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7 May, 2010 13:50

We look ahead with an eye to the past – observer on Eastern Europe

We’re looking ahead and trying to improve the ties not only between Europe and Russia, but also between the EU and Russia, says Reinhard Krumm, from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, about the Russian-German relations.

However, remembering what happened in the past is very important.

“Germany painfully was looking at its history trying to understand why WWII happened and to ensure it won’t happen again,” he adds.

“I am sure within a couple of years we will have a common sense of history of the WWII,” says Krumm concerning the controversy in perception of the war by different countries.

Olesya Orlenko, from the Historical Memory foundation, says that the organization has a lot of programs aimed at preserving the memory of WWII. One of the main is developing a database of the victims of Nazi terror.

“We should be acting against unnamed war. We should remember each person who died in this war by name. We need to do everything we can for free access to this information,” says Orlenko.

Dmitry Zakharov, journalist, says the price of victory for Russia was enormous.

In 1983 he read a book where he saw “a figure of the losses of Russians and other nations of the former Soviet Union – and the figure was 46 million, including those who died from hunger and diseases and children who were not born because of the war.”

Andrey Zolotov, editor-in-chief of Russia Profile Magazine, says the history of the church in this war was dramatic.

“But ultimately by 1943 the position of the Soviet government to the church has changed as a result of both the patriotic position that the church took and of the upsurge of religion – basically Russians appealing to their historical roots.”

Concerning how the church helped in the fight against the Nazis, Zolotov thinks that “first of all by providing a source of real, kind of historical, patriotism and by proving something that would not be Soviet-based – to which people could appeal. During the war there were very few atheists in the face of death.”