Ljubljana, August 1, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By laying wreaths, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Slovenia’s Borut Pahor officially inaugurated on Saturday a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers who perished in Slovenia during both world wars, in what has been described as the first monument of its kind outside of Russia.
By laying wreaths, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Slovenia’s Borut Pahor officially inaugurated on Saturday a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers.
By laying wreaths, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Slovenia’s Borut Pahor officially inaugurated on Saturday a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers (Photo: Borut Pahor twitter)
Wreaths at the monument were also laid by Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković and a representative of the Russian community in Slovenia.
The monument comprises eight white marble pillars in a semi-circular arrangement topped by bronze cranes. The names of 3,000 soldiers killed on Slovenian territory are inscribed into the marble.
The eight pillars symbolise the eight-year duration of both wars, while white cranes are widely used symbols of soldiers killed in WWII. In ex-Soviet Union countries they are a frequent feature of WWII monuments.
There is a famous Russian song about WWII called Zhuravli (Cranes), which was sung at the inauguration ceremony by Slovenian singer Manca Izmajlova.
The monument, located at Ljubljana’s main cemetery Žale, was made by Russian sculptors using Slovenian marble from Hotavlje. It is estimated to have cost EUR 400,000 and has been financed by Russian donors.
The initiative for the monument was put forward by Putin and Pahor in 2011, when they met as prime ministers. The Slovenian-Russian commission on war graves picked up the initiative and the erection of the monument was confirmed by both countries in February this year.
Following the inauguration of the memorial, Pahor and Putin left for Brdo pri Kranju for a tete-atete, which will be followed by a working dinner featuring also Slovenia’s top officials, including several ministers.
Putin will leave Slovenia after the dinner.
Source: The Slovenia Times