Solemn meeting timed to 70th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War
The whole world owes a great debt of gratitude to the Soviet people for their feat, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the solemn meeting dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Soviet nation’s victory in the Great Patriotic War held on 7 May.
“The whole world should be eternally indebted to the Soviet people who paid an incredibly high price – the lives of 30 million people – for the Victory. These were people who were killed in the battlefield or died from wounds, tortured to death in Nazi death camps, burned alive in such places as Khatyn, died from starvation and cold in besieged Leningrad or who worked to death in the rear,” the head of state stressed.
The President reminded that the courage and heroism of Soviet soldiers put an end to World War Two which lasted for almost six years in Europe. European countries gained freedom and independence, and could determine their way of development themselves.
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked those who fought on the side of the Allies of World War Two, activists of the Resistance Movement. “They have made a contribution to the fight against fascism. The Western Front opened in 1944 helped smash the enemy in its stronghold. But the historical truth is as follows: the leading and major role in the common fight against fascism was played by the Soviet Union. The Soviet-German frontline was four times longer than the western frontlines altogether,” the Belarusian leader noted.
The head of state also stressed that Belarus was the first country to face the tremendous attack of the enemy; it did not surrender. It became a live shield on the way of the aggressor. Even before the opening of the Western Front local partisans took under their control 60% of Belarus’ territory occupied by the Nazis. About 38,000 square kilometers were free from Nazi invaders. This area can be compared to the territory of the Netherlands and Belgium. More than 1.3 million Belarusian natives, including over 200 generals and admirals, fought in the Red Army. The Hero of the Soviet Union title was conferred on 4,500 Belarusians.
“We will never betray the memory of millions of people – soldiers and peaceful citizens killed by the Nazis. No one is forgotten and nothing is forgotten! We did not forget that Belarus lost one third of its population. More than a half of our national wealth was destroyed, over 200 towns and villages were demolished. Nazi invaders set up 260 death camps and 170 ghettos on the territory of Belarus. More than 200,000 Soviet and European people died in the Trostenets concentration camp near Minsk alone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
According to the President, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory is a moment of truth. “During these days we look back into the past and evaluate the present. The Victory demands unity and solidarity of the heirs of the Soviet nation. But decades later so-called accountants among us, leaders and politicians, start dreaming about dividing the Victory in accordance with the specific weight of nationalities. Arguments about the specific percentage of Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Georgian, and Uzbek blood in the Victory are already in progress,” the Belarusian leader stated.
“There is a simple answer to these slurs: the Nazi were destroyed not by Russians and Belarusians, not by Ukrainians and Georgians, not by Kazakhs and Uzbeks. The Great Victory was gifted to us by the great Soviet nation!” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Soviet soldiers did not think of their nationality when fighting in the Brest Fortress and Leningrad, near Moscow, Stalingrad, and in the Battle of Kursk, when liberating Belarus and Western Europe, and storming Berlin. “When they raised the Flag of Victory, they were united. The victory was universal and will never be divided!” the Belarusian head of state made it clear.
“We must always remember that the Victory is sacred! Only clean hands and pure souls can touch it,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “History should be honored and respected. Conclusions should be made and lessons should be learned. History cannot be adjusted to match the modern world for the sake of rankings, for justifying faults and mistakes in politics,” he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that during the hard 1990s attention to the Victory and the winners was weakened greatly in the ex-USSR. The deed of the Soviet nation was allowed to be cast into oblivion. “Some did it because they lost their minds and memories. Some did it in order not to offend present-day Germany. They didn’t mention such notions as Nazism, fascism, and genocide which were fully represented during the years of World War Two,” the head of state said.
“In the countries that arose from the ashes of the Soviet Union some political rabble decided to rewrite the history of the Great Patriotic War as per instructions of Western revisionists and local nationalists,” the Belarusian President said. Attempts are made to convince modern young people that the Nazi did not start that dreadful war but the Soviet Union did. They label underground resistance movement heroes and partisans as bandits and call Nazi collaborators patriots. “The so-called patriots burned people and their homes village after village and town after town, they raped women, murdered children and elderly people,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“Nobody is allowed to forget the harsh truth of that war! Nobody is allowed to blacken the name of the liberating nation, to curse the great symbols, to scorn monuments and military graves. You have to know the history and remember its lessons. Whoever fails to do that is doomed to repeating the most tragic mistakes,” the head of state emphasized.
Speaking about Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that nobody in the country has been allowed to falsify the history of the Great Patriotic War. “We revere and take good care of the history because that war turned out to be an unbelievable test of endurance for the Belarusian nation. We cannot forget that those who besmirch the Great History are trying to take away our feeling of national pride, our human dignity and confidence in the future,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted with regret that certain countries today do interfere in the domestic affairs of sovereign states, and the policy of pressure and economic blackmail became commonplace long ago. “Apart from that, global power players instigate military conflicts in various places on Earth. Weapons become a tool for promoting the economic interests of certain superpowers. They are stepping up military activities, accumulating weapons, and increasing the military potential near our borders,” the President said.
“All that does not help to strengthen peace, poses new threats and destabilizes the situation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Once again Europe smells ashes 70 years after World War Two ended. And the most dreadful thing, something the victors and millions of those killed and burnt in Nazi death camps could not have foreseen, is that we, their descendants, will shoot at each other, that a brother will try to destroy a brother! But it has happened, it happened in the land where blood of the victors was shed in abundance. It is a terrible ‘gift’ for the fallen and the live ones! A terrible pain for the war veterans that live today!” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
According to the President, thousand years of history have fused together the three brotherly nations — Belarusians, Russians, and Ukrainians — to the end of time. “We feel pain over the tragic events happening to our brothers,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“Belarus has already done a lot for the sake of re-establishing peace in Ukraine. And we are ready to do more than that. We are ready to do everything necessary to stop the war. If we, Slavonic people, fail to come to terms, fail to decide what we should do, no one else will be able to help us,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
Speaking about Victory Day, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that parades and other festivities are good and war veterans appreciate them. “But when all’s said and done, we are bad heirs of those, who won that war. We didn’t save, didn’t hold on to the country they protected. Moreover, we started an unforgivable war in the Slavonic land. The sooner we understand it and do everything necessary to stop the war and repent while war veterans and war witnesses are still alive, the better it will be for our generation,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus can resolutely suppress any attempts to interfere in its home affairs. “Peace, independence, social accord and stability are the main national values for our people. We do not have enemies. We have never threatened anyone and will never do it. But we are ready to defend independence and peace on our soil in any conditions. Belarus will have enough political will, strength and means to resolutely suppress any attempts to interfere in its home affairs,” the Belarusian leader stated.
The President emphasized that Belarus respects the right of every state to choose its own way of development and expects that the way of development of the Belarusian people will be respected too.
“The victory over fascism is the brightest event in our history. As long as people remember it and are proud of the feat of the generation of people who defended the independence of our Motherland and protected the world from fascism, we will be safe,” the Belarusian leader concluded.
Addressing the veterans, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We will always be proud of you. Your heroism and selflessness will be an example for the future generations of Belarusians. We are glad to see you today and to celebrate this historic date, the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, together!”