Here is the full text of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Friday speech in Red Square, as translated by The Washington Post.
Dear citizens of Russia, dear veterans, dear soldiers and sailors, dear sergeants and majors, warrant officers! Comrades, officers and admirals. I wish you a happy Victory Day!
Sixty-nine years have passed, but the 9th of May was, is and will be our main holiday. This is the day of national triumph and pride. The day of mourning and eternal memory. This is a holiday that demonstrates the winning power of patriotism, the day when all of us become emotionally aware of what it is like to be devoted to the Motherland and how important it is to defend the country's interests.
We must be worthy the deeds of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who protected our home soil and smashed Nazism. The victory was carved out on the frontline and in the rear, in the partisan units and underground. It was brought nearer by the courage of defenders of the beseiged Leningrad and bravery of defenders of Sevastopol, the valor of thousands of soldiers who stood firm defending their positions.
The outcome of the entire World War II was determined in the brutal battles of Moscow and Stalingrad, Kursk and Dnieper.
The Soviet people's unbending will, fearlessness and firmness saved Europe from slavery. It was our native country that drove the fascists out of their den, and accomplished their crushing and final defeat at the price of millions of lives and ordeals. We will always cherish this sacred and unfading truth. And we will never allow the betrayal and oblivion of the heroes – all those who selflessly safeguarded peace on our planet.
Dear friends, today we are honoring the memory of those killed in the war, those who are not with us today. Every family honors their devotion to the Motherland. The continuous link between generations is our national wealth. The strength and dignity of Russia is based on it.
We are thanking our veterans. We are proud of you! On this solemn day there is nobody closer and dearer than you. It is in your honor there are flowers and fireworks, and the might of the parade units. But the main thing is that we are giving you the warmth of our hearts! You did not only go through all the hardships of the war, but you restored the country afterwards and worked for the common welfare. You were capable of making friends and enjoying life and passed down to us the need to keep the same heights -- the height of unity, creation and love of the Motherland. We will never let you down. We will take care of Russia and its glorious history and we will always put service to the Motherland at the very top -- that is how it has always been in our country. And I am sure that is how it will be in the future! Glory to the people - victors!