A party representing the Soviet community in East Germany entered the British Zone of Berlin on Friday to lay a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial.
A party representing the Soviet community in East Germany entered the British Zone of Berlin on Friday to lay a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial. The party was led by Michail Yefremov, the Soviet Ambassador to East Germany, and General Eugen Ivanovsky, Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Forces in East Germany. Representatives of other communist nations also attended.
After the wreath-laying there was a march-past by a Soviet Army Guard Unit. British observers were surprised to see the men were carrying rifles with fixed bayonets, because a convention dating from 1945 says only Soviet soldiers on guard duty at the memorial may carry weapons in the British Sector.
SYNOPSIS: Berlin is among the cities where the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Soviet Union has been commemorated. A party of officials representing the Soviet community in East Germany crossed into the Western sector for a ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial, which is located in the British zone of the divided city.
West German officers were among the spectators as a Soviet Army Guard Unit marched to the monument, which is permanently guarded by a detachment of Soviet troops.
British troops also watched as their Soviet counterparts carried wreaths to the memorial. They were followed by the Soviet Ambassador to East Germany, Michail Yefremov.
The ceremony is one of many marking the fifty years since the first four Soviet Socialist Republics were united by the treaty negotiated by Stalin. The Soviet Union now embraces 15 states.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet armed forces in East Germany, General Eugen Ivanovsky, led the military representation. Observers were surprised the see the Soviet soldiers carrying rifles with fixed bayonets. Under a convention agreed in 1946, the formal guards at the war memorial are the only Soviet soldiers permitted to bear arms in the British sector of Berlin.