On the eve of the Victory Day, Vladimir Putin honoured the memory of the fallen in the Great Patriotic War as he laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden.
The ceremony dedicated to the 67th anniversary of the Victory was attended by Acting Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Acting Head of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, Acting Defence Minister Anatoli Serdyukov, Speaker of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, President of the Constitutional Court Valeriy Zorkin, heads of other ministries and departments, deputies, senators and Great Patriotic War veterans.
Today is the 45th anniversary of the Eternal Flame in the Alexander Garden. On May 7, 1967 a torch was lighted from the Eternal Flame in the Field of Mars in Leningrad, which was brought to Moscow on May 8.
Earlier, the President signed an Executive Order conferring the honorary title of City of Military Glory on two Russian cities: Mozhaysk and Maloyaroslavets.
The President also signed an Executive order for one-time payments to be made in May and June 2012 to Great Patriotic War invalids and veterans, former child inmates of concentration camps, ghettos and other places of forced detention established by the Nazis and their allies during World War II, widows (widowers) of military personnel killed during the war against Finland, the Great Patriotic War, and the war against Japan, and widows (widowers) of Great Patriotic War invalids and veterans now deceased.
Most of the payments are in the range of $85 to $150 (US dollars) to qualified veterans of the Russian Federation.
A ceremonial march by the Kremlin Royal Regiment concluded the ceremony.
After the ceremony President Putin congratulated leaders and countries of the former Soviet Union for their struggle against Nazi aggression.
In his message to President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Mr Putin expressed his confidence that “citizens of Russia and Armenia and all the CIS member states will always honour the military feat and dedication of the frontline soldiers and those who toiled on the home front, defended the freedom of their homeland and made a decisive contribution to the struggle for the liberation of Europe and the world from Nazism. The allied and partner relations between Russia and Armenia are determined by a long tradition of friendship and mutual trust, close fraternal ties and a deep respect for the veterans. The current generation is making a worthy contribution to the consolidation of effective intergovernmental cooperation.”
In his message to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Mr Putin stressed: “Hardened on the frontlines of the Great Patriotic War, our friendship, and traditions of mutual support and trust will continue to serve as a solid basis for further strengthening the strategic partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan. Our peoples’ shared fate in 1941-1945 was to face a horrible ordeal, which they passed honourably. Their feat will remain in our memory forever as an eloquent example of courage and selfless patriotism. They heroically defended their freedom and independence and made a decisive contribution to ridding the world from the threat of Nazi enslavement.”
In his message to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Mr Putin noted: “We will remain forever indebted to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. Their exceptional courage, patriotism and dedication deserve to remain in our hearts forever. The Victory was attained not just by the force of arms, but also the unity of peoples’ will and their determination to fight shoulder to shoulder for the freedom and independence of their homeland. I am confident that a long tradition of friendship, good neighbourly relations and mutual support, as well as our focus on strengthening close integration ties within the CIS will continue to strengthen the Russian-Belarusian allied relations and assist in finding effective solution to social and economic challenges based on democratic principles, human rights and freedoms.”
In his message to President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Mr Putin stated: “The feat of our peoples who defeated Nazism and defended freedom and independence is one of the brightest pages in the shared history of Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On this sacred day we bow our heads before the warriors-liberators and home front workers, and pay tribute to their patriotism and indomitable will. Our shared duty is to remember the price of the Victory and teach the younger generations to respect their heritage.”
Mr. Putin expressed his confidence that “the preservation of the glorious historic traditions will continue to serve as a basis for further strengthening the Russian-Kazakhstani relations of strategic partnership for the benefit of our peoples and for the stability and security in Eurasia.”
In his message to President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, Mr Putin noted that “the Russian-Kyrgyzstani friendship, hardened by the trials of the war years, will remain a sound foundation for further developing the partnership and cooperation between our two countries, strengthening our interaction within the CSTO, the CIS and other Eurasian integration associations.”
Vladimir Putin congratulated President of Moldova Nicolae Timofti on Victory Day. “I am confident that the friendship between our peoples, tempered in the hardships of the war years, will continue to serve as a solid basis for Russian-Moldovan cooperation, both bilateral and within the Commonwealth of Independent States.”
Congratulating the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on the holiday, Mr Putin said: “The memory of the courage and selflessness of the heroes who fought shoulder to shoulder in the Battle of Moscow, at Stalingrad and Kursk, liberated Europe and stormed Berlin inspires us to continue strengthening the allied relations between Russia and Tajikistan. I am confident that the implementation of agreements reached in the framework of the CIS and other multilateral organizations will contribute to the security and stability in the region.”
In his message to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Mr Putin emphasized that it is a duty of the current generations to cherish the sacred memory of the fallen in that terrible war and to use every opportunity to strengthen the consistent tradition of Russian-Turkmenistani friendship. The message highlights that “this objective contributes to our joint policy of expanding ties in trade, the economy, culture and humanitarian sphere, and building constructive cooperation in the international arena.”
In his message to President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Mr Putin noted: “On this glorious holiday, we pay tribute to our parents and grandparents, who saved the world from Nazism. We are united in our sorrow for the immense sacrifices of the war, a sense of pride in the historic feat of veterans and home front workers who brought the Victory Day closer. I am confident that the Russian-Ukrainian friendship, hardened on the frontlines of the Great Patriotic War, will continue to serve as a solid basis for further strengthening the good neighbourly relations and strategic partnership between our nations and will remain an example for the current and future generations.”
In his congratulatory message to President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, Mr Putin expressed confidence that “respect for our shared history and mutual commitment to further deepening cooperation between the two states will continue to serve as a reliable basis for progress in Russia and Uzbekistan in strengthening our alliance and strategic partnership. As we celebrate this date, which is so special for Russia and Uzbekistan, as well as all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, we feel proud of the unparalleled heroism, courage and resilience of the older generations, who have preserved peace and freedom for our peoples. We will always honour the memory of those who gave their lives in the battlefields, and will treat our dear veterans with the utmost care and gratitude, both the soldiers and the selfless home front workers,” Mr Putin wrote.
In his message of congratulations to the President of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab, Mr Putin expressed his firm conviction that “respect for the shared history and memory of the severe trials of the war years are a solid foundation for building joint creative efforts to develop bilateral cooperation in trade, the economy, culture, social and humanitarian spheres, and other areas.”
In his message to President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov, Mr Putin emphasized: “May 9 is a glorious date of our shared history. On this day we feel a special sense of gratitude and pride in remembering those who passed through severe trials in the fight against Nazism in the name of peace and freedom for future generations. I am confident that the tradition of combat brotherhood will provide a sound basis for further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between Russia and South Ossetia.”
In his address to the people of Georgia, Mr Putin stressed: “No matter how much time has passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War, May 9 will forever remain the day of shared pride and memory for the peoples of Russia and Georgia. Our parents and grandparents fought the Nazi invaders shoulder to shoulder and won freedom and peace for future generations. We will always honour the victors’ feat and will defend the truth about the war, determined to prevent any attempts to distort or rewrite history. The unprecedented heroism of the harsh war years will continue to serve as a moral beacon for the younger generation, a strong foundation for the preservation and enhancement of the Russian-Georgian friendship and good neighbourly relations.”
“On this sacred Victory Day I wish to express my profound gratitude to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, to convey to them my warm wishes of health and longevity, and wishes of peace and prosperity to all Georgian people.”