A parade of military history festivals opened in Karelia

A series of military history festivals began in Karelia on Sunday. The events are devoted to the 60th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

The clubs of military history aficionados from Petrozavodsk and St.Petersburg gave theatrical performances in the Suojärvi district on Sunday, the organizing committee told RIA Novosti. They reproduced a battle between Soviet and Finnish troops.

The “soldiers” wore WWII-time uniforms and carried weapons of that time. The performance took place in the area of intense WWII fighting. Trenches, shelters, and dugouts, i.e., the defensive lines of the Soviet and Finnish armies, have survived at the site to this day.

There are also 15 burial places where Soviet and Finnish soldiers and officers lie. A wreath-laying ceremony at the monuments to the soldiers, a concert of military songs, and sporting events were also central on the festival program.

A field kitchen provided visitors and participants with food and drinks. Similar festivals will take place in Karelia’s Medvezhegorsk and Pitkäranta districts in June – August 2005.

The military history festivals are designed to popularize that period of history and promote patriotic education. In addition, the organizers want to draw the attention of the authorities and the public to the need to preserve military history monuments and include them into the domain of culture, education, and tourism.

There are 500 sites and buildings of military history in the republic. Most of them date back to WWII. They are part of the common military history of Russia and Finland.

The “parade” of festivals was organized by the republic’s Center for the State Protection of Cultural Heritage in coöperation with Karelia’s Culture Ministry, and the local self-government bodies of the Suojärvi, Medvezhegorsk, and Pitkäranta districts.

RIA Novosti, March 13, 2005

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