Greetings from Vladimir Putin, Russian Federation President


July 7, 2021 No. Pr-1040


Kremlin, Moscow


To the organisers and guests of the Historical and Documentary Exhibition

On the Eve of the Great Patriotic War, 1 September 1939 – 22 June 1941


Dear Friends,


This year marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War. 22 June 1941 is one of the most tragic and sorrowful dates in the history of our country. It will remain in our nation’s memory forever.

Russian scholars and archivists are continuing their very important work on a fundamental research and educational project dedicated to the history of World War II. The exhibitions Munich 1938: On the Brink of Catastrophe and 1939: The Beginning of World War II are now followed by the historical and documentary exhibition On the Eve of the Great Patriotic War: 1 September 1939 – 22 June 1941. For the first time ever, it acquaints the general public with unique documents about this very complex historical period.

Unfortunately, repeated efforts have been made to reconsider the lessons and results of the war, exculpate Nazi criminals and their henchmen, and make the Soviet Union share the blame with Germany for starting the world conflict. Nevertheless, these attempts to revise history to suit political trends are challenged by the facts contained in original documents. They convincingly show that, even after Germany’s invasion of Poland, Western leaders continued to try to ‘appease’ the aggressor and wage a ‘phoney war’ against him, with dire consequences. As to the actions of the Soviet leadership before the war, they were based on the striving to preserve a de facto neutrality as long as possible to buy time to strengthen the defences of the country and create a security zone around it.

Of course, historians will continue to study the complicated series of events in 1939–1941 in a thoughtful and meticulous fashion. Nevertheless, it is paramount that they base their findings on sources, facts, and archival materials rather than substituting politically motivated declarations for true scholarship.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the exhibition organisers for their painstaking work. I am convinced that this exhibition will evoke a lot of public interest and become a major event in the scholarly and cultural life of our country, as well as perpetuating the historical truth.


Best regards,

V. Putin