President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades,
Dear paratrooper family members,
We have gathered today to honour the memory and bow to the heroic deeds of the paratroopers of the legendary 6th Company.
Twenty years have passed since those tragic and heroic events in the Argun Gorge but the valour of the soldiers and officers engaged in combat with militants who greatly outnumbered them will remain forever in the chronicles of military glory of our Fatherland.
Our country was going through very hard times back then – destructive domestic political confrontations, the collapse of the previous economic system and social sphere, the impoverishment of millions of people.
And, as is always the case, our weakness was used by external actors and forces. Russia had to fend off cruel attacks of international terrorism in the North Caucasus.
Without exaggeration, Russia’s destiny, the preservation of its integrity, the establishment of its citizens’ security were at stake. And the 6th Company soldiers stood to the last man defending their Motherland.
The young men came to serve in the Pskov Air Assault Division from different regions of the country, many of whom answered the call of their hearts and chose this military branch consciously. There is no other way for paratroopers: from the very first days of their service they must show willpower, bravery, stamina and be ready to risk and face the most difficult situations.
The soldiers of the 6th Company in the Argun Gorge faced exactly these challenges. They performed their combat duty with honour, rebuffing an enemy who had chosen to wage a criminal war against Russia.
We know that it was a fierce and unequal battle. The militants greatly outnumbered the personnel of the 6th Company. But they did not withdraw. All the soldiers sacrificed themselves and fought to the end, showing true heroism and courage.
Such valour and self-sacrifice for the sake of the Fatherland always was, is and will exemplify the true values of Russians, those values most treasured by the Russian people. This generation bridge and link of times will never be broken, and our heroes will always be an example to follow.
The Pskov paratroopers remained loyal to the vows of their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who fought for their Motherland during various periods in Russia’s history. They are worthy successors of the generation that achieved the Great Victory, the 75th anniversary of which we will celebrate very soon.
We will never forget the heroic deeds of the soldiers who fought on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, we will not forget those who perform their duties in hot spots today. We will remember and honour everyone – I want to stress this – everyone who defended Russia in the fight against international terrorism. Unfortunately, there were many such heroes in that period – a transitional, complicated period of our history – many. The 6th Company is among them. Young men, practically boys, but how they showed their true grit! Courage, heroism and loyalty to their oath.
You know, I often think about them, remember them. They were very young men who had only recently joined the army. And the country did not have a surge of patriotism that it once had, say, during the Great Patriotic War. And they were ushered straight into the fire! Amazing… They showed what a Russian soldier is capable of. All this, of course, we know from history but it is also rooted in the family.
I now address the family members of our heroes: we bow down before their parents and families! Glory to those officers who raised these soldiers and glory to their commanders, who were and forever remained by the side of their soldiers!
Eternal glory and eternal memory to the immortal 6th Company!