The President said, in particular, in his message:
“Your conference, which has brought together prominent politicians, scholars, and public figures, is devoted to an important historical date – the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. This global conflict was a tragedy for all of humanity, took millions of lives, radically changed the European continent’s political map, and caused immense economic losses.
World War I was a big milestone in Russia’s life. Our soldiers covered themselves in glory, and at the same time it was a national disaster: more than 3 million of our people were killed on the battlefields during 1914–1918. This difficult period also intensified the contradictions that eventually brought our country to revolutionary upheaval and a civil war that set brother against brother.
Russia will always honour the memory of the soldiers and officers who fought for their Fatherland. Since last year, we mark August 1 as the Day of Memory of Russian soldiers killed in World War I. We will continue our efforts to restore historical justice by immortalising the military victories achieved and the heroic role our compatriots played as they fought on the frontlines and laboured on the home front, performing their duties with honour.
We must remember this tragedy and use it to learn true lessons from the past. We need to make an objective assessment of the events of those years and not allow distortion or bias in their portrayal.
I am sure that this conference’s work can contribute to this important objective and will help to develop common European humanitarian cooperation.”