Minister of Defence Meets With Governor of Voronezh Oblast

Friday, October 27, 2017

On Wednesday, 25 October Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó received in his office Aleksey Gordeyev, the Governor of Voronezh Oblast, Russia.

During the meeting, the discussion focused on two main topics. On the one hand, the two sides discussed the details of launching the “Don Express” project to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Don battles, and on the other hand, they addressed issues of cooperation in the field of preserving and studying the cultural-historical heritage.

The discussion was preceded by a visit to Russia by an official Hungarian delegation headed by Dr. István Simicskó in July 2017, during which its members travelled to Voronezh – Boldirevka and Gremyachye-Rudkino – the site of the fiercest battles at the Don Bend in the Second World War. During the two-day tribute journey, the Hungarian side suggested that in 2018, in connection with the anniversary of the Don battles, preparations should be made for a joint commemoration that would include, as one of its highlights, the launch of the “Don Express”. The goal of this train service is to enable the relatives of the some 125,000 Hungarian soldiers who fell, were wounded or went missing in action in the battles to worthily commemorate them and pay tribute at the graves of their loved ones in the two Central Hungarian Military Cemeteries established at the settlements.

Speaking about this initiative at today’s meeting in Budapest, Dr. István Simicskó pointed out that the goal is that the “Don Express” be organized as a kind of pilgrimage. The governor of Voronezh Oblast underlined his willingness to support the jubilee ceremony in all ways, but added that an intergovernmental agreement must be signed in the interest of further coordination. In this connection, the two delegations discussed ways to promote cooperation between the MÁV Nosztalgia Ltd and the Russian Railways JSCo. During the discussion, both sides reasserted that the summer meeting had a good atmosphere and was very fruitful.

Furthermore, the two sides reviewed the ways of cooperation between the MoD Institute and Museum of Military History and the Russian partner institutions, with special regard to agreements with the exhibition sites “Museum of Voronezh City dedicated to the Great Patriotic War” and the Center of Military-Patriotic Education “Museum-Diorama”, with opportunities for handling and exhibiting technology collections and borrowing artifacts.

Heading a delegation to Budapest between 24–26 October, Governor Gordeyev met with the Minister of Defence as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas, the representative of the Hungary-based Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the presidents of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

( - photos: Photo: Veronika Dévényi)


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