Marina Lagutina on Vesti.FM: the desecration of war memorials is a painful issue for Europe
The topic of safeguarding war memorials abroad is very important for Russia, the analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza, Marina Lagutina, said in the National Question program on Vesti.FM.
According to the expert, it is necessary to understand how other countries-participants of the Second World War protect their military graves.
"In the UK, the Commonwealth Military Grave Commission, founded in 1917, is responsible for military cemeteries around the world. This organization is funded by the governments of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India and is officially responsible for the conservation and restoration of the graves of Commonwealth soldiers, who died during the First and Second World Wars. A similar public organization is acting in Germany - the German People’s Union for the Care of Military Graves. It is directly supervised by the President of Germany. And if in some country, the cases of the desecration of the graves are observed, these organizations take care of their restoration,” she said.
At the same time, she drew attention to the fact that there are many such cases.
"The resonance event was a pogrom at a British military cemetery in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. This was the first case of the desecration of British graves in the country. The Libyan government then apologized to the British authorities, promising to punish the perpetrators with all the severity of Libyan laws. The British Foreign Ministry accepted the apology, and the Commonwealth Military Burial Commission restored damaged tombstones as soon as it became safe in Benghazi, "the expert said.
She also said that similar incidents took place this year as well.
"This year, the British military burials of World War II were repeatedly desecrated. In September 2019, this happened in the Netherlands. In October, in Israel. The heads of state exchanged regrets about the incidents, no special action was taken. However, such incidents take place inside Great Britain as well. For example, on the eve of the Allied Forces Day, which is annually celebrated in Britain, in the city of Bradford, the tombstones of several graves of British military pilots who died in World War II were destroyed. War memorials in London and other cities are subject to constant vandalism. From time to time, the press raises the issue of toughening criminal penalties for desecrating military monuments, but so far only within the country, and not beyond its borders," Marina Lagutina said.
A similar problem, according to the analyst, also exists in France, where Jewish cemeteries have repeatedly been subjected to vandalism in recent years.
“As you can see, the desecration of war memorials is a painful issue for Europe. In this regard, questions arise about stricter protection of monuments and cemeteries, the responsibility of the governments, the fight against the spread of neo-Nazi ideas. And these are questions not for discussion, but for action,” the expert concluded.