I must say that in my opinion, this is event that was organized by the French President Jacques Chirac is very correct and timely. I see it in the context of preparation for events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Second World War as a whole.
As you know, international cooperation in the war on fascism and Nazism began a long time before the Second World War. Essentially, the anti-fascist forces began to unite in the war on fascism immediately after Hitler came to power in Germany. And our first allies in this war were German anti-fascists. As the conflict intensified, as the threat increased, and particularly after the Second World War began, this anti-fascist coalition was also consolidated.
And, of course, the second front in the wider sense of this word began a long time before it was formally opened, as deliveries of weapons, food and other aid to the Soviet Union from the allies, from the U.S.A., were significant. And while the war was going on, everyone understood what the Soviet Union’s efforts meant and what the allies’ aid meant.
Later, during the Cold War, the West suppressed the role and importance of the Soviet Union in the war on Nazism for ideological and political reasons, and we suppressed the role and importance of the second front and the resistance that went in the home front of Hitler’s troops on the occupied territories of Western Europe.
The Cold War is over. And now, I am absolutely convinced, the time has come to look objectively at the events of 60 years ago. We all know well, and everyone here knows well, that on the Western front, or as they say the second front, around 1.5 million allied troops and about 560,000 German troops were concentrated. But on the Eastern front, about 4.5 million German troops and 6.5 million Soviet troops fought. Here the allies had 11,000 planes, while the Germans had only 160 planes. Do you see the difference?
Therefore, the importance of the victory over fascism, the importance of the Soviet Union in this victory, cannot be disputed. Of course, some pseudo-researchers, and strangely enough even in our country – out of inertia, I assume – still attempt to cast doubt on the importance of the Soviet Union’s contribution to the war on fascism. I think that this will soon be forgotten. Especially as our partners, our allies during the Second World War, talk about this openly and freely. You probably heard today how persuasively the French President Jacques Chirac talked about this. I must say that in a private conversation, the U.S. President told me directly: ”If it hadn’t been for Russia, none of this would have happened“. This is the most understandable, simple, honest, open and objective assessment of the events of the Second World War. But we also must not, and will not, disparage the role and the significance of our allies in the war on fascism.
The opening of the second front was awaited impatiently in the Soviet Union. It was an enormous event for our country and for the entire world, and event which of course brought victory in the Second World War closer. I think that today is the right time to remember this, bearing in mind that the world faces new threats, threats that are quite serious. One of them, as we know, is international terrorism, a war which also requires unified efforts.
I repeat: our veterans, who fought side by side, shoulder to shoulder with Nazism, including here, in France, give us a very good example. We will try to follow this example, working consistently and persistently with our partners to neutralize the threats that I have just mentioned.