MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. The Day of Remembrance of the Victims of World War I is celebrated annually in Russia on August 1. The commemoration day was officially introduced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012. On August 1, officials lay wreaths to World War I memorials, Russian cities organize exhibitions dedicated to the war and military units hold solemn assemblies.
World War I
World War I pitted the then 38 out of 59 independent states against each other. It featured two coalitions, the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) and the Triple Entente (Russia, France, the United Kingdom and their allies: Belgium, the United States, Japan, Greece, Serbia, Italy, China and others). The hostilities went on for 1,568 days from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. The Russian Empire joined the war on August 1, when Germany declared war against Russia. In 1914-1918, the warring sides lost 9.5 million people overall, while 20 million more were wounded. The war led to collapses of the mightiest European states and created a new geopolitical situation in the world.
Following the 1917 February Revolution, the Russian Provisional Government set course to persevere with the war until victory is achieved. Nevertheless, the Bolsheviks took power in the 1917 October Revolution and the new leadership of the country signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers in the town of Brest-Litovsk (currently Brest, Belarus) on March 3, 1918. Therefore, the Soviet Russia ended its participation in the war. By historians’ estimate, the Russian Armed Forces lost between 1.3 and 2.3 people in World War I.
Russia’s remembrance of World War I
State-level events in commemoration of Russian soldiers who died in World War I began in Russia in 2013. Before that since the beginning of 1980s, different public, historical and cultural organizations used to stage remembrance events on August 1.
In 2014, Russia saw a great number of monuments being put up ahead of the 100th anniversary of the war breakout, including in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Lipetsk, Pskov and other cities.
On August 1, 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry and the Federal Archive Agency launched a website dubbed "In memoriam of heroes of the Great War of 1914-1918" (http://gwar.mil.ru). The website contains more than 6.6 million records of those who lost their lives and more than 3.4 million records of the captives of war. The portal also features 845,168 records on awards and medals.
War remembrance in other countries
Most parties to World War I also have designated dates to commemorate those who died in battles. Traditionally, they are observed in November, when the Armistice of November 11, 1918 was signed in French Compiegne, putting an end to the war. On November 11, France and Belgium celebrate Armistice Day, a public holiday. The UK celebrate Remembrance Day in November as well.