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May 12, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6428

Russian President Putin: WWII Victory Day - A 'Warning To All Who Would Consider Challenging Russia'

May 12, 2016
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6428

On May 9, 2016, Russia marked the 71st anniversary of its Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 - that is, World War II. The war ended on the night of May 8, 1945, when the definitive Act of Military Surrender was signed in Berlin by representatives of the Nazi Supreme Command of the Armed Forces and the Allied Expeditionary Force, together with the Supreme High Command of the Soviet Red Army. Russia observes Victory Day on May 9 because the signing took place after midnight Moscow time.

For this year's celebrations, Russia's Aerospace Forces gave a show of military strength during the military parade in Moscow's Red Square, with Su-24 and Su-34 bombers, Su-25 attack planes, MiG-29 and Su-27 fighter aircraft, and other aircraft flying over the Red Square. The same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a reception at the Kremlin; at it, he stressed that the Soviet Union's "victory... a stern warning to all who would consider challenging us."

It is worth noting that Putin's remarks included no mention of the Allied forces, giving the impression that the Soviet Union had defeated Nazi Germany entirely on its own.

Following are excerpts of Putin's remarks at the Kremlin Victory Day reception:[1]


Putin speaking at the Kremlin Victory Day reception (Source: Kremlin.ru, May 9, 2016).


Victory in the Great Patriotic War parade in Red Square, Moscow (Source: RIA Novosti, May 9, 2016)

"...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.

"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. We know that a war turns into a patriotic war when people stand shoulder to shoulder in defense 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...

 
Victory in the Great Patriotic War parade in Red Square, Moscow (Source: Kremlin.ru, May 9, 2016)

"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 honor, 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!"

 

Endnote:

[1] Kremlin.ru, May 9, 2016.

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