MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. The truth about the Great Patriotic War is the Red Army came to Germany with a mission of liberation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an article entitled Being Open, Despite the Past, uploaded to the Kremlin's website on Tuesday.
"Despite attempts to rewrite the pages of the past that are being made today, the truth is that Soviet soldiers came to Germany not to take revenge on the Germans, but with a noble and great mission of liberation," he said.
The article was timed for Russia's Day of Remembrance and Sorrow.
"On June 22, 1941, exactly 80 years ago, the Nazis, having conquered practically the whole of Europe, attacked the USSR. For the Soviet people the Great Patriotic War - the bloodiest one in the history of our country - began. Tens of millions of people lost their lives, the economic potential of the country and its cultural property were severely damaged," Putin recalled.
"We are proud of the courage and steadfastness of the heroes of the Red Army and home front workers, who not only defended the independence and dignity of our homeland, but also saved Europe and the world from enslavement. We hold sacred the memory of the heroes, who fought against Nazism," he stressed.
He pointed out: "We remember with gratitude our allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, participants in the Resistance movement, and German anti-fascists, who brought our common victory closer".
"Having lived through the horrors of the world war, the peoples of Europe were nevertheless able to overcome alienation and restore mutual trust and respect. They set a course for integration in order to draw a final line under the European tragedies of the first half of the last century," Putin believes. "The historical reconciliation of our people with the Germans living both in the east and the west of modern united Germany played a huge role in the formation of such Europe".
After the war
Putin stressed that "it was German entrepreneurs, who became 'pioneers' of cooperation with our country in the post-war years".
"In 1970, the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany concluded a 'deal of the century' on long-term natural gas supplies to Europe that laid the foundation for constructive interdependence and initiated many future grand projects, including the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline," Putin noted.
"We hoped that the end of the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe. It seemed that just a little more effort was needed to make Charles de Gaulle's dream of a single continent - not even geographically 'from the Atlantic to the Urals', but culturally and civilizationally 'from Lisbon to Vladivostok' - become a reality," Putin believes.
"It is exactly with this logic in mind - the logic of building a Greater Europe united by common values and interests - that Russia has sought to develop its relations with the Europeans. Both Russia and the EU have done a lot on this path," he writes. "But a different approach has prevailed. It was based on the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, which was itself a relic of the Cold War. After all, it was specifically created for the confrontation of that era. It was the bloc's movement eastwards - which, by the way, began, when the Soviet leadership was actually persuaded to accept united Germany's accession to NATO - that turned into the main reason for the rapid increase in mutual mistrust in Europe. Verbal promises made in that time such as 'this is not directed against you' or 'the bloc's borders will not get closer to you' were quickly forgotten. But a precedent was set".