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Vasily Lanovoi: Garden of Remembrance will grow from Sevastopol to Vladivostok

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Vasily Lanovoi: Garden of Remembrance will grow from Sevastopol to Vladivostok


Vladimir Emelyanenko

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Garden of Remembrance international campaign sums up the first results. From March 18 to May 1, 2020, more than 7,000 people in 15 countries planted 5.5 million trees. The action is supposed to represent a living monument of nature. 27 million trees will be planted in honor of 27 million who died during the Great Patriotic War. People’s artist of the USSR, co-chair of the Immortal Regiment movement and volunteer of the Garden of Remembrance Vasily Semenovich Lanovoyspoke to Russkiy Mir about the way this goal would be achieved and why the action turned into a national flash mob.

- When I was called to the opening of the first Garden of Remembrance in Sevastopol in early March, I was worried as a child before entering first grade. I had not been in Crimea for a long time, and the idea was bright – to plant 27 million trees all over the country in memory of 27 million dead in honor of the 75th anniversary of the victory. I answered immediately: "Ill be there." I packed my suitcase and thought about the forward-thinking approach of young people today: nature lives longer, and mans age is short, and such connection with eternity - the memory of people in living nature - I liked it. In Crimea, I learned that the Garden of Remembrance will grow from Sevastopol to Vladivostok, and then continue to Berlin and Normandy. I immediately asked: "And where will you get the trees?"

Vasily Lanovoy plants almond trees in the Victory Park of Sevastopol on March 18, 2020. Photo credit: Yuri Yuganson /

- And what did they answer? The Garden of Remembrance project issued a statement noting that they have applications for 75 million seedlings, while Rosleskhoz is only able to provide 40 - 45 million.

- They answered that there were not enough trees. But I am happy with a human side of the action. We are receiving calls from Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Lithuania - from different countries. “Give us seedlings!” they ask. Three million people want to take part in the planting of gardens in Russia and another 500 - 700 thousand - abroad. I dont remember where this idea came from, but I hear it more and more often: since there are not enough seedlings and certainly not enough for everyone, let's plant our trees in our dachas, in yards, in vegetable gardens - in memory of relatives. After the laying of a boxwood grove in Sochi and a plane tree grove in Stavropol were canceled due to measures to combat coronavirus infection, the idea of ​​planting trees at home became, as for me, a way out.


Volunteer trips were canceled, and the action turned into a flash mob. People plant trees in their villages, suburbs, in dachas, even in urban courtyards and add points of spontaneous "Gardens of Remembrance" to the general map of the action. I believe that is how the "Garden" becomes the peoples garden. Like the Immortal Regiment action - no one forces anyone to go out with photos of their relatives. So it is with the garden: people plant it themselves.

The students of Georgy Zhukov school (Valdivatskoye village, Ulyanovsk Region) plant trees as part of the Garden of Remembrance campaign. Photo credit: Vkontakte school group

- And did you, in addition to the tree in Sevastopol at the Mikhailovsky Battery, plant your own personal tree?

- Yes, I planted the first tree in Sevastopol, we opened the Crimean Garden of Remembrance there. It was in Crimea that an idea to plant a tree in my country house came to me - in honor of my mother and father. They are disabled workers, who spent the whole war at a chemical plant in Moscow. This is their contribution to the victory, and mine is in keeping the memory of them.

- In Sevastopol, you said that that the war started when you were in Odessa, and your parents were in Moscow. How did it happen?

- They, sent me, a nine-year-old kid, to a village near Odessa - to my grandfather and grandmother - in early June 1941. I went there every summer. For vitamins and the sea, my mother liked to say. They did not know anything about me for three years. My grandfather and grandmother lived in the occupation.

Participants ofthe Garden of Remembrance campaign in Simferopol, Crimea. Photo credit:

- Very different people join you in the flash mob...

Yuri Semin, head coach of FC Lokomotiv Moscow. He is from the Oryol region, brought a tree from there, planted in his country house in the suburbs, dedicated the tree to his uncle. Natasha Koneva, daughter of Marshal Konev, we are well acquainted through the Immortal Regiment, also took part in the action. Natalia Ivanovna and her grandson Stepan planted Marshal Konev lilacs in their country house.

A lot of respected people responded to the idea of ​​planting the Victory tree at home - director Timur Bekmambetov, actors Nikolai Rastorguev and Igor Petrenko, gymnast Alexei Nemov, composer Oleg Gazmanov ...

- But they are no longer able to plant Gardens of Remembrance throughout the country.

- it's an ill wind that blows good to nobody. No epidemic will defeat us. You see, people were so carried away by the idea that it became clear: not everyone would manage to plant the tree by May 9. Besides that, the planting season in some regions starts later. Therefore, it was decided that the action would last until a symbolic date - June 22, the day when the Nazis attacked the USSR. But, if it were my will, I would extend the planting until autumn. It is already clear that we do not have enough time. It really warms me that volunteers plant everything they have - pines, maples, lindens, acacia, oaks, lilac, fruit trees. Russian birches are planted in Nepal, Cyprus and Serbia.

Victory Volunteers planted 120,000 pines, perpetuating the feat of their fellow countrymen, including Zinaida Mareseva, Hero of the Soviet Union. Photo credit: 2020.


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