On February 2, 2003, a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary
of the victory over German fascist troops in Stalingrad (Ed. Now Volgograd)
will take place in Volgograd.
The previous week according to media reports deputies of the State Duma refused to discuss sending a parliamentary delegation to the celebration of the great battle at the Volga. The discussion fell one vote short. Deputie took three attempts to vote, but still failed to reach agreement on a common position. Finally the Chairman of the chamber proposed that his colleagues "make one final effort" and send one person from a faction to the celebration in
"Krasnaya Zvezda" asked Chairman of the Russian Democratic YABLOKO party and
the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma Grigory Yavlinsky to comment:
- I find it hard to understand many of my colleagues here, given that the State
Duma has always been very attentive to such important dates. Let me remind you here that about a year ago the State Duma appealed to the head of the state to make the 60th anniversary of the Stalingrad battle a national holiday Then the Duma did not have to vote
A long time ago our faction had decided to send a high-ranking delegation to Volgograd. First Deputy Head of the Chairman of the State Duma Vladimir Petrovich Lukin went there from our faction.
The Stalingrad battle marked a turning point in the Great Patriotic and Second World War, something that is recognized by the entire world. Our memory of the event is most important here. Every single family in Russia was affected by the war. My father fought the whole war in the artillery. He began his service in 1942 in the battles for the Northern Caucasus. He participated in the Kertch landing, freed Crimea, Ukraine and Czechoslovakia. He ended the war as senior lieutenant. After the war a street in the Czech city Olomuntz which he was the first to enter got his name. I am very proud of my father. And like all Russian citizens I am proud of the feat of arms made by our people..
I would like to use this occasion to congratulate on behalf of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO all the participants, all the veterans of the Great Patriotic War and the
soldiers in the Russian Army who are descendants of the heroic glory of their fathers with the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. This battle remains in world history as one of the bloodiest and toughest. The price paid by our people for victory at Stalingrad may appear excessive to subsequent generations. However, such was the selfless love of our soldiers and officers, of the inhabitants of the brave city at Volga for their land. They simply knew that enemy should not be allowed at any cost to penetrate any further into the country. "There is no land for us beyond the Volga!" - this was not a slogan, but rather a sacred conviction, which so many people gave their lives for.
The elder generation endured so many ordeals. I address them first and foremost. I know how hard your life has been, how many difficulties you have faced, and not only material problems. And you are remembered only at holidays. I am so ashamed about this! Once again I address all the deputies and all decision-makers: surely we can find the strength and resources to provide a dignified life for the veterans of whom so few are still alive?
Respected veterans! You were not pampered by life. But the sound beginnings, your zest for life and feeling of power allowed you to save the state, revive the country, raise your children and bear hardships with dignity. Everybody who follows you will understand what you have done for the country. They remember your feat of arms. They honour your bravery and courage. And this is already proof that your labour and sacrifices were not in vain. I am convinced that your bright feat of arms will give strength to further generations who will also safeguard the honour and independence of ourMotherland!
The Battle for Stalingrad
60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD. REMARKS BY ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, AT THE COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY IN VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA. February 1,