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Statement by the Permanent Representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, 17 June 2021
STATEMENT BY THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA, THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN, THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS, THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN, THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC, THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN, TURKMENISTAN AND THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN TO THE OSCE AT THE 1320th MEETING OF THE OSCE PERMANENT COUNCIL
17 June 2021
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War
On 22 June 2021, it will be 80 years since that day on which Hitler’s Third Reich treacherously attacked the USSR: it was the start of the Great Patriotic War. That war proved to be one of the darkest but at the same time most heroic episodes in world history. With their evil deeds, including the Holocaust, the Nazis inflicted searing wounds on all the peoples of the Soviet Union and on millions of people worldwide.
A massive humanitarian catastrophe was the result of the aggressive aspirations of those who were convinced of their own racial superiority and exclusivity and believed themselves entitled to decide single-handedly the fates of other countries and peoples.
But we were victorious in this war against absolute evil. The Red Army was able to slow down and then stop Hitler’s death machine in its tracks. All the peoples of the Soviet Union played their part in the victory. They bore the brunt of the Nazi onslaught, opposed it with self-sacrificing resistance and, after enduring the greatest trials and tribulations, determined the outcome of that war and brought liberation to other peoples by crushing the enemy – for which, in so doing, they paid the highest price. It was precisely with the entry of the Soviet Union into the Second World War that the hostilities irreversibly became global in nature and that, as a counterweight to the bloc of aggressor States, the anti-Hitler coalition began to take shape.
We will never forget that victory in the Second World War and the deliverance of the peoples of Europe from enslavement and destruction were achieved thanks to the unprecedented courage and selflessness of front-line soldiers, partisans, members of the anti-fascist resistance and underground movement, and those toiling on the home front – indeed, thanks to the unity of all peoples of the Soviet Union. It is our shared victory. We pay tribute to the millions of people of different nationalities and faiths who laid down their lives for the triumph of freedom and justice.
However, today we may observe a cynical striving to consign to oblivion the lessons of that terrible war; to present distorted moral and legal evaluations of its outcomes; to give equal rights to victims and executioners, to liberators and aggressors; and to call into question the judgments of the Nuremberg Tribunal. We consistently and firmly reject any attempts aimed at revising the events and outcomes of the Second World War, whitewashing Nazism and its accomplices, or “justifying” their monstrous crimes.
We condemn any form of glorification of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS. We consider such glorification to be a brazen desecration of the millions who fell on the battlefields fighting Nazism and fascism, were brutally tortured in prisons by the Nazis, and were burned and gassed to death in concentration camps. It is unacceptable to create a breeding ground for those who try to propagate new hate-filled, extremist ideologies. We strongly believe that one must not close one’s eyes to such phenomena for the sake of opportunistic interests: it is essential to combat them resolutely. In that respect, we note the United Nations General Assembly resolution adopted on 16 December 2020 on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
We emphasize the need to preserve and properly look after war graves and war memorials. The campaign against memorials to the liberator soldiers that has been launched by a number of countries in the OSCE area is unacceptable from both an ethical and a historical point of view.
Eight decades after that sorrowful day, we once again call for reflection on the lessons from this tragic period in the history of our civilization. We advocate a revival of genuine co-operation and mutual understanding among countries and peoples on the basis of equality, mutual respect and universal democratic values. It is up to the international community today whether or not the world is once again to find itself on a cliff edge.