Russian President’s speech at the military parade in Moscow
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
People of Russia,
Our dear veterans,
Soldiers and sailors, sergeants, warrant officers and ensigns, Officers, generals and admirals,
I wish you all the best on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. A victory that determined the future of the planet for decades to come and went down in history as the grandest in its scale, significance and moral value.
This year, the traditional Victory Day celebrations are being held in Russia on June 24. Exactly 75 years ago, the legendary victors paraded right here, along the Kremlin wall, to commemorate the end of the Great Patriotic War.
That parade went down in history as a triumph of unprecedented scale, the triumph of good over evil, of peace over war, and life over death.
On behalf of all the defenders of the Fatherland, they threw the defeated banners and standards of the Nazis down to the ground with contempt, as a sign of just retribution and dire warning.
The combined regiments of various fronts and fleets marched through Red Square. And everyone who fought for their homeland bravely, not sparing themselves, who returned with Victory, as well as millions of soldiers who remained forever on the battlefields invisibly joined their firm measured march.
Today we bow our heads to the sacred memory of all those who never came back, to the memory of sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fellow soldiers, relatives and friends. We grieve over the veterans who have already left us.
I proclaim a moment of silence.
(A moment of silence.)
We will always remember that Nazism was crushed by the Soviet people – by millions of people of different ethnicity from all republics of the Soviet Union.
At the front and in the rear, in partisan groups and underground resistance, they fought and worked relying on their courage and unity. Having defended their homeland, they continued to fight. They liberated European countries from the invaders, put an end to the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust, and saved the people of Germany from Nazism with its deadly ideology.
It is impossible to even imagine what would have happened to the world had it not been for the Red Army that stood up to defend it.
Its soldiers did not want war, or other countries, or glory, or honours. All they wanted was to finish off the enemy, to gain victory and return home. And they paid an irreparable price for Europe’s freedom. Many hundreds of thousands of soldiers died in foreign lands.
Our duty is to always remember this. Remember that the Soviet people shouldered the main burden of the fight against Nazism.
In 1941, over 80 percent of the armed forces of Germany and its satellites were concentrated to fight the Soviet Union. But this ruthless armada proved powerless against the cohesion of the Soviet people.
It was our people who defeated the terrible, total evil, crushed more than 600 divisions, destroyed 75 percent of the total number of Nazi aircraft, tanks, artillery units, and walked their righteous and infinitely sacrificial path to the end, to their victorious destination.
This is the main truth about the war, honest and clear. We must protect and defend it, and pass it on to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Today’s military parade is a tribute to this sacred truth, to the outstanding generation of victors who determined the outcome of the entire World War II.
Representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan will march in this parade along with Russian soldiers.
We are happy to welcome our friends, guests from various countries who came to Moscow to pay tribute to everyone who defended peace on the planet.
We will never forget our allies’ contribution to the common victory, the significance of the second front that opened in June 1944. We honour the brave service members of the armed forces of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and respect the feat of all fighters against Nazism who battled fearlessly in Europe.
In the context of the challenges the planet is facing today, we also know, and are especially keenly aware of what the greatest value is – people, their dreams, joys, hopes, and a peaceful, tranquil and creative life.
We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and trust between nations, and are open to dialogue and cooperation on the most pressing issues on the international agenda.
Among them is the creation of a common reliable security system, something the complex and rapidly changing modern world needs. Only together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats.
The surviving veterans of the Great Patriotic War now live in many different countries. But their great joint feat of saving entire nations from eradication, barbarism and enslavement cannot be split and divided. That heroic deed, without any exaggeration, is the legacy of all humankind.
Dear veterans, our gratitude to you is immeasurable. You have proven with your life and your fight how important it is to be able to defend the values of peace, humanism and justice.
We will do everything in our power to ensure that the memory of your heroic accomplishments never fades. It is our duty of conscience and our responsibility to the present and the future.
Glory to the generation that defeated Nazism!
Glory to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War!