PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN. Mr Federal Chancellor, please allow me to give you a hearty welcome in Moscow. I am greatly pleased by your acceptance of my invitation to come here to Russia today, and join us the day we are celebrating the Victory over Nazism.
German anti-fascists were the first victims of the nazi regime, and we know it. They represented a wide range of political parties: Left parties – Communists and Social Democrats, and other trends and parties, Christian among them.
As you and I know quite well, the historical periods when our nations were together in creative efforts were the times of the European continent’s heyday. We have the best samples of our partnership to proceed from, and we have been doing so within the decade.
Allow me, dear Mr Federal Chancellor, to thank you for your contribution to the progress of Russo-German relations within the preceding years.
GERHARD SCHROEDER. Mr President, I am heartily grateful for your invitation. I regard it as an honor done my country and myself. I congratulate you on having organized extremely worthy commemorative events. I am especially grateful for the way you have greeted my wife and me.
You were right to say that the war unleashed by Nazi Germany took the heaviest-ever toll of lives of peoples within the former Soviet Union. But today, the remembrance of it is transforming into pondering together about a future we share, and that is good.
I don’t think we ought to forget – to force out of our mind – the fact that, within the preceding several decades and the recent years, we have managed to get going a genuine strategic partnership, which offers good prospects to young people of the Russian Federation and of Germany. You made an extraordinary contribution to those efforts, Mr. President, and I want to stress it. As we are here today, we are pointing out what former opponents in the war are sharing. That has a symbolical impact. It is a message and a responsibility for such things never to be re-enacted, and I am optimistic in that respect.