"We never divided the victory into ours and someone else's"Excerpts from speeches by President Vladimir Putin, dedicated to the victory in the Great Patriotic War
Vladimir PUTIN, President of the Russian Federation
History and Modernity
Great Patriotic War
Seventy years have already passed but every year, on the 9th May, we will continue to mourn those killed; we will remember the war, the war which is appealing to our reason. It obliges us to be highly responsible and to realise more profoundly what deadly precipice the world found itself on the edge of at the time; the kind of terrible consequences to which violence and racial hatred, genocide and outrage committed against human beings could have led.
We will always remember that such outrage causes fear, humiliation and death. We will forever honour everyone who gave their lives, those who fought and those who did their best working for the army on the home front. We will mourn those killed and, fulfilling the duty of survivors, express our enormous human gratitude. Sixty-one nations and almost 80% of the planet's population found themselves drawn into the burning orbit of World War II. The burning storm ravaged not only through Europe, but also through Asian and African nations. It reached the shores of Novaya Zemlya and Alaska, the borders of Egypt and Australia. But the most brutal and crucial events which determined the drama and the outcome of that inhuman war unfolded on the territory of the Soviet Union.
Fascists expected to enslave our people in an instant. In fact, they counted on destroying the country. Their plans failed. The Soviet army first stopped the fascists outside Moscow. And over the three subsequent years, it managed not only to resist the assault but also to force the enemy back into his lair. The results of the battles near Moscow and in Stalingrad, the courage of Leningrad under siege, the success in the Kursk and Dnieper battles, determined the outcome of World War II. The Red Army marked the victorious end to the war by liberating Europe, waging the battle for Berlin.
We never divided the victory into ours and someone else's. We will always remember the assistance from the Allies, the United States of America, Great Britain, France and other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition, German and Italian anti-fascists. Today we are celebrating the courage of all Europeans who resisted fascism. But we also know that the Soviet Union lost tens of millions of its citizens in the years of the war. Servicemen killed on the battlefields included representatives of all ethnic groups of the former USSR.
All peoples, all republics of the former USSR, suffered their own irreparable losses. Grief reached every household, touched every family. That is why 9 May is a sacred day for all nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States. We are united by our anguish, our memory and our duty to future generations. And we must pass on to those who will come after us the spirit of historic connection, common aspirations and common hope. I am convinced that there is no alternative to our friendship and our fraternity. With our closest neighbours and all countries of the world, Russia is prepared to build a kind of relationship which is not only based on lessons of the past but is also directed into a shared future.
History teaches nations and peoples to do their best, not to ignore the emergence of new deadly doctrines, the origins and environment in which new threats evolve. Lessons of the war warn that complicity in violence, indifference and wait-and-see attitudes are bound to lead to appalling tragedies on a worldwide scale. In the face of today's real terrorist threats, we must remain faithful to the memory of our fathers. We must defend the world order based on security and justice, a new culture of relations which does not allow for a repetition of cold or hot wars.
Since the epoch of global confrontation came to an end, we have made significant strides toward the lofty goal of ensuring peace and calm in Europe. Our policy is based on the ideals of freedom and democracy, on the right of every state to choose its path of development independently. We base it on trust and a search for a civilised future for all nations, including those that have lived through the difficult experience of past confrontation and have been able to find a new way towards international dialogue and co-operation.
The historic reconciliation between Russia and Germany is an eloquent example of this policy. I consider it to be one of the greatest achievements of the post-war Europe, an example which deserves to be followed and developed in present-day international politics.
9 May has always been and will forever remain a sacred day for our country. This is a festive day which not only inspires us all and makes us all better, but also fills our hearts with the most complex feelings, both joy and sorrow, both compassion and nobility. It calls for the most noble actions, presents us with another opportunity to bow our heads in honour of those who gave us freedom, the freedom to live, to work, to be happy, to be creative and to understand each other.
Victory Day is the dearest, the most emotional and the most inclusive holiday in our country. For the people of the former Soviet Union, it will forever remain a day of the people's great heroic deed, and for the countries of Europe and the entire planet - the day on which the world was saved.Our grandfathers and fathers gave their lives for the honour and freedom of the nation. They were united and defended their Fatherland. And today I humbly bow my head to all veterans of the Great Patriotic War. I wish them a long and happy life.
We must be worthy the deeds of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who protected our home soil and smashed Nazism. The victory was carved out on the frontline and in the rear, in the partisan units and underground. It was brought nearer by the courage of defenders of the beseiged Leningrad and bravery of defenders of Sevastopol, the valor of thousands of soldiers who stood firm defending their positions. The outcome of the entire World War II was determined in the brutal battles of Moscow and Stalingrad, Kursk and Dnieper. The Soviet people's unbending will, fearlessness and firmness saved Europe from slavery.
It was our native country that drove the fascists out of their den, and accomplished their crushing and final defeat at the price of millions of lives and ordeals.
We will always cherish this sacred and unfading truth. And we will never allow the betrayal and oblivion of the heroes – all those who selflessly safeguarded peace on our planet.
Unfortunately, today we see not only attempts at distorting the events of that war, but also unmasked cynical lies and impudent defamation of an entire generation of people who gave up everything for this Victory, who defended peace on earth. I am certain that all of you know this, there is no need to repeat it, but sometimes one finds it hard to even speak of the shameless conclusions and so-called observations that have nothing in common with the truth.
Their goal is obvious: to undermine Russia’s power and moral authority, to deprive it of its status of a victorious nation, with all the ensuing international legal consequences, to divide peoples and set them against each other and to use historical speculations in their geopolitical games. At times, it sounds like downright ravings – it is amazing how people get these ideas. In fact, they are not as harmless as they may seem because this is an attempt to implant very dangerous ideas and warped perception of history into the minds of millions of people, primarily the younger generation.
We should constantly, firmly, persistently and with reason assert the truth about the war, about the colossal contribution of the Soviet people to the Victory, about the unifying and decisive role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of Nazism.