Question: This is your first visit to this tragic place. Please tell us how you felt about being here. And please tell us whether you think that today everything necessary is being done for the people who survived those terrible times, so that they are aware that we remember their plight, and we can leave this terror behind forever?
Vladimir Putin: We have gathered to honour the memory of the victims of political repression between the 1930s and 1950s. But we are all well aware that 1937 is considered to be the year in which this repression peaked, though the brutality of the previous years had laid the ground for the events of 1937. It is sufficient to recall the shooting of hostages during the Civil War, the destruction of entire social classes, clergy, the dekulakization of peasants, and the execution of Cossacks. Such tragedies have occurred more than once in the history of mankind. And they happened when ideals, ideals that were attractive at first glance but proved empty in the end, were placed higher than fundamental values – the values of human life, human rights and freedoms. This is a particular tragedy for Russia because it took place on such a large scale. Those who were executed, sent to camps, shot and tortured number in the thousands and millions of people. Along with this, as a rule these were people with their own opinions. These were people who were not afraid to speak their mind. They were the most capable people. They are the pride of the nation. And of course over many years and today as well we still remember this tragedy. We need to do a great deal to ensure that this is never forgotten. To ensure that we always remember this tragedy. But we don’t need these memories in and of themselves. We need them to understand that of course we need political arguments and disagreements, in short a struggle of opinions to promote the country’s development and choose more effective ways of resolving the problems that face Russia today and those to come. However, to ensure that this process is not a destructive one but rather a creative one, this political struggle must not take place outside the framework of cultural and educational spheres. And in honouring the memory of past tragedies we need to base ourselves on the best things that our people have accomplished. We must combine our efforts and promote Russia's development. We have everything we need to do so.