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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May 2005, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Full text of Putin VE Day speech
The following is the full text of Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech at Moscow's parade for the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory against Nazi Germany.


Dear citizens of Russia, distinguished visitors, comrade soldiers and sailors, sergeants and sergeant-majors, army and navy warrant officers, comrade officers, generals and admirals, I would like to congratulate you on the anniversary of the great victory, on the day of peace and triumph of justice, on the day when good triumphed over evil and freedom triumphed over tyranny.

Sixty years have already passed but every year, on 9 May, we will continue to mourn those killed; we will remember the war, the war which is appealing to our reason.

We must defend the world order based on security and justice, a new culture of relations which does not allow for a repetition of cold or hot wars

It obliges us to be highly responsible and to realise more profoundly what deadly precipice the world found itself on the edge of at the time; the kind of terrible consequences to which violence and racial hatred, genocide and outrage committed against human beings could have led.

We will always remember that such outrage causes fear, humiliation and death. We will forever honour everyone who gave their lives, those who fought and those who did their best working for the army on the home front. We will mourn those killed and, fulfilling the duty of survivors, express our enormous human gratitude.

Sixty-one nations and almost 80% of the planet's population found themselves drawn into the burning orbit of World War II. The burning storm ravaged not only through Europe, but also through Asian and African nations. It reached the shores of Novaya Zemlya [off northern Russia] and Alaska, the borders of Egypt and Australia.

Allied help remembered

But the most brutal and crucial events which determined the drama and the outcome of that inhuman war unfolded on the territory of the Soviet Union.

Fascists expected to enslave our people in an instant. In fact, they counted on destroying the country. Their plans failed.

The Soviet army first stopped the fascists outside Moscow. And over the three subsequent years, it managed not only to resist the assault but also to force the enemy back into his lair.

The results of the battles near Moscow and in Stalingrad, the courage of Leningrad under siege, the success in the Kursk and Dnieper battles, determined the outcome of World War II. The Red Army marked the victorious end to the war by liberating Europe, waging the battle for Berlin.

Dear friends, we never divided the victory into ours and someone else's. We will always remember the assistance from the Allies, the United States of America, Great Britain, France and other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition, German and Italian anti-fascists.

Today we are celebrating the courage of all Europeans who resisted fascism. But we also know that the Soviet Union lost tens of millions of its citizens in the years of the war. Servicemen killed on the battlefields included representatives of all ethnic groups of the former USSR.

All peoples, all republics of the former USSR, suffered their own irreparable losses. Grief reached every household, touched every family.

That is why 9 May is a sacred day for all nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States. We are united by our anguish, our memory and our duty to future generations. And we must pass on to those who will come after us the spirit of historic connection, common aspirations and common hope.

'Strides towards peace'

I am convinced that there is no alternative to our friendship and our fraternity. With our closest neighbours and all countries of the world, Russia is prepared to build a kind of relationship which is not only based on lessons of the past but is also directed into a shared future.

Victory Day will forever remain a day of the people's great heroic deed, and for the countries of Europe and the entire planet - the day on which the world was saved

History teaches nations and peoples to do their best, not to ignore the emergence of new deadly doctrines, the origins and environment in which new threats evolve. Lessons of the war warn that complicity in violence, indifference and wait-and-see attitudes are bound to lead to appalling tragedies on a worldwide scale.

In the face of today's real terrorist threats, we must remain faithful to the memory of our fathers. We must defend the world order based on security and justice, a new culture of relations which does not allow for a repetition of cold or hot wars.

Since the epoch of global confrontation came to an end, we have made significant strides toward the lofty goal of ensuring peace and calm in Europe. Our policy is based on the ideals of freedom and democracy, on the right of every state to choose its path of development independently.

We base it on trust and a search for a civilised future for all nations, including those that have lived through the difficult experience of past confrontation and have been able to find a new way towards international dialogue and co-operation.

'Festive day'

The historic reconciliation between Russia and Germany is an eloquent example of this policy. I consider it to be one of the greatest achievements of the post-war Europe, an example which deserves to be followed and developed in present-day international politics.

Dear citizens of Russia, dear guests, for our country 9 May has always been and will forever remain a sacred day. This is a festive day which not only inspires us all and makes us all better, but also fills our hearts with the most complex feelings, both joy and sorrow, both compassion and nobility.

It calls for the most noble actions, presents us with another opportunity to bow our heads in honour of those who gave us freedom, the freedom to live, to work, to be happy, to be creative and to understand each other.

Victory Day is the dearest, the most emotional and the most inclusive holiday in our country. For the people of the former Soviet Union, it will forever remain a day of the people's great heroic deed, and for the countries of Europe and the entire planet - the day on which the world was saved.

Our grandfathers and fathers gave their lives for the honour and freedom of the nation. They were united and defended their Fatherland.

And today I humbly bow my head to all veterans of the Great Patriotic War. I wish them a long and happy life. Hail to the victorious soldiers of the Great Patriotic War and World War II. I congratulate you on the happy day of this great victory! Long live Russia! Hurrah!


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