100th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pokryshkin 2013-03-06 16:30:00 Novosibirsk Vladimir Putin took part in the events celebrating 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pokryshkin, a legendary fighter pilot, Marshal of the Soviet Air Force and three times Hero of the Soviet Union. Earlier, the President laid flowers at a monument to legendary pilot. * * * Speech at gala evening celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pokryshkin President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, Today’s celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of three times Hero of the Soviet Union, Air Force Marshal Alexander Pokryshkin. Many regions around Russia are celebrating this anniversary today, but the main events are taking place here in Novosibirsk Region, where he was born and developed his true Siberian character. Present with us today are members of his family, his son, Alexander Pokryshkin, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and also Great Patriotic War veterans. I wish you all a warm welcome. Alexander Pokryshkin was more than just a courageous pilot and invincible fighter in the skies for Russia. He was a true and devoted patriot. We talk a lot about patriotism today, even argue about it. Argue about its meaning and the aspirations and values it should contain. But there are people whose very lives give us clear answers to these questions. Without question Alexander Pokryshkin, who showed us just how much a person can do for his homeland, was one of these people. He had just one goal – to liberate his native land. His talent, brilliance and fame inspired fighters the whole length of the front, spurring them on to new deeds. Thirty of the pilots who went through Pokryshkin’s school became Heroes of the Soviet Union, and three of them were decorated with the title twice. His military history counts only victories and not a single defeat. He made more than 600 combat flights. It was there, in the danger-filled wartime skies that he honed his unique science of victory, and back on the ground he analysed these air combats in every detail and came up with new tactics. Great attention went into every last detail of each of his bold manoeuvres. For young pilots and for his fellow soldiers he was more than a commander – he was a true comrade in arms. Everyone knew that Pokryshkin would never abandon a comrade to his fate. Everyone remembered his words: “My boys mean more to me than shooting down another plane. Together, we’ll down even more of them.” The fighter plane division under his command shot down 1,147 enemy planes and wrote itself into the glorious pages of the Great Patriotic War’s history. Friends, Alexander Pokryshkin was a true genius at air combat. Around the world, aviation history recognises him as a fearless and audacious pilot and outstanding air combat tactician. Determination, talent, dignity and honour shaped his life and made him truly great. People like Alexander Pokryshkin are our country’s treasures. It is very important that we remember him not just at today’s celebrations. It is about people like him, sons of our homeland such as he, that we should make films and write books, republish their own works and memoirs, bring back to life their experience and achievements and make use of it in our work with young people. The memory of Alexander Pokryshkin, this outstanding figure, should be alive and active, and should work as he worked for our country’s sake, and serve as an undying example of burning love for our Motherland. I congratulate you all on this occasion and wish you success.