14th Session of the IPF "Memorial Day of the Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division" – Outcomes

02/03/2022 21:09

On February 21, 2022, the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly held the 14th Session of the International Public Forum "Preserving the Memory of World War II and the Great Patriotic War". The topic of the forum was "Memorial Day of the soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division".

The forum was supported by the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio (Russia), the Military Heritage Institute (Lithuania) and the Glazunov Agricultural College (Russia, Orel Region).

For the first time, educational institutions from Oryol, Oryol and Voronezh regions, Kursk and Murmansk (Russia) have joined the work of the International Public Forum.

The partners of the Session were: Interregional public organization search squad "FAKEL" (Oryol, Russia), School No. 43 (Kursk, Russia), Gymnasium No. 9 (Murmansk, Russia), School No. 5 (Borisoglebsk, Voronezh region, Russia).

The purpose of the forum is to draw attention to the issues of preserving the historical memory of peoples, to support the movement against the erosion of the value and semantic aspects of history, the falsification of the results of World War II and the Great Patriotic War.

Earlier, on December 18, 2021, the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly has already held the 10th Session of the International Public Forum dedicated to the memory of the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. The forum was held in the format of an online conference with the participation of historians, members of public organizations from six countries - Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Israel.

The 14th session outlined an insufficiently explored topic - the role of women in the war, without whose help and selfless work it would have been simply impossible to defeat the enemy. Faina Blinchevskaya, a 94-year-old labor veteran, Candidate of Medical Sciences, author of 15 books, cultural heritage of Voronezh (Russia), head of the Blue Handkerchief international program in the Voronezh region, is researching this topic.

In the photo: Faina Blinchevskaya

The forum participants paid attention to pilot Alexandra Polyakova, who on the night of May 9-10, 1943, in the vicinity of Glazunovka station, made the first female night ramming of a ground target in the history of the war. Polyakova was assigned a combat mission - to bomb a large railway junction - the Glazunovka station, where echelons with ammunition and manpower of the enemy were concentrated. When the task was almost completed, the aircraft was fired upon by enemy anti-aircraft guns and the U-2 was hit. The pilot sent the plane to the German echelons.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexandra Polyakova, and only recently it was possible to establish that the real date of her birth is April 16, 1922.

Nadezhda Yusupova, teacher (Glazunovka village, Russia):

“Five generations had to change for us to remember this heroine.”

The second topic that was voiced during the speeches by several participants was the transformation of the memory of the feat of Soviet soldiers in the Baltic countries into anti-state rhetoric.

In contrast to this, participants and spectators were able to see how the memory of the soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division is honored in the Oryol and Kursk regions.

In the photo: inclusion from the Glazunov Agricultural College

Natalya Bodrova, head of the Fakel search squad (Oryol, Russia), showed a story about memorials and actions initiated by educational institutions and students in the Oryol region, and noted that the feats of the soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division are honored and remembered in cities and small towns.

Igor Suvorov, chairman of the Oryol branch of the Union of Soviet Officers, added:

“As Lithuanians are Catholics, we invited a Catholic priest to hold a service in memory of them. We feel grateful. Our schoolchildren and students are very well aware of the heroic history of their Motherland.”

It is not the first time that a touching discovery has taken place at the forum. Two relatives of Vadim Gilis, a historian from Latvia, also a participant in the previous session, fought in the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. He sent their photographs and names to the forum chat, and Natalya Bodrova found, according to the available data, their burial places.

In the photo: a frame from the plot of Natalia Bodrova "Rally"

At the 14th Session of the forum, new facts were also made public.

Tatyana Sokolova, Head of the “Fakel” school military-patriotic club (Kursk, Russia):

“Only five years ago it became known that the 309th Kursk Rifle Division of the 1st formation died completely in November 1941 on Yelninskaya land - 11.5 thousand people. Only 180 people from the division were able to break out of the Vyazma pocket. On September 10, 2021, in the village of Ushakovo, Elninsky district, Smolensk region, a solemn opening of memorial plates with 771 names of our fellow countrymen took place. The motto is "No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten!" we, the descendants of the victors, must make it a reality.”

Yurijus Trakselis, Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, Chairman of the NGO “Military Heritage Institute” (Lithuania), noted:

“This information must not be allowed to disappear. There is an urgent need for a platform where the information will be systematized and laid out.”

The results of the forum were summed up by Valery Ruzin, Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly, President of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio (Russia):

“The Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly is consistently working to preserve the memory of the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War, to form working groups in order to establish associations of descendants and create a platform where the personnel of military divisions will be presented.

In the photo: Valery Ruzin, Giedrius Grabauskas (historian, journalist (Lithuania - Russia)

The Glazunov Agricultural College and many other forum participants began to cooperate with us. This shows that we are on the right track. We must make available information about the personnel of the division; let people know that their relatives were fighters and heroes of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division.”