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Opinions & Interviews

1 Aug 2014

Zhadobin: Memory of WWI is a token of respect to all generations of fatherland defenders

Zhadobin: Memory of WWI is a token of respect to all generations of fatherland defenders

MINSK, 1 August (BelTA) - The memory of the First World War is a token of respect to the defenders of the fatherland of all generations, Belarusian Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin said at a commemorative meeting at the monument to the heroes and victims of the First World War in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

One hundred years have passed since the beginning of the First World War which involved dozens of states and multimillion armies. Yet the memory of it has been preserved, said Yuri Zhadobin. As it has been for centuries, the Belarusian lands, by virtue of the geographical location, found themselves in the epicenter of the war events in 1915. "Today, we once again reiterate the need to secure peace and stability in our land, preserve the memory of the tragic lessons of history, and show respect to the defenders of the fatherland of all generations," he said.

"This is the occasion to remind the world how fragile peace is, and to remember those who went selflessly to the front to defend their homeland against the enemy," said Yuri Zhadobin. In due time, this war was called the great war and the patriotic one, which stresses its character and importance for tens of millions of patriots. Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, representatives of the Baltic and Caucasian peoples fought the enemy as part of the army of the Russian Empire. "Our countrymen accounted for a significant part of the officer corps of the army and the navy, many of them commanded regiments, brigades, divisions and corps," said Yuri Zhadobin.

For his part, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov stressed that the First World War is the brightest example of how political ambitions can lead to great human losses. “About 20 million people, both military and civilian, were killed during the First World War. The result of it was the collapse of the Russian Empire," the diplomat said. He expressed the regret that no relevant conclusions were made in the wake of the First World War, and as a result of political ambitions and growing arms race 22 years later World War II broke out.

Alexander Surikov added that today’s world is volatile, some regions are involved in military activities and solutions by force are often considered an ordinary thing. First of all, however, the parties in conflict including politicians who aim at achieving democracy and the protection of human rights should try to come to an agreement, settle issues using political methods.

The memorial at the war cemetery in Minsk where soldiers of the Russian Empire killed during the Great War were buried was unveiled in August 2011. The cemetery, founded in 1914, contains some 5,000 graves of soldiers representing 830 military formations. A total of 2,468 names have been engraved on the sculptures near the chapel.


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