Putin Cites the Battle of Stalingrad as ‘The Eternal Symbol of the Invincibility of Our People’
Feb. 2, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Today is a sacred day in Russian history, the 80th anniversary of the Feb. 2, 1942, marking the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad. Paying homage to those who fought and died during that six-month battle, one of the largest and longest in what Russians call the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), President Vladimir Putin laid wreaths at the Eternal Flame at the Hall of Military Glory in Volgograd—the renamed Stalingrad—and at the gravesite of Marshal Vasily Chuikov, the extraordinary commander of the 62nd Army responsible for the defense of the city and the final defeat of the Nazi forces.
Putin’s very moving message not only drove home the meaning of that 1942 victory, but the memory it seared in the minds of generations that followed and its relevance for Russia’s battle against Nazism in Ukraine today. “Our moral duty—first of all to the victorious soldiers—is to cherish and fully preserve the memory of this feat, pass it on to future generations, not allow anyone to belittle or distort the role of the Battle of Stalingrad in the victory over Nazism, in the liberation of the whole world from this monstrous evil,” he said.
“Those who threaten us seem to fail to understand the simple truth that our entire nation, all of us, were brought up and absorbed our people’s traditions with our mothers’ milk. There was the generation of victors who gave their blood, sweat and tears to create the country that we inherited from them.” Stalingrad, he emphasized, will always represent the “eternal symbol of the invincibility of our people, the essence of life.”
As for the current Ukrainian situation, it is “unbelievable, but true,” Putin said. “We are once again threatened with German Leopard tanks, with crosses on their hull. And once again seeking to battle Russia in Ukraine with the help of Hitler’s followers, the Banderites.”
He added a warning: “Those seeking to defeat Russia on the battlefield apparently do not realize that a modern war with Russia would be entirely different for them. We’re not sending our tanks to their borders. Yet we have something to respond with, and it would not be limited to armor use only, everyone must realize that.”
The Russian President pointed out that after the war, Stalingrad and its environs “had to be restored literally from scratch by the whole country,” because “there was practically not a single tree, not a single building left intact” in the city by February 1943. “The exceptional steadfastness and dedication of the defenders of the residents of Stalingrad look as deeply astounding now as they did then, and arouse feelings of the sincerest gratitude and respect.”