President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Veterans, colleagues, friends, guests,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you and congratulate you on this sacred occasion. Today we feel with particular intensity the grandeur and sincerity of this date, its deep sorrow and its tremendous unifying strength.
The defeat of Nazism will never be simply just history for us. It is the great achievement of all generations, present and future. This Victory embodies the very best, the most worthy and heroic features of our people’s spirit. It represents our pride and our readiness to defend this country’s interests. It is a stern warning to all who would consider challenging us.
We know that a war turns into a patriotic war when people stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of their homeland. This was the case in that heroic and tragic year of 1941, when the Soviet Union’s multi-ethnic people rose as one to fight the enemy.
Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of presenting newspapers from that time to President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is here today. Those newspapers spoke of the Kazakh people’s feats and contribution to the Great Patriotic War. Let us welcome our guest today. Thank you very much, Mr Nazarbayev, for being with us today.
Our people accomplished the immortal feat of saving their homeland. We will always remember that it was the Soviet people that vanquished Nazism and achieved the grandiose and triumphant Victory.
You, the veterans, traversed the roads of war with honour, fought bravely on all fields and heights, took part in the biggest battles and each contributed to Victory. You were all fighting for our homeland, on the frontlines and on the home front, the elderly and the children. Everyone went through great hardships and suffered terrible losses, and everyone followed the laws of courage, steadfastness, friendship, and selfless love for one’s country.
You, our dear veterans, have retained these lofty moral qualities and your sense of personal responsibility for this country throughout your lives. The war forged your character and Victory inspired you to new achievements. You rebuilt plants and factories in the shortest time, revived and developed our agriculture and took culture, science and technology to new heights.
Your acts and achievements, your ability to value life and cherish friendship and the family home and hearth will always be an example for us. Your destiny incarnates in full measure the true grandeur of an entire people’s great feat, the achievement we speak of in firm and simple terms: “We knew what we were fighting for and dying for. We fought for our Motherland!”
Let me raise a toast to the outstanding generation of victors! To Russia! To our Great Victory!