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Russian PM calls on European officials to do everything to keep friendship with Russia

July 26, 2015, 15:08 UTC+3 KRANJSKA GORA
He made the address during a memorial ceremony devoted to the memory of Russian prisoners of war, who died at the Vrsic pass during World War II
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Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

© Catherine Shtukin/press-service of the Government of the Russian Federation/TASS

KRANJSKA GORA /Slovenia/, July 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called on European officials to do everything to keep friendship with Russia.

He made the address during a memorial ceremony devoted to the memory of Russian prisoners of war, who died at the Vrsic pass during World War II.

"The very fact that today’s ceremony features both Slovenians and Russians demonstrates continuing friendship and the wonderful tradition (to pay memories), which proves special relations between people of our countries," Medvedev said. "We appreciate it very much. Politicians, every decision maker in our countries should do everything to have this friendship continue, because this is what people want."

He said lately, the Russia-Slovenia cooperation had been developing.

"Recently we celebrated together the 70th anniversary of the victory over fascism, and we remember the input of our peoples in this fight," the prime minister said. I am very grateful to all our friends in Slovenia, to the country leaders, to members of the Slovenia-Russia friendship society, to other organisations of veterans, to the people living in Kranjska Gora, to all the people of Slovenia for the genuine respect you are paying to the memory of Russian soldiers, who are buried here. Thank you for the mood to keep the best traditions of our friendship."

He said words of gratitude in the Slovenian language.

The prime minister remembered the Russian Chapel at Vrsic as his visit to Slovenia coincides with the100th anniversary of the chapel. "The Russian Chapel at Vrsic has special significance in Russian-Slovenian relations. During World War I, it was built by Russian prisoners of war in memory of their comrades who tragically died there while building the mountain road," Medvedev said. "The chapel came to symbolise friendship between our peoples. Both Slovenians and Russians come there to pay respects to their ancestors," he added.

"Over the past century, countries, political regimes and social systems changed here, but the Russian chapel is still here," Medvedev said. "It became possible thanks to the initiative and good will of the several generations of people living in Kranjska Gora, who cared sincerely for this monument."

During World War I, Kranjska Gora, the final station at the Austrian railroad, was a major reloading station for supplies of arms and weapons to the Austria-Italy front. The Austrian military made a decision to continue a railroad via Vrsic.

Already in July 1915, near Kranjska Gora was organised a camp for Russian prisoners of war, who were used for construction of the railroad across the pass. On March 12, 1916, an avalanche covered a group of the prisoners. Over 300 people died then. During the entire term of the camp (1915-1917), from hard work and starvation about 10,000 Russians died there.

Russian prisoners built a chapel not far from their barracks to commemorate their friends. In the 1920s the railroad across Vrsic was reconstructed, the remains of the prisoners found along the road were re-buried in a common grave, above which in the 1930s appeared a monument with a sign reading: "To Sons of Russia.".

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