Italian politician calls fascists fighters for democracy

28.01.2020, Venice.

The soldiers of the Italian army, the Alpini corps, and infantrymen died in Russia during the Great Patriotic War for the ideals of democracy and freedom, the President of Veneto Luca Zaia believes, Nuova di Venezia e Mestre reported on January 26.

Screenshot of the Nuova di Venezia e Mestre publication, 28.01.2020

Luca Zaia posted his ideas on Facebook. According to the newspaper, this post commemorated the Alpini who “died in a battle on the Russian front on January 26, 1943.”

“Today is one of the most painful chapters in the history of the Alpine Corps, the 77th anniversary of the Nikolaev Battle of January 26, 1943,” the politician wrote in the social media.

He continued with a quote from an Alpini serviceman and writer Mario Rigoni Stern, who depicted the retreat of the remaining Italian soldiers in his book. According to Luca Zaia, the invasion of the Italian army in Russia and the events that followed were “the Odyssey of the Russian campaign.”

“There, in a village, actually, many soldiers, Apini, and infantrymen sacrificed their lives for the ideals of democracy and freedom,” the newspaper cites the President of Veneto.

However, some commenters to Zaia’s post expressed outrage at the statement that serving to Hitler, according to the politician, was struggle for ideals of democracy and freedom, and Zaia had to revise his words. Currently, the sentence ends with the phrase “many soldiers, Apini, and infantrymen sacrificed their lives.” The words “for the ideals of democracy and freedom” that followed have been deleted. The newspaper published a screenshot of the politician’s page with the initial version of the post.

The invasion of the Italian army in the USSR lasted from 1941 till 1943. Mussolini ordered to prepare a contingent for military operations on the Eastern Front, in the USSR.

The Soviet army annihilated the Italian army. The military defeat played a key role in the following overthrow of Mussolini.

The Alpini were part of the Italian army. In Italy, “the Battle of Nikolaevka” refers to Italian army’s breakthrough from Soviet encirclement that took place on January 26, 1943 near the village of Nikolaevka of Nikitovsky district, Voronezh region. Today this is the village of Livenka of Krasnogvardeysky district, Belgorod region.

The battle was part of the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh offensive operation.

On January 26, 1943, the Soviet army defeated the forces that consisted of the remnants of the Alpini from the Italian 8th Army as well as German and Hungarian soldiers, but a small part of the Italian corps managed to escape from the trap.

The Italian army committed numerous atrocities in Russia. For example, in the city of Rossosh, Voronezh region, where the staff of the Italian Alpini was located during the Great Patriotic war, the local residents still remember the crimes of this army against civilians; they remember murders, executions, how civilians had to dig graves for themselves, and many more.

Today, a memorial in the form of a hat with a feather, the feature of the Alpini uniform, stands in the center of the city of Rossosh. Italian servicemen honor this memorial, and they lay wreaths to it. The local residents believe that the memorial is an insult to the memory of the Victory as well as to the veterans and those who remember the atrocities of the Italian army on their land. They hold pickets and address media and the authorities.

Army troops named Alpini remain part of the Italian army, and their uniform can still be recognized by the hats with feathers, as in the period of the Great Patriotic War. Italy is a member of NATO.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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