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Official website of the President of Russia

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Speech at reception marking the 68th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War

May 9, 2013, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, dear veterans,

I congratulate you on Victory Day, the dearest, the most sacred and acutely felt of our holidays.

Today all of Russia stands guard with respect, pride and gratitude in honour of the generation of victors, in honour of our fathers and grandfathers who liberated the world from Nazism, in honour of great humanism – the humanism of victory that confirmed the enduring value of human life.

This holiday is celebrated in the CIS countries, many European ones, and others throughout the world. Millions of people are currently experiencing similar feelings: joy and sorrow, excitement, admiration for the feats of those who won the war and vanquished evil, falsehood and injustice.

Our most important and warmest congratulations are for you, our dear veterans. You had one destiny, one calamity, one hope and one Fatherland. For the sake of its independence, for the future of your children, you underwent back-breaking, unbearable suffering, demonstrated indomitable spirit, will and unity, crushed the evil enemy, and brought freedom to the nations of the entire world.

You not only defended our country, you also raised it from the ruins and ashes, and performed enormous feats of labour. You were able to make friends, support one another, to be together in joy and in sorrow. And we will always cherish this legacy, admire your generosity, courage and your destiny, of which you say simply and clearly: “No other way was possible.”

Such a profound, selfless attitude to life, devoid of any pathos, touches the soul. You considered paramount the values of patriotism, belief in your country, and love for the Fatherland. Today these very values unite the peoples of Russia, and I am sure will always be our spiritual and moral underpinning.

Let me propose a toast to the glorious generation of victors, to Russia’s peace and prosperity, to the Great Victory!

May 9, 2013, Moscow