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Soviet War Memorial Trust - Victory Day 2020

 

Soviet War Memorial Trust - Victory Day 2020

The 75th Anniversary of the Allied Victory over Nazi Germany was marked by a short ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial in London on Saturday 9 May. 

Ambassadors representing seven countries of the former USSR - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - gathered for the event organised by the Soviet War Memorial Trust (SWMT). Following the laying of wreaths, the Russian Ambassador delivered a short address, a silence was observed and the Exhortation was recited. Ralph Gibson, SWMT Hon Secretary, laid a wreath on behalf of the SWMT and all supporters of the Memorial who could not be present due to the current restrictions. The event was organised in consultation with the Mayor of Southwark's office, the Metropolitan Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Russian Ambassador, HE Andrei Kelin, noted the decisive contribution to Victory made by the Soviet Union: but at a tremendous cost - 27 million Soviet people perished, and thousands of cities, towns and villages were destoyed. He also paid tribute to the Allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, including the Arctic Convoys. "We pay tribute to everyone who died in fighting for the freedom of humanity. We will always remember and be forever grateful to the veterans of World War II who brought us peace while selflessly fighting the enemy." 

The SWMT had been planning a large-scale event to mark Victory Day this year, and HRH The Princess Royal, who had intended to be present, sent a message to the participants. "It is vital that we recognise the incredible sacrifice made by the peoples of the former Soviet Union. Few people fought more bravely, or suffered more grievously for the price of victory". 

Philip Matthews, SWMT Chair, drew attention in his address to the Ambassadors to the Soviet prisoners-of-war who died in the Channel Islands who were used by the Nazi occupiers as slave labour. He noted that the Islands mark 9 May as their liberation day.  

Saturday's ceremony marked the 21st anniversary of the unveiling in 1999 of the Soviet War Memorial, located in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park which surrounds the Imperial War Museum in Southwark. Funded by public subscription in the UK and Russia, the Memorial has become a focal point for people from all over the former USSR, and the UK, at ceremonies marking Holocaust Memorial Day, Victory Day and Remembrance Sunday every year. More information about the Memorial and the SWMT, including video coverage of Victory Day 2020 and other recent events can be found at: www.sovietwarmemorialtrust.com 

 

The attached photos show the Ambassadors and the Memorial following the wreath-laying, and the Russian Ambassador making his speech. 

 

FULL TEXT OF RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR'S SPEECH HERE: https://www.rusemb.org.uk/photogal/771 

 

FULL TEXT OF PRINCESS ANNE'S MESSAGE HERE: https://www.rusemb.org.uk/article/612 

 

Ralph Gibson

Hon. Secretary

Soviet War Memorial Trust

SWMT  320 Brixton Road  London SW9 6AB

Tel: 020 7274 2282 | Eml: sovietwarmemorialtrust@gmail.com | Web: www.sovietwarmemorialtrust.com

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