Address at the ceremony of laying wreaths at the Victory Monument

    Address of President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko at the ceremony of laying wreaths at the Victory Monument on 9 May 2013

    Dear veterans,

    Dear compatriots and guests of Minsk,

    Following a good tradition we have gathered together in the heart of Minsk Hero City to celebrate a holy and dear holiday – Victory Day.

    We mark the 68th anniversary, meet the 68th peaceful spring. In our native country cannot be heard the sound of gunfire and air bombs. Shelters and trenches are grassed over. Gruesome ovens of concentration camps got cold. New towns and villages were built instead of ruins and burned areas.

    The land has cured its wounds. Life has triumphed over death. But for the Belarusian people, who sacrificed every third citizen in the fight against Nazism, the war will never become a distant past. It will remain in memory of the generation of victors and in the memory of their grateful descendants. The entire mankind can draw a lesson from the war.

    However, there are those who constantly attempt to revise the history of the Great Patriotic War, to diminish the heroic struggle of the Soviet people, tarnish the guerrilla movement and rehabilitate the Nazi executioners and especially their lackeys.

    Our duty, our sacred mission is to keep the truth about the war and about the legendary feat of the Soviet people. We will not let anyone take the great victory away from us!

    We will always remember how Nazism emerged on the basis of inhuman ideology and coward policies of superpowers. They brought up a monster and then became the first victims of the Fascist military machine.

    Having conquered Europe in a matter of months, Hitler's legions approached the borders of the Soviet Union. However, their strategists forgot the historical warning of the holy defender of Slavonic lands, Alexander Nevsky: “Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish”.

    For the Soviet people the war became patriotic. Millions of people of different nationalities, generations and social classes took up arms. Even heavy losses of the Red Army at the beginning of the war did not break the will of the people, their willingness to fight to the last drop of blood for every inch of their native land.

    At the front and in the rear, in the guerilla and underground movement squads, in ghettos and concentration camps, the Soviet people accomplished the feat which is unparalleled in the human history. They turned the tragedy into the triumph, the bitterness of defeat into victory.

    Belarus was the first defense line which did not surrender to the enemy. The feat of the Brest Fortress defenders, the courage of hundreds of thousands of guerilla and underground movement fighters, the gallantry of liberators who helped our country shake off the yoke of fascism are inscribed in Belarusian history books with golden letters.

    It was on the lands of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine where the Wehrmacht that knew no defeats before was stopped and the destiny of Europe was decided. We will never let anyone forget that it was the Soviet people who made the decisive contribution to the defeat of the Nazis through unbelievable efforts and countless sacrifices.

    We keep the memory of great world leaders such as Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt who rose above political disagreements and formed a united front of nations against the Nazi enslavement. We are grateful to all the allies of the anti-Hitler coalition for their participation in the fight against the enemy.

    Those who did not come home from the war rest in peace under thousands of monuments, in numerous marked and unmarked graves. While our Earth is turning round the Sun, while our hearts are beating, we will remember their deed. We have no right to forget.

    The Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War which is currently under construction in Minsk is the embodiment of national memory. This magnificent memorial shows that we keep the truth about the days of war and respect deeply the people who fought against the Nazi aggressors.

    Dear friends, let us honor the memory of all heroes and victims of the Great Patriotic War with a minute of silence.

    (The minute of silence).

    Dear friends,

    People of good will joined efforts to stop fascism. Its masterminds and tormentors were justly punished. However, unfortunately, Nuremberg Trials, the tribunal which convicted war criminals, could not pass the sentence upon the war, which is the most horrible crime against humanity.

    Since the Victory salute over Berlin, we have witnessed the hot spots break out on different continents of the world, including Europe, people die and rivers of blood flow.

    The war is acquiring news shapes and tools. Now they use not only weapons but also political and information pressure and economic blackmail, threats and sanctions.

    An undeclared cold war has been waged against sovereign Belarus. Some people in the West could not accept the fact that Belarus has not become a "banana republic" dancing to the tune of overseas democracies. We are pressurized by sanctions and are vilified. NATO warplanes fly along our borders, new provocations are created.

    But no one will make our people abandon the chosen path. Belarus strictly follows the principles of international law, is open to cooperation with all, but only on the principles of mutual respect and trust.

    Millions of Belarusians are committed to protecting the sovereignty of the state. I n modern times the defense of the Motherland becomes a true nationwide duty based on patriotism and the readiness of every single person to protect the independence of the Belarusian state

    The Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus are the core of defense of the Fatherland. Our military doctrine is based on the principles of defensive sufficiency and strategic containment of potential aggression. Belarus fully honors its obligations within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

    Russia is Belarus’ most important security and defense partner. Given the new challenges and threats to our security, we seek to strengthen the air defense to ensure the inviolability of the borders of the state and its sovereignty. I want to stress that new system and airplanes are purely defensive weapons. We will have as many as we need to ensure security of the state.

    The military doctrines of Belarus and Russia are strictly defensive. We do not need foreign lands. But given the experience of past generations and the latest tragic events, we will guard our lands with our lives. Therefore, we will do all we can to protect the borders of the Union State and strengthen the brotherhood in arms.

    Dear veterans,

    People are always looking for the source of strengthening their spiritual potential in their glorious past. We need to remember the Great Patriotic War in order find inspiration in the past and be confident about the future.

    Accept our immense gratitude for this holiday. We thank you for peaceful skies and our lives, for this wonderful country which develops and becomes more beautiful every day.

    I am confident that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will keep your traditions of valor and courage.

    With all my heart I congratulate you, dear veterans, the people and our guests, on Victory Day.

    I wish strong health, success, happiness and wellbeing to you, your families and friends.

    Happy Victory Day, dear friends!