PANO – Repaying people for their support in the past is a typical traditional cultural characteristic of the Vietnamese people. Although they never ask for repayment and no repayment could compare with their support in the past, the Vietnamese people have still been continuing to do repaying activities.
Among international friends who generously rendered support for Vietnam during the war and to whom the Vietnamese people always owe gratitude, thousands of Soviet military experts and advisors were sent to Vietnam and fought side by side with Vietnamese soldiers on the fiercest days of the war, contributing to the “Hanoi Dien Bien Phu in the Air” Victory in 1972.
|Senior Lieutenant General Anatoly Ivanovich Khiupenen
Recently, the Vietnamese Embassy to Russia in collaboration with the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Russia held a grand meeting in Moscow to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “Hanoi Dien Bien Phu in the Air” Victory and the 68th anniversary of the Foundation Day of the Vietnam’s People’s Army.
Despite their old age and the very cold weather in Russia, over 100 Russian veterans who had worked as military experts or advisors in Vietnam during the war attended the meeting. Present at the event were also Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son, Defence Attaché Vu Van Xim and Vietnamese defence students in Russia as well as overseas Vietnamese in the country. The meeting was great and like a family reunion. Russians and Vietnamese met each other, exchanged information, talked and laughed, and all of them were very happy and friendly. Nobody felt cold in such a warm and enjoyable atmosphere.
As a reporter of the People’s Army Newspaper responsible for international affairs, I have attended a large number of international meetings. But the meetings between Vietnamese and Soviet people often make a special impression on me. During this meeting, I once again felt, heard and saw the warm feelings of Vietnamese people for the former Soviet experts in particular and the Russian nation in general. I also witnessed clear and sincere sentiments of the Soviet veterans for the Vietnamese Army and people.
The warm feelings of this meeting also made me recall many other meetings with former Soviet experts, teachers and friends held by the Vietnamese Party, State, Defence Ministry or other individuals and organizations in Vietnam on the occasions of the country’s anniversaries. This is an expression of the sentiment of Vietnamese people for their friends and those from whom they received assistance and support in the past.
Meetings between Vietnamese and Soviet people usually share some common features. While Vietnamese people expressed their sincere thanks to Soviet experts and praised their dedication and support in the past, Soviet experts with their modesty will never talk about themselves and their contributions. They only recall their memories about the time they lived, worked and fought in Vietnam and their good feelings about Vietnamese people. But they do not mention what they did for Vietnam; rather they consider that all victories belong to the Vietnamese Army and people.
In this meeting, recalling the past, Senior Lieutenant General Anatoly Ivanovich Khiupenen, Chief of the Soviet military expert delegation in Vietnam from 1972 to 1975, only talked about the cruelty of the US Army and praised the wise and creative leadership and command of the Vietnamese Army, as well as the patriotism, bravery and heroism of Vietnamese soldiers in battles against the US Army.
He affirmed that the then-modern weapons and equipment of the former Soviet Union were handed over properly to troops who used them creatively to fight against the enemy and won the war. He concluded that modern weapons were important, but what was more important that could lead to every victory was the human factor. He compared the “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air” Victory with the Soviet people’s Stalingrad Victory, as the two victories led the two nations to the final victories.
“As far as I know about the Vietnamese Army and people, I affirm that no force can win a war conducted in Vietnam,” the General stated confidently.
Many other former Soviet experts shared the view. President of the Association of Russian Veterans in Vietnam Colexnic Nicolaevich, President of the Russia-Vietnam Friendship Vladimir Buanop, former experts Vladimir Tysenco and Vladimir Petrovich all expressed their admiration for the Vietnamese Army and people. They also stated that they felt proud of having dedicated their youth to the Vietnamese people in the past, and that their service in Vietnam added some bricks to the building which is today’s comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations.
For Vietnam, the Vietnamese people will never forget the support from the former Soviet Union and Russia, especially the dedication of former Soviet experts, who fought fearlessly side by side with Vietnamese soldiers during the war, some even sacrificing their lives for Vietnamese freedom and independence. Vietnam will always honour their sacrifices and contributions and sincerely thank them for these.
Written by Kim Ton
Translated by Thu Nguyen