Interview with Aleksandr Kirilin

Aleksandr Kirilin, a Major General from the Military Memorial Center of the Russian Defence Ministry, spoke to Russia Today about Soviet military memorials abroad.

Russia Today: We know that millions of Soviet soldiers died liberating Europe. But can you just tell us how many Soviet war memorials we are talking about here?

Aleksandr Kirilin: Currently in Europe, outside Russia, there are over 20,000 war memorials and graveyards. We have got graveyards in 49 countries outside Russia. In Western Europe there are some 10,000 military graveyards where more than 1 million of our soldiers are buried. I can tell you that we have 10 intergovernmental agreements and many of them with European countries: Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Finland and Germany defining a status of military graveyards and their registration, protection and restoration. In my opinion they have been functioning correctly up to date and still in power.

RT: And is this also the case with Estonia as well?

A.K.: No, the situation is entirely different in this case. We have been working on the matter with the certain Estonian state structures to draft such an agreement but unfortunately after all it was not signed. So now the situation is developing beyond any mutual agreement. But there are Geneva Conventions and supplementary protocols to them defining the procedure for all countries as for how to move war memorials if necessary. Estonia has violated these international agreements and did not act within the framework of the supplementary protocols to the Geneva Conventions on war victims