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Russian official praises Austria’s respect for Soviet military monuments

June 22, 23:22 UTC+3 VIENNA

The obelisk to Soviet prisoners of war, who died in Vienna from 1941 through 1945 was unveiled at Vienna’s central cemetery on June 22, the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow in Russia

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VIENNA, June 22. /TASS/. Installation of a new monument to Soviet soldiers of the World War II era has set an unprecedented instance or favorable treatment of historical memory on the background of miring negotiations on rehabilitation of similar projects in Eastern Europe, Vladislav Kononov, the executive director of the Russian Military Historical Society, told TASS on Thursday.

"Our society has a record of experience in erecting such monuments outside of Russia and the event that occurred today in Austria deserves particular attention," he said. "For us, this is a testimony to the fact we’re met with understanding. We see the countries that remember our common history, the countries that don’t want to wipe it out."

"The event that has taken place in Austria is unprecedented on the background of the war against monuments unfolding in some East-European countries," Kononov said.

Other European countries should scrutinize Austria’s example, he said.

"In 2014, we initiated the installation of a simple remembrance Cross at the Soviet prisoners’-of-war grave at the Rakowice cemetery in Krakow, Poland, but we haven’t moved a single step forward there and we can’t put it up there because we don’t get any understanding (from the Polish side - TASS)," Kononov said.

"On the face of it, we found understanding here in Vienna and Austrian officials participated in the ceremony of unveiling the monument," he said. "The Austrian side laid down the foundation."

"We doing something more important than merely restoring historical memory," Kononov said. "We’re paying tribute to those who’re buried and more than 70 after (completion of World War II - TASS) we’re speaking about wartime events with our to our Austrian counterparts. Many thanks to them for this."

"It is a very important thing for us Vienna has gotten one more place where one can come to lay flowers, to pay tribute (to the soldiers killed during liberation of Austria in 1945 - TASS) and to think about history," he said.

The obelisk to Soviet prisoners of war, who died in Vienna from 1941 through 1945 was unveiled at Vienna’s central cemetery on June 22, the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow in Russia.  It was on June 22, 1941, that Nazi Germany and its allies invaded the Soviet Union along a broad front stretching from the sub-Arctic areas to the shores of the Black Sea, thus triggering a war that would last four years and take away the lives of an estimated 27 million Soviet people..

The monument designed by sculptor Denis Stritovich stands near gate No. 10 where a mass grave containing the remains of 198 Soviet citizens was found.

The Russian Military Historical Society commissioned the manufacturing the monument while the Austrian Interior Ministry built the foundation for it and assisted in the assembly of the obelisk.

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