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71 years ago, one of the most dreadful war in the history of humanity ended – with the first (and hopefully the last!) atomic bomb used, with the word Holocaust invented, and more than 50 million people killed. The famous Russian military officer Alexander Suvorov once said: “A war is not over until the last soldier is buried.” There are a few million people missing from the Second World War whose destiny is still unknown. Alexey Petrovich, the leader of a Moldavian NGO called the «Russian Historical and Patriotic Club», believes that the main goal of his life is to restore and save the memory of soldiers.

Alexey has Ukrainian roots, but since 1974 his family has lived in Moldavian capital, the city of Kishinev. From early childhood, listening to his grandfather’s war stories, he used to dream of a military career. Though fate decreed otherwise, Alexey kept up his interest in the history of the WWII, and one day it occurred to him that it would be great to find like-minded people and try to do something useful in the field. In 2009 he established an NGO that initially planned to give lectures to school and university students about war history. In a few months he got information about an unknown military grave at a place where, in 1944, a bloody battle was fought. Alexey and his colleagues organized a search expedition to the grave and discovered the remains of 18 Red Army soldiers. The remains were identified by the dog tag numbers, so in May 2010 the first military burial ceremony in Moldavia in 30 years took place due to the work of Alexey’s search party. This event started a long-term project – jointly with another Moldavian NGO called «The August» - pursuant to Suvorov’s quote that every discovered and buried set of remains helps to end the War.


Alexey's grandfather Alexey Yaremov

It’s a long and difficult task. For six years a small organization of 30 participants has worked to restore more than 800 names of missing soldiers. They receive around 30 requests per a month from people of different countries and nationalities whose ancestors disappeared without a trace more than 70 years ago.


Visit of the family from Kazakhstan to the grave of their father and grandfather corporal Amir Bekbauliev, April 2015

"It is always an inexpressibly touching moment when whole families – 2-3 generations, with small kids – come to us with soil taken from the homeland of those soldiers who were killed in Moldavia. Recently there was a case: two men came, a grandson and a great-grandson of a recovered soldier. They brought his picture – the same face that his great-grandson has! They never met him in their lives and they stood at his grave, two grown men crying like babies. This is the utmost reward for our work," Alexey admitted.


Expedition to places of military glory (Dubossarskiy region, Moldova) April 2015

It’s just a small part of Alexey’s NGO activities. Besides the search expeditions, they do a huge number of things connected with memories of WWII: giving lectures at schools and universities, recording the veterans’ war stories, organizing memorial campaigns and excursions at the locations where the War took place, building war memorials, and taking part in annual Victory events.


Expedition to places of military glory (Dubossarskiy region, Moldova) April 2015

There is a scientifically proven statement – without proper support, war memories in all their horror last only three generations, and the fourth one treats them just as historical facts.


The burial ceremony of the Soviet soldiers remains, Memorial Center "Serpeni bridgehead"

"We must remember the War – to stay human. It showed that a nation is too easily transformed into a merciless band killing its own kind. When the Romans destroyed Carthage, they massacred everyone, wiped out the city and even sprinkled the earth with salt. The Soviet Army had the right to do the same with Germany, but in the center of Berlin we see a monument of a Soviet soldier carrying a German girl in his arms. In our everyday lives we all make decisions which often are quite complicated, so to make the right ones we should have some moral basis, some close examples of human heroism, courage and selflessness shown in deep waters. It is our duty. And I understand it literally – every debt has to be paid," Alexey concluded.

Evgenia Samodelkova

 

 

 

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