Participants of the 10th Session of the International Forum "Grateful descendants in memory of the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division"
On December 18, the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly and the International Congress of the Commonwealth of Countries of the World held the 10th Session of the International Public Forum - “Grateful descendants in memory of the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division”.
The forum was held in the format of an online conference with the participation of historians, members of public organizations from 6 countries - Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Israel.
The purpose of the Forum is to unite international public organizations and expand the practice of preserving the historical memory of the 16th Red Banner Klaipeda Lithuanian Infantry Division and other military units of the Great Patriotic War.
The activities of the Forum are aimed at preserving the historical memory of the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War, countering the falsification of the results of the Second World War, the formation of constructive and creative images of the memory of the Victory over fascism.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Lithuania Alexei ISAKOV sent a welcome letter to the Forum participants. He stressed the importance of the Forum.
“The heroic path of this division is inscribed in golden letters in the historiography of the Great Patriotic War. The 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division took an active part in such major operations as the Battle of Kursk, the Oryol offensive and the Baltic operations, liberation of Polotsk, Shauliai and Klaipeda. 12 soldiers and officers of this combat unit were awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union. I am sure that the Forum will contribute to counteracting attempts to falsify the events of our common past, preserving the historical truth, as well as educating young people in the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the precepts of their ancestors.
I would like to thank the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly represented by Secretary General Andrei Yuryevich Belyaninov for the painstaking work to consolidate our compatriots living abroad, to strengthen the positions of the Russian world."
Photo: Valery RUZIN, Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, President of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio, Andrey BELYANINOV Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly
The Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly Andrei BELYANINOV in opening remarks drew the attention of the audience to the importance of working with youth in the context of preserving historical memory and an objective view of the events of the Great Patriotic War.
“All our Forums related to the issue of preserving historical memory,” - noted Andrei BELYANINOV, - “are held not for people cry at the graves, but to pass this memory to the youth. Therefore, the theme of heroization is so important here. If young people are not proud of the deeds of their ancestors, then soon we will get Bandera and similar villains and murderers who suddenly, in a number of countries, have turned into national heroes.
They say that every nation deserves the heroes it has, but I believe that in relation to the Ukrainian people, as well as to Lithuania and the Lithuanian people, this is unfair. When they say that the Lithuanians fought on the side of the Nazis, this is absolutely not the case. We have one wonderful Israeli political scientist, Yakov Kedmi. He says that among the Baltic republics Lithuania was the only one where there was no SS unit. This needs to be talked about loudly. Otherwise, it turns out that the Soviet Union or now Russia, as its successor, is ranked among the countries of aggressors and oppressors. This is a historical lie. The entire war was directed against Nazism, against completely inhuman racial theories related to the mass murder of people.
As for the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, this also needs to be discussed, since 30% of its personnel were Jews and this is probably one of the largest percentage indicators among divisions in terms of the number of Jewish people. First of all, they had something to protect - their lives, homes, their children, their memory of their ancestors and, in fact, future generations."
Forum moderators: Valery RUZIN (Russia), Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples 'Assembly, President of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio, and Yuriyus TRAKSHELIS (Lithuania), Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly, Chairman of the Military Heritage Institute.
Yulius-Lyonginas DEKSNIS, who fought in the ranks of the 16th Lithuanian division, sent his video message to the Forum participants. At present time, in his venerable 95 years, he is the Chairman of the Republican Committee of the Organization of World War II Participants living in Lithuania. In his message Julius DEKSNIS, said:
“There is a pleasant coincidence in my personal story. The fact is that I was born on December 18, 1926. And always my birthday coincides with the birthday of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. And every year I celebrate this holiday, I remember the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. I remember residents of Orlov, who honor this date so much. This is a remarkable event for the entire Lithuanian people and all nations that live in the Republic of Lithuania both then and now.
Thank you very much for organizing such an excellent scientific conference and once again remember how our 16th Lithuanian Infantry Division was established, what road, what path it went through, fighting for the liberation of Oryol and other Russian, Belarusian, Latvian lands, as well as their Motherland - Lithuania. I think that this conference, although I will not be able to participate in it fully due to age and health conditions, will be held at a high patriotic level and will testify to the fact that there should be peace and good-neighborly relations between Lithuanians, Russians and other peoples and that in no case, never, shall the friendship between our peoples be broken."
Yulius-Lyonginas DEKSNIS, Chairman of the Republican Committee of the Organization of World War II Participants Who Fought on the Side of the Anti-Hitler Coalition now Living in Lithuania
Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly Yurijus TRAKŠELIS noted that today the descendants of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division live in Israel, America and the Baltic countries. He added, -
“The most important thing at the moment is to be in touch with the generations of our children and grandchildren. Even this online communication is very significant and contributes to the establishment of this dialogue. Since we live on the territory of the European Union, it is also important for us to reach out and show that we are concerned about our history and the more people will participate in this event, the more we will achieve harmony and peace on Earth”.
Larisa STADLER, President of the International Congress of the Commonwealth of the Peoples of the World, Head of the Confederation of Women
The President of the International Congress of the Commonwealth of Peoples of the World, Head of the Confederation of Women Larisa STADLER spoke about the heroic history of the Jews participating in the ranks of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. In addition to the fact that the 16th Lithuanian Division has the largest number of Jews in its composition after the Jewish brigade in Britain army on the fields of World War II. It showed the special courage of the people - out of 12 soldiers and officers of the division awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, four were Jews.
