In his speech, Mr Ivanov noted: “Although we are officially marking the 30th anniversary of the Russian Search Movement today, it was established much earlier. As we know, officials were in no hurry to count casualties after the war. Soldiers killed in action were listed as ‘left on the battlefield’ or ‘missing in action’ and fell into oblivion.”
He continued: “Great honour is reserved for those who assumed responsibility for locating the heroes and giving them a proper burial during the ‘thaw,’ despite bans, who raised the issue of missing soldiers together with honest historians and writers who had served, and who started convincing society that it was unacceptable to treat their fates with indifference.”
“It was these people who launched the nationwide search movement, and this movement was officially recognised as the result of their efforts. The entire state began to guide itself by the words ‘No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten,’” Mr Ivanov said.
In addition, he read out Vladimir Putin’s greetings to participants and guests of the opening ceremony for the national commemorative event Memory Watch 2018.
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The Russian Search Movement, which is marking its 30th anniversary in 2018, was established on March 15, 1988 in Kaluga during the 1st All-Union Assembly of Representatives of the Soviet Union’s Search Units.
Since then, Memory Watch participants have been involved in projects to locate and reinter fallen defenders of the Motherland at former Great Patriotic War battle sites, with the active support of the Defence Ministry.
In 2013, search units were merged into the Russian Search Movement, making it the largest organisation engaged in fieldwork and archive research. Since December 3, 2014, Russia has observed the Day of the Unknown Soldier, a day of remembrance for unknown soldiers killed in action.