ZENIT Banking Group is to Sponsor the Renovation of the Renowned “Normandie-Nieman” Air Group Exposition in France

ZENIT Banking Group will sponsor the renovation of the legendary “Normandie-Nieman” air unit’s permanent exposition. The exposition will be located in the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget, France.
This was announced at a joint press-conference of ZENIT Banking Group, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in France, the Defense Ministry of France and the Air and Space Museum.
The Normandie-Nieman is a renowned French fighter regiment that fought against the Axis forces on the Soviet-German front in World War II (between 1943 and1945). The regiment was established at the suggestion of Charles de Gaulle under support of Joseph Stalin. The air force unit fought against the Nazi forces in the Kursk battle in 1943, in Belorussia in 1944, and in East Prussia in 1945.
At the end of the war, 96 pilots of the regiment had 268 enemy aircraft shot down (273 according to other estimates), and disabled some other 80 aircraft. By the end of the war, the unit had lost 42 pilots in return. 5,240 sorties were flown and the unit took part in 869 air fights.
In the period 1992-2010, a museum of the Normandie-Niemen air force unit was open in a French town of Les Andelys (a native town of Marcel Lefevre – one of the unit’s heroes). However, it was closed down due to its distant location and financial difficulties. Nevertheless, the exposition, including the original “Yak-3” fighter, which was used by the unit’s pilots, survived.
“The operations of the Normandie-Niemen unit is one of the greatest chapters in the Russo-French history. Therefore, we decided to donate towards the renovation of the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget. It is very important to commemorate the courage of the French pilots, who fought together with the Soviet solders in World War II and made a contribution to our common victory,” noted ZENIT Banking Group’s Press Centre.
ZENIT Banking Group donated towards the restoration of the exposition building and design. The exposition is expected to host first visitors in 2014. The French Defense Ministry will oversee the exposition.