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Having departed from Brest on 22 June, the project participants have already been to Grodno, Vitebsk and are now in Russia. Valentina Matviyenko noted that The Memory Train shows that the peoples of the two countries not only share common values, but literally think alike and understand each other.
She thanked Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova, one of the ideological spearheads of the project, the regions that have prepared the events along the route of the train, and also Russian Railways.
According to Valentina Matviyenko, The Memory Train is a unique undertaking: Belarusian and Russian schoolchildren get a chance to visit the places where their great-grandfathers fought the invaders defending their native land, touch the history and feel the scale of the events that took place then. The speaker of the Federation Council is convinced that for anyone who has experienced such a feeling, it becomes a matter of honor to protect the sacred memory of their ancestors. "Such trips are the best vaccination against the rewriting of history," she stressed.
Valentina Matviyenko believes that the project has a great future: it may give rise to an informal movement of young patriots bringing together thousands of children. Plans are in place to expand the geography of the project and attract more participants from Belarus, Russia and other CIS countries.
Belarusian and Russian school students told the Federation Council speaker about their impressions of visiting historical places related to the events of the Great Patriotic War. Valentina Matviyenko called on the participants of the project to tell their classmates about their trip: “It is very important. Promise me that each of you will tell your classmates about your emotions and impressions. I have no doubt that you will carry the love for the homeland, the respect for history and the sense of camaraderie that you gained during the trip.”
Answering students' questions, Valentina Matviyenko said that attempts to rewrite history were temporary and that history could not be changed. “Blasphemous actions in a number of European countries, demolition of war monuments cause only regret and condemnation. Both Belarus and Russia cherish the memory of the heroes who brought freedom to our land. We will defend this memory and fight those who are trying to rewrite the history. The Memory Train is part of that mission,” she said.
The Memory Train has already traveled half its way. It is yet to go to St Petersburg, Veliky Novgorod, Pskov, Orsha, Mogilev, Gomel and Minsk.
Attending the meeting with school students were State Secretary of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev, Chairman of the organizing committee of the project from the Belarusian side, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Social Development Viktor Liskovich, Ambassador of Belarus to Russia Vladimir Semashko, Vice Speaker of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev.