22 June 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic war of the people of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany and, the most sanguinary conflict in the Russian history. The Great Patriotic war is also, undoubtedly, the most important confrontation within a broader World War II.
At dawn on June 22, 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union without a declaration of war. Its aircrafts started massive bombing of airfields, railroad hubs, naval bases, places of permanent deployment of troops and many cities to a depth of up to 250-300 kilometers in the Soviet territory.
By this time, Nazi Germany had occupied or invaded many European countries (Poland, Denmark Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and others), and the Soviet people took the most powerful blow. Romania, Italy, Slovakia, Finland, Hungary, and in mid-August Norway joined the aggression against the USSR. The Soviet people responded to the enemy with a unified resistance, standing to the death, defending the fatherland.
The Nazi invasion caught the Soviet Union off guard. Our country was unprepared to fight with such a mighty enemy. New models of tanks and planes were yet to be developed. All these factors contributed to a colossal cost that the country had to pay for the victory. The losses born by the Soviet Union throughout a four-year long heroic ordeal to restore peace are both terrific and terrifying.
Soviet losses alone accounted for 40% of total casualties in WWII. About one million Soviet soldiers gave their lives during the liberation of the peoples of Europe. The combined human losses of the USSR during the war were 27 million people. More than 8.7 million of them died on battlefields, 7.42 million people were deliberately exterminated by the Nazis in the occupied territories, and more than 4.1 million died from the brutal conditions of the occupation regime. 5.27 million people were taken to hard labor in Germany and its neighboring countries, which were also under German occupation. More than half of them, 2.65 million returned home. More than 450,000 immigrated and 2.16 million were killed or died in captivity.
The human and material losses suffered by the country because of the Nazi aggression are incomparable. History has never known such destruction, barbarism and inhumanity, as was marked by the murderous acts of the Nazis on Soviet soil.
Today we are seeing increasing attempts to falsify the history of WWII: to belittle or keep completely silent about the role of the USSR in defeating Nazism, to whitewash the villains, to put executioners and their victims on the same level, and to question the outcomes of the war and the verdicts of the Nuremberg Tribunal. The goal of such speculation is clear. It is not only to denigrate modern Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union, but also to cover up the unseemly role of their own states’ complicity with the Hitler regime, to justify the ugly excesses of neo-Nazis and an unscrupulous war on monuments to soldiers-liberators.
It is worth reminding everyone that our country made a decisive contribution to defeating the Hitler war machine and liberating Europe and the world from Nazism.
22 June is also known in Russia as a Day of Remembrance and Sorrow. Since 1992 this day became an official commemorative date. On October 24, 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed amendments to the law "On the days of military glory and anniversaries in Russia," which added a new one to the list of anniversaries - June 22 - the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow.
On this day, state flags in Russia are lowered. Entertainment events and programs are suspended or shortened. The country leadership lays mourning wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. The Russian people mourn for all compatriots who defended their homeland at the cost of their lives or became victims of the wars, especially the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 years.
History is here to draw lessons from it. One of them is that a desire to rule the world inevitably ends in failure. So do attempts to ensure one's own security at the expense of another's. It is trust, along with realism in international relations that will ensure a lasting and enduring peace in the world.
Published : June 22, 2021