Vladimir Putin: Comrades, veterans,
I am happy to be with you at this gala event in the Kremlin. I would like to congratulate the veterans, military personnel and civilian employees of the Armed Forces as well as all Russian citizens on Defender of the Fatherland Day.
This holiday has been marked for decades with great enthusiasm by the entire nation and serves as a symbol of deep respect for the people who served in the Armed Forces or chose a challenging military profession, those who reliably safeguard the sovereignty of the Motherland, ensure peace for our citizens, and as Mikhail Kutuzov said, those who have no greater honour than wearing the Russian military uniform.
Our soldiers served the Fatherland faithfully and loyally at all times, and sacrificed themselves to protect their native land, while our people took pride in their persistence, courage and strength of spirit, and honoured the feats of the glorified commanders, officers and soldiers who stood behind truly great, legendary victories.
Many of those combat triumphs had truly pivotal significance not only for our Motherland but also for other countries and continents, for world history in general. The Victory in the Great Patriotic War was such a momentous, outstanding event, the 75th anniversary of which we will celebrate on May 9.
On that sacred and joyful holiday, we will pay tribute to the memory of the fallen heroes, and we will honour our merited veterans whom we justly call the generation of victors. Our warriors not only pushed the aggressors out of our land in difficult bloody battles but also completed a noble liberating mission with honour and helped liberate other countries from the invaders, the Nazis and their proxies.
It is our duty to always remember the price we paid for that victory, and we will never let anyone erase that heroic page from our history. We will expose any attempts to distort history and to bury in oblivion the spirit of allied relations and brotherhood in arms.
I am confident that the strength, bravery and splendour of the Great Patriotic War heroes will serve for the current and future generations of defenders of Russia as a worthy example of love for the Motherland, of loyalty to their oath and military duty.
Today, Russia’s security is in good hands. Our officers and soldiers persevere in consistent combat training, improving their military skills during strategic drills and exercises, battle marches and long campaigns.
They confidently showed high professionalism, combat capability, strength of spirit and the best qualities of the Russian military during the operation in the Syrian Arab Republic, destroyed large, well-equipped terrorist groups, thwarted big threats to our Motherland far from its borders, and helped Syrians to preserve the sovereignty of their country. On this day, I would like to thank all the participants of combat activities in Syria for their service.
We will keep striving to make our Army and Navy ever more modern, which means enhancing the capabilities of the strategic forces and sending cutting-edge weaponry and equipment to all services and branches of the Armed Forces, including lasers, hypersonic and high precision systems.
Many of our weapons, as I have already said, are unrivalled throughout the world, whereas a number of promising samples, which are, in fact, weapons of the future, have already passed from the testing stage to combat duty. This means, as I have already said, that the defence capabilities and security of Russia have been reliably ensured for the long term.
And, of course, the courageous soldiers and sergeants, and I will specially stress, our officers, the officer corps of our country, loyal to the Fatherland, true patriots, have always been and remain the main and most robust foundation of our Armed Forces. The duty of all commanders at any level is not only to master the military art but also to educate and bring up their subordinates, to be an all-around role model for them. It is no accident that they always used to say, “the officer will teach it, the soldier will do it.”
I would like to underscore that the state greatly values military professionals, and we will continue providing proper living and service conditions for them. This work will definitely continue.
Let me congratulate you again on Defender of the Fatherland Day. I would like to extend my best wishes to your loved ones, those who are waiting for you and love you, who keep the warmth of your home. They are all rightly entitled to share the joys of this holiday with you.
I am confident that the Russian Army and Navy will always stand guard of the Motherland’s interests and will suitably resolve all the tasks set before them.
I wish you good health and new achievements in your service.
Thank you. Happy holiday!