Phnom Penh (FN), Feb. 23 – Today Russian people honour service members, civilian personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces, pay tribute to the memory of the fallen heroes, and celebrate the Defender of the Fatherland Day.

The holiday is traced to the Soviet Government Decree dated 22 February 1918 “Socialist Fatherland is Danger” which triggered people’s widespread joining the newly established Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. It was an important move by the revolutionary government to ensure the defence of the country amid the First World War (1914-1918). Today Russia preserves the importance of that date, which honoured the noble military endeavour in the Soviet time. On 13 March 1995 the first President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin signed the Federal Law "On the Days of Military Glory (Victory Days) in Russia", with 23 February included as the Day of resistance of the Red Army against the Keiser's German troops (1918) - Defender of the Fatherland Day.

This holiday has been marked for decades with great enthusiasm by the entire nation and serves as a symbol of deep respect for the people who serve in the Armed Forces, those who reliably safeguard the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, ensure peace for our citizens.

Our soldiers have always faithfully served the Fatherland and gave their lives to protect their homeland. In response, our people honour their military feats performed in combat triumphs, great victories that had truly pivotal significance for our Motherland, as well as other countries of the world.

We take pride in the heroic deeds of the warriors who defeated the enemy on Lake Chudskoye, near Poltava, at Borodino and in the battles of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Their self-sacrifice, strength of spirit and steadfast refusal to yield to the enemy serve as an eternal example of sacred loyalty to the Fatherland.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the tragic beginning of the Great Patriotic War, when on 22 June 1941 the Soviet Union was embroiled in terrible bloodshed of the Second World War (1939-1945), been under the massive offensive of troops filled with the Nazi ideology of hatred.

In the first year of War 3.796 million soviet soldiers lost their lives in the battlefields, imprisoned by invaders and missed, while they were fighting for the freedom of their country. The War took lives of more than 26 million people, both combatants and civilians.

Courage, resilience, heroism and internationalism of our warriors on the front lines, as well as those who served at the home front every day brought closer the day of pushing aggressors out of the Motherland and complete the noble liberating mission.

The devotion, patriotism and sacrifices of the military service meets the respect in Russian society. It is based on sincere gratitude for the defence of peaceful life, understanding of the significance of this endeavour and the people’s memory of great victories achieved through bravery and courage.

H.E. Mr. Anatoly Borovik, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Cambodia