Natalia Bodrova, Deputy Head of the Department for the Preservation of the Historical Heritage of the Second World War and Local Conflicts of the International Congress of the Commonwealth of the World, Chairperson of the Interregional Public Organization Search Unit "Fakel" spoke about the key moments of the formation of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, noting the special role of the multinational composition of the division as an important component in the Victory over fascism. She touched upon the important topic of the search and restoration of the division's personnel, saying that for several years the “Fakel” Search group, created on the basis of the Oryol State Institute of Culture, has been working on compiling lists of dead and missing fighters of the division in the Oryol region. To date, it is known about 4 thousand dead fighters for 3 thousand, of which the information has been clarified according to the documents available to the search units.
Natalya BODROVA, Deputy Head of the Department for the Preservation of Historical Heritage of the Second World War and Local Conflicts of the International Congress of the Commonwealth of the World, Chairman of the Interregional Public Organization "Fakel" Search Unit
Galina TREUSHKOVA, a history teacher at the Alekseevsk secondary school in the Oryol region, shared her experience of working with the younger generation on preserving historical memory, using the example of the School Museum of Military Glory of the 16th Klaipeda Lithuanian Infantry Division.
Lithuanian historian and journalist Giedrius GRABAUSKAS, in his message dedicated to preserving the memory of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division and the Soviet partisan movement in Lithuania, cited the disappointing fact that after the collapse of the USSR, all the streets named after the heroes who fought in the 16th 1st Lithuanian Infantry Division in Lithuania were renamed.
Yuri BARABASH, a member of the Public Association "Belarusian Union of Suvorovites and Cadets", told the audience about the combat path of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division in Belarus.
“For the 75th anniversary of the Victory, the Polotsk State Institute has prepared the publication “Military Burials and Burials of Victims of Fascism on the Territory of the Polotsk Region”. This is a large voluminous work, which, among other things, includes information about 87 mass graves of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division. The information found about 139 people help to trace the combat path of the fighters."
Proposals were made for the future work of the International Public Forum. Valeriy RUZIN suggested holding a special session of the forum in Belarus to discuss the topic of the genocide of the Belarusian people during the Great Patriotic War. It should be reminded that at the end of October this year, the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko asked the Prosecutor General of Russia Igor Krasnov to investigate the genocide of the Belarusian people during the years of German occupation.
Yuriyus TRAKSHELIS (Lithuania), Deputy Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly, Chairman of the Military Heritage Institute NGO
Jurijus TRAKŠELIS emphasized that the peculiarity of the Assembly's work lies in its non-linear approach and a thorough study of international legislation. He also announced the new events of the Megaproject "IMMORTAL MEMORY" in January next year.
“Taking into account the appeal of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the parliaments of foreign states and peoples of the world on May 20, 2020 with the initiative to recognize the Victory over Nazism in World War II as the World Heritage of Humanity, and the monuments to the fighters against Nazism in all countries - a global memorial to humanity. We propose on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Declaration (“Declaration of 26 States”) and the 77th anniversary of the Yalta Conference, to hold an International Public Forum on January 22, 2022 - “Grateful descendants of the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Estonian military units of the Red Army.
At the beginning of March 2022, we propose to hold a photo exhibition dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Estonian military units of the Red Army at the international humanitarian sites in Moscow,” - Yuriyus TRAKSHELIS told the audience.
The online conference of the 10th Session of the International Public Forum was attended by:
- Alexey Vladimirovich BODROV (Russia), Head of the Department for the Preservation of the Historical Heritage of the Second World War and Local Conflicts of the International Congress of the Commonwealth of the World, Head of the Guardian Motorsport Military-Patriotic Club.
“The project “Dialogue of cultures in the context of history: the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division”.
- Irina BABRAUSKENE (Lithuania, Alytus), Executive Secretary of the Board of Organizations of Russian Citizens in Lithuania.
"16th Lithuanian Rifle Division in the memory of descendants."
- Andrey Gennadievich LAZURIN (Estonia), Head of the military-historical association "FRONT LINE", representative for international relations of the Tallinn Society of World War II Participants.
"The 16th Lithuanian. Uniting History".
- Anatoly Grigorievich LAVRITOV (Lithuania, Klaipeda), member of the board of organizations of Russian citizens in Lithuania, Chairman of the Klaipeda organization of Russian citizens.
"The memory of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division of descendants living in the Klaipeda region."
- Vyacheslav Viktorovich AFONIN (Lithuania, Kaunas), Head of the Public Association "Kaunas Regional Association of Participants in the War in Afghanistan, Disabled and Veterans of Military Service"; Head of the Russian community in Kaunas.
"Integration of the activities of public organizations in Kaunas (Lithuania) into the general process of preserving the military-historical heritage in the Baltic States."
- Konstantin Yuryevich BELOV (Russia), Chairman of the Board of the Youth League of the Pskov Region.
"Youth volunteer projects for the preservation of historical memory in Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus in 2021".
- Ramazan Basyrovich NAZAROV (Latvia), Chairman of the board of the Liepaja military pensioners' society, board member of the search center "Libava".
“Participation of the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division in the liberation of Courland (Latvia)”.
- Dmitry Ivanovich RYBNIKOV (Latvia), Deputy Chairman of the Public Association "Daugavpils Branch of the Russian Community of Latvia".
"The eternal flame is a gift from grateful descendants."