We remember. Partners of the Gorchakov Fund organized memorial events in commemoration of the 80th anniversary since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War
June 22 is the Day of Memory and Sorrow. Exactly 80 years ago Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union without a declaration of war, which forever made that day a day of sorrow. Today, official ceremonies of laying flowers at war memorials were organized in Russian, German and Belarusian cities with the support of the Gorchakov Fund and its partners.

Alumni of the Youth Forum of the Postdam Meetings and partners of the Gorchakov Fund laid flower wreaths at the Victory Memorial on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. The memorial is dedicated to countries-members of the anti-Hitler coalition. There are four bronze figures of Soviet, American, British and French soldiers at the base of the memorial. Archive photos of soldiers-war veterans were used as prototypes for those figures. Correspondent of the project "International Commonwealth of People's Diplomacy" Irina Chepaykina, Senior Researcher at the Center for European Studies of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO University Artem Sokolov and Aide to the Chairman of the Federation Council for Foreign Affairs Islam Techiyev joined the memorial event.


Another memorial event took place at the Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten in Berlin – a large burial of around 2500 Soviet soldiers. It was one of the first memorials erected in Berlin – on November 11, 1945. The choice of the place was quite symbolic – according to the plan of Adolf Hitler the East-West Axe and the North-South Axe were to cross here, thus, forming a center of the "new world's capital of Germany". Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechayev took part in the official ceremony. International Projects Director of Kaiser Communication Agency Alexandra Ogneva and Diplomatic Advisor to the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA) Urs Unkauf attended the event on behalf of the Youth Potsdam Meetings.


Attendees of the forum from St. Petersburg met at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery and paid tribute to the victims of the Great Patriotic War. The cemetery is a place of mass burial of soldiers from the Leningrad Front and victims of the  siege of Leningrad, which lasted from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944. 

Partners of the Gorchakov Fund Olga Zhukova, Veterans Affairs Expert at the "Bridge of Generations" Foundation, and Olga Bogacheva, Chair of the Coordination Council of the Organization of Russian Compatriots of Mauritius, also joined the ceremony of laying flowers in St. Petersburg.


On the eve of the Day of Memory and Sorrow, on June 21, representatives of the Coordination Council of the Organization of Russian Compatriots in Hamburg, Advisor for Business Development of Baltic Wind GmbH and permanent member of the forum of the Potsdam Meetings Andrey Miller and Russian Consul General Andrey Sharashkin laid flower wreaths at the Hamburg War Memorial.

During the time of its, existence the largest concentration camp in north-eastern Germany had over 110 000 prisoners, including around 34 000 Soviet citizens. The exact number of victims remains unknown. According to the records preserved, some prisoners underwent medical experiments. The prisoners were also exploited in brick production. Soviet citizens were held under especially severe conditions and were forced to do the hardest work. On average, prisoners died after 100 days from their arrival to the camp.


Partners of the Gorchakov Fund from Belarus joined the memorial campaign and laid flowers at the Memorial Complex Brest Fortress, which was the first one to be attacked by the fascist army on June 22 of 1941. As a result of the unexpected attack, the military unit was not able to respond with united and coordinated actions and was split into several separate groups. Defenders of the fortress were maintaining resistance for about a month while staying deep in the rear of Wehrmacht that was approaching Moscow.


Partners from the Center of Analysis and Forecasting of the Commonwealth Integration Processes honoured memory of the war victims at the place of the village of Khatyn, which has become a collective image of 186 Belarusian villages destroyed by the Nazis and collaboration forces together with their inhabitants. Khatyn was burnt down on March 22, 1943 by a death squad in revenge for the murder of several German soldiers. Creators of the memorial complex preserved the design structure of the former village and at the places of burnt houses they erected bells – they ring in remembrance of the terrors of the war and as a reminder to new generations.


The Gorchakov Fund thanks participants fo the Postdam Meetings Forum, Andrey Miller and Alexandra Ogneva for their help in organizing the memorial events in Berlin and Hamburg and all partners, who joined the campaign. We hope that this tradition will continue with the support of those who care for our common tragedy and history.