Younger Generation of Eurasia remembers Heroes of the Second World War. EYA Roundtable Meeting in Sevastopol

04/09/2020 14:01

On September 1, the Eurasian Youth Assembly (EYA) initiated a roundtable meeting “Contribution of the Peoples of Eurasia to the Great Victory” dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

The event was organized under the auspices of the Crimean Eurasian School of Partnership as part of the International Historical and Patriotic Program a “Week of Memory”, which united the peoples of Eurasia in Sevastopol.

The roundtable meeting, organized in the format of a videoconference, became a platform for communication between young people from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Among the participants of the meeting: representatives of youth public organizations, students of secondary and higher educational institutions, representatives of volunteer movements, scientists and cultural figures, media representatives.

In the online meeting, participants talked about the need to preserve the memory of the events of the Second world war and great Patriotic war, the importance of attracting the young generation of the countries of Eurasia to the history and culture of the peoples of the continent in the context of the great Patriotic war, the development of volunteer projects and movements, strengthening of mutual understanding and peaceful relations among Nations and peoples of the Eurasian space.

Kira Kovnat, Head of the Department for international cooperation of the General Secretariat of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly (EPA), addressed the participants with a welcoming speech:

“Now the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly participates in the XVI Sevastopol International festival of Documentaries and TV programs VICTORIOUS TOGETHER. First of all, the event helps to preserve the memory of the peoples of Eurasia about the Victory in the Great Patriotic war. Tragic pages of our common history, military events that affected almost every family in the Eurasian space help us remember that the States and peoples of the continent must unite in the face of danger.”

Kira Kovnat also drew the participants’ attention to the fact that today it is extremely important to resist attempts to falsify history and distort facts in the media:

“I very much hope that the younger generation will be able to keep in their memory and pass on to the next generations without distortion the significant events of the last century. Together, we can build our prosperous future and peaceful relations between peoples.”

According to the speaker, EPA actively builds programs aimed at supporting young people, including training in public diplomacy and partnership with many Eurasian universities. At the same time, the Assembly focuses on social projects, including the development and implementation of inclusive programs. Thus, on August 28, 2020, the Assembly project “Teaching journalism to young people and children from 12 years of age with disabilities due to eye disease and its appendage “Journalism Lessons for the Blind” was recognized as the winner in a special competition for a Grant from the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society.

Christina Tatarnikova, co-Chair of the EYA Coordination Council, addressed the participants of the roundtable meeting “Contribution of the Peoples of Eurasia to the Great Victory” on behalf of the Eurasian Youth Assembly (EYA):

“Dear friends, first of all, on this wonderful autumn day, September 1, I want to congratulate you on the Day of Knowledge! The holiday was established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated June 15, 1984 “On declaring September 1 a national holiday – the Day of Knowledge”. It is knowledge, the desire for education, the preservation of historical heritage and cultural traditions that become the fundamental driving force for the unity of the peoples of the Eurasian space.”

As Kristina Tatarnikova noted, the youth of the continent honours and carefully preserves the memory of national heroes, the common historical and cultural heritage:

“The memory of the soldiers’ exploits of the Great Patriotic War will always remain in our hearts. It is extremely important to preserve the memory of the heroes of Eurasia through the years, through the centuries. Representatives of the younger generation are ready to play a significant role in preserving historical memory.”

Pride in the Victory – the Basis of Friendship of the Peoples of Eurasia

“The memory of the Great Patriotic war is sacred for the peoples of Kazakhstan,” - Bolat Sarsenov, Head of the project “Volunteers of Eurasia”, is sure. – In May 2020, we celebrated one of the largest and most significant events of the XX century, the Victory in the Great Patriotic war, which saved the Eurasian civilization. It is difficult to overestimate the contribution of each of the Soviet republics to the defeat of the fascists. History is full of examples of mass heroism of soldiers, sons and daughters of different nations. This is our common Victory, which should serve to develop friendship and strengthen mutual understanding between peoples. Pride in Victory should be the basis of strong friendly relations between representatives of the multi-ethnic Eurasian society.”

In the year of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, Kazakhstan launched several important commemorative events and youth volunteer projects aimed at preserving the common historical heritage. For example, the project “Let's Help Veterans” has been launched; volunteers help and provide assistance to veterans and the elderly at home. Much attention is also paid to working with primary and secondary school students: school essay competitions, lessons of courage, and screenings of documentaries and feature films about the events of the Second World War were held.

Svetlana Bektenova, worker of culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Head of the Memorial Museum of the Hero of the Soviet Union Manshuk Mametova, Head of the “Memory Watch” on the battle sites of the heroic daughters of the Kazakh people Manshuk Mametova, Aliya Moldagulova and Kazakhstani soldiers who died on the Pskov-Rzhev land, told about the “female face” of that war.

“Kazakhstan lost 601 thousand people on the fronts of the Great Patriotic war. 615 people from Kazakhstan became Heroes of the USSR. The role of women during the Great Patriotic war was shown with unprecedented force and brightness. Women's feat in war is a testimony to the unity of people in the face of danger, proof of the criminal senselessness of war; it is truly a whole world containing such eternal values as honor, dignity, self-sacrifice, a sense of duty and the desire for justice. More than 330 thousand women from Kazakhstan participated in the Great Patriotic war. The natives of Western Kazakhstan, Heroes of the USSR Manshuk Mametova and Aliya Moldagulova will always be remembered.”

