Moscow, May 30, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Jews on the Day of Salvation and Liberation and noted the importance of the Red Army's role in rescuing the Jewish and other peoples from extermination during the Second World War.
"Congratulations on the 26th of Iyar, the day of Salvation and Liberation. This date is sacred for the Jewish people. Its noble mission brings together numerous followers of Judaism both in our country and abroad, and represents the unfading memory and recognition of the unprecedented feat of the Red Army soldiers and officers and the anti-Hitler coalition allies, who saved the Jewish and other nations from the threat of extinction," Putin said in a telegram posted on the Kremlin's website on Thursday.
This day strengthens the bond across times and generations, enriches the historical, religious and spiritual traditions of Judaism, and promotes patriotic upbringing of young people, he said.
"On this festive day, we also invariably offer our warmest greetings and best wishes to veterans of the Great Patriotic War," Putin said, wishing success and prosperity to everyone.
The Day of Salvation and Liberation falls on the 26th of Iyar in the Jewish calendar, the day which in 1945 coincided with May 9 (Moscow time), when the Third Reich capitulated. At the same time, as the Jews themselves point out, this is not an alternative Victory Day but its religious continuation, because the Gregorian calendar cannot be used in Jewish religious services.
Jewish communities in Russia and abroad thus celebrate Victory Day twice. In their prayers written for the Day of Salvation and Liberation, they thank God, the Red Army, and the armies from the other allied nations for saving the Jewish people from total extermination. On this day, Jewish people are expected to be merry and rejoice in miraculous liberation, as on Pesach, and in miraculous salvation, as on Chanukah and Purim.
The Day of Salvation and Liberation has been widely celebrated since 2015, the year of the V-Day's 70th anniversary. Traditionally, Russia is one of the main global centers of such celebrations: ceremonies and prayers will be conducted in over 40 synagogues and community centers in Moscow and other Russian cities. In Jerusalem, an Immortal Regiment march will be held on Friday. Prayers and festive ceremonies will also be held in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Britain, Hungary, Germany, Georgia, Italy, China, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, America, Tunisia, Ukraine, and France.
This year, the 26th of Iyar falls on May 31.