Speech at the funeral of Major-General Mikhail Malofeyev 2000-01-28 00:00:00 St Petersburg Vladimir Putin: Dear Svetlana Nikolayevna, Dear friends and relatives of Mikhail Yuryevich, Dear friends, Today we are mourning a real Russian soldier, a real general of the Russian army. Throughout Russian history, whenever our country became less powerful, whenever it showed even the slightest sign of weakness, our enemies have tried to bring us to our knees, tear our country apart, and deliver us a final blow. Our enemies have never succeeded, and they never will, because ordinary Russians, whether soldiers or civilians, always barred those people’s way. The best are the first to lay down their lives—they never hide behind their comrades’ back. The Russian army has always cherished its sacred traditions. In combat, in the most difficult and dangerous moments, there was no difference between generals and privates. All are equal as Russian soldiers when they defend Russia. That was the case with General Malofeyev. There are no accidental victims and chance casualties. Mikhail Malofeyev did not die in vain. He was defending his Homeland and his nation’s interests. The nation never forgets its heroes. Eternal memory and eternal martial glory to General Mikhail Malofeyev!