Dear Alexander Grigorievich, dear friends!

January 27 is one of the most important dates in our shared national history. On this day in 1944, Red Army troops completely broke the siege of Leningrad, and a year later, in 1945, they liberated Auschwitz. These two events are not linked by a single historical epoch. The tragedy and martyrdom of the people of Leningrad, and of the prisoners in the death camps, will forever stand as proof of the monstrous nature of Nazism, of the unthinkable suffering of millions of innocent, peaceful citizens.

For eight decades, our sorrow for these terrible victims, for the crippled fates, for all those who endured incredible hardships has not abated. Our compassion is transmitted from generation to generation and has no statute of limitations, just as the crimes of Hitler’s fanatics and their accomplices, those who coldly planned and brutally committed the genocide of the Soviet people, do not. These crimes were not committed on the battlefield. The massacres of unarmed and defenseless elderly, women, children and disabled people were deliberate and systematic punitive actions.

Of the total number of casualties suffered by the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War, more than half were civilians. And this is convincing proof that the Nazis and their satellites were not at war against a political regime or an ideology - no. Their objective was the richest natural resources, the territories of our country and the destruction of the Soviet Union. Their objective was the richest natural resources, the territories of our country and the physical destruction of the majority of its citizens.

For the rest, they prepared the role of slaves, deprived of their culture, traditions and original language. These villainous aims are reflected in numerous Nazi documents and were embodied in horrific and frightening mass executions and murders of the civilian population. Khatyn and Bryansk Khatsun, Krasnoe, Babi Yar, Zmiyevskaya Balka and Tin Hill are just a few of the places where massacres were committed. Death was implemented in concentration camps, ghettos and prisons in Germany, the occupied territories of Austria, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Soviet Union. There was also a death camp here, in Gatchina, and not far from there, there was a camp where children were kept, very young babies, whose blood the Nazis literally siphoned off for their soldiers.

And of course, the siege of Leningrad was unprecedented in terms of cruelty and cynicism. The Nazis’ solution was to exterminate an entire city. Over a million inhabitants of Leningrad - and I stress, civilians - fell victim to hunger, cold, artillery fire and relentless bombardment.

These data are the fruit of research by renowned historians and scientists, documents gathered and validated by the courts. This work will also be carried out on all the other crimes committed by the Nazis during the war against the civilian population of our country. It is to them, to all the peaceful citizens of the Soviet Union whose lives were taken by the Moloch of Nazi genocide, that the memorial we are inaugurating today is dedicated. It is destined to become one of the symbols of our memory, our moral and sacred duty to investigate all crimes and identify those responsible.

It’s important for us today, it’s important for the future. We are seeing how the results of the Nuremberg trials, in which Nazism was given an unambiguous legal assessment, are in fact being examined today. In some countries, not only are they rewriting history and justifying the executioners: revanchists and neo-Nazis have adopted the ideology and methods of the Nazis.

In the Baltic states, tens of thousands of people are declared "subhuman", deprived of the most basic rights and subjected to harassment. The Kiev regime exalts Hitler’s collaborators, the SS, and uses terror against all undesirables. Barbaric attacks on peaceful towns and villages, and the murder of the elderly, women and children continue. In a number of European countries, Russophobia is being promoted as state policy.

We will do everything to finally stop and eradicate Nazism. Supporters of the Nazi executioners, whatever they call themselves today, are condemned. And nothing can stop the desire of millions of people, not only in our country but also throughout the world, for true freedom, justice, peace and security.

Luminous memory to all, to all who died. Glory to the Soviet soldier who crushed Nazism!

Thank you

Roger Lagassé