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Speech at the wreath ceremony at Victory Monument on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of Great Victory

9 May 2019
Dear veterans!

Dear compatriots, foreign guests!

I congratulate you on the great holiday – Victory Day.

The Belarusian nation has been living and working under the peaceful sky for the eighth decade. It is thanks to the feat of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers that we can breathe freedom, raise children and enjoy every new day.

Today we honor the courage of soldiers, the heroism of partisans and underground movement members, the titanic efforts of homefront  workers,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

It was on the Belarusian land that Soviet soldiers debunked the myth of the invincibility of the Third Reich war machine. They fought for their Motherland. They fought to the bitter near Minsk and Mogilev, on the banks of the Dnieper and Berezina. Every line of defense was the Brest Fortress for the enemy.

Grief came almost to every Belarusian family. Two-thirds of those killed in the war were civilians.

The terrible places of the genocide of the Belarusian people are well known all over the world: Khatyn, Dalva, Ozarichi, Shunevka, Trostenets. This sorrowful list seems endless,”  the president said.

The fate of the children of war is a special theme. Today these are elderly people - living evidence and witnesses to the atrocities. Their loved ones were killed in front of them. They grew up in hunger and cold in the first postwar years. They helped defend the country and rebuild it.

The gloomiest pages in the sorrowful  book of war were children's donor concentration camps. Thousands passed through them, few survived. All those who encourage neo-Nazi rallies and processions of the elderly SS soldiers in Europe today should come to Belarus and visit the village of Krasny Bereg that was the place of a children's concentration camp and see the memorial to the crushed child dreams.

Great Victory is the triumph of life over death. Coming generations should know what price our people paid for freedom. In the name of goodness, justice and peace. Nothing similar must ever happen again.

We mourn the victims of the war - women, elderly and children. They had more than their fair share of hardships during the occupation. Lasting memory to those who wanted to live but fell on battlefields, died of wounds or in the concentration camps and ghettos.

Let us bow our heads before those who did not come back from that war. Let us honor their memory with a minute of silence.

(A minute of silence is accompanied by the sounds of a metronome)

Time flies and the number of veterans of the Great Patriotic War is getting fewer. Our sacred duty is to support and take care of frontline soldiers and homefront workers, to give them a decent life.

My usual appeal to you, dear veterans, is to live! Today you can be proud of your children and grandchildren. The current generation of the military honors the Victory traditions. After all, the main lesson of the Great Victory is that peace must be fought for. Especially nowadays, when it is under the gun of global terrorism and not only it. We need to fight for peace together, in unison. As it was then, in the harsh 1940s when thousands of anti-fascists from European states such as Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Austria, France, Italy and even Germany fought together as part of the Belarusian resistance movement.

Unfortunately, there is no such unity in Europe today. What we see is the growing military presence on our borders. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has been terminated.

We are confident, however, in the need to maintain constructive dialogue with all the countries. Peace is life. Any peace is better than war which we lived through many times. We are ready for this dialogue.

Dear friends!

The events of the summer 1941 forever divided the country's history into before and after the war. Thousands of books have been written about it, hundreds of films have been made. However, a lot of white spots still remain. "First of all, it is about the fate of people, soldiers and partisans who went missing, underground fighters tortured to death by Gestapo, ghetto prisoners perished no one knows when and how.

The goal of the nationwide campaign Belarus Remembers! is to keep the sacred memory of every participant in the war. This is a project that looks into the future. This is a truly immortal regiment.

We need to keep the binding link between generations. Through the fates of the solders-victors, and their loved ones who defended peace and freedom, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren need to see themselves part of a big history of their country, feel the pain of irreparable human loss and value the great feat of the Soviet soldier.

A large-scale project, To the Glory of the Common Victory! serves the purpose of preserving the memory about the people’s feat. The soil washed in blood of Soviet soldiers will be taken from every Belarusian region and areas bordering on Russia and Ukraine, every military grave site and place of civilians’ killings. On 9 May 2020, the 75th anniversary of the Victory, capsules with this sacred soil and the names of those killed will be placed in the All Saints Church in Minsk.
 
Only by joint efforts we can preserve and perpetuate the name of every soldier and preserve the heroic heritage which became part of our nation’s DNA.
 
Dear compatriots!

On this sacred day I wish you strong health, happiness, wellbeing, and peaceful sky.

Happy Victory Day, my friends! 

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© 2019, The Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus