Honouring Imperial Russia’s WWI soldiers

Никто не забыт, ничто не забыто!
No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten!

Russia’s entry into World War One in August 1914, was based on Russia’s commitment to defending Orthodox Serbia, its pan-Slavic roles, its treaty obligations with France, its concerns over German or Austro-Hungarian dominance in the Balkan region, and its concern for protecting its status as a great power.

1st August – marks the official Day of Remembrance of Imperial Russian soldiers who died in the First World War of 1914-1918. The commemoration day was officially introduced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012. It is on this day, which officials lay wreaths to World War I memorials, Russian cities organize exhibitions dedicated to the war and military units hold solemn assemblies.

During the Soviet years, the First World War and those brave Russian soldiers who gave their lives for the Fatherland, was virtually ignored and forgotten. Soviet dogma dictated that the Great War was a clash of imperialist powers.

How many Russian soldiers laid down their lives “For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland!”? How many fathers, husbands, sons never returned home? According to some estimates, the number exceeds 1,600,000 people, the largest number of casualties among the soldiers and officers of the countries participating in the First World War. The estimate does not include civilian casualties.

Dozens of monuments to soldiers of the Russian Imperial Army, who fought and died during World War One, have since been erected in major cities across Russia. Below, are just three of the finest:

On 16th December 2014, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu opened a sculptural composition dedicated to the heroes of World Wars I and II on the grounds of the Ministry of Defence on the Frunze Embankment in Moscow.

The WWI monument features Emperor Nicholas II on horseback, recognizing and honouring his efforts during the Great War.

Monument to the Heroes of the First World War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow, opened on 1st August 2014. Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna is depicted in this monument, providing aid to a wounded soldier.

Monument to the Heroes of the First World War in St. Petersburg, installed at the Vitebsk Railway Station on 1st August 2014. It was from this station, that Emperor Nicholas II travelled on the Imperial Train along a specially built line to Tsarskoye Selo.

Никто не забыт, ничто не забыто!
No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten!

© Paul Gilbert. 1 August 2022