Mr Putin attended the official reception held to mark the 75th anniversary of victory in the Battle of Khalkin Gol, and together with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj laid a wreath at the monument to Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov, who commanded the group of Soviet forces that defeated the Japanese army.
The two presidents then visited the Georgy Zhukov house museum, which is located next to the monument.
Speech at official reception
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
We are here today to pay tribute to the Soviet and Mongolian soldiers who achieved a major historic victory at the river Khalkin-Gol. Their feats will forever remain in our peoples’ memories.
Seventy-five years ago, Soviet and Mongolian troops selflessly blocked the invaders’ way forward. The unconditional victory at Khalkin-Gol had tremendous military and political significance. It pushed back militarist Japan’s entry into World War II by nearly two-and-a-half years and gave great moral support to the peoples of China and Korea in their struggle against the aggressors.
”Seventy-five years ago, Soviet and Mongolian troops selflessly blocked the invaders’ way forward. The victory at Khalkin-Gol became a symbol of military comradeship and solidarity.“
President Elbegdorj is absolutely right: even during what were the Soviet Union’s most difficult moments in the Great Patriotic War, Japan, Nazi Germany’s ally at the time, did not attack the Soviet Union, thus making it possible to redeploy troops from the Far East and Siberia to the west at the end of 1941, which played a decisive part in the battle for Moscow.
In this context, let me cite a telling quote from one of the Imperial Japanese Army’s senior officials. He said, “We got our basic military training at Khasan, our intermediate training at Khalkin-Gol, and we are in no hurry to receive our advanced training.”
Khalkin-Gol was in many ways a rehearsal for the big battles of the Great Patriotic War. Here we put to the test the most advanced weapons of the moment, soldiers and officers toughened themselves up on the battlefield, and their commanders gained invaluable experience.
It was in Mongolia that the military talents of one of the great commanders of World War II, Georgy Zhukov, really became apparent. President Elbegdorj also spoke about this. Today, we will visit the museum that bears the marshal’s name and lay flowers at the monument to him.
”It is our common duty to preserve the shining memory of these heroes who risked and gave their lives to fight for freedom and independence and defeated militarism and fascism.“
Next year, we will celebrate another important date – the 70th anniversary of Victory. May 9 is a sacred date for Russia’s people. Our country remembers well and values highly the help that Mongolia provided during the Great Patriotic War, which the President also mentioned just now. Mongolia’s people gathered the resources needed to build the Revolutionary Mongolia tank regiment, the Mongolian Arat air squadron, and sent to the distant front an enormous number of horses and also warm clothing and produce. During the Great Patriotic War’s first year, in the winter of 1941–1942, this was extremely important and it would be no exaggeration to say that it was of strategic significance.
Later, we fought shoulder to shoulder in Manchuria and the Greater Khingan range, defeated the Kwantung Army and together wrote the final victorious page in World War II.
These heroic events that determined the fate of not just our countries but the entire world are ever further from us in time. It is our common duty to preserve the shining memory of these heroes who risked and gave their lives to fight for freedom and independence and defeated militarism and fascism.
The victory at Khalkin-Gol became a symbol of military comradeship and solidarity. Mr Elbegdorj cited one of the many Mongolian proverbs. Let me cite another. In Mongolia, people say that a roof pole is the support for a yurt, and a friend is the support in life. I am sure that as we continue developing our wide-ranging strategic partnership, we will build on and multiply the glorious traditions of friendship between the Russian and Mongolian peoples and will work closely with each other.
Thank you for your attention.