On 1 May Vladimir Putin presented five Hero of Labour gold medals for the first time in the history of the Russian Federation. One was awarded to Valery Gergiev, Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre. The maestro received this award on the eve of two important events – the opening of the new stage of the Mariinsky Theatre (Mariinsky II) and his sixtieth birthday.
The President signed into law a decree on the establishment of the title of Hero of Labour on 29 March 2013. The gold medal in the form of a pentangle is awarded to Russians for particular services to the State and its people. The awards ceremony took place at the Constantine Palace near St Petersburg. In addition to Valery Gergiev, others who received the title of Hero of Labour included neurosurgeon Alexander Konovalov, mine engineer Vladimir Melnik, lathe operator Konstantin Chumanov and mechanisation expert Yuri Konnov.