“Our Common Victory And Its Lessons”, the article by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to
Turkey, published in “Hurriyet Daily News”
OUR COMMON VICTORY AND ITS LESSONS
By VLADIMIR IVANOVSKIY
Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey
“Hurriyet Daily News”, May 7, 2010
The 65th anniversary of the victory against fascism is a good reason to mark the tragic events that led to the
greatest global disaster of the 20th century and to perceive the causes which led to the Second World War and to
contemplate its lessons.
It is also a chance to honor the feats of the winners, to bow one’s head in memory of the dozens of soldiers and
officers of the anti-Hitler coalition, civilians – women, children and elder people, killed by bombs and tortured in
concentration camps – and the people of different religions, ethnicities, political thoughts and views that were lost
in the war.
World War II brought unspeakable pain and sufferings to the people of Europe and the whole world. In the countries
affected by the war nobody was left far from the consequences of the military actions and occupation.
The victory in the struggle against Nazism took a lot of efforts. The war that involved 72 states, killed more than
55 million people – 27 million of who were Soviet citizens – caused colossal material harm and damages.
The upcoming 65th anniversary celebration of the victory has a symbolic significance. For many, especially the
veterans, this is a very personal holiday, but the veterans, unfortunately, are leaving us, but their memory remains –
an eternal memory of those who perished defending their fatherland from the plague of the 20th century.
And there also remain the lessons which the world community have drawn from the events of more than half a century
ago, but which have not lost their relevance today. In discussing this theme, we also bear considerable moral
responsibility to those who paid with their lives for the defeat of Nazism and to new generations learning about the
war from textbooks and films.
World War II was indeed an epochal event. It was not only a global battle that exceeded in scale all previous armed
conflicts in world history. There collided in it not merely the different interests of states and even not so much
different ideologies, but the diametrically opposed, irreconcilable approaches to the very bases of mankind's
existence. For the first time in history, the stake in this struggle was the preservation of the life of whole peoples.
The gas chambers and crematoria of Oswiencim, or Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Salaspils and other death camps demonstrated
what fascism carried with it, what future its so-called "new order" had in store for the world. And those who
in some countries today question both the significance of the victory and the role of the USSR in it are forgetting
that, without the Soviet Union, these countries might not have been on the map.
As Winston Churchill wrote: "It was the Russian army who tore the guts out of the German war machine."
The great victory is indivisible
We did not divide the victory into percentages in 1945 and we don’t divide it now. Together with our allies, we mark
the 65th anniversary of the opening of the second front, together we shall celebrate the Jubilee of Victory in Moscow.
All the allies of the anti-Hitler coalition won the Second World War. It was our common victory.
The main outcome of the war is not just the victory of one coalition of states against the other. In essence, it is
the victory of the forces of construction and civilization over the forces of destruction and barbarity, the victory of
life over death.
The war turned into the greatest tragedy for the peoples of Europe and the world, regardless of whose side their
states fought on. Not a single family, not a single life story was untouched by its consequences.
The creation of the anti-Hitler coalition may rightfully be called the biggest diplomatic breakthrough of its time.
The coalition became an example of the rallying of states of different ideologies and political systems in the face of
a common mortal danger. Today, 65 years on, there is no need to simplify or embellish history. Each of the anti-Hitler
coalition states pursued its aims, had its own national interests. The participants of the coalition succeeded in
rising above their differences and putting aside all that was secondary for the sake of achieving a common victory as
their principal task.
The experience of the international brotherhood in arms during the war years is assuming particular significance in
the conditions when a global challenge has again been thrown down to humanity, this time by international terrorism,
which is no less dangerous and cunning and no less merciless: thousands of innocent people have already become its
victims. The foundations of civilization have again turned out to be in jeopardy.
Terrorism has nothing to offer the world but violence and scorn for human life. It is prepared to trample upon the
most elementary norms of human morality for the achievement of its maniacal aims.
To cope with this kind of threat, just as 65 years ago, is only possible on the basis of solidarity and mutual
trust. "Double standards" with regard to terrorists are as inadmissible as attempts to rehabilitate the
fascists' accomplices. Giving terrorists a public platform for stating their mankind-hating views is as immoral and
unnatural for contemporary Europe as the parades of former SS men in the countries claiming adherence to democratic
Our common duty consists primarily of putting a reliable barrier in the way of disseminating the ideas of
intolerance and racial, national or religious superiority, behind which world dominance pretensions hide, serving as a
ground for new threats.
Global security is indivisible
Neither do the lessons of World War II appear less relevant from the viewpoint of construction of the postwar world
pattern. The striving to deliver humanity from the scourge of war for good inspired the nations of the anti-Hitler
coalition to establish a global mechanism for safeguarding peace and security – the United Nations Organization. Its
charter became a generally recognized basis of contemporary international law, and a fundamental code of conduct for
states and international organizations.
Today, it is obvious as never before that the only state or international organization in the Euro-Atlantic region
can not improve its security by the means of security of the other states and organizations. This principle of common
security corresponds with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s European security treaty draft. Its main idea is to
create in the military and political spheres of the Euro-Atlantic region a united and undivided space. The world, and
first of all Europe, today needs a system of true undivided security, when no state tries to provide its security by
the means of the others.
The 65th anniversary of the victory must not cause confrontation or serve to settle old scores and reciprocal
grievances. It is symbolic that the United Nations has designated the 8th and 9th of May as the Days of Remembrance and
Reconciliation. It is important that the upcoming holiday contribute to uniting all countries and peoples and serve to
reinforce our solidarity in the face of the global challenges of the 21st century.