Remembering the war at Novodevichy


Walking through the peaceful Novodevichy cemetery, the sound of birdsong and the rustling of lilacs in the breeze was suddenly drowned out by an approaching brass band playing rousing military music. I was there on 22 June 2011, and it was exactly seventy years since the start of the Great Patriotic War in 1941 – the year when the Soviet Union was invaded by Nazi Germany, bringing the Russians into the conflict which had started in 1939 for Britain and most of western Europe.  The young soldiers assembled in front of the monument to three heroes of the defence of Moscow and there were speeches from officials and veterans. Now the Great Patriotic War is again very much in the minds of Russians as we’re approaching the seventieth anniversary of the end of that conflict on 9 May 1945.


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