The Valley of Heroes

The Valley of Heroes

The events of Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 are little known nowadays. This may be explained with the fact that WWII, which happened a few years later, overshadowed this war. It was also impossible in the post war years to analyze the reasons and the consequences of this war. The main direction of this war, which started on the 30 of November 1939, was Karelian peninsula.

The activities of Soviet forces on the line Petrozavodsk – Sortavala were of a subsidiary character. But when Soviet troops occupied Pitkjaranta by December 10, Finnish government started transferring huge reserves to this direction. So the battle were rather fierce and bloody. On December 12 a group of Finnish troops launched a counter-offensive and crushed rifle battalion #139.

On January 6, 1940 Finnish force succeeded in surrounding divisions # 18, 68 and 34 to the west of Pitkjaranta. Bloody battles took place here during January and February. By the end of February Soviet forces have been unblocked, but only 50% of the men managed to survive. For many years these tragic events were described in Soviet history as “some failures of Soviet troops”.

In the past years local searching detachments explored the places of battles looking for burial places. They found lots of evidences of war. Well-preserved fragments of both Soviet and Finnish defensive installations were found in the forests of Kitelja – Koirinoja – Lemetti – Tomas. Many of the discoveries are collected in the building of the museum.

The existing material doesn’t meet the modern requirements of exhibiting. The exposition is not systematized for there is no technical resources. Nowadays the administration of the region tries to find a new building for the museum.

In June 2002 the opening of the memorial cross “The cross of Sorrow” took place. The complex consists of the memorial, place for to lay wreathes and flowers, pedestrian roads, the house of the keeper, parking lot, WC and a garbage room.

On the next stage it is planned to organize an exposition devoted to little known facts of Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 and to battles, which took place near Pitkjaranta. The exposition will be created on the basis of existing materials and exhibits. It is planned to use open-air exposition place for demonstration of defense technologies found by the explorers.

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