Reasons behind Russia's high-profile V-Day celebrations
Updated: 2015-05-05 10:51
UPHOLDING WARTIME HISTORY
Russia has been dragged into a war of words with the West over its role in WWII. Clashes were triggered between Russia and Poland in January when Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said that "the First Ukrainian Front and Ukrainians liberated Auschwitz concentration camp."
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski later went even further by saying that he was considering holding an international ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the end of WWII with EU leaders on May 8 in Gdansk.
The remarks provoked an irritated response from Moscow. Putin has on various occasions blasted attempts to revise WWII history, warning that "attempts to rewrite the history of WWII could open the gate for the revival of Nazism" and "the most sacred things have been distorted to serve political ends."
The Russian leader said those attempts are aimed at undermining Russia's power and moral authority, and depriving it of its status of a victorious nation.
Putin urged the Victory Day Celebration Organizing Committee to stand up to the challenge, and to educate people both nationally and internationally about the truth and the contribution of the Soviet people to the victory over Nazism.
The former Soviet Union has lost 27 million lives in the Great Patriotic War. In addition, 1,700 cities and towns were destroyed and many historical and cultural sites and relics were completely ruined.