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Opinions & Interviews

23 Oct 2017

Belarus, Russia bound together by memory about Great Patriotic War

Belarus, Russia bound together by memory about Great Patriotic War

VITEBSK DISTRICT, 23 October (BelTA) – The memory about the Great Patriotic War closely links Belarus and Russia, Margarita Novodvorskaya, Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the Russian embassy in Belarus, noted as she took part in a ceremony to take soil from a mass grave in the agrotown of Vorony, Vitebsk District on 23 October, BelTA has learned.

The soil will later be handed over to descendants of Lieutenant Sergei Nikolayev who died near Vitebsk at the age of 21 in winter 1943 and was buried in the mass grave. The hero has been given a posthumous For Valor medal and a 1st class Order of the Patriotic War.

“Belarus is an example of how people should cherish the memory about the Great Patriotic War. We should follow this example. Our nations have a long common story. It has been both tragic and heroic. The Great Patriotic War bounds us together,” Margarita Novodvorskaya remarked.

The diplomat underlined she had been working in Belarus for over two years. “I will certainly take by children and grandchildren visiting me to the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War. I have never seen anything more epic, interesting and at the same time so strong in its truth,” Margarita Novodvorskaya emphasized.

She pointed out that Belarus is an example of how all kinds of veterans should be treated: soldiers, home front workers, prisoners of concentration camps, and survivors of siege. “They are surrounded with care and attention. Social support reaches every category of veterans. This fact deserves attention. This is an example to be followed,” the diplomat added.

Belarus, Russia bound together by memory about Great Patriotic WarThere is no family in Belarus or Russia, which has not been affected by war one way or another, she underlined. “This is a very private page in every family’s history. My grandmother’s sister was burned by fascists in a granary in Bryansk Oblast. A presentation of the two-volume book Belarusian Villages Burned Down and Russian Villages Burned Down has been held recently. It is noteworthy that Belarus’ National Archives have made every effort to collect the materials and documents for the book Russian Villages Burned Down. This example also illustrates how many things we have in common. They do not just unite us. They make us think about the future, about the need to respect and help each other. Fight together against present-day challenges and repeated attempts to re-write the history,” Margarita Novodvorskaya highlighted.

It was noted at the meeting that Sergei Nikolayev’s family had been looking for his grave for a long time. The information about the grave was published on the website of the Memorial database. The relatives found out that Sergei Nikolayev, Lieutenant of the 158th Rifle Division, a native of Russia’s Stalingrad (now Volgograd) Oblast, was buried in the mass grave in the agrotown of Vorony.

His relatives are now living in Baku, Azerbaijan. This is where his brothers are buried. The Belarusian soil will be presented to his descendants who intend to throw it on the graves of Sergei Nikolayev’s brothers in Azerbaijan (the solemn ceremony to present the soil to an Azerbaijani delegation is expected to take place is Moscow during the World Congress of Compatriots).

More than 7,000 surnames of defenders of the Fatherland, who died during the war, are carved on the memorial stone of the mass grave in the agrotown of Vorony.

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