The Tver Region became the venue of the 5th International Search Expedition Rzhev, Kalinin Front. The 2020 Memory Watch brought together almost 500 searchers from 53 Russian regions in the Yesinka rural settlement. The project involved service personnel from the Defence Ministry’s 90th Detached Search Battalion. The remains of 704 soldiers were unearthed during excavation work, and 12 soldiers were identified. The expedition is organised by the Russian Military History Society and the Government of the Tver Region in cooperation with the Russian Defence Ministry.
Addressing the ceremony, Vladimir Medinsky thanked those who had taken part in the expedition and the organisers who “are recreating events of the Battle of Rzhev piecemeal, burying the remains of Soviet soldiers and preserving historical memory.” He noted that, search expeditions are becoming ever more well-organised each year, and that its international scope also continues to expand. Vladimir Medinsky also noted that excavation work had been conducted near the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier, erected in the run-up to the 75th Victory Anniversary.
He assured everyone that the Russian Military History Society would continue to support expedition participants.
Sergei Ivanov underscored the fact that search projects remain highly relevant at a time when some representatives of foreign states are trying to “rewrite history, to distort it and to slander the memory of the deceased.” Russia has a glorious and tragic military history that cannot ever be forgotten, he said.
Grigory Rapota, State Secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and Yelena Tsunayeva, Executive Secretary of the Search Movement of Russia, also attended the event.
The remains of soldiers, unearthed during excavation work, were later buried in the Memorial Cemetery of Soviet Soldiers in Rzhev.