PetrSU Search Party in Finland
The sixth expedition of PetrSU search party to Ilomantsi municipality, Finland, took place on June 26 – July 2. In the six years, PetrSU search party has found and excavated remains of 60 soldiers of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army who had perished in Ilomantsi municipality in 1939 and 1944.
This region saw intense fighting during the Soviet-Finnish War and in the summer of 1944. The search has been underway since 2014. Its aim is to establish a municipal communal grave of the soldiers of the WPRA who have perished in the area and erect a monument to the east of Hattuvaara village in the vicinity of Polvikoski on the bank of Koitajoki River.
PetrSU search party is the only student search party in Russia that systematically searches for the remains of soldiers of the Red Army abroad. In 2019 the search party consisted of 10 people, including 7 students of different Institutes of PetrSU: Olga Gorbunova, Aleksandr Kulagin, Amina Babaeva, Tatiana Romanova, Daniil Goliayev, Pavel Gulynin. The party leader was the 5th year student of the Institute of Physics and Technologies Gleb Lyashenkov. The research supervisor is Professor Yurii Kilin. Among the members of the expedition were the Associate Professor of the IHPSS Natalia Smirnova and specialists of the Research and Education Center for the World War II Issues in the North of Europe Veronika Kilina.
Currently, the authorities of Finland have almost completed negotiations about the erection of a monument on the site of the mass grave, now we are waiting for the approval of the administration of Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomen aluehallitus).
Last autumn experienced Finnish searchers Timo Pääkkö and Lasse Nyman together with the representative of Ilomantsi municipality Otso Nygren found the battle site of July 31, 1944, in the vicinity of the southern bank of Ilajanjarvi Lake. In the square with a side of 40 meters, the expedition disinterred remains of 11 soldiers of the 63rd rifle regiment of the 176th rifle division. Moreover, the searchers found an officer identity card that will be sent for transcription to a Moscow laboratory.