Voices from Russia

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Russian Veterans Remember…

Filed under: inspirational,patriotic,Russian,Soviet period — 01varvara @ 00.00


A veteran of the Second Great Patriotic War. This cohort from all the members of the anti-Hitler coalition is dwindling. Honour them and give them respect. They earned it.


Festivities are in full swing in Russia in the run-up to Defenders of the Motherland Day, celebrated on 23 February. War veterans and the young generation of army officers alike are paying tribute to the memories of those who fought the Nazis on land, at sea, and in the air. The meeting brought together grey-haired veterans, public figures, and younger folk. The vets recalled the severe years of the war and swapped opinions on the challenges facing the Russian army today. A talk delivered by Lieutenant General Dmitri Mikhailik, who was a major on Victory Day in 1945, was fairly emotional. “On the battlefront, I was a commander, first of a platoon, then, a company, and finally, a battalion. I started in the South-Western front, then, in besieged Leningrad, then, the Baltic region, at Königsberg. I know what devastation war brings… I saw it with my own eyes. We won eventually, defying death, doing the impossible, we fought a long 1,418 days and nights and we came out the winners. The Soviet soldier earned eternal glory for our Motherland, army, and people”. As a soldier, General Mikhailik refuses to accept attempts to re-write the history of the great Victory over the Nazis and is more than against the false writers who argue that what counted in the war was the numerical strength, rather than military skills. The war revealed the genius of army commanders, such as Zhukov and Rokossovsky, and it proved a major trial to our country, with 1,710 cities razed to the ground by the Nazis. Even though the army went through difficult times after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it’s now strong enough to defend the Russian people. Major General Nikolai Tarakanov commented, “The current attempts to deploy a missile defence shield around Russia are offensive, to say the least. So, the president was quite right when he said Russia should be prepared to repulse any attack, so that the enemy won’t catch it unawares, like in the Great Patriotic War”. As the combat capacity of the Russian Army is built up, the army and fleet are supplied with cutting-edge aircraft, missile systems, and naval vessels. Today, this hardware is safely in the hands of defenders of our Motherland.

Oleg Nekhai

22 February 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



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