by Alexander Kuznetsov,
Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO
on the Day of Victory over nazism in the Great Patriotic and Second World War,
9 May, 2020
Today Russia and many people all over the world celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over nazism in the Second World War, which will always stay in Russian memory as the Great Patriotic War.
27 million human lives – that is the terrible price the peoples of the Soviet Union paid for destroying nazi criminal regime and its deadly war machine. Most Russian families lost their loved ones. In my own family several persons including my father fought the nazies. My relatives died of hunger during one of the greatest tragedies of the Second World War – the siege of Leningrad, now St Petersburg.
This collective memory of the greatest ordeal in the history of Russia is the reason why all of us, Russian citizens, venerate so much the generation of our fellow countrymen and women who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the Victory. This generation saved our country and the entire Europe.
These are the reasons why we cherish the memory of this war and would never accept attempts to rewrite its history out of narrow political interests and tarnish the honour of those who gave their lives for the liberation of Europe.
UNESCO – the first universal humanitarian organization in the history of humankind – is also a direct result of this great Victory. It was born on the ruins of the Second World War. Its creation was inspired by a noble concept “that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed”.
This idea explains the particular attachment of Russia to the principles and values of UNESCO. We are deeply convinced that in today’s world full of new threats and challenges, the mandate and the mission of UNESCO are as important as ever before.
Today is the moment of pride and sorrow. We bow to the fallen heroes of the allied armies. We express our eternal gratitude to the war veterans from all allied nations.
Let the memory of the Second World War inspire us to continue the noble cause of UNESCO. Let us assume responsibility for the peaceful future of our planet and join efforts to build up a better world.