Address by H.E. Mr. Victor I. Sibilev,
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Botswana
on the Eve of Victory Day, 04.05.2015
Dear Colleagues, members of the Diplomatic corps and senior Government officials here present,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to congratulate you on the 70th anniversary of the great victory, on the day of peace and triumph of justice, on the day when good triumphed over evil and freedom triumphed over tyranny.
Seventy years have already passed but every year, on May 9, we continue to mourn those killed and remember the war.
It obliges us to be highly responsible and to realise more profoundly on the edge of what deadly precipice the world found itself at the time; the kind of terrible consequences to which violence and racial hatred, genocide and outrage committed against human beings could have led.
Sixty-one nations and almost 80% of the planet's population found themselves drawn into the fiery orbit of World War II. The burning storm ravaged not only through Europe, but also through Asian and African nations. It reached the shores of the Artic and Indian Oceans, the borders of Egypt and Australia.
The most brutal and crucial events which determined the drama and the outcome of that inhuman war unfolded on the territory of the Soviet Union. The war claimed lives of about 27 million Soviet citizens. Over four years, 17 hundred urban and 70 thousand rural settlements were destroyed, more than 30 000 industrial enterprises were reduced to rubble. Nazis expected to enslave our people in an instant and destroy the country.
Their plans failed. The Soviet army first stopped the Nazis outside Moscow. And over the three subsequent years, it managed not only to resist the assault but also to force the enemy back into his lair. The Red Army marked the victorious end to the war by liberating Europe, waging the battle for Berlin.
But the things could have turned out differently if the Allies had not entered the war with full determination to put an end to the aggression of the Nazi Germany and its satellites.
Dear friends, we have never divided the victory into ours and someone else's. We will always remember the assistance from the Allies, the United States of America, Great Britain, France and other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition, German and Italian anti-fascists.
We are well aware that African nations did not stand aloof during the hard times. We know that Batswana as part of Allied operation were involved in Northern Africa and Southern Italy. Some of them did not return home.
Victory Day is the dearest, the most emotional and the most inclusive commemoration in our country. For the people of the former Soviet Union, it will forever remain a day of the people's great heroic deed, and for the countries of Europe and the entire planet - the day on which the world was saved.
I am convinced that there is no alternative to our friendship and our fraternity. With our closest neighbours and all countries of the world, Russia is prepared to build a kind of relationship which is not only based on lessons of the past but is also directed into a shared future.
Nevertheless, as the Russian President Vladimir Putin recently sad, the Nazism “vaccine” elaborated at the Nuremburg tribunal is losing power in some countries. Therefore our common duty is to combat glorification of Nazism, to prevent attempts of revising the results of the Second World War, and to be firm and consistent in fighting any manifestations of racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism.
In the face of today's real terrorist threats, we must remain faithful to the memory of our fathers. We must defend the world order based on security and justice, a new culture of relations which does not allow for a repetition of cold or hot wars.
I have the honour to open the joint photographic exhibition. Its first part “Feat of Arms Chronicle” is dedicated to the World War II in Russia. The other part “My Love, Moscow” depicts the views of Russia’s capital over several decades. Photographs displayed here were kindly granted to the Embassy by the Central State Archive of Moscow, and I would like to express grateful acknowledgement to Moscow City Government for its valuable contribution to organizing this exposition.
Dear friends, I once again congratulate everyone on the great victory day!