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Speech at the Military Parade Celebrating the 62nd  Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War

May 9, 2007

Red Square, Moscow

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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Citizens of Russia,

Veterans of the Great Patriotic War,

Comrade soldiers and sailors, sergeants and warrant officers,

Comrade officers, generals, and admirals,

I congratulate you on this celebration of our great victory, on this occasion of tremendous moral significance and unifying force. I congratulate you on this date that is imprinted forever on the destiny of Russia and the heart of every Russian citizen. 

The Great Patriotic War was an unprecedented tragedy for our entire people, sweeping its fiery way across our country and leaving scars in our families and hearts that have still not healed to this day.

But the war did not break our peoples spirit and it gave birth to numerous examples of mass heroism. Even as they faced all manner of torment and hardship, even as they saw their comrades fall, our soldiers nonetheless retained their faith in Victory.

Millions of people defended the independence and dignity of their country on the fronts and in the rear, under occupation and in underground resistance, and they proved that a people fighting for its freedom and its very right to live is invincible. 

We bow our heads before their fearlessness and will, before the memory of those whose courage and unity defeated the aggressor and stopped Fascism in its tracks, before those who gave our country and the entire world a future. 

This is an occasion to reflect on the destiny of our world, on its stability and security, and on the lessons of that terrible war which are gaining ever greater meaning and significance with every year.

Today we pay tribute to the countries that fought together against Hitler. We shall not forget their contribution to the defeat of Nazism.

Victory Day not only unites the people of Russia but also unites our neighbours in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We are deeply grateful to the generation of people whose difficult fate it was to face this war. They have passed on to us their traditions of fraternity and solidarity and their truly hard-won experience of unity and mutual aid. We will preserve this sacred memory and historical legacy.

Those who attempt today to belittle this invaluable experience and defile the monuments to the heroes of this war are insulting their own people and spreading enmity and new distrust between countries and peoples.

We have a duty to remember that the causes of any war lie above all in the mistakes and miscalculations of peacetime, and that these causes have their roots in an ideology of confrontation and extremism.

It is all the more important that we remember this today, because these threats are not becoming fewer but are only transforming and changing their appearance. These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, show the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusive dictate over the world.

It is my conviction that only common responsibility and equal partnership can counter these challenges and enable us to join forces in resisting any attempts to unleash new armed conflicts and undermine global security. 

Dear veterans,

Through your tremendous endeavours, you vanquished Fascism and brought freedom to millions of people. And after the Victory was won, you toiled heroically to raise towns and villages from the ruins and rebuild peaceful life.

We bow low before you and express our gratitude to all who fought for and deserved this Victory. We cherish the eternal memory of all who gave their lives, all who fought to bring us peace.

Russia will always remember this great Victory and the great deeds of our fathers and grandfathers. Like them, we will selflessly defend the interests of our Motherland. We will work together to build a prosperous and peaceful future for Russia.

Glory to you, soldiers of the Great Patriotic War!

Glory to the victorious people!

Congratulations!

Happy Victory Day! 


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