Address at a Parade Dedicated to the 55th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 2000-05-09 00:01:50 Red Square, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Comrade soldiers and sailors, sergeants and sergeant-majors, comrade officers, generals and admirals, dear veterans, citizens of Russia! I congratulate you on this, the 55th anniversary of our great victory, victory in a war that was a harsh trial for our statehood and a great test of our national spirit, our unity and our military comradeship. I greet the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War. Today you stand in the same ranks as the new generation of defenders of our Motherland, here once more on Red Square, this historic place that has witnessed our soldiers of different eras and that was the site of the victory parade in 1945. Dear soldiers of the frontlines, at your side we have become used to victory. This is in our blood now and is not only a guarantee of military victories but also comes to our aid in peacetime, helping our generation to build a strong and prosperous country and raise aloft the Russian banner of democracy and freedom. Our people have lived through many wars and we know the price of peace, we know that peace is built above all on a strong economy and the prosperity of our citizens. These are the pillars of Russia’s inner and external strength and the guarantee of its defence capability and security, and this is the biggest “military secret” we shall pass on to our children. Fifty-five years is a long time, but our country remembers everything about the war: the deprivation and hunger, the bombardments and death, the terrible toll of our losses. On May 9, we remember all those who did not live to celebrate victory. This is a sorrow that never fades. It is our sacred duty to pay tribute to the memory of our fathers, our fathers who are buried here in their native soil or in the battlefields of Europe. Our people gave everything they had for victory. We remember not only the achievements of our soldiers but also the honour and glory of those who toiled heroically on the home front. We bow low before all those who grew grain, made arms for the front and tended the wounded during those terrible years, all those who kept their patience, belief and endurance alive. The countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States are also celebrating Victory Day today and I send my warmest greetings to all the veterans of our brother countries. We all share the sacrifices and joys of victory. We defended peace together, did not allow history to be reshaped, fought for our great Soviet motherland, preserved the independence of our countries and made a decisive contribution to the victory over fascism. Today you stand together once again and carry the glorious banner of our common victory. Happy Victory Day, brothers and sisters in arms. Glory to the soldiers who laid the solid foundation for future peaceful victories. They have passed on to us a heroic tradition and have willed that we should celebrate this victory as our own. We are indebted to them and will pay our debt in real acts for the good of our Motherland. The years may pass but the memory of the Great Patriotic War will remain just as great a lesson for all of us and just as clear a warning to all those who consider terror and violence their greatest weapon. Dear citizens of Russia! Our army was and always will be a people’s army. Our soldiers achieve their victories not just through their arms but also through their spirit, their strength of will. This is firmer than metal, it helps our country to overcome any trials, keeping conscience and honour, preserving the pride in our past and our present, our pride in our country’s national achievements. So it was in the past, so it is today and so it will always be. Glory to the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War! Glory to the victorious people! Glory to our army of liberators! Happy Victory Day! Hurrah!