Vladimir Putin: Good evening.
Tomorrow we will mark the most popular and brightest of our holidays – Victory Day.
It will be marked in every Russian home and every Russian family because practically every Russian family knows about the war not only from hearsay, or from books and films. Almost every Russian family has had loved ones, relatives and friends who were victims of the war. The war of 1941–1945 had affected every family in Russia and in the former Soviet Union. It was a battle that was unbelievably hard and heroic. We did not just end the war, we liberated the world from fascism.
Victory Day is a day of joy, but also of grief; grief for those who gave their lives for freedom, who gave their lives for the sake of all of us who live today.
It is the sacred duty of every Russian citizen to preserve the memory of that great feat, to honour it as a story of valour, patriotism and fortitude.
That war had many great battles and heroic assaults and heroic engagements.
Here in the Tula area, the Nazis’ plan to outflank Moscow from the south was disrupted. The enemy was beaten back. But the war would still go on for a long time. The people of Tula worked with dedication on the home front, supporting the fighters on the frontline with their words and actions. We recalled that at the meeting with veterans today. They worked in the factories and hospitals. Women, elderly people and teenagers operated machines.
Many of those present here were children during the war. You dug trenches, bravely fought in the militia battalions and partisan units. You have your own experience of that war and your own memories of it. It is important that your children and grandchildren know about it and pass on those memories to the next generation.
In those grim years, our people defended their history and their culture. Today and tomorrow songs about the Great Patriotic War will be sung. They appeal to the very depth of the human soul. I don’t think such songs could have been written on commission. The poets and composers wrote them from their hearts.
On Victory Day we recall the grim times of the war and realise what it means to love our country, to love our land.
Victory Day does not just unite us. We recall how much different generations have to share and we recall that we are all the children of one homeland – Russia.
I congratulate you on this holiday, on Victory Day.