Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a ceremony to award war veterans with medals commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, Munich, February 17, 2020
We mark the important dates of the Great Victory. In May, a military parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War will be held. Of course, as we celebrate these events we pay tribute to the bravery and heroism of Red Army soldiers and those who worked on the home front, to all those people who helped forge this Great Victory at the cost of their health and their lives. I am honoured to carry out the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin and award you with the medal commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War. This is to show that we value your contribution, while we realise, as we look at the numerous medals and other decorations you are wearing, that this is not, of course, the only official sign of honour for your contribution to what was achieved at the cost of enormous self-sacrifice by all the peoples of the Soviet Union. We take a deep bow before you.
I would like to name the heroes who are present today.
David Dushman volunteered to go to the front in 1941and was enrolled for service in a tank unit. He fought in battles near Yelnya and Smolensk, the Battle of Kursk, forced a crossing over the Dnieper and took part in the liberation of Byelorussia, Warsaw and the Auschwitz concentration camp. Of course, this is a heroic and outstanding biography. He was seriously wounded. David Dushman was awarded the Order of the Red Star, the Order of Glory (3rd Class) and the Order of the Patriotic War and was decorated with the Medal For Valour twice.
Alexander Nogaller, the chief doctor at an artillery regimen and the head of a field hospital department, showed gallantry fighting through the war from Moscow to Berlin. He was awarded two orders of The Patriotic War, the Order of the Red Star and 20 medals.
Solomon Brandobovsky fought on the Western and the Caucasus fronts. He was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War and the Medal For the Defence of Kiev, the Medal For the Defence of the Caucasus and the Medal For Battle Merit.
Alexander Merlin was 17 when he was conscripted into military service in the border troops in Russia’s Far East. He fought in the war with Japan in August–September 1945. Alexander Merlin was awarded the Medal For Victory over Japan and the Medal For the Defence of Leningrad.
Mikhail Lifshits was young when he lived through the siege of Leningrad. After the war, he served in the Airborne Forces and fought in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Order of Valour and received several army awards and decorations for distinguished service.
Grigory Levitin and Ella Vinogradova also struggled to survive the grueling siege of Leningrad, adding to the bravery and fortitude demonstrated by the residents of the besieged city.
I will certainly report on our meeting to Russian President Vladimir Putin. His instruction to present you with awards is not a simple ritual. I know that these medals mean a lot to you and to all of us because they help highlight historical truth and help us not to forget or defame the heroic acts that you and millions of Soviet people carried out. They also help to stop attempts to equate those who tried to bring Europe to its knees with those who liberated it. Unfortunately, we see attempts like these being made today. I know that the activities of your Council of Veterans and when you personally talk to people, you always tell the truth. No one can tarnish this truth.
Once again, thank you very much. I wish you all the best for the upcoming holiday.