SLOVAKIA will mark the 70th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) in grand style with a four-day programme in Banská Bystrica, the centre of the historical events.

Representatives of Slovakia and foreign countries, as well as participants in the SNP are expected to attend the main programme. Several historical re-enactments are scheduled, in addition to cultural programmes that will include concerts by folklore groups and military orchestras.

Contemporary and historical military equipment, some of which will be presented in Slovakia for the first time, will be on show too.

The celebration will start on August 28, the eve of the day when the SNP began, with a concert by the ensemble of the State Opera from Banská Bystrica below the Monument of the SNP, which is housed by the SNP Museum.

The main ceremonial programme will take place on August 29. It will start with a flyover of Slovak military jets at 11:00, followed by a wreath laying ceremony. Slovak President Andrej Kiska and other Slovak state officials, as well as representatives and diplomats of other states and participants of the SNP are expected to attend. At 12:00, official guests will deliver speeches, followed by performances of the folk troupe SĽUK, the Alexandrov Ensemble, which is the choir of the Russian armed forces, the United States Air Forces in Europe Band, Boban and Marko Markovič with orchestra and others. Part of the programme will feature a presentation of Slovakia’s Armed Forces, a demonstration of contemporary and historical military equipment, parachuting paratroopers, documentary films shown in the SNP Museum and more, the museum writes on its website.

On August 29, an exhibition of Russian war trophies and other World War II memorabilia will open in the SNP Museum. Earlier, on August 18, exclusive artefacts including uniforms of Adolf Hitler and Russian marshals Georgy Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky and Rodion Malinovsky were brought to the museum.

So far, Czech President Miloš Zeman and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski are the only confirmed heads of foreign states who will attend the central celebrations, the SITA newswire wrote on August 19. Ivan Gašparovič, who was Slovak president until mid June, invited the presidents of those states, whose citizens participated in the liberation of Slovakia in 1944 and 1945. He also invited Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák informed on August 20 that Russia has confirmed it will send a representative to the ceremony, but he refused to reveal the name. The SNP Museum director Stanislav Mičev confirmed for SITA that Russia will be represented by Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu.

According to Lajčák, more foreign guests are gradually confirming their attendance, but since there are several days left until the ceremony begins, he refused to specify any names, the TASR newswire wrote.

On August 30, the United States Air Forces in Europe Band will perform in SNP Square at 17:00, followed at 18:00 by a re-enactment of the beginning of the SNP, featuring dozens of people dressed in period uniforms from all of the sides involved. After the roughly hour-long programme, participants in period uniforms will board cars and go to Banská Bystrica’s train station, where the armoured train Štefánik will be presented. The next day, August 31, visitors at the train station in Šalková, part of Banská Bystrica, can watch re-enactments of battles between the partisans and Nazi army.

“This will be a demonstration of what happened during the last two October weeks in the area between Brezno and Banská Bystrica,” Marian Uhrin, a historian of the SNP Museum, told the Pravda daily. He explained that this will be a re-enactment of the attack of the 18th SS division Horst Wessel against the partisan army, which the armoured train will help defend.

The budget of the celebrations including accompanying events is projected at €445,000. The Slovak cabinet allocated €345,500 for this purpose, while the SNP Museum was to contribute €65,000 and the Culture Ministry has allocated €35,000, SITA wrote in early June. The biggest portion of this amount, €200,000, was to go towards making adjustments to the SNP museum’s premises.

The SNP Museum expects up to 20,000 attendees, including participants and eyewitnesses of the SNP, of whom about 1,400 still live in Slovakia.