No people other than the Russian paid as dearly its victory over the Hitler’s Germany. More than 27 million deaths and an indescribable ruin resulted from that Second World War. This continues to be part of our feelings of accountability towards the Russian people and other nations of the former USSR. For Germans, May 8 and 9 are dates of silent repentance for all those who lost their lives due to the National-Socialism. The invitation granted on the German Federal Chancellor is a great honor and a proof of confidence to our nation. We want this May 9 to become a symbol of the European reconciliation.
That day represents, first of all, freedom for the Germans, but for many, that date is also associated with memories of forced migrations, the separation of Germany from the rest of Europe and new subjugations. That date also shows the beginning of Germany’s spiritual and political renewal. The fact that, on the backdrop of terror of the world war and despite the cold war, this reconciliation has been possible is a miracle of the European history to me. Among all those who helped to bring Germany and the former USSR closer, I would like to mention Willy Brandt, a pioneer of this peace will sustained with our eastern neighbors and made material since 1989.
Our two peoples have never been closer than they are today. We are united in a strategic association for peace, for a blooming Europe, and for the stability of the world order. The volume of trade exchanges between our two countries was increased in 18% only in relation to last year and we are also strengthening our strategic cooperation in the gas and oil sectors. The contacts between citizens from our two countries have never been as intense. A congress will take place in June in Yekaterinburg, and we have started the «St. Petersburg Dialogue» to discuss the problems and opportunities of our societies in a forum. We are going to develop educational and scientific cooperation. The more our future generations get to know each other, the greater the confidence between our two peoples.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the totalitarian ideologies bereft the Europeans of their rights reducing them to slavery. The new Europe should not spark off influential zones or controlling wills. Russia and Germany have a responsible commitment that past errors never repeat again. On May 10, Russia and the European Union will concretely define their association, basically in terms of foreign policy and security. Together, we have to find the answers to the challenges of the present world and to the dangers of terrorism. We will be successful only if we strengthen our multilateral cooperation, especially in the framework of the UN and the international law. This is also a lesson that we must learn from the past.
The policy of domination and the language of force have disturbed the fate of the European nations in the last 100 years. The Second World War was a painful testimony of this. Only the Europe of Liberty, of the Human Rights, and of Union can be a Europe of ever-lasting peace. This is the lesson for the veteran generations. And 60 years after that day of May 9, 1945, a permanent obligation for us.

Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia)

" Мы просим прощения за страдания, причиненные русскому народу и другим народам ", by Gerhard Schröder, Komsomolskaïa Pravda, May 7, 2005.