U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow spoke at a ceremony
marking the 60th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad in
recognition of the soldiers' sacrifices in that battle, and "the great
burden shouldered by the Russian people during the war."
Invoking Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Vershbow said: "We can
never do justice to the memory of those who died here, or to the
suffering and the bravery of those who survived. But we shall always
remember that they did not die in vain. Their sacrifices here turned
the tide of the war and ensured victory for the Allies against
"Our two countries were Allies during the Second World War, enemies
during the Cold War, and are becoming allies once again," he noted.
"Such strong ties between our great nations would have been
unthinkable just fifteen years ago."
Thousands attended the commemoration ceremony in Volgograd Square,
including a reported 250 Soviet veterans who laid wreaths at a
Following is the transcript of Ambassador Vershbow's speech:
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, 2003
Governor Maksyuta, distinguished veterans, honored guests, ladies and
It is a great honor for me to participate in the ceremonies to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
In the United States, we refer to the brave men and women who served
in our military during the Second World War as "the greatest
generation." I think the Russian people regard the veterans of the
Great Patriotic War in the same way, although those who fought here at
the Battle of Stalingrad perhaps hold a particularly respected place
in the hearts of the people. We are here today to recognize the
bravery and sacrifices of this country's veterans, particularly those
who fought and achieved an extraordinary victory here in this city
sixty years ago.
Our two countries were Allies during the Second World War, enemies
during the Cold War, and are becoming allies once again. Our
presidents have demonstrated the vision and leadership to join our
countries in a powerful partnership, cooperating on a wide range of
issues: the fight against international terrorism; preventing the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; developing a new
partnership between Russia and NATO; and expanding trade and
investment. Such strong ties between our great nations would have been
unthinkable just fifteen years ago. May this new U.S. Russian
partnership be lasting, warm and productive, based on our shared
values and, to use President Putin's phrase, on the "logic of common
interests" in this new century.
During the American Civil War, our great President, Abraham Lincoln,
came to the town of Gettysburg in the state of Pennsylvania to
dedicate a cemetery for the fallen soldiers of both sides, following
the most devastating battle of that war. Yet he said the living could
not really consecrate that spot of earth. Instead, it was the brave
men, living and dead, who struggled there in battle, who had already
consecrated it with their blood.
Likewise, no matter what monuments we build here in Volgograd, no
matter in what commemorative events we partake, we can never do
justice to the memory of those who died here, or to the suffering and
the bravery of those who survived. But we shall always remember that
they did not die in vain. Their sacrifices here turned the tide of the
war and ensured victory for the Allies against Hitler. On behalf of
President Bush and the American people, I would like to recognize the
sacrifices of soldiers here at the Battle of Stalingrad, and to the
great burden shouldered by the Russian people during the war.
Congratulations, especially to all the veterans present, on this great
The Battle for Stalingrad
Krasnaya Zvezda, January 30 , 2003. Memory of the Feat of Arms Will Last
Forever. Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky.