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28.06.2000 - Press-Service of the Head of the Government RK Informs

Press-Service of the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia

Prime-Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen Took Part in the Ceremony of Unveiling the Monument to the Victims of the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-1940 in the Republic of Karelia

A.Kudrin, S.Katanandov, P.Lipponen (Photo by A.Khaskin)

On June 27 Prime-Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen arrived in the Republic of Karelia specially to take part in the ceremony of unveiling the monument to the soldiers killed during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940.

The first Russian memorial dedicated to the victims of the so called "winter war" is erected within 19 km distance from a Karelian town of Pitkyaranta. The most bloody and severe battles were held here during the war. The war lasted for 105 days. The human cost was high: 22 thousand of Finnish soldiers and 130-150 thousand Russian ones were killed during the war. The monument presents two grieving mothers- a Finnish and a Russian one. It is cast of cast iron and is more than 5 m in height. The initiative to establish the monument belongs to the veterans of the war and to the relatives of the killed soldiers.

The Minister of culture RF put up 1 mln rubles and the mayoralty of a Finnish town of Kuopio alloted100 thousand Finnish marks.

In the unveiling ceremony the Deputy of the Head of the Government RF Alexei Kudrin, the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia Sergey Katanandov, the General Consul of Finland in St. Petersburg Harri Helenius, the delegations from Moscow, St.Petersburg, friendship societies "Russia-Finland" and "Finland-Russia", the war veterans from Russia and Finland participated.

"The monument is a clear example that it is possible to make peace with former enemies",-Paavo Lipponen said. He expressed his condolence to the families and relatives of the killed in the war.

The monument opening ceremony (Photo by A.Khaskin)

The Deputy of the Head of the Government RF Alexei Kudrin and the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia Sergey Katanandov also expressed their gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives during the "winter war".

Russian Vice Prime-Minister reminded of the fact that the father of the Prime-Minister of Finland used to fight at this location during the war. Then he said: "It was hard time for both nations. It's senseless to go back to the reasons of the war and it's great that we managed to survive and to make friends. The young generation can face the future without fear".

The leader of the Republic of Karelia views the unveiling of the monument as the event of great importance both for Russia and Finland. "This is the first memorial in Russia, dedicated to the Soviet-Finnish war. We used not to mention the war,-said the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia Sergey Katanandov. - We consider the monument as a symbol of reconciliation of the two nations".

Prime-Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen: "We Have No Territorial Claims to Russia"

After the ceremony of unveiling the monument to the victims of the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940По Prime-Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen gave a brief interview to the journalists. In particular he said that the issue of territorial claims of Finland to Russia should be left in history.

"Our opinions about the real reasons for waging the war coincide,- said Paavo Lipponen,- and we are open to cooperation in different areas".

"Only if we have true understanding of history, we might speak about to stable cooperation,- Mr.Lipponen said.-The fact that we are here proves the maturity of our nations, the victory of humanness".

"The real reason of the war could be explained by the fact that the European democracy tried to defend itself against growing dictatorship,-Prime-Minister said.-And the fact that now we are following the democratic way together is of great importance".

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Created: 30 June 2000. Last updated: 30 June 2000.
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