Putin Congratulates Russians On 56-th VE-Day Anniversary

President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation congratulated Victory Parade participants, war veterans and all Russian citizens on the 56-th anniversary of the USSR's victory in the Great Patriotic War. The significance of our victory tends to increase at this stage, as we perceive it from the new century, Putin noted. That victory gave us an opportunity to live and work in peace, to become consolidated and to grow stronger, also enabling us to enter the new millennium as an independent and proud state, he stressed. The President hailed the Great Patriotic War's veterans, stressing that they had defended their right to live in a free country. Thank you for your peaceful work and for your war efforts; thank you for your courage and fortitude; and thank you for being here with us, Putin stressed. We know the price of victory only too well, remembering millions of people, who were killed and crippled as a result of the war, Putin stressed, also adding that it was our sacred duty to care for war veterans and home-front veterans. According to Putin, we keep celebrating May 9 with tears in our eyes. This holiday has forever combined grandeur and sorrow, popular pride and popular memory, as well as the glitter of our veterans' medals and tears, the President said. Our people displayed such unity and will-power that they were able to rally the entire world against Nazism, Putin noted. We have no right to lose that spirit today; nor do we have any right to betray our holy relics and our aspiration toward victory, the President went on to say. The Russian Armed Forces have once again received their Red Banner, which used to inspire them during the war, Putin stressed. Traditions of victory constitute the Russian army's spiritual foundation, the President noted. We won the most just 20-th century liberation war, fighting for our country's sovereignty and independence, Putin added, stressing that Russia needed its lessons today. According to Putin, that war's lessons warn us that any pandering to violence and extremism leads to terrible tragedies. VE-Day is seen as the main popular holiday for 56 consecutive years; it is also our dearest holiday, the President noted. Not every nation can boast such a victory, the President went on to say, adding that it was a great honor and a huge responsibility to inherit that victory. Glory to the soldiers, who won the war in 1945; glory to the victorious nation; and glory to Russia, Putin said in conclusion.

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