VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear citizens of Russia!
Dear veterans of the Great Patriotic War!
Comrade soldiers, marines, sergeants and master sergeants!
Comrade officers, generals and admirals!

I congratulate you on this holiday – Victory Day! This day celebrates our people’s great triumph. It is the celebration of the military valour and glory of our Fatherland.

61 years ago the last shots of the Great Patriotic War faded away. The war left hundreds of thousands of cities in ruins, millions of people disabled, and claimed a huge number of human lives.

A terrible and destructive force affected almost all European countries. But the most important and fiercest impact of that war was felt in our country. Hitler’s followers thought that they would only need six weeks to capture our Motherland.

Six weeks were not enough, nor were months, nor four long years. Our people fought heroically and defended their Fatherland. They defended its freedom, expelled invaders from our native lands and completely crushed the enemy on his own turf.

All our people rose up together in the fight against the Nazis. And history has never seen such unity, such sacred brotherhood, and such a powerful belief in Victory.

It was this nationwide achievement that determined the outcome of the Second World War. It liberated not only our country, but the world.

Unprecedented heroism has been shown both in large battles and in fights in unknown places.

They fought to the bitter end and fought for each house, each street, each inhabited area. Hundreds of Russian cities were the scene of fierce fights. They acted as real fortresses, one that stopped the enemy. They are truly hero cities, cities of military glory.

Our veterans bore the brunt of these tragic events. And as decades go by we realize even better and understand more deeply, just what they had to go through and what they were up against. Especially since this war is unparalleled in history in terms of cruelty, number of victims, and the scale of destruction.

Invaluable artistic and cultural creations are lost forever. We shall never get back the lives, talents and hopes of the war’s victims, of the sons and daughters of our nation.

And this is the greatest, truly irrevocable, loss for our people.

Dear citizens of Russia!
Today we must remember that during those harsh years there was a real threat that the world might be dominated. And it occurred because we underestimated the danger of destructive Nazi ideology.

And therefore solidarity between the peoples of the world in the face of todays threats is a decisive, invaluable resource. Peace, freedom and neighbourly relations between peoples are the bulwark of a just democratic world order and global security.

Those who once again try to raise the banners of Nazism, to sew racial hatred, extremism, and xenophobia will lead the world into a dead end, to meaningless bloodshed and cruelty. For that reason the destruction of fascism must act as a lesson and a warning with respect to inevitable punishment.

And today we bow our heads before all who did not live to Victory Day.

We thank you, dear veterans. We are proud of your greatest achievement. And we are happy that you are with us today, that we are celebrating the great Victory together.

Today the sons and grandsons of the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War are taking part in the parade. They are marching in the name of Victory. And they are ready to defend the Motherland, its sovereignty and the country’s honour. As you are, they are ready to live, to work and to win.

Glory to the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War!
Glory to the victors!
Happy Holiday!
Happy Victory Day!