Here is the text of President Medvedev’s brief Victory Day speech on Red Square:
Veterans, comrade soldiers and sailors, sergeants and warrant officers, officers, generals and admirals,
Congratulations on Victory Day! Congratulations on this day celebrating the glory and courage of our people, who defended their native soil and liberated the world from Nazism!
The further time takes us from those years, the deeper our awareness becomes of just what a great feat the wartime generation achieved, and how vast was their courage and strength of spirit and sacrifice.
Dear veterans, you have set a moral yardstick of the highest order for us in your example of devotion to your homeland. It is our duty to remember this and to preserve and look after the peace that your victory achieved.
You worked for this victory sparing no thought for your own lives, losing friends and loved ones, fought for every town and village, and vanquished the Nazis, preventing them from conquering the world. You decided the outcome of World War II.
Russia today still holds a special feeling towards those events, the historical chronicles and the fate of those who fought on the frontlines. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather information on their forebears’ deeds, and there is no doubt that our children and grandchildren will continue to hold sacred the memory of the Great Patriotic War’s heroes.
“Dear veterans, you have set a moral yardstick of the highest order for us in your example of devotion to your homeland. It is our duty to remember this and to preserve and look after the peace that your victory achieved.” New generations are working now to reinforce the bonds of friendship, cooperation and fraternity with the peoples with whom we celebrate this Victory together. I sincerely congratulate veterans from all countries, for Victory Day was and is our common celebration.
Citizens of Russia! We are proud of those who traversed the war and raised our country from the ruins in such short time, rebuilt industry and revived agriculture, were the first into space, and achieved great successes in education, science and culture.
Russia today remains firmly committed to the principle of peaceful cooperation and consistent in its support for an indivisible security system. We continue to make our contribution to the common efforts to ensure global stability. Our armed forces take part effectively in peacekeeping missions.
Russia’s armed forces give our country and its people reliable protection. Our officers and soldiers are always at the ready, today too, even as their comrades march across Red Square. Many of those here today have been decorated for courage and bravery.
The country’s authorities will continue to do everything to ensure that our servicemen are well provided for and that the armed forces keep modernising, receiving the latest modern arms and equipment, some of which we will see at the parade today.
Dear veterans, today we celebrate the holiday we hold most sacred, and we thank you for giving us life and freedom. You knew what you were fighting for, and you knew what your comrades sacrificed their lives for.
There are things that must never be compromised no matter what the circumstances: people’s freedom, a country’s dignity, and peace in our homes. These are the things we all hold dear, the things that make us a strong and united nation.
Happy holiday, happy Victory Day!
Glory to the victors!