75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945
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!
Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation on the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War
May 26, 2020
Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, which predetermined the outcome of World War II, was a crucial event in modern history that created the foundation for a new international order aimed at preventing future catastrophes of this scale and at ensuring a peaceful development and progress in the interests of all humankind.
It is with deepest gratitude that we remember the courage and valiance of all those who gave their lives for the freedom of future generations.
Any distortion of the historical truth about those events demeans the memory of those who had suffered the cruelty of the war. Such abominable actions, including the war on monuments, are essentially destructive and conducive to manipulation and erosion of the foundations of modern international relations. Any attempts to rewrite history and misinterpretation of the events that had led to the world war are hindering the awareness of and response to the challenges and threats facing all of us and are fraught with a repetition of the tragic mistakes made in the past. In this connection, we welcome the UN General Assembly resolution on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which was adopted on December 18, 2019.
We underscore the importance of holding a special solemn meeting of the UN General Assembly marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
It is our sacred duty to preserve for the current and future generations the truth about our common struggle for liberating the world from Nazism and to preclude a revival of the ideology of hatred, extremism, discrimination on ethnic, racial and religious grounds, as well as any other inhuman acts.
While remembering the lessons of the past war, we believe that today the international community must work together to prevent the world from sliding closer to the red line. We regard as important the initiatives of the CSTO member states aimed at maintaining and strengthening the global architecture of security and stability.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Armenia of the Kyrgyz Republic
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Belarus of the Russian Federation
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the Republic of Tajikistan
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump.The two presidents exchanged greetings in connection with the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism. They emphasised the historical importance of the allied relations that linked the two nations during World War II and allowed both countries to end a common threat. The leaders emphasised that based on these traditions, Russia and the United States can achieve much in resolving the urgent problems of our time, including maintaining strategic stability, the anti-terrorist struggle, settlement of regional conflicts, and gaining control of the epidemic.
April 25, 2020, marks the 75th Anniversary of the historic meeting between Soviet and American soldiers, who shook hands on the damaged bridge over the Elbe River. This event heralded the decisive defeat of the Nazi regime.
The meeting on the Elbe represented a culmination of tremendous efforts by the many countries and peoples that joined forces under the framework of the United Nations Declaration of 1942. This common struggle required enormous sacrifice by millions of soldiers, sailors, and citizens in multiple theaters of war.
We also recognize the contributions from millions of men and women on the home front, who forged vast quantities of war materials for use around the world. Workers and manufacturers played a crucial role in supplying the allied forces with the tools necessary for victory.
The “Spirit of the Elbe” is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause. As we work today to confront the most important challenges of the 21st century, we pay tribute to the valor and courage of all those who fought together to defeat fascism. Their heroic feat will never be forgotten.
This May marks the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War (the fight against Hitler’s regime during the World War II went down in our country’s history with this name).
There are no families in Russia that remained untouched by the War. In June 1941, the Soviet Union took the main brunt of Third Reich’s war machine that managed to take almost the entire Europe under its control. Despite all burdens and hardships, Soviet people not only defended independence of their Motherland, but also liberated many countries of Central and Eastern Europe from Hitler’s oppression making a decisive contribution to the Victory over Nazism. During its offensive operations the Red Army freed prisoners of concentration camps, thus ending the Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people were saved from perishing in the Nazi conveyor of death.
However, the Victory came with an immense price. The aggressors killed over 27 million people of our compatriots (more than half of whom were civilians), the memory of whom we will treasure forever.
The anniversary of the Victory is also a good opportunity to pay tribute to the brotherhood-in-arms between our states at that time. Moreover, this year we celebrate a special date in Russian-American relations. 75 years ago – on April 25, 1945 - the USSR and U.S. troops met at the Elbe river near the German city of Torgau. This event became one of the highest points in the allied relations of the anti-Hitler coalition.
The meeting was held in the spirit of friendship and fraternity.
A photograph captured the handshake of Red Army lieutenant Alexander Silvashko and U.S. Army second lieutenant William Robertson became world-famous. Many Soviet soldiers and officers received American military awards. For example, Lieutenant Colonel of the 28th Guards Cavalry Regiment Movlid Visaitov, one of the first Red Army officers to meet with American soldiers, was later introduced by U.S. President Harry S.Truman to the Legion of Merit order. On the occasion of the meeting on the Elbe, the sky over Moscow lit up with a festive salute of 324 guns.
The memory of this landmark event is still alive. For many years, we have been meeting with our American colleagues and veterans of the two Allied armies at the National Arlington Cemetery in the end of April to lay wreaths together at a commemorative plate that represent the "Spirit of the Elbe." The meeting of soldiers of the USSR and the USA at this German river was also immortalized at the World War II Memorial in Washington.