The first Kazakh woman to be awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, machine gunner of the 100th separate rifle brigade of the Kalinin Front, Manshuk Mametova was born in the village of Zhiyekkum in the West Kazakhstan region of the Kazakh SSR. On October 15, 1943, in the heavy battles for the liberation of the city of Nevel, Manshuk Mametova showed herself as a brave defender of her homeland, her people. Left alone, severely wounded by shrapnel in the head, the machine gunner killed more than 70 enemy soldiers. In memory of the feat, the poet Gulsim Selzhanova wrote a posthumous poem that sounds in the hearts of the younger generation, leaving tears of empathy on cheeks for the fate of the “eternally young Manshuk”:

I love your features,
Your thin profile,
You gave your life to a righteous fight.
As we do it today,
The descendants will honour
Your feat and memory of you.
Are we to forget the time of heavy trials?
Its traces haven't been erased yet…
Your fate, brave Kazakh girl, is a pride
For all the steppe people in their native land.
They think:
In country, peaceful now,
Among your aging friends
You pass, our heroine,
You pass, forever-young Manshuk.

How to involve compatriots into the preservation of historical memory?

Co-chair of the Coordinating Council of the Eurasian Youth Assembly, Executive Secretary, Head of the Committee for Physical Culture and Sports of the Coordinating Council of Russian compatriots in Turkey (KSORS Turkey) Alexander Babaev spoke on the issue of involvement to the preservation of the historical memory of generations of Russian compatriots. He said:

“It is very nice to see many young people who are so sensitive to the topic of preserving the historical memory of the Great Victory. On behalf of the Russian compatriots of Turkey, I would like to pay attention to the need to preserve the memory of the younger generation, which is especially important for young people who receive education far from their homeland.”

According to the expert, the key events for compatriots from year to year are the International Public civil-patriotic movement to preserve the personal memory of the generation of the Great Patriotic war “Immortal Regiment”. It is important to note that the administration of Turkish cities always supports this action.

Alexander Babayev also shared with the participants of the roundtable meeting “Contribution of the peoples of Eurasia to the Great Victory” the experience of implementing two significant projects that were organized in the year of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in Turkey on the initiative of the community of compatriots:

“Together with the Victory Museum, supported by the Russian Embassy in Turkey, we held an event dedicated to Soviet diplomacy during the Second World War. Another format that attracts the younger generation is the creation of historical posters in memory of the participants of the Great Patriotic war, sports athletes. The presentation format is based on the style of Soviet posters with the addition of design elements of modern marvel comics. Submission allows you to attract the maximum number of young people to the preservation of historical heritage. We try to find new, modern approaches, because young people do not stand still.”

From History to Modernity: Afghanistan honours the Memory of the Soviet Feat

During the discussion, the topic of interaction between the USSR and Afghanistan during the Second World War was also raised. Historical memory and educational ties have become a guarantee of friendship between the peoples of Afghanistan and post-Soviet countries for many years. In the Soviet Union, more than 100 thousand Afghans received various specialties. Today, the “Patriotic Charity Fund of Muslims of Russia” helps Afghan civilians with medicines — more than one million free medicines. Russian doctors hold seminars for Afghan doctors, assist to refugees, and organize peacekeeping missions. Rustam Khabibullin General Director of the “Charitable Patriotic Fund of Muslims of Russia” told us about.

“During the Second World War there were no fighting in Afghanistan, but the Nazis were preparing the former Basmachi revolt in the Soviet republics of Central Asia. King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan called High Council of Elders, declared neutrality, and expelled active emissaries from the country. Hitler was preparing to March on India through Afghanistan with about 20 divisions, but after being defeated in Stalingrad, he abandoned this idea. Thus, the Soviet Union saved the people of Afghanistan from the Nazi regime. Many Afghans fought against Nazi Germany. They crossed the Panj and voluntarily joined the Red Army,” - Rustam Khabibullin.

Students of secondary and higher educational institutions made presentations at the roundtable meeting

Student of the 11th grade of the Gymnasium No. 24 (Sevastopol) Bogdan Gambaryan opened a series of speakers' presentations about the Great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 in the history of my family".

Nazar Kurbanov, a student of the MGIMO MFA of Russia, also told about the history of his family. The young man's father was born in Turkmenistan, and his mother was born in Russia. Nazar urged young people to cherish the memory of their family history: “Our family remembers and is proud of their ancestors. I am sure that your families also preserve their traditions and honour their heroes.”

Student of the Staevska Secondary School (the Tambov region, Michurinsk district, village Staevo), winner of the contest “Great Victory of 1945 –Proud of Descendants” (contest work: “Is it Easy to become a Hero?”) Nikolai Kiselyov made a presentation “Is it Easy to become a hero? Biography Research of the Hero of Soviet Union Andrey Alekseevich Panchenkov”.

The roundtable meeting “Contribution of the Peoples of Eurasia to the Great Victory” was broadcast on the Facebook account of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly.