Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Slovenia, where he will have talks with the republic’s President Borut Pahor, will open a monument to Soviet servicemen and will participate in a memorial ceremony devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Russian chapel at the Vrsic Pass.
“(The visit) will consist of a memorial dedication ceremony and meaningful discussions. Delegation and restricted talks are scheduled to be on the agenda. A news conference is expected as well,” the president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “I would divide the visit into two parts: the memorial dedication and the working one.”
The Kremlin spokesman noted that “the commemorative ceremony is planned to mark the centenary of the Russian chapel’s construction at the Vrsic Pass.” “Also a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers who died in Slovenia in both world wars is to be unveiled in Ljubljana,” he said in conclusion.
The Kremlin’s press service said, the key issues of the talks’ agenda would be various aspects of the trade and economic relations.
“During the Russia-Slovenia talks, the parties will discuss key aspects of the bilateral cooperation in the trade-economic, investment and cultural-humanitarians spheres,” the Kremlin said. Putin will unveil a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers killed there during the First and Second World Wars, which will be the key event of marking the 100th anniversary the Russian-Slovenia friendship symbol – the chapel at the Vrsic Pass. The monument will symbolize unity of Russia’s different generations, who laid their lives for the Fatherland, and the fact it is in Slovenia symbolizes the reconciliation among European people, who opposed each other during World War I.
Every year, in late July, Slovenia and Russia pay honor to the fallen Russian soldiers and prisoners of war at a memorial dedication ceremony near the Russian chapel built by Russian POWs during WWI at the Vrsic Pass. In 1916 Russian POWs were used by the Austrian army to build a mountain road over the Vrsic Pass and in winter they were killed by a huge avalanche. In 2005 the chapel was reconstructed and now it is a war memorial, a symbol of the Russian-Slovenian friendship.