the family that knows how to inspire and support, warm and comfort. It is your fate to walk the whole path of creating a new life – giving birth to a child,” Putin continued, adding “this great happiness of motherhood, raising children transforms the world, fills it with kindness, tenderness and mercy, and reaffirms the traditional values that have always been Russia’s strength.”

March 8 is a state holiday in Russia. It honours the struggle and achievements of women for equal rights and representation and has been celebrated in Russia over the past 100 years.

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