BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 31
On 30 August, the inauguration of the Sambek Heights, a new military-historical museum complex of the Great Patriotic War, was held in the Rostov Region of the Russian Federation.
Russian Rossiya-24 and Rossiya-1 TV channels broadcast reportages, providing extensive information about the heroism of the 416th Taganrog Division which consisted mainly of the Azerbaijanis. The reportages featured an interview with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Presenter: A national military-historical museum, the Sambek Heights, was opened in the Rostov Region today. The word “national” is no coincidence because it was created on the initiative of veterans and search specialists. Sambek is the place of fierce battles both in 1941 when the Nazis were eager to capture Rostov and in 1943 when ours stormed it. The height is important not only for Russia but also for Azerbaijan, and its President also spoke about those events on this day.
Veronika Bogma's report says that the museum complex is located on the site of real battles. Of the 160 kilometers of the Mius front line, 14.5 hectares were occupied by a battle field.
Governor of the Rostov Region Vasily Golubev: The scale of destruction, barbarity and inhumanity of the Nazis on our land is unprecedented in history. Every family cherishes the memory of veterans and participants in the Great Patriotic War. Here on the Walk of Fame, 325 warriors were interred with honors in the spring of 2017, the names of 19 of them have been established.
The reportage says that the complex consists of a military-historical museum, an information and exhibition center, a chapel, an amphitheater, an apple orchard, and eight outdoor areas. There are also layouts of Hitler's fortifications. On the front line alone, almost 3,000 kilometers of trenches were dug, which is twice the distance to Berlin.
The Sambek heights are a series of dominant heights, hills and mounds formed by the southern spurs of the Donetsk ridge along the right bank of the Mius River. The highest of them is the Saur-Mogila burial mound, located 40 kilometers from the museum complex. Its height is 277.9 meters. Here on the Sambek heights 80 to 100 meters above sea level, the Nazis did everything to make them impregnable.
The first memorial for the soldiers of the Mius Front was erected here in 1980 to mark the 35th anniversary of the Victory. It was built with funds and active participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. A delegation headed by Heydar Aliyev came to the opening ceremony.
Great leader Heydar Aliyev: The majestic monument erected on the Don land is a tribute to the grateful memory, respect and gratitude of the workers of the Rostov Region and Azerbaijan to all the heroes of the battles, alive and fallen.
President Ilham Aliyev: This was no coincidence because more than 90 percent of soldiers in the 416th Taganrog Rifle Division, which liberated the Rostov Region, were originally from Azerbaijan. The 416th Taganrog Division liberated not only Rostov but also the entire Rostov Region, including the city of Taganrog, after which the division was renamed into the Taganrog Division. The cities of Melitopol, Chisinau and Odessa were also liberated by the 416th division. This division was especially distinguished in the successful Mozdok operation. In fact, this operation prevented the capture of Baku by the Nazis. Otherwise, the consequences of the Great Patriotic War would have been catastrophic. At that time, Azerbaijan supplied 80 percent of the fuel and 90 percent of the lubricants for the frontline. If Azerbaijan and its oil fields had fallen into the hands of the Nazis, the outcome of the war would have been completely different.
The reportage says further: Indeed, the fascists were interested in Don not only as a breadbasket with endless fertile fields. It was also the gates of the Caucasus, the entrance to Maykop, Grozny, Baku and further to the Persian Gulf. In the six months that the 416th division was stationed on the Mius Front, it suffered such losses that it changed its composition three times.
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan has made a worthy contribution to our common victory. A total of 128 Heroes of the Soviet Union are originally from Azerbaijan. Military hardware was produced in Azerbaijan. The enterprises worked day and night. I should also note that the 416th division also distinguished itself in the capture of Berlin. It was soldiers of this division that captured the Kaiser Wilhelm palace. A group of servicemen led by Azerbaijani Lieutenant Majidov also planted the Victory flag over the Brandenburg Gate.
The report says: This is unique footage and photographs of how the banner of Victory was hoisted over the symbol of Berlin on 2 May 1945. One of the participants in those events greets fellow soldiers from his mountain village – surrounded by 37 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Alish Khalilov, veteran of World War II: I say hello and convey congratulations on the opening of the museum to all the surviving soldiers of the Taganrog Division.
President Ilham Aliyev: We honor the sacred memory of those who gave their lives for our common victory. Veterans in Azerbaijan are surrounded by attention and care. We have always spoken out and continue to speak out against the glorification of the Nazis, to preserve the historical truth about the role of the Soviet Union in the victory over fascism. I am sure that the opening of the new memorial also serves as evidence that we are trying to make sure that future generations do not forget the feat of our fathers and grandfathers, so that they honor our common victory and know the truth about who made a significant and decisive contribution to our common Victory.
I want to congratulate all the veterans and the peoples of Russia and Azerbaijan on the opening of the memorial complex, and wish the veterans good health and well-being.
The reportage further says: Search specialists are still finding the Azerbaijanis who died on Mius. This alley appeared here already in our times. Under each tree, there are plaques with names that have been established.
Arsentiy Evterev has ceased to be an unknown soldier. His relatives pass on to each other the story of his last meeting with his family, when the front line approached his native farm.
Natalia Golovach, the granddaughter of Arsentiy Yevterev: He kissed the children, kissed his wife, held his little son in his arms, cried and left.
There was a time when people knew about the Mius-front but remained silent. The truth seemed uncomfortable. So many losses...
The reportage notes that the museum displays thousands of artifacts from family archives, as well as exhibits found on the battlefields. The most modern technologies were widely used in the creation and operation of the museum.