President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday presented the Order of Merit to singer Sofiya Rotaru, who was celebrating her 60th birthday yesterday in Yalta’s Livadiysky Palace. Rotaru was honored for her “great personal contributionto the development of music, high mastery and many successful years on stage.”

In his speech, Yushchenko praised Rotaru and her songs. “I really appreciate what you do on stage but I am convinced you do more, as your Ukrainian songs form the spirit and energy of our identity,” he said, describing the artist as a “great gift for the nation” and promising to support her. “This will always be a great honor for me.”

More than one hundred guestsattended yesterday’s birthday party in Yalta, among them Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin, Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Oleksandr Sheovkosvky, designer Lilya Pustovit and Rotaru’s celebrated colleagues, Alla Pugacheva, Yosyp Kobzon and Lev Leshchenko.
photos are provided by President's press office

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