Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in the Greek parliament on Thursday, said that Russia had for many centuries "invariably supported the Greek people and Greek statehood". According to him, modern Russia "has not only taken over these traditions, but intends to develop them in the most positive key". The president noted that Russia, perhaps more than any other country, is aware of the "tremendous contribution made by the Greek people to the common treasure-store of civilisation". He recalled that at the dawn of our era "the principles of democracy already flourished" in Greece. Commenting on traditions of Russian parliamentarism, Putin said that they date back only from the beginning of the past century, and new Russian parliamentarism is only 10 years old. According to him, these were years "of far from simple economic and social change", with the Russian parliament making a weighty contribution to its implementation. Democratic change in Russia is being carried out "on the basis of law and statutes," the president noted and, according to him, "democratic institutions in Russia are gaining in strength". Putin said Russia has a firm intention of creating "stable institutions of democratic power and to achieve sustained growth based on a market economy". The Russian head of state thanked the Greek parliament for the gold medal presented to him. Putin's address to the Greek parliament was greeted with applause.