Voices from Russia

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Monument to World War I Heroes Dedicated in Krasnodar

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Today, In Krasnodar, we dedicated a monument to the Cossacks and Caucasian mountaineers who fought in and were heroes in the First World War. Exactly 102 years ago, on 28 July 1914, Russia entered the conflict on the side of the Entente. From the Kuban and the North Caucasus, over 100,000 Cossack and Caucasian volunteers went off to the war and about 30,000 of them died. Two local Kuban homeboy sculptors, Valery Pchelin and Alan Kornaev, fabricated the monument to the war-heroes. It depicts a Cossack and a Caucasian Muslim in traditional national costume, standing side by side, hand in hand. The sculpture symbolises the friendship and mutual support of all the peoples of the Caucasus, even in the face of deadly threats. Governor of Kuban Krai Veniamin Kondratyev, Head of Adygea Aslan Tkhakushinov, chairman of the Kuban Legislative Assembly Vladimir Beketov, Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia Aleksandr Ivanov, Ataman of the Kuban Cossack Host Nikolai Doluda, along with other public figures and Cossacks attended the ceremony. Governor Kondratyev said:

This monument is a symbol of our nation, multinational, but united. In our history, one can see many things, but never cowardice and betrayal. In the First World War, Cossacks and mountaineers fought together, slept under the same tents, and ate from the same pot. We must keep alive this memory of this and of their heroic deeds. We shouldn’t allow anyone to drive wedge between the peoples of the Caucasus.

In the First World War, Cossacks and Caucasian Muslims formed a special combat unit… the Caucasian Native Volunteer Mounted Division. Its officers and men were famous for their battlefield heroism. They earned over 30,000 orders and medals, including 4,000 Crosses of St George, one of the highest awards of the Russian Empire. Ataman Doluda said:

After the war, we unjustly forgot the podvigof the Cossacks and the mountaineers in the First World War. Today, we partly correct the situation. The Caucasian Mounted Division had the nickname the “Wild Division”… it terrified the enemy. At the same time, it was an example of the heroism of the Russian army. I’m sure that our children and grandchildren will come to this monument.

At the end of the ceremony, the Cossack honour guard paraded, and all participants laid flowers at the monument.

  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.

28 July 2016

Yuri Gen

Rossiskaya Gazeta

https://rg.ru/2016/07/28/reg-ufo/v-krasnodare-pamiatnik-geroiam-pervoj-mirovoj.html

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