President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Citizens of Russia, veterans of the Great Patriotic War!
Comrade soldiers and sailors, sergeants and senior warrant officers! Comrade Officers, Generals and Admirals!
I congratulate you on this Day of Great Victory, this celebration that has always been the most sacred and truly national of our holidays and has become an everlasting symbol of our national unity.
I give my greetings to all veterans of the Great Patriotic War. You refused to let our country be brought to its knees and gave your descendents lessons in true patriotism. It is thanks to you that May 9 will forever be the date of our people’s liberation, the date marking the start of a new period in world history.
Our fathers and grandfathers endured inhuman suffering but defended our Motherland’s sovereignty and independence and infused us all with great belief – belief in the triumph of truth and life, in our national strength, our independence and freedom – and ushered in an era of peaceful achievements and victories for many generations to come.
Today we are celebrating the sixty-third anniversary of that victorious May. But the difficult years of the Great Patriotic War will never be forgotten. As time passes, we only develop an even deeper understanding of their momentous importance for the world and its destiny, and we become even more aware of how dramatic a fate fell upon the shoulders of the wartime generation.
People of all different nationalities fought side by side during those terrible years. Today, millions of people are celebrating Victory Day not only in our country but throughout the CIS and in countries further abroad. This occasion is celebrated by all who honour the feat of the peoples who destroyed fascism. The more the events of that terrible war grow distant, the more valuable our eternal brotherhood and solidarity become, and the greater our shared responsibility for what is happening on our planet.
The history of world wars sends us the warning that armed conflicts do not simply start of their own accord. The flames of conflict are lit by those who put their own irresponsible ambitions above the interests of whole countries and continents, above the interests of millions of people. We must therefore remember the lessons of that war and do everything we can, every day, to ensure that such tragedies are never repeated.
We must take extremely seriously any attempts to incite racial or religious hatred, spread the ideology of terrorism and extremism, interfere with the affairs of other countries, and all the more so, attempt to revise borders.
We cannot let the rules of international law go ignored. These laws are the fruit of the entire international community’s labour and without them we cannot build a secure life and a just world order.
Dear citizens of Russia, dear friends!
We are marking this May 9 holiday with a military parade, a parade in which the inheritors of Victory will march as one. They, the sons and grandsons of the soldiers who fought in the Great Patriotic War, honour today the heroes of Victory, those who took part in tank and air battles, those who went into the attack and fought the fascists at sea, and who understand very well that the real purpose of weapons and military hardware is to provide reliable defence for the Motherland.
Our Armed Forces are growing stronger, like Russia itself. Their strength today continues the glorious history of Russia’s military, carrying on the victorious traditions and high morale of our army.
No matter how many years pass, we will never forget the defence of Moscow and Leningrad, Stalingrad and the Battle of Kursk, the battle to liberate Europe, and we will always remember too the contribution of those who worked tirelessly in the hospitals and the factories. We will treasure this memory. Our hearts, conscience and duty call on us to do so.
Dear veterans, it is from you that we learn to live and be victorious in the name of our Fatherland, to work so that our accomplishments might be worthy of your great achievements, to work to make our country strong, prosperous and happy.
Glory to the victorious soldiers! Glory to the great liberating army!
Happy holiday – happy Victory Day!