Built on the instruction of the President, the memorial was unveiled on April 22, 2021, on the banks of the Karantinnaya Bay. The Russian Military Historical Society, with support from the International Council of Russian Compatriots, carried out this project; it was designed by Chairman of the Artists’ Union of Russia Andrei Kovalchuk.
The monument presents a sculptural composition with two male figures at the centre symbolising the two opposing sides in the Civil War. Above them rises a statue on a pedestal representing Mother Russia that calls on its sons to be reconciled. The bottom of the monument carries the inscription: “We are a single people, and we have only one Russia.” This is where the eternal flame is burning.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: People of Sevastopol, Crimea and Russia!
Today we mark National Unity Day here in Hero City Sevastopol, in Crimea and all across our vast country. This holiday celebrates the core, essential values that we can all relate to. These include a sincere love for our homeland, respecting our ancestors, and being worthy of their feats in combat and outstanding achievements, as well as our commitment to serve the people of our country, to work hard for the sake of its development and the good of its people. Caring for our Fatherland, and a willingness to stand up for it and defend it has been part of the character of our millions-strong, multi-ethnic people.
National Unity Day marks a dramatic, life-changing period in the history of our country. In the early 17th century, Russia found itself on the brink of losing its sovereignty and could have disappeared from the European and world maps forever. However, the people of Russia did not let this happen. They came together in a volunteer army led by Minin and Pozharsky to defend their homeland, chase out the invaders and traitors, restore a strong state, and stop sectarian strife. They took on the task of saving the country and paved the way for Russia’s revival and strengthening.
More than four centuries have passed since then, but the feat accomplished by the people still strikes us with its powerful outflow of patriotic feelings, and the fact that people came to understand that there was nothing more important than their Motherland’s destiny and future.
It is thanks to their unity that the people of Russia have achieved remarkable heights in economics, science, technology and culture. Religious leaders representing Russia’s traditional religions have invariably played a special role in consolidating our society and reinforcing the values that bind us together.
However, there have also been periods when historical challenges undermined the unity of our people. This was the case with the 1917 revolution and the new, terrible time of troubles – the Civil War – that came after it.
In 1920, not far from here, steamboats were departing these shores taking with them those who left their Motherland and emigrated. Of course, most of them were Russian patriots and loved Russia in all sincerity, just like those who stayed behind to build a new country and what they hoped would be a better life.
Covered in the blood of Russian soldiers, the Crimean soil remembers the pain of these events and will serve as an eternal symbol not only of the tragic fratricidal conflict, but, even more importantly, the reconciliation that followed and the triumph of historical truth and justice.
The memorial complex in Sevastopol shows that Russia remembers and loves all its devoted sons and daughters no matter what side of the barricades they once were on, and that our country has recovered its historical unity.
It is of course here, in Sevastopol, in Crimea, that one gets the keenest sense of this live, indissociable bond. Sevastopol and Crimea are now with Russia and will stay with it forever, because this was the expression of the sovereign, free and uncompromising will of our entire people.
My sincere congratulations to the people of Sevastopol, Crimea and all the citizens of our beloved country, our Russia, on this holiday. Happy National Unity Day!