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Memorial march of Polish and Russian youth passes in Smolensk

April 22, 2012, 16:59 UTC+3

March participants laid down flowers at the memorial stone

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SMOLENSK, April 22 (Itar-Tass) — Smolensk was the venue on Sunday for the fourth memorial March of Polish and Russian youth.

Its participants honoured the memory of victims of the totalitarian regime in the Katyn memorial complex. More than 200 young men and women from Poznan (Poland) and Smolensk participated in the march.

The Katyn memorial complex is located 18 kilometres west of Smolensk in the Katyn forest. Burials of Soviet citizens, shot down in Smolensk, were made here during the mass repression in the 1930s. NKVD officers shot down and buried here 4,421 Polish troops in May-April 1940. They were brought from Poland after its division. The identity of each of them was established.

A rally was held in Katyn with the participation of representatives from the administration of the Smolensk Region and non-government organizations. An address from Polish President Bronislaw Komarowski was read out to March participants.

It says, inter alia, the following: “I’m glad that youth from schools of Poznan and Smolensk meet together at the initiative of the Society for Cooperation with the East “Memoramus” at the place where one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Poland and Russia took place 72 years ago.”

“The truth about Katyn was kept mum at schools and literature published in Poland till 1989. The memory of the killed was carefully kept only in the hearts of their relatives, and it became common memory of people only later.” Komarowski is sure that “we should meet with Russian people on this ground, who themselves experienced the burden of the Stalinist terror”.

“We meet here in order to recall those who lie at rest in the Katyn soil,” noted organizer of the memorial marches and “Memoramus” head Wincent Dovoyno whose father was buried in Katyn. “I want that peace should be in families of Russians and Poles,” he said, and to confirm this, he suggested that all marchers in Katyn “should take each other by hand consolidating our friendship in this way”; and this was done.

Flowers were laid at common graves of Soviet citizens and Polish servicemen. According to a tradition, March participants lit up icon-lamps at the Polish part of the complex.

Then, March participants visited the place of the air crash of the Polish airliner on April 10, 2010 near Smolensk. All the 96 people aboard the plane died at the time, including President Lech Kaczynski. They were flying to Katyn to participate in memorial events.

March participants laid down flowers at the memorial stone.

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