President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, veterans,
The legendary Stalingrad victory was won here on the banks of the Volga River 75 years ago. I would like to congratulate you on this occasion.
The most important battle of the Great Patriotic War was crowned with the triumph of our army and our people. This battle was unprecedented in world history. It went down into the history of the human race as the cruellest and bloodiest.
This grandiose battle started in the summer of 1942. The Nazis, who had conquered Europe and were used to acing with impunity, were routed in the Moscow suburbs for the first time. Now they were rushing towards the Volga River to take revenge at any cost but our country and the steadfast Stalingrad became an unconquerable stronghold in their way.
Soviet soldiers seemed to have grown into the wounded soil and turned every street, building, ditch and firing point into an unassailable fortress. The city residents fought for it with the same valour. This united resistance, readiness for self-sacrifice and moral stamina were unconquerable and inconceivable, incomprehensible and horrible for the enemy.
The destiny of the homeland and the whole world was decided in Stalingrad at that time. The tough character of our people was manifested in full there. They fought for every building and the lives of their children. Having defended Stalingrad, they saved our Fatherland.
The triumph of this battle embodied the courage and bravery of our soldiers and commanders, and the talent and boldness of Soviet military leaders.
The best divisions of the Wehrmacht perished in this battle. Strategic plans of the Nazis were wrecked. The road to the complete and final rout of the enemy was opened.
The defenders of Stalingrad, the entire generation of the victors did not only demonstrate heroism at war. They passed on to us a great legacy of love for our Motherland, readiness to protect its interests and independence, be strong against any ordeals, take care of our country and work for the sake of its prosperity.
These simple truths are the essence of life. And we have no right to underperform or to show cowardice or indecision. We must look up to our fathers’ and grandfathers’ feats and, just like them, be steady in our purpose and strive beyond what we have already achieved.
We are truly proud and will always be proud of everything that was done before our time. Standing on this foundation, we will move forward and only forward. We will be strong and honest. We will lead new generations and pass on the remarkable traditions of our great nation.
I want to wish all of you and, most importantly, our dear veterans good health, peace and happiness.
Thank you. Please accept our deepest gratitude for Stalingrad and the Great Victory. For our Motherland, which you saved. For your selflessness. For everything you have done and continue to do for your country.
We will always be proud of your heroism. We will stand up for your great victories. We will keep the high bar of creation, unity and loyalty to Russia.
Thank you very much. Happy holiday!