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Victory in the Great Patriotic War Observed
Special Contribution
By Russian Embassy in Seoul
Red Army soldiers raise the Soviet Banner of Victory on the Reichstag building in Berlin on May 1, 1945.
Editor's Note:
May 9, 2020 marks the former Soviet Union's 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. Along with its fomer member states — Belarus, Kyrgis, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan — Russian Federation observes its meaningful victory day over Nazi Germany. The following story has been received by the Russian Embassy in Seoul.


On the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War on May 9, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. On this day of our pride and sorrow, of our boundless gratitude to the defenders of the Fatherland, we pay tribute to the unprecedented heroism of soldiers, officers and common citizens who went the path of sacrifice and inhuman challenges, withstood as indestructible stronghold in the heat of battle, gave everything they could, and achieved Victory at an incredible price.

After the treacherous invasion of the enemy on June 22, 1941, there were defeats, retreats, and heavy losses, but they did not break our people. By early July, more than five million fighters got into line, tens of thousands of volunteers joined the militia.

The garrison ‘Brest Fortress’ was the first to take sudden blows of the invaders. They fought to the end and left inscriptions to the descendants on the citadel walls that still astound. They sound to us like an oath and an order: "I am dying, but I do not surrender." This oath has been adopted by today's generation of the Fatherland defenders.

Millions of people, who fought for their homeland in decisive battles near Moscow and in Stalingrad, on the Kursk Bulge and the Dnieper River, thought and acted in that way. The Victory was gained due to courage of the defenders of Kiev and Veliky Novgorod, by the fearlessness of the defenders of Smolensk, Odessa, Sevastopol, by the infinite resilience of the citizens of besieged Leningrad.

At each bridgehead, at each frontier, feats of enormous inner strength were performed by people, many of whom were very young: more than half of fighters who were awarded the title of ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ were under 25 years old. Many of them went to the frontlines right from the school bench and remained there forever, they did not know the happiness of love, family, birth of children.

The soldiers of the country did not spare own lives for the sake of its freedom and peaceful future. We will never forget their courage and sacrifice, the exorbitant price that was paid for Victory. For 1418 days of the Great Patriotic War, nearly 27 million of our compatriots died.

We bow our heads to the memory of sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fellow soldiers, relatives, friends. We grieve for veterans who are no longer with us. The memory of the Great Patriotic War and its truth are our conscience and responsibility.

We do not divide the Victory in World War II into “ours” and “someone else’s”. This victory was achieved by joint efforts of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, created in early 1942. At the same time, it should be remembered that it was the Soviet Union and its Red Army that played a decisive role in defeating fascist Germany.

In August 1945, in accordance with the alliance obligations and agreements of the Yalta Conference, the Soviet Union entered the war with Japan and conducted a unique-scale Manchurian Operation, defeating a million strong Kwantung Army of Japan within 25 days. During the operation, which resulted in the liberation of Northeast China as well as the Korean Peninsula, several thousand of Soviet soldiers were killed, and memory of them lives in China and Korea. The defeat of the Kwantung Army was one of the decisive factors that forced Japan to sign the act of surrender.

In the difficult international situation, it is important to remember the past and to learn its lessons. Today we can see that some states deliberately try to turn history into a “battlefield” in information space, distort the events of the World War II, and worship those who served the Nazis, forgetting honor and human dignity. They try to diminish the Soviet Union’s contribution to the liberation of Europe and Asia from fascism and militarism and depict the USSR as one of the countries responsible for starting the war. They cynically equate Nazi occupation, which took tens of millions of lives, as well as the crimes of the collaborationists with the liberating mission of the Red Army.

Memorials to Soviet heroes and liberators are being demolished in some eastern European countries; war graves are being desecrated. Instead, monuments for fascists’ collaborators are being built. Veterans of death squads, who fought for Nazi Germany, who killed people on the occupied territories, are holding their marches. Such actions are an attempt to call into question the decisions of the Nurnberg tribunal on Nazi criminals.

For diplomats and politicians May 9 is a reason to remember that in 1945 the countries of the anti-Nazi coalition named themselves the United Nations. Their victory has created a foundation for the post-war world order, based on the principles of collective security and international cooperation, and opened path for establishment of the UN, which remains the main guarantor of peacekeeping.

We are open to cooperation with anyone who is actually willing to confront terrorism, neo-Nazism and extremism. Today, once again, it is crucially important to fight back jointly those who are committed to destructive ideologies. We call upon all countries to realize our collective responsibility to create an effective and equal security system.

At the 74th session of the UN General Assembly the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, together with some other countries submitted draft resolution ‘Seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War.’ It states that Victory in the World War II is a common heritage the UN member states, stresses the importance of preserving and unacceptability of demolishing monuments built in honor of those who fought in this war for the United Nations.

In addition to our call to join efforts in a fight against challenges and threats to international peace and security under the leading role of the UN, it suggests all the member States, organizations within the UN system, non-governmental organizations and individuals to properly mark this day as a token of memory to all the victims of the World War II.

Every year the Russian Federation and a number of like-minded states submit a draft resolution ‘Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.’ This initiative is supported by absolute majority of states, including the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, which indicates universal solidarity in combating modern threats and attempts to raise a new generation of neo-Nazi ideology adepts who push the world to the edge of global confrontation.

The memory of those who have fallen fighting the enemies of the Fatherland, the enemies of human civilization will live as long as there is a Great holiday of the victorious nations, the holiday of salvation, the holiday of liberation.



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