The Military-Historical Festival "Karelian Borders. Medvezhegorsk"

One of the most interesting objects of the war history on the territory of Karelia- the complex of the Finnish defensive structures of the World War II period- is situated in the town of Medvezhegorsk.

After the town had been captured by the Finnish troops in December 1941, the headquarter of Finland faced a question to build a powerful fortification on its territory. In the middle of 1944 all the dominant hills, circling the town from 3 sides, had been turned into powerful command posts with numerous weapon emplacements, camouflaged by wire entanglements and mine-fields. Carefully masked defenses were presented by complex constructions, carved out in the rocks. The special sphere forms with holes for observing and shooting were in the upper side of the dugouts. It turned out, that the Medvezhegorsk defensive potential had not been realized: in June 1944 the town was won back. Some fortifications were exploded, the engineering equipment was dismantled.

At present the carved in the rocks pill-boxes, barracks, shelters, anti-tank obstacles and other defences have been preserved.

June 13, 2004. Medvezhegorsk. Festival, 2004
Medvezhegorsk. Festival, 2004

On 13 June 2004 on the territory of the Finnish defensive complex the military-historical festival "Karelian Borders. Medvezhegorsk" was held. This festival was a component part of the festivals' parade, devoted to the 60th Anniversary of Karelia's liberation from the invaders. This event was organized by the local administration of the Medvezhegorsk district, the State Center for Protection and Management of Historic and Cultural Monuments of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia as well as the Medvezhegorsk town museum.

The tragic pages of history of our Motherland are closely connected with the military-historical objects, that's why the festival was opened with Memorial Action at the Common Grave of the Soviet soldiers, fallen dead in the fights during the defending and liberating of the town of Medvezhegorsk.

The festival was held on the mountain Lysukha, which is situated in the outskirts of Medvezhegorsk. The re-enaction of the "fight" was on the real defensive line of the Finnish troops of the Grate Patriotic War period. The "fighters" of the Finnish Army defended themselves in the pill-box, preserved from the war-times. As a result of the attack of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army the pill-box was taken, the Soviet Banner was erected instead of the Finnish Flag. The original uniform and the ammunition of the participants as well as the fire-technical effects made the historical interpretation look real. This "battle" of the 1944 period was re-enacted by the Military-History Amateurs' Club "Styag"(Petrozavodsk) and the clubs of the Military-History Re-enaction from St. Petersburg.

June 13, 2004. Medvezhegorsk. Festival, 2004
Medvezhegorsk. Festival, 2004

The cultural programme as well as other happenings in the frame of the festival was connected to the War theme. The songs of the War-times, folk-music and folk-dances were in the programme. The guests of the festival were guided to the carved in the rock soldiers' barrack. The huge dark barrack, lighted by torches, created great impression on the visitors.

The representatives of the tourist firms, who took part in the advertising tour in the frame of the festival, marked that this unforgettable event could be included in the programme of tourists' visits to Karelia. The advertising tour participants had an opportunity to get acquainted with the infrastructure of Medvezhegorsk – places, where tourists could have accommodation, meals and a rest.

The Military-Historical Festival became a real immersion into history, aimed at popularizing the events of the war history as well as paying a tribute of respect to those who defended our Motherland in the Great Patriotic War.

Press-office of the State Centre for Protection and Managing
of Monuments of History and Culture of the Ministry of Culture,
the Republic of Karelia