In the picture Military attaches from various countries at the Russian Embassy, on the occasion of the Defender of the Fatherland Day 2020.
On February 23rd, the Russian Federation and its armed forces celebrate the Defender of the Fatherland Day, honouring all those who suffered and fell to defend their country. On February 19st, the Russian Embassy in The Hague celebrated this anniversary with a crowded reception.
In February 1918, during the Russian Civil War, the Red Guard troops faced and defeated the troops of the Kaiser of Germany. This event, which set the stage for the creation of the Red Army, is recalled nowadays to celebrate the yearly Defender of the Fatherland Day, a Russian national holiday dedicated to all the members of the armed forces who defended their country.
The Embassy of Russia in the Netherlands celebrates this anniversary annually with many members of the diplomatic community of The Hague, well represented by ambassadors, diplomats, and military attaches from all over the world. In absence of Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, who was in Moscow on a business trip, the Russian Chargé d’affaires, Mr. Boris Zhilko, the Embassy’s Defence Attaché, Colonel Mikhail Klimuk, and his staff, hosted the reception.
After hearing the Russian and the Dutch national anthems, the guests listened to the speech of the Charge d’affaires who paid tribute to all the men and women who served in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, who dedicated their lives for the security and the freedom of the country.
Recalling the origin of the anniversary, Mr. Zhilko said, “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two – commonly known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. It was the Soviet Army that made the decisive contribution in defeating Nazism. It was the courage of our soldiers and officers at Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Warsaw, Leningrad, Budapest, and finally Berlin that broke the backbone of the Wehrmacht and divisions of not so numerous satellites of Germany in Europe.”
You can hardly find a single-family in any country of the Commonwealth of the Independent States that did not suffer the tragic loss of their loved ones. My grandfather was wounded in 1945 in a part of Germany that today belongs to Poland. My wife’s grandfather was killed in action in Berlin on the 12th of May, 4 days after Nazi Germany signed an unconditional surrender.
It also explains our determination to counter attempts of falsification of history, to shamelessly equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers.
These days, “the Armed forces of Russia bear great responsibility for the security and progressive development of the country by participating in various peacekeeping operations and rescue missions in the wake of natural and techno-disasters, saved people in emergencies and by defending its interests both at home and abroad” – said Mr. Zhilko.
He also noted that the armed forces are undertaking serious efforts to improve their organization and efficiency, “to expand the potential of strategic deterrence and to strengthen our grouping on the key strategic lines, such as, for example, the Middle East.”
“Defending the interests of our country,” Mr. Zhilko noted, “the Russian Armed Forces are combating against illegal armed formations in the Syrian Arab Republic to prevent their spillover to the neighbouring countries and Russia. Russia is carrying out an ambitious programme of modernizing its army and navy, including elements of the air and space defences and nuclear forces as a warrantee of global parity. We are improving the level of operational and combat training of troops, and we are taking into operation the most advanced means of communication and control. Our military units and elements are gradually being equipped with up-to-date weapons, while the Defence Industrial Complex continues to develop and produce modern systems.”
After Mr. Zhilko’s speech, the guests enjoyed Russian drinks and buffet, kindly provided by the Embassy exemplifying traditional Russian hospitality.