|Daphne Liddle lays flowers from the NCP|
by New Worker correspondent
AROUND 100 veterans, local dignitaries, embassy attachés, trade unionists and members of progressive parties and organisations assembled last Sunday in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum to remember and lay wreaths in memory of the 27 million Soviet citizens who died in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany.
There were speeches from the local mayor, Simon Hughes the Liberal Democrat MP for Southwark, the Russian Ambassador and one of the veterans of the Arctic Convoys.
Unfortunately Simon Hughes seemed to forget that this was a Soviet war memorial and his remarks were about remembering “our sons and daughters” who had fallen – in the First World War, the Second World War and all wars since including Afghanistan, where “our brave heroes” are “spreading [western-style] democracy” that is “the only true guarantee of peace in the world”.
It was left to the veteran of the Arctic convoy to speak about the respect and welcome they had received from the Soviet and Russian people during and since the war.
And the presence of the Moscow Second Rifle Division re-enactment group, with their authentic uniforms, style of marching and their hammer-and-sickle banner gave a much needed reminder of the heroes of the Red Army, who fought to defend their socialist motherland – but who are in danger of being air-brushed out of western historical records.
Following the wreath laying, which included flowers laid by a member of the Central Committee of the New Communist Party, there was a two-minutes’ silence and then the Last Post.