The message reads, in part:
“This year, we are marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, and your work is acquiring a special meaning. The Soviet people’s sacred battle for freedom and independence, crowned with Victory, became an event of tremendous moral and historical significance. It is our moral duty to preserve the truth about the heroic feats of our ancestors and to reinstate the names and destinies of the fallen defenders of the Motherland and civilians killed by the Nazis and their accomplices.
I would like to note the Russian Search Movement’s key and most active role in this large-scale work. It is gratifying that it is gaining momentum, and that it unites thousands of people. What is very important is that your movement has many young participants who are proud of the war-time generation’s heroic and labour feats, and who strive to personally contribute to perpetuating the memory of heroes, the architects of the Great Victory.
This continuity of generations, a responsible civic position and patriotism and a caring attitude towards our historical legacy deserve profound respect. I would like to thank you and your comrades for your concern, determination and dedication to your cause.”
The Memory Watch national event includes search expeditions, as well as efforts to bury the remains of fallen soldiers and present their personal effects to their descendants. The Memory Watch annually involves over 40,000 amateur archaeologists in various Russian regions. In the past six years, since the event began, its participants have located the remains of over 120,000 Soviet officers and soldiers and have identified over 6,000 names. The event includes search expeditions, care for military burial sites and the improvement of territories linked with the deceased soldiers’ heroic feats.