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The Military-Historical Festival "Karelian Borders. Kollasjärvi"

Explosions, shots, people in uniforms... This is not a war. This is a re-enaction of the battle, reconstructed by the military-history amateurs' clubs from Petrozavodsk and St.Peterburg. Participants and guests of the IV Military-Historical Festival "Karelian Borders. Kollasjärvi", held on 21 March 2004 on the territory of the Historic- Memorial Complex "Kollasjärvi" in the Suojärvi district, witnessed this impressive action. The Festival was devoted to the anniversary of the end of the Winter War 1939-1940. It was arranged by the local administration of the Suojärvi district, the State Center for Protection and Management of Historic and Cultural Monuments of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia as well as the Military-History Amateurs' Club "Styag" ("Banner").

The Festival was held in the frame of the net social and cultural project "On Both Sides of Kollaa: from the Past to the Present". The project is aimed at popularizing the military-historical heritage objects around the Kollasjärvi lake: defensive lines, soldiers' burial places, and memorials. The final goal of the project is to create the first in the North-West of Russia the military-historic museum-park "Kollasjärvi".

Kollasjärvi. Festival, the 2004

© Olga Vlasova
Kollasjärvi. Festival, the 2004

The Festival was opened by a traditional ceremony in memory of the fallen - putting wreaths on the graves of the Soviet and Finnish soldiers, and a military salute. Then the "fight" began. The fact that the "fight" was re-enacted on the real defensive lines of the Soviet and Finnish troops of the Winter War period, added to spectators' impression. This part of the Festival kept their attention. The "fight" was especially interesting for boys, who watched it very attentively, felt particular emotions and were very glad, when the "former enemies" finished the "fight" by symbolic armistice, which is a tradition for such kind of events. After the "fight" all those who wished could have a chance to shoot a target in a shooting-range.

The participants of the festival could taste soldiers' porridge in the field kitchen and take part in the cultural programme, devoted to the War theme. The War veterans chorus sang songs of the War times.

Kollasjärvi. Festival, the 2004

© Olga Vlasova
Kollasjärvi. Festival, the 2004

The Finnish guests, who visited the Festival, remember the Winter War by their own childhood memories. One of them said that the "fight" looked very real. The only difference was lack of severe frost.

About 1500 people took part in the festival: specialists, who were interested in the War theme, representatives of tourist business, both Petrozavodsk and Suojärvi inhabitants as well as local inhabitants from close settlements and other districts of our Republic. There were a lot of young people: schoolchildren and students. The organizers hope, that the Festival will make unforgettable impression on them and illustrate the pages of history of our Motherland.

Press-office of the State Centre for Protection and Managing
of Monuments of History and Culture of the Ministry of Culture,
the Republic of Karelia.

© The State Centre for the Protection and Management of the Historic and Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Karelia, 2003–2005
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