STA, 25 July 2020 - The traditional Russian Chapel commemoration below the Vršič Pass was held on Saturday, with the keynote speaker, National Council president Alojz Kovšca calling for solidarity among nations. He said that a new opportunity was arising for nations to get connected in the efforts to preserve peace and coexistence.
"Let us persist in determination that we have learned a lot of good lessons from history so that we do not repeat past mistakes. Let us join our powers, knowledge and influence so that peace stays and that friendship gets strengthened and upgraded," Kovšca said.
"If not for those who sacrificed their lives, let us have in mind those who come after us. Let these be happy generations who have the privilege to live in reconciliation and friendship and for whom cosmopolitanism is that original drive for preserving peace at any cost."
The small chapel on the mountain road above Kranjska Gora (NW) pays tribute to Slovenian-Russian friendship and this year the idea of the ceremony was to point to solidarity and connectedness between nations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"If solidarity failed in the last few months where it had been most expected, this time all of us have been given the opportunity to call it back", Kovšca said, labelling the Slovenian-Russian relations as friendly and going beyond a mere political inclination.
"The Russian Federation is an important economic and strategic partner for Slovenia, and we also must not overlook the cultural and artistic connections. We together can be proud of that," he added.
The Russian Chapel was constructed 104 years ago to honour Russian POWs in the First World War who were killed by an avalanche while being forced to build the mountain road above Kranjska Gora in north-western Slovenia.
On the Slovenian side, the main guests of the ceremony which was scaled back due to anti-epidemic measures, were President Borut Pahor, parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič and several government ministers.
Pahor said the friendship and cooperation between Slovenia and Russia remained solid and sincere and that Slovenia would always strive for good relations with Russia, "although we have some differing views and we are not allies in the military sense."
"But it seems right to me that we try to cherish traditionally good ties with all nations, including Russians, because there is never enough friendship in the world," the president was quoted by the public Radio Slovenija.
Unlike the previous years, the ceremony organised by the Russian Embassy, the municipality of Kranjska Gora, the Russkiy Mir foundation and the Slovenia-Russia Association did not feature high-profile representatives from Russia.
At the ceremony, the Russian Orthodox Church was represented by Tikhon Zaytsev, the Major Archbishop of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany.
The event, which used to be attended by thousands of people in past years, was preceded by a church mass in Kranjska Gora on Friday, and is followed by a meeting of members of the Slovenia-Russia Association.