Pro-Kremlin activists stage a “patriotic” event near the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow
Activists of Volonterskaya rota (Volunteer Company) dressed in the uniform of Soviet soldiers laid a wreath at the doors of the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. This was their response to the incident that occurred in the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes on October 25 when the locals celebrated Liberation from the Nazi invaders.
“Activists decided to remind forgetful European officials to whom they really owe their lives. Let us remind you that the mayor of the Norwegian town of Sør-Varanger Magnus Mæland decided to remove the Russian wreath laid at the monument to Soviet liberating soldiers, but one Russian woman returned it to its place,” says the movement’s social media page. Volunteer Company’s event took place on October 27.
The message contains not only factual errors (Sør-Varanger is a municipality, not a town), but also outright lies. Magnus Mæland did not remove the wreath of the Russian Consulate General, but only moved it to the side so that it did not cover the wreath previously laid by the mayor. The ceremony, at which the mayor of Sør-Varanger paid tribute to the memory of Soviet soldiers, took place earlier in the morning. In his speech, the official made a special focus on the fact that the Norwegians are grateful to the liberating soldiers, among whom were representatives of different nationalities, including Russians.
Reporters believe Volunteer Company is closely connected with the Kremlin. The Bumaga news outlet writes that members of the movement may have been involved in the beating of a SOTA journalist and the attack on the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov. They organize “patriotic” events, in which they pay for participation and cooperate with United Russia’s Young Guard, Youth Army and Rosmolodezh (Federal Agency for Youth Affairs), receiving millions of rubles from the state for their activities.
Earlier, Russian officials also responded to the incident in Kirkenes. The Russian Ambassador to Norway, Teimuraz Ramishvili, said that the conflict was provoked by “Russophobic politicians,” and the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the mayor of Sør-Varanger of vandalism.
It should be noted that, in Russia itself, the authorities actively suppress any activities that do not fit into the framework of state ideology. For example, on Sunday, October 29, Russia’s Remembrance Day for Victims of Political Repression, the police cordoned off Lubyanka Square in Moscow to prevent the “Returning of the Names” event.