Vladimir Putin: Good Day, dear veterans,
I am very glad to see you all at the Kremlin, especially for such a pleasant occasion. It is a great honour for me to present you, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, with the military awards you have earned.
These orders, these medals have a complicated history. For various reasons you were not able to receive them during the war years. And now, after 60 years and so many events in your lives, you will probably once more remember the war years, your comrades, and your difficult youth spent at war.
The documents of your awards are laconic, in an official style. They do not contain any detailed accounts of what you had to endure and overcome. But these pages of your biography have become a part of the chronicle of the Great Patriotic War. A chronicle full of valour and the strength of spirit of our people.
It is not just personal courage behind them, but an indestructible belief in a just cause, and a priceless contribution to the great Victory over Nazism. It wasn’t won just with weapons, but above all with resilience of spirit and firmness of character.
In three months, our people and all of humankind will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Victory. We know well the enormous cost it meant to our country and your generation.
The memory of these events is absolutely sacred. It continues to nurture the spirit of generations born after the war. It gives a special meaning to our contemporary peaceful life. It makes it possible for us to realise more deeply what true patriotism is. And that the unity of the people and their will to freedom are indestructible.
We will preserve the memory and truth of the Great Patriotic War forever. We will keep it from any attempts at distortion, from any attempts to justify the genocide, inhumanity and barbarism of the criminals.
This is important because you, your generation, saved Russia, suppressed Nazism, and conquered the oppressors that encroached on the independence of our Homeland, on other sovereign nations, on freedom. And we will do everything to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.
We are proud of you and eternally grateful to your achievements. To your selflessness and fearlessness. It is these qualities that helped you to uphold the honour of our Homeland, to save Europe and the world from Nazi enslavement. And in the post-war years, to take real actions to raise the country from the ruins and give it the chance to be a great power.
I congratulate you from my heart on today’s celebration.
I wish you good spirits, optimism, and of course health.