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27 January 2024, 18:05

Lukashenko attends war memorial dedication ceremony in Leningrad Oblast of Russia

LENINGRAD OBLAST, 27 January (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony to unveil the memorial to commemorate Soviet civilian victims of the Nazi genocide during the Great Patriotic War, BelTA has learned.
"Dear veterans, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes of besieged Leningrad, dear St. Petersburgers! Thank you for inviting me. It is very important for me to be here on such sacred days for our peoples. Today, on the day of the complete lifting of the siege of Leningrad, we imagine the thoughts and feelings of people who experienced hell on earth," the Belarusian leader said. “Even 80 years on, the memory of these events breaks our hearts. Once again we feel the bitterness of losses and the joy of liberation, and the incredible intensity of the struggle for life, for our Victory. The price of Great Victory is our shared pain. It is the pain of all peoples sentenced to death by Hitler's Germany. Belarusians feel it like no one else."
This pain is cast in bronze and engraved in stone on thousands of mass graves of unknown soldiers, in places of mass executions of civilians and in places of selfless feats of Red Army soldiers, partisans, underground fighters - from Moscow to Brest and Berlin. "Every such monument is a witness, a prosecutor and a judge. Every monument is irrefutable proof of the genocide of the Soviet people. This is a sentence for centuries, no matter how much some do not want it to be today," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
He noted that today the memory of the victims of the war, the heroism of our fathers and grandfathers gives a hard time to some people, first of all, to the ideological followers of murderers and traitors: "It is they who today honor the executioners in their parliaments. It was they who started the war against graves and monuments in Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine. Complete madmen! Do they think that by destroying a monument they will destroy the memory that lives in the hearts of the people? The people who have found the strength to build new peaceful relations with those states that only yesterday brought suffering and death to our lands."
"The memory of the heroism of the victors, their spiritual feat will live forever. Including here. In this poignant image of the mothers and children of Leningrad, Khatyn, Babi Yar and tens of thousands of Soviet cities and villages, destroyed and desolated. For us, Belarusians, it is important that this mournful monument will keep a piece of our wounded soul, the memory of the tragedy of our people," the head of state stressed.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, there are thousands of war memorials in Russia and Belarus. The vast majority of them commemorate the heroes - Red Army soldiers, partisans - people who defended their land with weapons in their hands. Along with this, the tribute was not fully paid to those who performed heroic deeds on the home front. “We have talked a lot about it. Most of the memorials are to those who defended the homeland with weapons and could defend themselves. This memorial pays tribute to the people and children that the Russian president talked about. To those who could not defend themselves. To those whose blood was squeezed out to the last drop to save the Nazi soldiers. I believe we are making up for what we may have missed in Soviet times,” he said.
The president thanked Vladimir Putin, the Russian people and the designers of the war memorial. Those were, in particular, the Leningrad Oblast authorities, the Russian Military Historical Society, and the team of designers.
“Thank you from the long-suffering Belarusian people! We cannot change the past, but it is in our power to protect the future. Let this memorial guard our common historical memory, the brotherhood of peoples and the strength of the unbreakable unity of the nations that fought against the world evil and defeated it. This is very important for us today. I wish all of you peace, prosperity and happiness!” the Belarusian president said.
The presidents of Belarus and Russia laid flowers at the Eternal Flame and toured the war memorial.
The memorial was built in Gatchina District, Leningrad Oblast. During the war, the Krasnogvardeisk Fortified Area had its second line of defense here, consisting of field and reinforced concrete firing points, trenches and anti-tank ditches. During the years of occupation, civilians living near the front line were, literally, wiped out. This scorched earth was symbolically a line before the last frontier of Leningrad - the Pulkovskie Heights.
Gatchina District was the site of numerous camps for prisoners of war, and concentration camps for Soviet children, whom the Nazis used as blood donors for German soldiers. More than 8,000 children were killed there.
The memorial rests on a stele featuring a figure of a woman with children, echoing the image of the Mother Motherland Memorial in Piskaryovskoye Cemetery.
The Eternal Flame is lit at the foot of the memorial. Around it, there are names of concentration camps and 150 sculptural compositions (bas-reliefs) based on real stories and photographs carved in different languages. These are figures of civilians killed by the Nazis. The stele looks like being cut with barbed wire - a symbol of the prisoners’ living circumstances and tragic lives.
The memorial will be visible to all those arriving in St. Petersburg, as Pulkovo International Airport is located nearby.
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