Among other things, the participants discussed ways to support veterans, to promote the fallen war heroes search units’ activities and to implement the project Beyond the Statute of Limitations, as well as to conduct military memorial activities, in particular, the construction of the Soviet Soldier Memorial in Rzhev.
The Pobeda Organising Committee includes senior officials from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government, the Federation Council, the State Duma, federal executive bodies, and presidential envoys to federal districts and representatives of a number of public organisations.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory in World War II, the Great Patriotic War, and will be held in Russia as the Year of Remembrance and Glory. We need to join our efforts to fill it with heartfelt, expressive and memorable content, and preclude any chance of adopting a perfunctory or formal approach to organising events wherever they may take place, in a major city or a small rural town. There are heroes of the Great Patriotic War – front-line soldiers and home front workers – everywhere. They must receive the highest and most cordial attention and care. Heads of regions, and even more so, heads of municipalities must be aware of the needs of each veteran and respond to their requests quickly and in full.
Particular attention should be paid to preserving the memory of the Great Patriotic War and its heroes. I am talking about updating museum displays and holding special exhibitions, events and scientific and practical conferences, including systematic introduction of archival documents into scientific circulation, so that they are accessible to the public, including the use of modern digital technology and online platforms.
Local authorities must constantly control issues related to the maintenance of military memorials. Strict compliance with the standards of inspecting and registering newly found common graves envisaged by law must also be a priority.
It is also important to actively support corresponding public initiatives, cooperate with search parties, volunteers, local historians and enthusiasts, those who are interested in this and invest their heart, time and years of their lives – everyone who educates young people with their actions rather than just words and helps teenagers and children take in such values as love for their Fatherland and understanding what Fatherland means for people and citizens and why it must be cared for. This is a truly educational mission based on personal example, sincere actions and important results that are clear to everyone.
This must be considered in the development of the new programme, Patriotic Education of the Citizens of the Russian Federation. The current programme expires in 2020, and I am asking the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Ministry of Culture, and other concerned agencies and specialised public organisations to not work too long on the new document.
A well thought out, and importantly, honest patriotic agenda in accordance with the views of today’s youth must strengthen in the generations to come the basic values tested by life itself and reflect our traditions and national identity as well as the entire history of Russia with its trials and triumphs.
The Great Patriotic War, of course, plays a special role in this. It has left a deep trace in the lives of the peoples of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation and is inseparable from the history of every Russian family. This is the foundation of what we have done and will do; I mean protection of the historic truth and the names of our heroes.
Attempts to distort this historical truth never stop. In addition to distortions by the heirs of Nazi accomplices, now this has been happening at some respectable international institutions and European agencies.
You know that the European Parliament’s recent resolution virtually equated Nazi aggressors with the Soviet Union. They just about blame the USSR, along with Nazi Germany, for unleashing the Second World War. As if they had forgotten who attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.
And anyone who tries to argue with such unfounded and brazen lies are in advance accused of an “information war against a democratic Europe”, this is a quote.
Our answer to these lies is the truth. We will continue to speak about events and facts of the Great Patriotic War and to disclose and publish full archival materials. It seems that some of our opponents either cannot read or write, or they do not have eyes, and they pretend to know nothing.
But we will speak about this, including the victories and defeats of the Red Army, the tragic fate of our war prisoners, the courage of the underground and the shame of the collaborators, the Holocaust tragedy and crimes against civilians, and the atrocities of the nationalists who were Hitler’s minions.
I am convinced that there are no, and cannot be any, “unprofitable” or “inconvenient” pages in history. This is necessary in the aggregate, as a single whole, both for us and for our future generations, which is especially important, without any embellishment or distortion.
Memory and pride should unite us, make us stronger, help young people fully realise their engagement with the Motherland, the great deeds of their ancestors, and responsibility for the future of Russia. This is what should become the main spiritual meaning of the Year of Memory and Glory. And the main activity, I repeat, should be real and targeted support, concern for veterans.
Let us discuss all of this.