Low-profile memorial event to be held at Russian Chapel

Kranjska Gora – A low-profile memorial event will be held at the Russian Chapel below the Vršič mountain pass on Sunday, where the memory of Russian POWs who perished while building the pass during the First World War is honoured every year. Because of the war in Ukraine, only members and friends of the Slovenia-Russia Association will gather this year.

Some business executives are expected to attend along with Slovenia’s first President Milan Kučan, who told the newspaper Delo that he saw no connection between paying tribute to the dead at the chapel and the war in Ukraine.

“This year, more than in the past decades of peace, the chapel needs people to light a candle or lay a wreath in silence. For the souls of those who died under the avalanche and against all the wars, violence, destruction and cruelty that blind hatred leads to. For humanity, tolerance and wisdom. For peace,” wrote the Slovenia-Russia Association ahead of today’s event.

The Slovenia-Russia Association, which organises the Slovenian-Russian get-together every year, condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine as early as February and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the part of the Russian society that opposes the war.

The association stressed that the Russian Chapel below the Vršič pass remained a symbol of peace and respectful remembrance, and that the place remained open to all supporters of peace, dialogue and cooperation.

The traditional Catholic memorial mass was held in the nearby town of Kranjska Gora yesterday, while no other events are planned this year.

Usually, hundreds of people took part in the annual memorial ceremony at the chapel, including state officials and church dignitaries from both countries. In 2016, as the 100th anniversary of the chapel was observed, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the ceremony.