The veterans invited to the ceremony at the Grand Kremlin Palace included heroes of the Soviet Union, Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory and participants in the Great Patriotic War’s key battles.
The Medal commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War was established by Presidential Executive Order in 2013. It is awarded to participants in battles on the Great Patriotic War’s fronts, members of partisan and underground resistance groups, people working on the home front, former child prisoners of concentration camps and ghettoes, and foreigners who fought in the Red Army’s ranks.
The award ceremony at the Kremlin is the first of a series of similar events that will take place around Russia through to May 9, 2015.
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Speech at a ceremony awarding jubilee medals to Great Patriotic War veterans
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, veterans,
2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War. This is a glorious date that the whole country is celebrating, and today we are holding the first of a series of events to commemorate Victory Day.
Today, in the run-up to another important holiday for our entire country, Defender of the Fatherland Day, we are presenting these medals to people who took part in the Great Patriotic War. This is a great honour for me.
You endured and won, traversed hardships and privation, sacrificed yourselves and gave every last drop of your strength. You saved our homeland and fulfilled the noble liberating mission that the entire world remembers in spite of everything.
We are presenting jubilee medals to commemorate 70 years since our Victory was achieved. It is highly symbolic that this ceremony is taking place here in the Moscow Kremlin’s St George Hall, which is dedicated to the memory of Russia’s military glory.
Dear veterans, your lives and achievements are an inalienable part of this glory. Your names and the names of your comrades at the front are as precious and dear to us as the names that shine in gold upon these walls.
You went into battle in what was a most difficult hour and in the cruellest of wars in the history of humankind and of our country, and you endured and won, traversed hardships and privation, sacrificed yourselves and gave every last drop of your strength. You saved our homeland and fulfilled the noble liberating mission that the entire world remembers in spite of everything.
You went to the frontline at the call of your conscience and fought to the death for every inch of our native soil. After destroying the enemy, you worked just as selflessly, shoulder to shoulder, to rebuild the country and make it a truly great power.
The example that you set of unity, strength of spirit, selfless courage and commitment to working for our homeland’s benefit will always live in our hearts.
It is through the example set by you, the victorious soldiers, that we learn to love and be proud of our country. We learn from your example about friendship and hard work, learn to approach life, work and people as you do – with sincerity, responsibility and honesty.
The moral values you have forged and your sense of civic spirit and involvement do not let you stand aside from our country’s public life.
Many of you are engaged in active patriotic and educational work with young people. It is very important that young people should have this chance to learn the truth about the Great Patriotic War and to hear it directly from you, the people who took part in those events. With your help, they can realise the full depth and extent of the events of those times and judge them correctly, draw the right conclusions, so that never again will the monstrous ideas of Nazism enter people’s heads.
There will always be a place in our memories and hearts for those who carried out this exceptional feat in the name of our homeland, protected it at the cost of their lives and health, and selflessly served the Fatherland.
Dear veterans, your experience and knowledge are an enduring treasure for us and we are grateful that you are so generous with this treasure and that despite the passing years you remain in the ranks of our homeland’s most dedicated defenders.
I bow low before all Great Patriotic War veterans and express the entire Russian nation’s profound gratitude.
Let me wish you good health, prosperity, caring attention from your loved ones, and long life.
Thank you very much.
It was such a pleasure to hear just now these wonderful words from the last of those being decorated today. “Greetings from Leningrad’s Dinamovtsi !” [members of Dinamo sports club], he said. The veterans are still very much in the ranks. You saw how to the point these dialogues were. I said to one of the medal recipients, “I hardly know where to pin the medal,” and he replies, serious as anything, “You’ll find room.”
Yes, we will always find room to pin a medal, a decoration. This is not the main thing. What I really want to say is that there will always be a place in our memories and hearts for those who carried out this exceptional feat in the name of our homeland, protected it at the cost of their lives and health, and selflessly served the Fatherland.
Thank you very much.