Ambassador Malgynov hopeful Bucharest, Moscow’s approach of historic issues benefits Romania – Russia relations
Russian Ambassador Oleg Malgynov declared at a book launch at the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that history can work both to the benefit, but also against bilateral relations, and voiced hopes that Bucharest and Moscow will address historic issues in such manner as to help improve their relations.
The Russian diplomat attended the launch of the volume titled „Romanian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. 1941 — 1956 documents” compiling documents from Russia’s Federal and Military Archives in an effort coordinated by historian Vitalie Varatic.
Malgynov remarked in this context that the historical aspects are tackled with care and said that he considers that this will help the parties to advance in developing bilateral relations.
History works differently: it can work to the benefit of bilateral relations, but also against it. I hope that together we attempt to approach the historic issues in such manner as to contribute to the improvement of our relations, said Oleg Malgynov.
Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean said the launched volume shines a light on many aspects „which seemed inexplicable” about the context of the Romanian troops being taken prisoners.
„This volume concerns the life and destiny of over 200,000 Romanians of whom approximately one third no longer returned from the camps where they were held as war prisoners, or civilians interned in the former USSR in the ’40s and ’50s. This scientific work is, in a way, a return to the homeland, nearly 70 years after the end of World War Two, of those who tragically ended in the NKVD camps, gulags and work battalions of the Stalinist regime. The volume released today clarifies many aspects that seemed unexplainable regarding the context in which the Romanian soldiers were taken prisoners, the legal and normative framework of their captivity, the living and work conditions of the war prisoners and civilian interns, the political and antifascist education they were given, the military assistance and high mortality, the trial and sentencing by Soviet military tribunals of over 1,300 Romanian citizens,” said Titus Corlatean.
He reminded the Foreign Ministry’s involvement in actions aimed at protecting the burial sites of the soldiers fallen in the campaign and of those who died in captivity or during deportation.
Corlatean also reiterated that during his official visit to Moscow this July, he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the desire of the Romanian side to continue cooperation in this field „in order to have access to the Russian military and civilian archives.”
„I mentioned that we seek the support of the Russian party to build and lay out the first Romanian war campaign cemetery — for the officers, non-coms and soldiers who died in battle on the soil of the former USSR. Those burial sites are mainly in the territory of the Russian Federation. We are mainly speaking about the prisoners who died in NKVD camps. I have actually visited such a place of interment near Moscow, where Romanian soldiers were laid to rest alongside Germans, Italians, Finns and Hungarians. This will hopefully be the first Romanian campaign cemetery. We hope that if we have enough energy, and counting of course on the Russian government’s support, we will be able to arrange the first campaign cemetery at Volgograd — former Stalingrad — because that site carries a special symbolic value,” said Corlatean.
He mentioned that he also obtained „the consent and support” of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for this project that is „extremely important for the memory of the Romanian nation.”