Russian defence minister awards Reiding

Remco Reiding, director of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation, received a decoration yesterday from the Russian minister of defence. Reiding has been awarded the medal for his unremitting effort to keep the memory of the war victims from the Soviet Union alive.

The decoration was awarded on the Russian Victory Day, on which the triumph over Nazi-Germany is celebrated and the victims of the “Great Patriotic War’ are being commemorated. During the Second World War (as it is known elsewhere) over 26 million inhabitants of the Soviet Union died. At the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden 865 Soviet soldiers lie buried, mainly men who perished during or after their captivity.

The ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, did the honours in the company of several other ambassadors. Earlier that day they had participated in the annual wreath laying ceremony at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden, near the Amersfoort cemetery of Rusthof.

The award is in gratitude for the way in which Reiding contributes to “keeping the memory of the fallen defenders of the fatherland alive’.

The Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation identifies soldiers, reunites them with their families and narrates their stories. “This has not been a sole-proprietorship for a long time”, says Reiding, who started his search for the identities and families of the dead soldiers back in 1998. “I consider this medal a sign of appreciation for the dozens of volunteers and hundreds of financial donors who make our work possible.”