Yefim Pivovar: "Our memorial events are forward-looking"

Yefim Pivovar: "Our memorial events are forward-looking"

A historical and documentary exhibition entitled 'On the Road to Victory: Historical Sources Testify' dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 will be opened at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna on February 20, within the framework of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session. Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, President of the Russian State University for the Humanities, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Society of Historians and Archivists, Board Member of the Russian Rectors' Union Yefim Pivovar told Vestnik Kavkaza about the exhibition.

- Why was Vienna chosen as as exhibition venue?

- A series of these exhibitions have been already opened in other European cities. However, in the first place, we approach the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Vienna - the Vienna Offensive was completed on April 13, 1945. Second, the establishment of the OSCE  in 1975 was the result of events linked to the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe, the creation of independent states, the collapse of Nazism, the collapse of Italian fascism, Europe's liberation from the 'brown plague'. Therefore, it is very important that such an exhibition opens in Vienna. At the same time, it is dedicated to many countries and peoples that participated in this process, because there were people from all now-independent former Soviet republics in the Red Army. This is our common history. It is important that the OSCE, where all these countries are present, be made aware of each country's contribution to the Victory.

- What are presented at the exhibition?

- The documents on the hostilities, the political and moral state of the Red Army units, on interaction with local government agencies to establish infrastructure and peaceful life, as well as on humanitarian aid provided by Soviet soldiers to the local population. It reflects the participation of Soviet soldiers, representatives of now independent countries, in European resistance, the fight against fascism, the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps crated on occupied territories, and much more.

This is important in educational terms, in terms of transferring knowledge about what happened 75 years ago to the younger generation.

Unfortunately, now there is a desire in a number of countries to distort the role and importance of Soviet solders, the Soviet Union as a whole, in the liberation of Europe. The younger generation should know the truth. We must not minimize the significance of what our allies in the anti-Hitler alliance did. They also participated in this struggle, they liberated the countries and Germany from fascism. In Austria there was a reunion of the U.S. allies advancing from the West and the Soviet army. My father also participated in the liberation of Austria as part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front.

All this is important for the younger generation of post-Soviet states, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, the Baltic states. The horrors of World War II must not happen again, those radical anti-human ideas, pseudo-ideas must not be pipular, this mass psychosis must not lead to yet another catastrophe. After all, it was a disaster for the German nation. In this sense, the memorial events that we hold are forward-looking.


The exhibition materials, including declassified top-secret materials, were provided by the Museum of Contemporary Russian History, the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and the Foreign Policy Archives of the Russian Federation. For each European state where exhibitions are held, documents were selected that tell about the liberation of its territory. To date, the exhibitions were opened in Bulgaria (Sofia, September 9, 2019), Romania (Bucharest, October 23, 2019), Poland (Warsaw, December 3, 2019), Slovakia (Bratislava, December 12, 2019), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, January 16, 2020).


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