TRANSCRIPT: Putin Speech at a concert marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Battle of Stalingrad

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – February 2, 2013)

Volgograd

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon.

Dear friends, dear veterans,

Over these days our entire country, our entire nation is celebrating a glorious date, the 70th anniversary of our army’ victory in Stalingrad. This is one of the best examples of courage and heroism in international military history.

It is no accident that our allies in the war rightly noted the Battle of Stalingrad’s crucial importance, not only for our country but for the entire world. There was no doubt at the time ­ and you and I have no doubt today ­ that the Battle represents a turning point not only in the Great Patriotic War, but in the World War II as a whole. After Stalingrad our enemy was unable to implement any of its strategic intentions and plans.

The courage and heroism of the city’s defenders were unprecedented and unparalleled, but both sides suffered enormous numbers of victims. Perhaps this is the only instance in the entire World War II when, despite the fact that our side incurred terrible losses, those of the enemy were even greater.

It is no coincidence that we in Russia are not alone in recalling this heroism; the whole world remembers it too. And I am sure it will continue to be remembered not only by current generations, but also by future ones. It is no accident that there are streets, squares and alleys in more than 10 European countries, and even a metro station in Paris, called after Stalingrad. The world remembers the heroes of Stalingrad and we are proud, Russia is proud, of the city’s defenders. We will always be proud of them.

The city’s resident lived, fought and worked in this hell together with the Red Army. When looking at photographs of the time, one cannot help but ask: where did inhabitants of Stalingrad save themselves, where did they live? Was it possible to live in those ruins? It turns out that they did not only live, they were also able to work and fight.

The residents of Stalingrad fought, repaired military equipment, rescued the wounded, and ensured the crossing of the Volga. They made an enormous and invaluable contribution to the battle for Stalingrad.

In Stalingrad we won not only the greatest military victory, but also a great moral one. It was a victory of patriotism and love for our country, for our Fatherland; a victory over evil, hatred and aggression.

Stalingrad will undoubtedly remain a symbol of the Russian people’s invincibility and unity. And as long as we continue to respect ourselves, our history, and to respect and love our country, language, culture, and historical memory, then Russia will always remain invincible.

Glory to Stalingrad’s defenders! Eternal memory to the fallen and those who are no longer with us!

Congratulations, dear friends. I congratulate you on a great victory!