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75 Years Ago
[I present the following without comment. As always I will continue to write my own thoughts on Russia and Putin in my Week in Review column.]
Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day Speech, May 9, 2016
Fellow citizens of Russia and esteemed veterans, soldiers and sailors. Sergeants, warrant officers and chief warrant officers, officers, generals and admirals.
Congratulations on Victory Day! An occasion where joy, memory and grief have merged. May 9 is both a public and a very personal, family holiday. It became a symbol of the sacred relationship between Russia and its people. It is in this unity and loyalty to the Fatherland that our strength, confidence and dignity lie.
We are united by deep, sincere feelings for our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. We would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to all those who are living, who are near, and we do not conceal our pride and tears. We would like to pay tribute to sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, comrades-in-arms and friends – all those who never came back from the war, who are gone. I would like to announce a minute of silence.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War: on June 22, 1941, the Nazis treacherously attacked the Soviet Union. The life of a huge country changed in an instant. And at this tragic turning point, there was but one choice, a superior choice to be made – saving the Fatherland became the top priority for the entire people.
A heroic and sacrificial road to Victory ensued. A host of the most challenging tasks had to be solved without hesitation. One of them was evacuating millions of citizens and industries to the east. All of this was to be done in the most difficult conditions of the enemy’s assault, in the heat of the war.
Now it is hard to comprehend what extraordinary efforts it took to relocate and restore more than fifteen hundred plants. In several months, they started continuously supplying tanks, aircraft, ammunition and military equipment to the front. This greatest, unprecedented labor victory allowed our army to push the enemy back and smash an aggressor that harnessed the economic potential of almost all of Europe.
The deeds of home-front workers demonstrated the vital force of our people, its unity, victorious spirit and love for the Fatherland. Our fathers and grandfathers defeated a powerful and merciless enemy that many countries gave in to. It was the Soviet people that brought freedom to other peoples. It was our soldiers who paid back the Nazis and their allies in full for the millions of victims, for all the barbarities and atrocities on our land.
The war lasted for nearly four years and became an epoch for our entire country. An epoch of courage and bravery, of the toughest trials and tragic losses, of bright hope and boundless faith in Victory. The Great Patriotic War will always be an outstanding, sacred deed of our people, a call to live honestly, hold high the bar of truth and justice and pass these values on from one generation to the next.
Comrades, history lessons teach us that peace on Earth is not established by itself; that one needs to be cautious; that double standards as well as shortsighted indulgence of those who nurture criminal plans are impermissible.
Today, civilization is again facing cruelty and violence: terrorism has become a global threat. We must defeat this evil; Russia is open to joining efforts with all states and is ready to work on creating a modern, non-aligned system of international security.
Our soldiers and commanders have proven that they are worthy successors of the Great Patriotic War heroes and that they honorably protect the interests of Russia. I am sure that today the veterans are proud of their grandsons and granddaughters – they have not let them down and will always be looking up to the Great Victory, to the deed of a heroic generation of victors!
Congratulations on the anniversary of the Great Victory! Hurray!
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