27 January 2015
Moscow: 12:20
London: 08:20

Consular Section:  
+44(0) 203 668 7474   
info@rusemb.org.uk  

 

PRESS RELEASES

10.10.2012

On UK Arctic Convoy Veterans: Ushakov Medal

In May 2012 the Russian Side requested official permission of the UK Government for the British veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded by the President of the Russian Federation the Ushakov Medal in recognition of their outstanding contribution to our allied cooperation during World War II. Under UK law the Embassy was required to provide the information concerning activities of intended recipients over the last five years, which will constitute grounds for conferring the award. So, the Embassy had to request the British veterans to provide the information regarding their participation in public/civil activities of local, national and international level over the last five years, which could be forwarded to the HM Government in support of our request. To date 813 letters from the veterans have been forwarded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Now the Embassy is in receipt of a note of the Foreign Office which gives official response to our request. It states, inter alia, that the information supplied ‘does not describe any relevant service specific to Russia within the last five years’. Therefore it will not be possible for the Foreign Office to seek permission for those UK citizens named by the Embassy to accept and wear the Ushakov Medal. Were the Embassy to provide details of those veterans who satisfy to the “five year criterion” then the decision could be revisited. It is, however, difficult to imagine the persons in their late eighties and early nineties to do things similar to what they did at the time of the War 70 years ago.

Under the circumstances the Embassy has to express its profound regret that while the authorities of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA have granted permission to their veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded the Russian award, we are not in a position to honour in the same way the courage and sacrifice of the British heroes of the Arctic Convoys. It does not diminish in any way our gratitude to them for their fightnig for the common cause of defeating Nazism and delivering Europe and the whole of mankind from this existential threat.

We’ll be writing to each British veteran to inform of the situation.  




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