Let’s bow to those great years!
Dear fellow countrymen and foreign guests!
Today, we’re celebrating with you a dear and sacred holiday for all of us — Victory Day! It’s a day of heroism and fame for all those Soviet people who protected their native land and liberated humanity from Nazism.
67 years separate us from those May days when the red banner of freedom, washed with the blood of millions of heroes, was raised over the Reichstag by Soviet Army soldiers.
Since then, cannons have never again thundered upon our land. Shells haven’t exploded, the stoves of concentrated camps have not blazed and people have not died under bombardment. Generations have been raised without awareness of the horrors of war.
We highly appreciate the contribution of the states which joined the anti-Hitler coalition and of all those which opposed Fascism, bringing Victory. However, we shouldn’t forget that it was the Soviet Union which played the decisive role in destroying Nazism.
We must remember the strength, courage and determination of the millions of ordinary Soviet people who fought the enemy without sparing themselves. They fought for each town and village. They created a people’s army of partisans and undergrounders. They worked in factories to the point of exhaustion and fainted with hunger — in the fields while growing wheat for bread and while forging the weaponry of Liberation.
Belarus played a vital role in this irreconcilable opposition of Good and Evil. The myth of the invincibility of Hitler’s military armada was dispelled on our land. Our heroic opposition to the enemy began in the first minutes of that fatal June dawn of 1941 and lasted until the complete expulsion of the occupying force.
One of the largest military operations in history — Bagration — was deployed on our territory, uniting the forces of the Soviet Army and the partisan movement. It cleared Belarus of invaders while opening the path for Europe’s liberation.
The legacy of those fiery years is forever imprinted in the nation’s genetic memory. Today, near the Eternal Flame, we again feel their furious struggle and the grief of loss. We again feel the unconquerable spirit of those soldiers who defended Brest Fortress and the Dnieper Line. We feel the courage of the heroes of the Ushachi breakthrough and Minsk underground, and the pain of Khatyn’s burnt children and of the thousands of prisoners who were held in ghettos and death camps. We remember the exultation of Minskers in July 1944, as they welcomed Soviet soldiers with tears in their eyes.
Let’s bow to those great years. Let’s commemorate those who perished calmly, according to Slavonic custom. May those heroes who liberated the Homeland enjoy eternal fame and may eternal disgrace fall on those aggressors and traitors who destroyed our nation!
Let’s honour the memory of those who died in battle and who became victims of Nazi genocide, with a minute of silence.
(A minute of silence.)
Analysing the lessons of WWII, we can draw a major conclusion: we must do everything in our power to never allow the tragedy to be repeated.
Seven decades ago, in the face of the threat of total destruction, world leaders united their efforts for the sake of humanity, leaving aside the polarity of political systems.
In January 1942, the Big Four — the Soviet Union, the UK, the USA and China — joined 22 other countries in signing the Declaration of United Nations, proclaiming that ‘complete victory over the common enemy is a necessary condition for the rule of human rights and justice, both in our native lands and elsewhere’.
This historical example of joint struggle against the inhuman ideology of Fascism should be an orienting point for contemporary politicians. However different our opinions, we all, who have the trust of the people, should have something that is above subjective discrepancies and short-term expectations. We should aim to build a fair and safe world order.
The war passed like a murderous hurricane through the territory of Belarus, taking away a third of our residents. The Belarusian nation has earned its right to live as it desires.
Recently, we have seen many examples of ignorance of international law and rude interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states in the Middle East and Africa, as well as in other ‘hot spots’. Threats and intimidation are also addressed to our country. Accordingly, it’s of the greatest importance that we remain firm and courageous.
We firmly announce the inadmissibility of rewriting WWII history and of violating the principles of the Organisation of United Nations. We advocate that provision be made for each nation’s right to free choice in its path of development — rather than the imposition of ‘new democratic order’ (as seen seven decades ago).
Being at the centre of Europe, our state pursues a multi-vector foreign policy, open to dialogue with both West and East. However, don’t misinterpret our good will as weakness, believing you can address Belarus with blackmail and threats.
Some things cannot be sacrificed for the sake of national prosperity: independence, dignity and stability. Respect for these achievements of the Great Victory unites us, making us a single, strong nation.
Belarus is developing and strengthening its armed forces, while interacting with partners on collective security. Jointly with brotherly Russia, we are protecting the borders of our Fatherland.
We understand that the character of war has changed and continues to do so. Today’s aggressors often try to ‘decompose’ a country from inside, placing it in a subordinate position via economic sanctions and the political activity of local ‘fifth columns’. They disseminate chaos and revolution via IT and social networks. The struggle for people’s consciousness is of particular note.
Under such modern conditions, the protection of the Fatherland must be conducted nationwide, relying on patriotism and the readiness of each resident to defend the interests of their Homeland through all spheres. The invaluable experience of that generation of winners is a source of spiritual and moral power for the Belarusian nation.
Through your lives and heroic deeds, you’ve given us an example of civil dignity and selfless service to the Fatherland. We’ll guard the peace you won for us.
Contemporary Belarus continues to pay homage to the events of those years and the fates of front line soldiers. Today, descendants of those who gained military fame parade in festive columns alongside our hero-liberators. I have no doubt that they and their children will never allow anyone to ignore the achievements of the victorious spring of 1945.
I’d also like to address our foreign veterans who helped liberate our country. Belarus preserves a grateful memory of you. Victory Day is our common celebration!
Dear veterans, I wish you strong health, good spirits and long years of life.
I wish all our fellow countrymen and guests happiness, prosperity and all possible successes, for the benefit of our peaceful, free and wonderful Belarus.
Congratulations on Victory Day!