Today, 75 years after, it is regrettable to see the attempts to glorify Nazis and their accomplices in several countries. The desire to put place Nazi regime on the same footing as and the Soviet Union causes sincere confusion and resentment. Persistent attempts to equate aggressors and liberators is a crime against historical objectivity. To equate those who unleashed the Holocaust, and those who put an end to the genocide of entire nations. Such a rewriting of history for biased political purposes defiles the immortal feat of all who fought against the hateful Hitler machine.
Our common sacred duty is to preserve the memory of the great and tragic events of that time. We must remember the millions of heroes of the Great Generation, who - often at the cost of their lives - were able to stop and defeat Nazism, defending freedom for future generations.
The traditions of partnership between our countries forged in battles, are a clear testimony that only by joining our efforts can we cope with the global challenges and threats humanity is facing today. Russia and the United States, being the two largest nuclear powers and members of the UN Security Council, have a special responsibility for maintaining international stability and security.
Since there is a lack of mutual trust in our relations at the current stage, we could and should appeal to those who had the wisdom and courage to ignore their disagreements for a great purpose. The living hosts of the Spirit of the Elbe — Soviet and American veterans of World War II — are still allies, as they were back in 1945. Their meeting at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory in Moscow should inspire the modern generation of Russians and Americans to overcome existing problems for the interests of the entire world. Such a meeting is already being prepared and will certainly take place when the new worldwide “plague” retreats. This misfortune, by the way, has already demonstrated our mutual readiness to help each other, as in the times of the Lend-Lease.
We are glad that together with the veterans the representatives of President Donald Trump, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces Mark Milley, will come to the celebrations.
It is time for a new Meeting on the Elbe.
Dear friends and veterans!
This year marks a very significant anniversary — that of 75 years since the victory over Nazism — one that halted the merciless destruction machine, set on wiping out entire nations. The Soviet people did not only defend their Homeland, they managed to prevent the enslavement of a great number of European nations. The Red Army also put a stop to the Holocaust, liberating hundreds of thousands of prisoners from death camps.
However, victory came at a high cost. More than 27 million Soviet citizens fell victim to Nazi aggression. Their memory is sacred to us. Every year we witness the continuing growth of the ‘Immortal Regiment’ initiative, as, on May 9, the descendants of Red Army soldiers from across the world take to the streets to march with photographs of their heroes.
We are delighted to see that this new tradition has also found a home in the United States, with Americans joining the ranks. Soviet veterans residing in the U.S. are invited to attend a series of events, and to accept, with our utmost gratitude, their awards for the ‘75th Year Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945’.
In what was a fateful period for all of humanity, the USSR and the United States fought the aggressor shoulder to shoulder. In honor of this, commemorative ceremonies are being held across the U.S. with the participation of Russian diplomats and local communities in every corner of the country, at the Soviet pilots’ graves in Anchorage, the Navy statue in Seattle, the Allied pilot monument in Fairbanks, in Elizabeth-City on Project Zebra Day on January 11, the WWII Memorial in Washington DC, on Remembrance Day and the Day of the Unknown Soldier.
Every year on April 25, the historical day of the meeting of the Allies at the Elbe River in 1945, the Arlington Cemetery is visited by embassy delegates from CIS countries, together with U.S. politicians and Soviet and American war veterans, to participate in a ceremonial wreath-laying at the ‘Spirit of the Elbe’ marker.
We profoundly honor the memory of our allies — American, British and French. This year we will immortalize the memory of Hero of the Soviet Union, French pilot Marcel Albert, who flew for the legendary Normandie-Niemen air regiment. After the war, he settled in America. A bronze bust by Russian sculptor Mikhail Serdyukov is being planned at the site of Mr. Albert’s final resting place in Chipley, Florida. Support for the project is being graciously provided by the French Embassy and the local Russian community.
The Great Patriotic War has been commemorated in every art-form. This publication serves as a great source of information on the subject, including on internationally-renowned Soviet films dealing with the war — many of which have been screened for young American audiences by the Russian Embassy. Thanks to cooperation with the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History we have been able to organize Washington DC screenings of many wonderful modern Russian works as well, such as ‘Sobibor’.
Lovingly cherishing the memory of an immortal act of heroism by the greatest generation of victors is our common duty. We must work together to defend veterans’ honor, as well as historical truth, and to fight an increasing number of attempts to skew information pertaining to those years. It is wonderful that many of those heroes are alive to this day. Russia Beyond has decided to include them in a special issue to hear their stories, as well as to address future generations.