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COURAGE OF THE SOVIET PEOPLE WAS THE MAJOR FORCE THAT DESTROYED NAZISM - PUTIN

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MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) - The Soviet people not only defended the Motherland from the Nazi aggression, but also liberated 11 European countries during World War II, announced Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday during the opening ceremony of the memorial on the Poklonnaya Hill dedicated to the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

"During fierce battles on the front that stretched from the Barents Sea to Caucasus, the Soviet Union broke the backbone of the German military machine. It was on the Eastern front where the Nazis suffered three-quarters of their losses," Putin said.

"Courage, resilience and unity of the multi-national people became the major force that destroyed Nazism," Putin stressed.

He said the world has never seen such an example of mass heroism, such a spread of partisan movement, such enthusiasm and effort of workers at the home front that provided the army with all necessary means to defeat the enemy.

"We will always remember and respect the feat of the generation of victors," the Russian President stated.

"They defended our right to live, to preserve our statehood and culture. They defended the future of our children. Their heroic deeds will always serve as a moral model for us," Putin said.

The Russian President concluded his speech with the words, "May the glory of those who perished for the freedom and independence of our Motherland live forever! We bow deeply to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War!"

The new memorial is a gigantic colonnade consisting of 15 bronze steles.

Ten of them represent the feats of Red Army soldiers and officers. Three are dedicated to courage, resilience and heroism of the Navy personnel. One of the steles is dedicated to fearless partisans and members of underground resistance, and the last one - to workers at the home front.

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