Over 400 WWII Veterans Reunited in Moscow for 12th Victors' Gala Co-Sponsored by OMK

On December 2, over 400 WWII veterans from 15 countries (Russia, CIS and Baltic nations) were re-united at Moscow's Poklonnaya Hill. The Victory Museum hosted the 12th Victors' Gala co-sponsored by the United Metallurgical Company (AO OMK, Moscow), the Maris Liepa Charity Foundation, and the Victory Museum.

The guests include participants in the battles of Moscow and Stalingrad as well as those of Leningrad and Kursk, war children, and concentration camp prisoners. They include bombardiers, mortar gunners, paratroopers, armored personnel, radio operators, and nurses. All hold combat honors. The heroes helped break the blockade of Leningrad, were part of Moscow's civil defense, liberated the republics of the Soviet Union, and European nations from the nazi invaders. Many pursued the enemy forces all the way to Berlin and celebrated V-Day there.

The 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Moscow and the upcoming 75th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad were celebrated by delegations from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Georgia, South Ossetia, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

The ceremony was hosted by Russia's People's Artist Andris Liepa and Russian theater and movie star Ekaterina Strizhenova. The veterans were congratulated by United Metallurgical Company Governance Board Chair Natalya Eremina, Victory Museum Deputy Director Rear Admiral Fedor Smuglin, Moscow City Duma Chair Alexey Shaposhnikov. Warm wishes to the participants in the Victors' Gala were conveyed by Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky and Director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Chair of the Russian Historical Society Sergey Naryshkin.

At the Gala concert, the veterans' favorite songs were performed by Russia's People's Artist Lev Leshchenko, the Russian National Guard Academic Song and Dance Troupe, performers with Moscow's ET CETERA Theater, Russia's Nadezhda model children's troupe, winners of the Voice TV show, charges of the Andryusha Charity Foundation for Gifted Children, Grigoriy Novikov WWII Veterans' Male Choir, and others.

At the end of the Gala, each veteran was presented with mementos in the form of photos of the event and gifts in the form of Christmas tree decorations in the styles of the 1930s and '40s made by schoolchildren from OMK's areas of operations in demo arts and crafts classes specifically for the Victors' Gala.

"Support for the Gala is our contribution to keeping memory alive. We are convinced that everyone will always carry the memory of our victorious people and the value of the victory for the entire world in their hearts. This is the tribute of gratitude and respect that we pay the millions of heroes that succeeded in defending this country. Over the 12 years, the Gala has been attended by over 3,500 WWII veterans from some 20 countries. I am convinced that for as long as veterans are able to come here, we will continue to support this extraordinarily important event", noted OMK Governance Board Chair Natalya Eremina.

Background

The Victors’ Gala is an annual event where veterans from Russia, the CIS, and the Baltic are able to meet. The event coincides with the anniversary of the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow on December 5, 1941. Has been taking place since 2006. Co-sponsors: Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), 1941-1945 (Victory Museum), the Maris Liepa Charity Foundation, and the United Metallurgical Company.