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Gone but not forgotten: Switzerland honors fallen Russian soldiers from Napoleonic Wars

It is encouraging that the Swiss are carefully preserving the memory of Suvorov’s march, the Russian ambassador noted

ANDERMATT /Switzerland/, September 24. /TASS corr. Konstantin Pribytkov/. A memorial ceremony in honor of the 219th anniversary of Russian General Alexander Suvorov’s march through the Alps took place on Monday in the Swiss village of Andermatt. Russian Ambassador to Switzerland Sergey Garmonin and Swiss Major General Lucas Caduff laid flowers at the 12-meter-long cross, carved from stone in the Schollenen Gorge - a monument to Russian soldiers who perished in the wars against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799.

Cadets from the Moscow Military Music College performed the anthems of both countries and military marches. Swiss Orthodox priests held a memorial service in honor of the fallen soldiers.

Many people showed up to attend the memorial service despite the gloomy weather, piercing wind and damp fog. Andermatt residents and Russians arriving from different regions of Switzerland celebrated the anniversary of the march together.

"We are grateful to the Swiss Confederation for their caring attitude to preserving the memory of Russian soldiers and their distinguished leader," Garmonin said during his speech at the ceremony. "The history of the monument that we are standing before today is a bright example of this. It was constructed in 1898 on a piece of land transferred to the property of the Russian Empire free of charge, in accordance with the decision of the community council. And now there is a small piece of Russia in the heart of the Swiss Alps."

"It is encouraging that our Swiss friends are carefully preserving the memory of Suvorov’s march. This is the basis for good relations that has always existed, and, I hope, will continue, between our countries," Garmonin said in an interview with TASS. This year marks the 120th anniversary of the monument’s construction, the ambassador noted. "I think that this monument should be included on the register of Russia’s cultural heritage. We are working on it," he added.

In turn, Swiss Major General Lucas Caduff told TASS that participating in the Andermatt memorial services is "important for the Swiss, as Suvorov came to liberate Switzerland." "This gives us reason to think about what our predecessors did to preserve Switzerland’s freedom," he explained. "We are grateful to the Russian army for what it had done to liberate Switzerland." "[By laying flowers at the monument in the Schollenen Gorge], we remember those fallen in battle and those killed in the war in Switzerland. We honor those slain in this battle, no matter what their nationality is," Caduff stressed during the ceremony.