Greetings from Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

To the participants of the official opening ceremony of
the historical and documentary exhibition
On the Eve of the Great Patriotic War. 1 September 1939 – 22 June 1941


I am pleased to greet the participants of the official opening ceremony of the historical and documentary exhibition devoted to the events leading up to the Great Patriotic War.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs played a very active part in this project by sharing unique documents from the period. Many of them are shown for the first time ever. Let me take advantage of this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to our colleagues from the Federal Archival Service, the Russian Historical Society and everyone who helped to make this exhibition a reality.

The memory of this particularly terrible and bloody war should serve as an eternal reminder of the countless sacrifices we made for peace and the possible consequences of chauvinism, racism, Russophobia and antisemitism. Today, it is particularly worth repeating that the courage and heroism of all the peoples of the Soviet Union played a decisive role in destroying the Nazi war machine and saving civilization from the horrors of the ‘brown plague’.

At the same time, we are firm opponents of the politicization of history. We resolutely reject all biased and lopsided interpretations of past events. Such practices are fundamentally mistaken and only serve to escalate international tensions. We believe that all ‘sensitive’ issues should be studied by competent specialists fully, objectively, comprehensively and in the context of their time.

Unfortunately, we are increasingly witness today to unscrupulous attempts to rewrite the history of World War II. The goal of such ‘revisionism’ is to abrogate the universally recognized international legal implications of WWII, cast a shadow over contemporary Russia, sully the luminous reputation of the heroic victors, and justify the bloody crimes of the Nazis and their henchmen and collaborators.

In this context, efforts to preserve the historical truth – for the sake of future generations, among others – acquire primordial importance. The present exhibition is meant to contribute to this essential undertaking. I am convinced that it will evoke genuine interest among the public at large.