President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, welcome to you all.
We will have to begin with tragic events.
As you know, Head of the Emergencies Ministry Yevgeny Zinichev passed away yesterday. The Ministry itself has been created and exists in order to help people, to save them, and Mr Zinichev had performed his duty through and through: he died trying to save the life of another person.
Apart from that, another tragedy happened yesterday, in the Moscow Region, a gas explosion that took toll of several lives and injured many others.
I ask you to hold a moment of silence in memory of all our citizens, who have left this life.
(A minute of silence.)
Let us get down to work.
This year is marked by a number of memorable dates that are of importance to Russia and our entire society. In particular, there is the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the tragic events of its first and most difficult stage.
Another date is the beginning of the siege of Leningrad on September 8, 1941, when the enemy closed the circle around the city, but it never succeeded in overpowering the courage of its defenders, the spirit of the Leningraders.
The war-related signature dates are also part of our personal, family history, which largely determines the Russian people’s reverential, sacred attitude to the heroes and the chronicle of the Great Patriotic War as well as our adamant determination to defend the honour and memory of those who fought against Nazism.
The important thing is that we pass on the truth about their feat of valour and our Great Victory, from generation to generation. We also remember the lessons of the Second World War and will never allow the vindication and whitewashing of the criminals, and their monstrous plans that threatened the whole of mankind.
A case in point is the recent International Scientific and Practical Forum dedicated to the 1949 Khabarovsk War Crime Trials. The forum results will be presented later in the day by Prosecutor General of Russia Igor Krasnov.
It was the Soviet investigators who collected irrefutable evidence that exposed the Japanese militarists as guilty of crimes against humanity, of preparing a bacteriological war. These heinous plans were never destined to come to fruition: In the summer of 1945, when Europe was returning to peaceful life, the Soviet forces routed the Kwantung Army and put an end to World War II.
I will repeat that we will never allow anyone to forget, not to mention, belie the unprecedented, mass heroism of our predecessors – in both the battlefields and on the home front where Victory was also forged.
It is hard to comprehend the importance of the exploits of the home front up to this day. In the flames of the outbreak of war, people evacuated vital factories and plants for thousands of kilometres inside the country and then redeployed and reoriented them in a short span of time. They mastered the production of the latest weapons, ammunition and equipment and put them on the assembly line, increasing many times over the mining of minerals and the supplies of strategic resources and raw materials.
The scale of production at that time is stunning even now, in peacetime. It is impossible to imagine what human efforts it took to do all this, particularly during those most difficult war years.
We have instituted an honorary title in Russia, The City of Labour Valour, as a sign of the deepest respect and admiration for those who worked in plants and factories, hospitals and research laboratories without rest and sleep, disregarding all privations and sometimes sacrificing their lives. We have done this to reaffirm our respect for these people.
This title has already been conferred on 32 Russian cities. Today, we will review new applications from the regions for it. Head of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Alexander Sergeyev will present the conclusions of historians and other researchers.
I would also like to note that in 2020 the United Russia party supported the initiative to award a special status to the home front cities that distinguished themselves during the war. The party is actively developing this initiative, collecting materials for its promotion and conducting nationwide voting. First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Secretary of the United Russia General Council Andrei Turchak will tell us about the results of this work.
Today, the Pobeda (Victory) Organising Committee will decide which cities and towns will receive new steles with the City of Labour Valour title. I would like to suggest right away that United Russia assume an obligation, a mission – to put in order all memorials and monuments in those cities and town, linked with the exploits in the battlefields and home front, hold discussions with local residents and launch educational programmes for the younger generation so that they know how much their home city and their family did for the Great Victory.
Let us get down to work.
Vladimir Putin: Allow me to sum up the results and to name the cities that will receive the honorary title, City of Labour Valour, as per the decision of our Organising Committee. The relevant Executive Order will be signed in the near future.
So, I have the pleasure of congratulating you on conferring this honorary title on 12 Russian cities, including major industrial centres and even small towns that have played no less a role in the history of this country and in the history of the Great Victory.
The list includes the city of Okha in the north of Sakhalin. In 1942, its residents accomplished the seemingly impossible and laid an oil pipeline to the mainland USSR via the Tatar Strait. Okha provided the fighting Motherland with three million tonnes of “black gold.”
Stupino near Moscow can be rightfully proud of its fellow residents who manufactured over 27,000 aircraft propellers and 7,000 tonnes of aluminum sheet for the aircraft industry during the war.
Kostroma provided the Navy with 120 minesweepers and supplied countless kilometres of textiles to military units.
The city of Lysva in the Perm Territory supplied the Red Army’s frontline units with personal protective equipment. We have already discussed this here today. For example, Lysva supplied over ten million soldier’s helmets alone.
Syzran in the Volga region collected 25,000 pieces of warm clothing for soldiers and delivered them to the front. Its residents also manufactured 41 million artillery shells.
Residents of Monchegorsk located beyond the Polar Circle provided Red Army soldiers with almost 55,000 overcoats and 145,000 pairs of valenki (felt boots). They virtually gave away everything they had. The staff of a local combine expanded production of much-needed nickel three times over.
Vorkuta residents managed to boost production many times over. Ten new mines were opened here during the war, and over 6.5 million tonnes of coal were produced.
The legendary city of Aldan is also famous for its record-breaking labour exploits. Yakutia accounted for 33 percent of Soviet gold output and for 80 percent of the country’s mica production.
Work near the front called for special courage. As has already been noted here today, the enemy dropped over 3,000 bombs on Bologoye, a vital railway hub. Railway workers of the Tver Region rebuilt the damaged city and the tracks all on their own, and they tried hard to supply the army without interruption.
Chita accommodated specialists and scientists who had been evacuated from various Soviet cities. The Institute of Epidemiology, Microbiology and Hygiene was opened there in August of 1941, and production of highly important medications was launched a year later. Everything was delivered to the front.
Enterprises in Dzerzhinsk in the Nizhny Novgorod Region gained fame through their history-making discoveries, technologies and innovative approaches. One of them is a major company affiliated with the Russian chemical sector.
And, of course, Kemerovo, the capital of Kuzbass, expanded production many times over during the war and now ranks among the country’s industrial centres.
Virtually every family and community in this country made their contribution to the Great Victory. We will therefore, of course, expand the list of Cities of Labour Valour.
I would like to once again congratulate the residents of cities that have already received this honorary title. Friends, I would like to wish you every success and all the best.