Declassification of archival documents about the Second World War, which is actively underway in Russia, allows us to reveal new facts of civilians’ mass murder by the Nazis, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Declassification of archival documents, which is now actively underway in Russia, the work of search expeditions allows us to reveal and re – comprehend previously unknown, but terrible events of the last war, new facts of mass murder of Soviet citizens – old people, women, children – by the Nazis and their accomplices,” Putin said in his address to the participants of the forum “Lessons of Nuremberg,” published on the Kremlin website.
He noted that “behind the mass terror, massacres, enslavement and targeted extermination of entire peoples were specific organizers – the top leadership of Nazi Germany,” and the states that were subjected to aggression “rightly counted on retribution, on the inevitable, public punishment of criminals.”
The Russian President stressed that this position – on the creation of an open International military Tribunal – was defended by the Soviet Union since 1942 and in principle and consistently maintained this line in all negotiations with the allies, among which “initially the idea of an extrajudicial, but only a collective political decision on the execution of Nazi leaders prevailed.” However, by the end of the war, as Putin added, many leading politicians realized the need for a trial. In August 1945, the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, and France adopted an agreement on its organization, 19 other countries supported this act, and this process “attracted the attention of the whole world.”
“Yes, the merciless Hitler regime, which unleashed a criminal war, committed such monstrous atrocities that history has not yet known, was defeated, but it was impossible to put an end to this. A triumphant military victory should have been completed by a political, legal, and moral condemnation of Nazism and its deadly ideology,” Putin said.
He added that the Soviet people, “who took on the most powerful, most brutal blows of the aggressor,” had “their own, highest account” for the Nazis, including the mass murder of people in the occupied territories.
“Special directives of the Nazis dictated these atrocities against peaceful Soviet residents, were elevated by the Nazis to the rank of state policy. The Soviet Union suffered colossal, irreplaceable losses in World War II. Among the millions of victims, most of them were soldiers who died in captivity and civilians who were mercilessly and fiercely destroyed,” Putin stressed.
He also thanked the participants of the international forum “Lessons of Nuremberg.”
“I am convinced that the theme of the forum is significant that close to you not only for employment but also for people who are aware of their personal responsibility for preserving the historical truth about the Second World War, deeply understand, how significant are the findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal, established by the rules and principles to find answers to the most difficult modern challenges and threats”, – said the head of the Russian state.