Celebrating this great Victory Day, I wish to pay tribute to all the participants in the war on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition: soldiers, sailors, servicemen in general, doctors, railway workers, etc., as well as civilians who were subjected to incredible hardship. I wish to pay homage to the dead and wounded, prisoners of concentration camps. People of different nationalities.
Today I wish to pay tribute to the gays who lived in those years. They deserve special mention. Both the Hitler’s regime (an Axis member) and Stalin’s regime (an Allies’ member) persecuted them severely if it became known that they were gay. They were humiliated, beaten, tortured, put in concentration camps and prisons, executed. Even the heroes of the front were not spared. Gays were treated as subhuman beings. Most gays, therefore, were hiding their sexual orientation, and were subjected to additional suffering. Nevertheless, they made a great contribution to the victory over the terrible enemy – the Nazis and the Axis countries as a whole. This must not be forgotten, as we must not forget that persecution of people because of their sexual orientation is inadmissible. I wish to pay tribute to all gays: in the (former) USSR, Germany, UK, USA, France, Italy, Japan and other countries involved in the Second World War. Both servicemen, and civilians. Your life and destiny deeply move and touch us.
* The Allies of World War II (often called anti-Hitler coalition) were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression. They included such countries as the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, USA, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.
** The Axis powers, also known as the Axis and the Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis, were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allied forces.