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Cross of Sorrow

2000. Cross of Sorrow


A cast-iron cross, memorizing the victims of the Soviet-Finnish Winter War (1939-1940) was erected several kilometers off Pitkäranta at the road fork to Petrozavodsk and Suojärvi in July 27-th 2000.

In November 30-th 1939 huge motorized forces of the Soviet 8-th army under the command of division general I.Khabarov (since December 4-th – brigade general V.Kurdyumov and after January 10-th – army general G.Shtern) invaded Finland, moving along the shores of Ladoga Lake towards Sortavala. Capture of Sortavala was the aim of the first week of the offensive. But burdened by heavy arms and transports and bound to the few winter roads soviet troops met with the excellence of the personal training of Finnish army.

Performing the classical encircle tactics in December 26th Finnish IVth army corps under command of Major General Juhan Woldemar Hägglund has blocked 18th Jaroslavl division (under command of brigade general G.Kondrashov) and 34th Kalinovsky tank brigade (under command of brigade general S.Kondrat'ev) in the northwest of Pitkäranta and broke them into 13 separate encirclements (motti). Biggest of them – so called "general's encirclement" – with high command of encircled troops – was around the road fork to Petrozavodsk and Suojärvi.

During January-February the encircled troops were methodically liquidated by Finnish army. During the night from 28th to 29th February in the attempt to break the encirclement the garrison of the last – the "general's encirclement" - was almost totally killed. Finns took the color of 18th division and huge trophies.

During the battle were killed nearly 6 thousands of Finnish solders and more than 35 thousands of Soviet ones.

The decision to erect the monument was taken in November 1992 in accord with 11th July 1992 The agreement between the Government of Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Finland about memorizing the soldiers, Russian (Soviet) – in Finland and Finnish – in Russia, that were killed during the Second World War.

International competition for the project of the monument, held in 1993, gathered 14 participants.

In February 1st the results were announced. Well-known Petrozavodsk sculptor Leo Lankinen, who proposed the monument in the form of five-meter cross, on opposite sides of which were presented Finnish and Russian mothers in sorrow for the dead, became the winner.

By the may 1996 a full-sized model of the cross was ready, but illness and following it death of the author stopped the work. It was finished by Karelian sculptor Eduard Akulov.

Landscape planning was done by Karelian architect Lia Karma. Landscape architects Seppo Hiekala and Seppo Rosenberg from Finnish town Kuopio took part in the project work. The project was headed by Petrozavodsk architect Vyatcheslav Shevlyakov.

Since 1995 a public committee, headed by Terttu Vilponen-Salmela, aimed to support the woks on erection of the monument, worked in the Finnish town Kuopio.

Works on the monument were financed by the Russian Federation Ministry of Culture, Kuopio municipality and private donations.

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