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Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War
8 - 9 May

2010 Commemoration

Film screening: "Ballad of a Soldier" (1959), 27 April 2010

"Ballad of a Soldier" tells the story of Alyosha, a Russian soldier in World War II who single-handedly fends off two enemy tanks and is granted a visit with his mother as a reward. As he journeys home, Alyosha encounters the devastation of his war-torn country, witnesses glimmers of hope among the people, and falls in love. With its poetic visual imagery, Grigori Chukhrai's "Ballad of a Soldier" is an unconventional meditation on the effects of war, and is considered a milestone in Russian cinema. It was a prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival and San Francisco International Film Festival in 1960.

The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, delivered opening remarks.

Photo Exhibition: "We Won Together", 1 - 14 May 2010

This special exhibition celebrates the victory in World War II through photos highlighting the role of the CIS (former Soviet Union) in the defeat of fascism.

Special Solemn Meeting of the UN General Assembly, 6 May 2010

The General Assembly marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon describing the conflict as “one of the most epic struggles for freedom and liberation in history”, and adding that the devastating seven-year war had also led to the creation of the United Nations to foster peace, international cooperation and prevent future conflicts.

The Secretary-General opened the Assembly’s solemn commemoration of the victims of the War by reciting the names and places that still resonated, despite the passing of so many years:  “Stalingrad and Kursk; Auschwitz and Dachau; D-Day and the final battle for Berlin”.  The costs of the War were beyond calculation and beyond comprehension, he said, recalling that some 40 million civilians had died and 20 million soldiers — nearly half of those in the Soviet Union alone.

Those were years of unspeakable atrocities, of lost faith and lost humanity.  At the same time, those years had also seen extraordinary bravery, as well. Yet, as the world had prevailed over tyranny, “idealism had its triumph, too”, he said.  Some 65 years ago, in San Francisco, delegates had just begun writing the Charter of the United Nations — an organization founded on that most human of hopes:  an end to the “scourge of war”.

So, it was fitting, today, that the Organization commemorated the War’s end at a moment when nations were also gathered in New York to advance the cause of peace at the month-long Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  That Treaty was also a document of hope — a vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, he said.

Setting the stage for the remembrance, the representative of the Russian Federation, on whose initiative the commemoration had been organized, delivered a message from President Dimitry Medvedev.  The Russian leader honoured the memory of the heroism of all those who selflessly fought for the future of the generations to come.  He said that losses had been suffered by practically every family in the Soviet Union, upon which Hitler’s military had unleashed all its might.  The tens of millions of lost lives would be remembered forever.

“Today, while recollecting the events of that cruel War, we must understand the monstrous consequences of violence, racial and religious intolerance,” he continued, and added that, in that light, the objective of strengthening the potential of the United Nations became ever more important.  Through the years, the Organization’s objectives were still relevant and it remained the firm structure of global relations through which all nations, working together, would be able to effectively confront modern threats, such as terrorism, weapons proliferation, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and all forms of discrimination.

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Concert featuring the CIS Youth Symphony Orchestra, 7 May 2010

This special commemorative concert featured the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS (former Soviet Union), led by world-renowned conductor, Vladimir Spivakov.

The CIS Youth Symphony Orchestra designates a new conductor each year, to teach and mentor talented young musicians from the CIS, who go through a rigorous competitive process and win a spot in the Orchestra for one year.

The Orchestra will perform a variety of musical selections from works such as Rachmaninov's 2nd concerto, Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake", Verdi's "The Force of Destiny", Puccini's "La Bohème" and more.

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