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Reburial ceremony of 7 Soviet soldiers

Today we attended the reburial ceremony of 7 KIA Soviet soldiers that our team found and excavated between 2018 and 2019. The ceremony was attended by approximately 50+ people and we were welcomed by the Russian ambassador H.E. Mr Pavel Kuznetsov and Deputy Military, Naval and Air Force Attaché Colonel Ivan Gorbachev. Several representatives from the Embassy of the Russian Federation , the Embassy of Kazakhstan and Belorus attended the impressive and at the same time solemn procession.

The first speaches were held by Governor Pavel Kuznetsov and Mr Pertti Suominen (Sotavainajien muiston vaalimiyhdistys ry) after which I had the opportunity to voice a few words on the benefits of scientific repatriation of war dead and the growing general interest in conflict archaeology in Finland.

When the official ceremony had ended Ms Zhanna Sartbayeva, the Governor of Kazakhstan initiated a personal and very pleasing discussion with me about the benefits of scientific repatriation of war dead. Ms Sartbayeva showed a very honest appreciation of our work which I of course appreciated very much.

In the afternoon our excavation team gathered at the Hanko Front Museum where I gave a lecture about upcoming battlefield archaeology work in the Hanko and Raseborg archipelago in 2021.

In 1940 and/or 1941 seven very young Soviet soldiers arrived in Hanko S. Finland only to die a year later in the defense of "Gangut" the Soviet naval base in Hanko. When their comerades were evacuated in the late months of 1941 their graves were left without attendance for 78 years. Today they were finally reunited with the other fallen Soviet soldiers of the Hanko front.

For these seven young men the war is finally over. Seven red roses adore their 78 year long (temporary) reconstructed resting place in 2020.

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Finnish troops attacking a Soviet held island in the Hanko archipelago in the summer of 1941. Photo SA-Kuva.

© 2020 by MA Jan Fast 

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