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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
I am very pleased to see you in Moscow. Thank you for agreeing to make this visit.
Just recently, the two of us attended in Israel the unveiling of a monument to the Red Army, which made enormous sacrifices for our shared victory over Nazism.
Today you are taking part in the opening of the Russian Jewish Museum of Tolerance and memorial centre. This is our shared contribution to the fight against xenophobia and nationalism. I am confident that this centre will be visited not only by the Russian Jews, but also by representatives of all faiths and ethnic groups in Russia.
The Soviet Union and Russia suffered huge casualties during World War II, more than any other nation. We will never forget the sacrifices of the Jewish people in the fight against Nazism and we will never forget the Holocaust.
Mr President, I am very pleased that the relations between our countries are growing stronger and more positive. There are a number of very promising areas in our cooperation: energy, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and space exploration (we have already launched seven Israeli satellites).
I remember our detailed conversation on international issues during my visit to Israel. I am very happy to meet with you again and discuss all these matters.
Welcome back! Shalom!
President of Israel Shimon Peres (retranslated): Mr President, I would like to sincerely thank you for your kind words and for your warm attitude to the Jewish people and to Israel.
I attended the opening of the museum and would like to say first of all that it is a work of art and architecture built at the highest, truly historical, level. I am aware of your personal contribution to this cause. It was a good, right and highly necessary step because this museum is unique in the world. It tells two dramatic stories and reflects our understanding of tolerance.
I also want to express my gratitude to you and your country for providing a home for the Jewish people over the past thousand years. It is thanks to Russia that our nation has a future as well as a past. I note with gratitude once again that the Soviet Union and Russia delivered a decisive blow to the deranged force that was Hitler.
It is easy to talk about victories but the Russian people lost 30 million lives, an unprecedented loss in the world. Any decent honest person should feel a sense of gratitude towards Russia. Any decent honest person should salute the Red Army, which showed unprecedented courage in very difficult circumstances. There is a chain of historical events, but the feat of the Red Army is a unique event in world history.
I came here to thank you. I also hope and I am sure that Russia will never turn a blind eye to racism and hatred. I am convinced that Russia has a great future. I also said in my speech at the museum today that those who deny the Holocaust create the opportunity for its repetition.
You and President Obama, who was re-elected yesterday, carry a heavy burden of responsibility. You may disagree at times but there is a higher responsibility for the fate of humanity.
I would like to note that there are two ways in which our relations today are different from the past. The relations between Russia and Israel used to be based on diplomacy and economy, and today were have added science and culture.
Any museum is a cultural statement, a declaration. There is Russian culture in the Jewish ocean, and there is also a Jewish contribution to the Russian culture. As for science, I felt in our conversation in Israel that you have great respect for this subject. Science is our future.
Mr President, I want to sincerely thank you for the warm welcome. Here I feel at home, where I also hear Russian songs.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.