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Moscow and Minsk Commemorate Day of National Remembrance, Hail Victory against Nazi Invasion

Both Minsk and Moscow commemorated the Victims of the Great Patriotic War and the Genocide of the Belarus people today, the anniversary of Hitler’s June 22, 1941 Operation Barbarossa, which he launched with the largest grouping of Nazi troops moving on Belarus.

The border guards were first to notice the enemy movement and immediately began to set up a fierce resistance. While the Nazi troops quickly took the border town of Brest, the border guards, defending in the Brest Fortress, continued to hold off the enemy advance. What Hitler had scheduled to take 30 minutes lasted more than 30 days, with Brest Fortress only falling on July 20. In the first days of the war, troops of the Western front fought heavy defensive battles in Belarus and even launched counterattacks. Three years to the day later, on June 22, 1944, Soviet forces began the campaign to liberate Belarus in Operation Bagration, named after Pyotr Bagration, a famous general in the war against Napoleon.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin wall. In Russia, the memorial day, known as the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow, held memorial events in many cities. On the night of June 22, thousands of candles were lit throughout the country in remembrance of the occasion and at 12:15 p.m. there was a nationwide moment of silence in honor of the day.

A requiem event was held at the Brest Fortress in which 20,000 people participated. School children from many CIS countries were also brought in to attend the Remembrance Day. In the Brest Fortress, State Secretary of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev held a presentation of a new book Operation Bagration. Partisans of the Belarusian Land. This has become the third book published within the framework of the Union State Library project, involving researchers from both Russia and Belarus archives. Copies of the book were presented to Presidents Vladimir Putin and President Aleksandr Lukashenko.