DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Dear veterans, our foreign guests, friends, colleagues,
I congratulate you all from the bottom of my heart on this great and sacred occasion, Victory Day, when we celebrate this victory that, 65 years ago, brought to a triumphant and just end the bloodiest war in the twentieth century. Today we are gathered together once more to pay tribute to those who defeated the Nazis on their home soil, brought freedom to the peoples of Europe and gave the world decades of peace. We will never forget this unprecedented feat, and we will never forget the harsh lessons that this war taught all of humankind.
This great victory teaches us to cherish peace. The war showed us the terrifying abyss to which ambitions of world domination lead, and the great dangers that lie in attempting to use force to put pressure on free peoples and sovereign states. We today have a duty not to let these events repeat, not to allow such global conflicts to happen again. We have a duty to do our utmost to make the only possible choice in relations between the world’s countries that of acting in a spirit of goodwill, cooperation and good-neighbourliness.
If there are no countries in conflict with each other there will be no causes for war upon our planet.
We bow our heads before the heroism of the soldiers who won us our freedom back in 1945, and before those who spared no effort as they toiled in the rear, helping to bring that joyful victorious spring closer. This victory was the true work of our peoples and was achieved at the cost of immeasurable sacrifice. The joy and celebration of this holiday will therefore always be mingled with grief and sadness for those who did not live to see these shining moments. Millions of brave and resolute people lost their lives on the battlefields, in the enemy’s rear lines, and on their native soil.
Dear friends, 65 years have passed now, but the Eternal Flame continues to burn in Russian cities as a symbol of our lives and our memory of this historic past. With each passing year the number of such monuments is growing, not decreasing, and this is especially good to see.
The memory of these wartime feats still burns bright in many countries. Over these last months I have visited a number of countries, whose leaders are here with us today, and I have seen how much care and attention they give the soldiers’ graves there, and how they collect and look after wartime memories. I think this is exceptionally important for the future, and I think too that it is one of the main results of the war. The result of the war was the vaccination against Nazism that we all received at Nuremberg, and also the establishment of international organisations to guarantee our world’s peace and security.
The fact that Russian troops were joined today in the victory parade by troops from the CIS countries and our allies in the anti-Nazi coalition is clear evidence of our solidarity and understanding that universal human values are more important than ever for our world’s development today. It was through suffering and hardship that we learned the importance of these values, and we clearly need to do everything possible to preserve them. The victory of 1945 is our common victory, the victory of good over evil, of justice over lawlessness.
Dear veterans, your lives are an example and moral support for all generations to follow. You have given the best of what a human being can possibly do on this Earth – giving us peace, life, a free country, a free Motherland. Thank you very much for this.
We love you.
Allow me to propose a toast:
To peace on our Earth! To our veterans’ good health! To this Great Victory!