Dear colleagues!

On behalf of the organisers, I am pleased to invite you to attend the 1st International Scientific Conference “Russian troops in France and the Balkans
(1916-1918) in history and memory of Russia and Europe”

Interest towards the fate of the Russian Expeditionary Force sent to help her allies in the First World War has been increasing recently. Perhaps because the subject not only provokes military questions but gives opportunity to reflect on basic humanitarian ethics.

Even the organisers themselves were astonished at the breadth and depth of the works sent in by conference applicants. The incredible twists of fates intertwining the Russian Expeditionary Force and such names as Rachmaninov and Gumilev, places like Kulikovo Field and Pushkin memorial estate, the Bolshoj Theatre and the Louvre, as well as art – the Russian Avant-Guard, “The Russian Ball” in the Tsar’s palace or the film festival in Cannes. Applicants discovered even more links – the Russian cathedrals in France, monasteries on Mount Athos, the fight against the Basmachi Revolt and the Victory Parade in 1945 on the Red Square in Moscow.

Nevertheless, two principal subjects stay in the centre of attention: first the relationship between Man and War, secondly, ‘memory’ because it is remembering that adds to our humanity. The conference will feature stories about complicated fates, military dynasties, participation of Force soldiers and officers in other wars of the XX century, acts of heroism by regimental priests and nurses, and last, but not least, about admirable people – the guardians of Force memory.

The Russian soldiers of the special brigades experienced severe hardships. They found the first total war far from home. This war ended with the collapse of their Empire. Many soldiers had a difficult way home, but each found his own way. Analysing their fates, we may not only broaden our understanding of history – but indeed reflect on ourselves, cementing our moral values.

The Commemoration Society of the Russian Expeditionary Force (1916-1918) was created in order to fulfil the duty of grateful Memory. We would like that the true history of the Russian Expeditionary Force would be available for everyone here or overseas. I hope all of the participants of the conference find their work fruitful, findings and new acquaintances – meaningful!

Malinovaskaya N.R.,
The President of the Commemoration Society of the Russian Expeditionary Force (1916-1918)
Daughter of Marshal of the Soviet Union Malinovsky R.Ya., a former soldier of the Russian Expeditionary Force