Ahead of visits by Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday spoke out against “attempts at distorting the events” of World War II.
“Their goal is obvious: to undermine Russia’s power and moral authority, to deprive it of its status of a victorious nation, with all the ensuing international legal consequences, to divide peoples and set them against each other and to use historical speculations in their geopolitical games,” said Putin at a meeting of the organizing committee of the Victory celebrations. The Russian President had earlier last year signed a law making the denial of Nazi crimes and distortion of the Soviet Union’s role in the World War II a criminal offence.
Vladimir Putin chaired the 36th meeting of the Russian Victory Organising Committee at the Grand Kremlin Palace on 17 March 2015 [PPIO]
Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be attending the commemoration events in Moscow in May.
Putin and Xi have both, in recent months, warned against “distorting history”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a war commemoration event in December that “forgetting history means betrayal and denying the crime means committing it once again.”
Putin, on Tuesday, ordered the organizing committee, established for the 70th anniversary celebration of the victory of the Anti-Fascist War on May 9 in Moscow, to effectively counter worrying attempts to “rewrite history”.
“This is a very important work to involve the young people in preserving historical memory about the events of the Great Patriotic War, about the key role of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazism,” a Kremlin statement quoted Putin.
More than a dozen countries are sending their military units to take part in the victory parade at the Red Square in Moscow on May 9th, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.
26 countries, including China, Greece, Vietnam, Netherlands, Egypt, have confirmed their attendance at the celebrations in Russia.
Russian and Chinese Presidents will exchange state visits to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II this year.
“As two of the main battlefields in Asia and Europe during World War Two, China and Russia will hold a series of celebrations, and state leaders will attend commemorations held in each other’s country,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in January this year.
China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, led to the death of some 20 million Chinese, according to Beijing’s estimates. It ended with Tokyo’s World War II defeat in 1945.
Although most Western historians believe that 22 million Soviets died in the Great Patriotic War, Russian sources put the number higher – at 27 million people.
Russia’s Red Army lost 8.5 million troops – a figure comparable only with German losses. Another 18 million were civilians who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide.