President Vladimir Putin:
I greet the veterans of the Great Patriotic War!
You have defended our right to be citizens of a free country. I thank you for your labours in peace and war, for your courage and endurance and for being here beside us today.
Every year we honour your victorious generation with emotion in our hearts. It is our sacred duty to cherish and care for those who fought and those who toiled on the home front during those terrible times of war.
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We know only too well the price of victory and we remember the millions who lost their lives, the millions who were maimed and also the millions who were not born after that terrible war. We remember the devastated cities, the burned villages and the destruction of our national cultural treasures. We remember everything we lost during those days.
May 9 is truly a time of celebration with “tears in our eyes”. It is a celebration in which grandeur and sorrow, national pride and national memory, the bright glint of medals and the tears of veterans are forever bound together.
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We did not give in back then in 1945. Our people showed such unity and strength of will that we roused the entire world to join the struggle against fascism. We do not have the right to lose this spirit and to betray our victories that we all consider sacred. Today, as during the war years, the red banner of our Armed Forces flies proud once again.
Traditions of victory form the spiritual backbone of the Russian Army – an army that is developing, modernising and adapting to new demands.
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We achieved victory in the most just war of the twentieth century, a war of liberation for the sovereignty and independence of our Motherland. We need to remember the lessons of this war. They teach us to look for a balance between strength and reason and they warn us that becoming an accomplice of violence and extremism has immensely tragic consequences. Our entire post-war history teaches us that no country can build a safer world for itself alone, and even more so, cannot build its security to the detriment of others.
Dear citizens of Russia! Victory Day has been our most important celebration, the celebration most cherished by our people and held most dear to our hearts for 56 years now. Not every people can count such a victory among its achievements. To be the inheritors of this victory is not just a great honour but is also a great responsibility.
The heritage of our frontline soldiers flows in our blood today and their feat lives on in our hearts. Their victory and the heritage it represents still serve us today, helping us to overcome difficulties and move forward, calling us to new action and glorious new achievements.
Happy holiday, dear friends, happy Victory Day!. Glory to the soldiers of 1945! Glory to the victorious people! Glory to Russia.