Home Diplomatic News The 9 May Commemoration Ceremony at the “Russisch Ereveld”

The 9 May Commemoration Ceremony at the “Russisch Ereveld”


On the picture Ambassador Shulgin with the members of the Krasny Oktjabr history reenactment group.

On May 9, 2017 a commemoration ceremony to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Victory over the nazi Germany in the Second World War took place at the “Rusthof” cemetery in Leusden (the province of Utrecht).

The event was organised by the Embassy of Russia in close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands and the local authorities of Leusden and Amersfoort. A valuable assistance was provided by the “Russisch Ereveld” Foundation, which takes care of the graves of Soviet servicemen buried there.

“Today we honour the memory of 865 men and women lying here at the “Russisch Ereveld”, who died abroad defending their Motherland. Among them are Russians, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians and many other nationalities, since the names of many buried still remain unknown” – Ambassador of Russia, H.E. Mr Alexander Shulgin said in his opening speech.

Ambassador Shulgin and his spouse with a Russian veteran from the Hague.

“We commemorate the 6 million Jews, who were murdered in the Nazi concentration camps. We commemorate the servicemen of our Western allies, whose representatives are with us today” – he added.

Mr Shulgin also explained why the countries of the former USSR celebrate the victory day on May, 9. This change of dates occurred “due to the fact that the German Instrument of Surrender was signed late in the evening of May, 8 when it was already May, 9 in Moscow” – the Ambassador noted.

During the official part of the ceremony wreaths were laid by Heads and representatives of diplomatic missions, including the diplomatic missions of former Soviet republics, the US, the UK, Germany and Israel, the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the local governments of Leusden and Amersfoort, and NGOs.

Ambassador Shulgin and the other representatives also paid the tribute to the Allies at the “Cross of Sacrifice” Monument and to the Dutch soldiers at the “Dutch Monument”.

Ambassador Shulgin and his spouse with a little soldier.

The Ceremony itself was not limited to the official part. Several hundred people came to participate and bring flowers to the “Russisch Ereveld”. Besides ordinary civilians there were the veterans, the clergy and the military. Representatives of the orthodox clergy performed a short religious service “for the peace of the souls” of the buried.

Additionally, an annual international action “The Immortal Regiment” was organised by Russian compatriots. About 150 Russians and former Soviet citizens living in the Netherlands took part in it this year. The participants marched to the Monument at the “Russisch Ereveld” and honoured the memory of the 865 people buried there.

The “Immortal Regiment” emerged as a civil society initiative and has been organised in Russia every May 9 since 2012. People whose relatives fought and died in the Great Patriotic War print out their pictures and march with them along the streets. Sometimes participants wear replicas of Soviet soldier uniforms of 1941-1945. The movement is getting increased support among Russian compatriots and other former Soviet citizens around the globe.

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