President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, dear colleagues and friends,
I am very glad to welcome you all here on Moscow on the eve of Victory Day.
The peoples of our nation made the main, decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazism. This victory was achieved by them through suffering, by innumerable victims, by a joint struggle and effort.
Today, by the joint efforts of CIS member countries, a great deal has been done to give the anniversary of Victory the widest and most objective resonance.
It was on our initiative that the UN General Assembly declared 8–9 May of this year to be Days of reconciliation and memory. It called for nations to unite their efforts in the fight against the ideological successor of Nazism, terrorism, and also against doctrines founded on racism and xenophobia.
I am certain that the CIS is capable of becoming an effective tool in this joint effort.
I think that at this time it will also be beneficial to draw the attention of the international community to the address we passed in Astana in September 2004 regarding the 60th anniversary of Victory.
This document from a position of historical objectivity gives assessments of the nature of the Second World War and the role and contribution of peoples of the former USSR in achieving victory over Nazism.
New generations of our citizens must know the truth about the events of those years. To know this truth means to be immune to propaganda of extremism and xenophobia, national and religious discord. Ultimately, it means to protect the world from a repeat of conflicts and wars founded on genocide, nationalism and racism.
It is clear for all of us: Nazism, extremism and terrorism are threats that feed on the same ideology. The threats are terrible, and we are simply obliged to protect our unique peaceful community of civilisations from these dangers.
I am certain that today it is extremely important to work together on confirming the principles of tolerance and respect between peoples, and teach the young generation solidarity and the ability to fight together against common difficulties and threats.
Preserving our historical and cultural unity, the common values we have developed over centuries, is a firm foundation for realising an entire range of integration processes, for stable and confident development of our countries in this difficult modern era.
As you know, Russia, together with the European Union, is consistently developing a project of four common spaces, including the humanitarian space. It is culture, science, education and humanitarian cooperation which together work effectively to bring people closer together, to form an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and mutual respect. And thus the best conditions are created for dialogue and partnership in all spheres of international cooperation – in the economy, politics, and other areas.
I expect that the countries of the CIS – in the new historical conditions and using the opportunities that have opened up for them – are now capable of realising very useful, interesting and promising projects in the humanitarian sphere. Projects which bring our peoples noticeable benefits and which they definitely need.
I believe that our support of the Declaration of humanitarian cooperation will stimulate real work in expanding and developing direct human contacts in the CIS area. It will make it possible on a modern basis to build mutually beneficial relationships in the cultural and humanitarian sphere.
For all the peoples of the Soviet Union, the war against Nazism became the Great Patriotic War.
Without exaggeration, it was a just war – for the very right to life on the Earth, to have statehood, language and culture. A war for the free development of our peoples, against the ideology of barbarism, violence, aggression, nationalism and racism.
Decades go by, but the memory of the military brotherhood – in the name of freedom, independence and humanism – still binds our peoples.
And it remains for us to pass on this invaluable experience of unity and solidarity to new generations of our fellow citizens.
Thank you for your attention.