The largest number of memorials in honor of the millions of Russians who perished during the Russian-Turkish wars, World War I and IIwere erected in Bulgaria –around 400.
The most famous monuments to the liberators from fascism are located in Berlin, Vienna and Plovdiv.
The Biggest “Alyosha” in the World
The largest postament to a Russian soldier in Europe is called “Alyosha” – this 17-meter high statue of a soldier is located on “The Hill of Liberators” in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. It’s been there for 60 years and is clearly visible from any point in the city. Throughout the years, the Bulgarian authorities tried to decide whether to leave it or to dismantle this monument to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War.
“Alyosha” was about to be to demolished three times, but the Bulgarians, who honored the memory of the Russian soldiers, defended the monument. By the way, the monument was erected on the initiative of the city residents, and they also defended it with a human shield. A prototype for the statue became a Russian soldier Alexei Skurlatov, who participated in the liberation of Plovdiv.
Russian Soldiers in Berlin were Rescuing German Children
One of the world’s first monuments to Soviet soldiers (1949) was a memorial in Berlin’s Treptow Park. A 13-meter high bronze soldier guards the remains of 7,000 Red Army soldiers who perished in the battle for the capital of Germany. In front of it there is a large field with mass graves, bowls with eternal flame, birch trees, statues and sarcophagi.
The Photo by Sturm, Horst
For the construction of the memorial the granite from Hitler’s Chancellery was used. The soldier is holding a little girl in his arms – it is the main leitmotif of the entire complex. Historians arguewhich soldier became the prototype for this monument and pulled out of the ruins a young German child. Indeed, there are several dozen of known instances, when Russian soldiers risking their lives under fire rescued children in Berlin.
Monument to the Heroes of the Red Army in Austria
Russian troops liberated Vienna on April 13, 1945. In the battle for the Austrian capital 18,000 Red Army soldiers were killed. But they were able to save this city from ultimate destruction. They rescued from explosions many architectural landmarks.
The monument was erected in 1945, in just three months. Interestingly, the decision about its creation was made before the final defeat of the Nazis in Austria. Austrians take great care of the 12-meter monument and restored it twice already, changed granite and gilt.
As on many other monuments to Soviet soldiers in Europe, there is an inscription in Russian:
“Eternal glory and remembrance to the heroes of the Red Army! They brought freedom and independence to the people of Europe.”
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