This handout picture provided by Host photo agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech during a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020. (RAMIL SITDIKOV / HOST PHOTO AGENCY / AFP)
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the country is open for dialogue and cooperation on the most burning issues, including creating a common reliable system of security, which the complex and rapidly-changing world needs.
We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and confidence among peoples ... Only by uniting together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats.
Vladimir Putin, Russian president
"We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and confidence among peoples ... Only by uniting together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats," Putin said in a speech at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War on Moscow's Red Square.
He said that the glory goes to numerous Soviet soldiers who died during the Great Patriotic War fighting and defeating the Nazis.
Putin said Russia will protect and defend the fair truth about the war, an integral part of World War II lasting from 1939 to 1945.
Opening a military cathedral on Monday, Putin said the Soviet wartime victory remained a touchstone for modern Russia, calling it a sacred memory.
“It’s always with us and gives us strength, strength to serve our country and moral messages which we do not have the right to resile from and will never do so,” said Putin.
The results of a survey released by state pollster VTsIOM on Tuesday showed that 95 percent of Russians regarded the 1945 Soviet victory as the most important event of the 20th century for Russia.
Russians will vote from June 25 until July 1 on constitutional changes, including an amendment that would allow Putin two more six-year terms as president if re-elected. Current constitutional limits bar him from seeking re-election when his mandate ends in 2024.
Experts from state pollster VTsIOM have forecast that 67-71 percent of voters will endorse the changes. Kremlin critics say the vote is a sham they fear will be falsified.
Putin’s approval rating is 59 percent, according to Levada, an independent pollster whose research the Kremlin has said it is not inclined to trust. Though high by most countries’ standards, it is at its lowest since 1999.
Polls show people’s willingness to protest has risen as lower oil prices and a prolonged lockdown have battered the economy, unemployment has risen, and a Kremlin plan to reverse years of falling real wages has been knocked off course.
More than 14,000 troops, over 200 armored vehicles and 75 aircraft will take part in Wednesday’s military parade to mark the Soviet wartime victory, as well as representatives from 13 other countries.
Sergei Aleksashenko, an economist who has been critical of Putin, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Tuesday that the Russian leader was determined to hold the parade in Red Square despite the pandemic.
“Vladimir Putin believes that the parade is a reaffirmation of his greatness, the greatness of the country and of our historical memory,” said Aleksashenko.
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