President Vladimir Putin: Good afternon, dear friends,
Our meeting will be short, but it is very important for me. I want to congratulate you on our common national holiday – the 60th anniversary of Victory over Nazism and the end of the Second World War is approaching.
There is no need for me to talk about the role played by the peoples of the Soviet Union and the people who, in the course of years, came here, to the land of Israel, in putting an end to fascism in Europe and in the world as a whole.
Unfortunately, it must be said that the roots of Nazism and chauvinism are deep, and that a great deal needs to be done to eradicate them.
At the same time, I would like to say that if it had not been for your decisive contribution to fighting Nazism, it is uncertain what course world history would have taken.
I am very happy to note that here, in Israel, there are around 20,000 veterans of the Great Patriotic War. And judging from the large number of awards on your chests, it is clear that you are extraordinary people who did a great deal and made an enormous contribution to destroying fascism, and fought on the fronts.
Among the 20,000 Soviet veterans living in Israel, there are also people who worked in the underground, in partisan divisions. There are also people who were in concentration camps and were able to survive.
The Israeli President and I were in Poland for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This is also a great event, and to a large degree it was organised on the initiative of Russian Jewish organisations.
I also visited the Memorial complex Yad Vashem. I saw what is being done in Israel to preserve the memory of victims of the war.
Of course, we are all well aware of the horrors of the Second World War. But still, when you see this gathered in one place – and when it is put together emotionally – you cannot look at it without tears. I think that this is quite right.
In both Russia and in Israel, everything is being done to preserve the memory of those who died at the hands of the Nazis, and those who fought Nazism.
I would like to assure you that we in Russia will carry out this policy, and in the sense the peoples of Israel and the peoples of Russia suffered the biggest losses.
I would like to congratulate you once more on the anniversary celebrations. I wish you the very best, and good health, and good spirits before the holiday.