The Rzhev War Memorial is located 220 kilometers west of Moscow, on the southern outskirts of the city of Rzhev. In 1942-43, one of the fiercest and longest battles of the WWII took place here. The Rzhev War Memorial to the Soviet soldier is located on the M9 highway, which connects Moscow with Pskov.  

Other major battles of the WWII were fought by maneuvering large military formations, but the Battle of Rzhev is called the "Soviet Verdun", since the battles here were positional. The terrain in the vicinity of Rzhev is swampy, which made it impossible to maneuver with tank divisions. The battles near Rzhev can be described as artillery duels, and in some periods in the Battle of Rzhev, almost half of the shells that were produced at Soviet factories were spent here. 

The Battle of Rzhev began in January 1942. After the Battle of Moscow began, Soviet troops were able to push the Germans back hundreds of kilometers from the capital. Rzhev became the most important platsdarm, where the Germans managed to stabilize the front and stop the retreat. From that moment, Russian troops made daily attempts to dislodge the Germans from Rzhev, and the Germans also tried hard to preserve it.  

There is no exact data, how many Soviet soldiers died near Rzhev. According to various sources, about 800 thousand soldiers died in this battle. The Soviet command conducted four offensive operations, which invariably encountered the defensive formations of the Germans. Hundreds of soldiers were killed during each attack, but the Germans also suffered huge losses. The Germans had to constantly throw reserves into battle, including when they were needed at Stalingrad. The comparison of the Battle of Rzhev with Verdun of WWI, is fully justified. 

Stalin in January 1942 ordered to take Rzhev in a week, but the Germans left the city only in March 1943, 14 months later. This happened after the defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad and before the Battle of Kursk. At this time, the front in the south moved far to the east. The Germans feared a strike from the south, so on March 31, 1943, they left their positions near Rzhev and retreated to the east.  

The Rzhevsky Memorial is built on a high embankment hill. On its top there is a 25-meter figure of a Soviet warrior. From below, his overcoat is made in the form of cranes flying into the sky. The image of a soldier dissolving into a flock of cranes is taken from a song by Rasul Gamzatov: 

"I sometimes feel that the soldiers 
Who have not returned from the bloody fields 
Never lay down to earth 
But turned into white cranes..." 

Around the monument to the warrior there are sculptural compositions of the Rzhev memorial with the names of soldiers who fell in this battle. Nearby is the Museum of the Battle of Rzhev, where the ground can be seen under the glass floor after excavations by search teams. It can be seen here that the ground near Rzhev was littered with shell fragments, bullets and military ammunition. In the near future, a temple will be built near the Rzhevsky Memorial.