President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends,
I would like to congratulate you on Heroes of the Fatherland Day.
This day is inseparably linked to the history of our country. It celebrates the heroism of our forefathers and contemporaries, all those whose actions, deeds and life itself were an example of selfless service to the nation.
The heroism of these truly great citizens of our Fatherland, their valour and courage reflect the will and character of our people. Throughout our history, this character has always helped us to stand up against the toughest challenges, to strengthen the independence of our state and to effectively repel any attempts to encroach on our territory.
The defenders of the Fatherland, our soldiers and officers showed exceptional courage even in the face of the biggest and most merciless threats. They did so during the 1812 battles and during the First World War. In the years of the Great Patriotic War, sweeping, nationwide heroism became an insurmountable obstacle to the enemy. That heroism overturned and destroyed the invaders’ plans and the illusion that our country can be conquered.
The Soviet people demonstrated unprecedented courage, unity and strong will. We bow to the memory of those who stopped the enemy and routed him in battles near Moscow 80 years ago, in December 1941. We bow to those who brought about the Great Victory and selflessly defended our homeland without regard for their own lives. Every one of them is a hero.
Of course, today we also pay tribute to our contemporaries, those who have been awarded high state decorations – the titles of Hero of the Russian Federation and of the Soviet Union, the Order of Glory and St George’s Cross – for their outstanding service.
We are proud of those who have increased and continue to increase the strength and power of our country through their selfless devotion and who save lives regardless of personal risk. Our special gratitude goes to our medical personnel and other professionals, all those who are keeping alive the glorious traditions of courage, commitment to duty and selflessness.
It is extremely important that young people can see and are aware of this continuity, and that love for our country, our native land and our people becomes a reliable and solid foundation in their lives.
People of diverse ethnic backgrounds, religions, views and beliefs live in Russia, but all of them are united in their respect for the Heroes of the Fatherland and their heroism, boosting our strength and energy, our desire to keep moving forward and our unity. I firmly believe that this is how it always will be.
Congratulations on Heroes of the Fatherland Day!