11 june 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France consider plans for a monument to the Russian Expeditionary Force that fought in France during World War I


The idea of building this monument first arose at a meeting of the Russian-French inter-governmental commission in November 2009. The French side received designs by Russian sculptors Vladimir Surovtsev and Georgy Frangulyan.

A number of organisations uniting Russian compatriots, the descendants of members of the White Guard, repeatedly called for the heroic feats performed by Russian soldiers and the Russian-French combat camaraderie during World War I to be immortalised.

In 1916, the Tsarist Government dispatched the four-brigades constituting the Russian Expeditionary Force to Europe in order to assist the Allies.

These Russian soldiers particularly distinguished themselves during a bloody battle near Fort de la Pompelle near Reims in 1916. In all, over 5,000 Russian soldiers were killed in action.

Prime Minister Fillon said there were plans to build a monument to Russian soldiers on La Place du Canada on the embankment of the Seine, not far from the Grand Palais des Champs Elysées exhibition centre and Pont Alexandre III. He said monuments to General Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill were located in the same district.

"This is a wonderful and remarkably beautiful place," Vladimir Putin said.