TASS: Events dedicated to the Beginning of the Great Patriotic War Too Place in the Near Abroad

23/06/2020 17:55

© Alexander Ryumin/TASS

According to TASS, in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia, commemorative events were limited to laying flowers at military graves and memorials due to the coronavirus pandemic. On this day, Kazakhstan joined an online meeting organized by the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly as a part of the International Project “VICTORIOUS TOGETHER” - for Peace and Creation”.

MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. In the countries of the near abroad, commemorative events were held to mark a tragic date in a shared history, the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The coronavirus pandemic and quarantine restrictions made their own adjustments, but everywhere on this day people remembered the treachery of the enemy and those who fought in the name of Victory.

In most countries, it is now temporarily prohibited to hold mass events. In Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia, commemorative events were limited to laying flowers at military burial sites and memorials. In Azerbaijan, where the quarantine has been tightened since June 21, all events were canceled, and in Kazakhstan, the actions were switched to an online format. And only in Georgia there is no tradition to highlight this date in any way.

Morning of the Brest Fortress

In Belarus, in the Memorial Complex “Brest Hero-Fortress”, the events dedicated to the beginning of the Great Patriotic War traditionally begin early in the morning - about 4a.m., just at the same time when the German-fascist invaders attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko arrived there. “Representatives of more than thirty nationalities fought here. And they all did their sacred duty. They defended their Homeland, although they were born thousands of kilometers from Brest,”- he told the audience.

On this day in Belarus, two memorial complexes dedicated to the memory of the civilian victims were opened: in the village of Borki, Mogilev region, and on the site of burned by the Nazis village of Ola in the Svetlogorsk district of the Gomel region.

Flowers and Candles of Memory

At most military memorials in Moldova at 4 a.m. (the time coincides with Moscow time), candles were lit as part of the “Candle of Memory” Action. Flower-laying ceremonies were attended by a small number of people: representatives of local authorities, public organizations and Russian diplomats. The song “The Sacred War” was played at the memorial complex “Eternity” in the center of Chisinau. Moldovan President Igor Dodon and Prime Minister Ion Kiku addressed their fellow citizens through social networks and the media due to the quarantine restrictions. “Our ancestors managed to liberate Moldova, as well as all the occupied territories of the USSR and European countries, from the Nazi aggressors at the cost of huge losses. The Soviet people including Moldovans, lost 27 million people, so we must remember the unparalleled feat of our grandfathers,” - Dodon wrote on his Facebook page.

In Armenia, where mass events were also restricted, youth organizations laid flowers at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Victory Park. During theAction, all sanitary and epidemiological measures were observed, but still it was decided to hold it without veterans. An online presentation of Suren Mirzoyan's book about the battle of Stalingrad – “The Stalingraders Had Won” - was held on the YouTube channel of the Yerevan Representative office of the Russian Center of Science and Culture. Its author is a front-line soldier; he went through the war as part of the 62nd Army. Readers were able to get acquainted with the collection “Voices of Immortality. Memories of Armenian Veterans of the Great Patriotic War”.

Commemorative events were also held in the two largest cities of Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek and Osh. In the capital's Victory Park named after the Hero of the Soviet Union Dair Asanov, a “Candle of Memory” Action was held. Members of Parliament, representatives of veterans’ and youth organizations, city administration, military personnel, as well as employees of the Representative office of the Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation in Kyrgyzstan took part in the Action.

The memory of the fallen was also honored in Tashkent. There, Russian Embassy staff laid flowers at the Mass Graves Memorial, which is located on the site of one of the military hospital.

In the morning, a meeting dedicated to the Day of Memory and Grief was held at the Orthodox cemetery in Dushanbe. The meeting brought together employees of the Russian Embassy in Tajikistan, representatives of the Border Cooperation Group of the FSB of the Russian Federation, the 201st Russian Military Base, the Council of War and Labor Veterans and other public organizations. “The ancestors who went through the torments and trials of war were united by love for the Motherland, for the Fatherland, and patriotism,” said Russian Ambassador to Tajikistan Igor Lyakin-Frolov. In the evening a “Candle of Memory” Action was held in the Russian Center of Science and Culture in Dushanbe.

On this day, Kazakhstan joined an online meeting organized by the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly as part of the International Project “VICTORIOUS TOGETHER - for Peace and Creation”. Director of the Karaganda Russian Drama Theater Dunay Espaev recited an excerpt from Robert Rozhdestvensky's Requiem in Kazakh during a live broadcast from Karaganda. June 22 to 29 an online festival of documentaries about the war will be held on the website pobedakz.com. The festival is organized by VGTRK and the Representative office of Rossotrudnichestvo in Kazakhstan.

We have Nothing to Argue About

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky in his address to the people on the occasion of the Day of Memory and Grief called for an end to disputes about the Second World War and to honor all the dead and injured. “Unfortunately, that war still generates a lot of disputes in society, disputes about whether it was “ours” or “theirs”. I don't think we have anything to argue about. In any way, that war affected every Ukrainian family. It gave us the bitter experience of loss and the experience of a feat that inspires,” - Zelensky wrote in his Telegram channel.

But the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal in his Telegram channel repeated the thesis imposed in the country in recent years that Ukraine has allegedly become a victim of the struggle of two totalitarian regimes. “As a result, almost 10 million Ukrainians were killed. These are terrible numbers,’ - he wrote. The Prime Minister also drew a parallel between the events of 1941 and modern times. “We will drive the enemy from the Ukrainian land”, - said Shmygal.

After the coup in Ukraine in the winter of 2014, the new authorities of the country, led by President Petro Poroshenko, began to pursue a policy of so-called decommunization. A law was passed on the glorification of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN, banned in Russia) and its combat wing of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA, banned in Russia), as well as their leaders Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera, known for their cooperation with Nazi Germany. Their activities were recognized as “the struggle for the independence of the country”. Kiev also rejected the term “Great Patriotic war”. May 9 in the Ukrainian calendar is preserved as a public holiday - the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II. However, May 8 was also added to the calendar of commemorations as a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation.