Great Patriotic War Questions Asked in Russia

These days people in Russia talk a lot about the heroes of the Great Patriotic War and its main events. It is important to remember what exactly and at what costs the Soviet nation contributed for the entire world.

There are things, which everybody has to know; especially in a country, which defeated fascism and paid 27 million lives for that. The heroes’ names, the names of villages and towns, which survived combats, had long ago become the national symbols in Russia. Moreover, it is difficult to find more significant dates in the history of Russia than May 9th and June 22nd. That is why the very question about the date of the beginning and the end of the Great Patriotic War seems inexplicable.

Nevertheless, there was conducted a survey among the public on the city streets in Russia in 2017. Below are some of the questions which were asked.

Which garrison had faced the fascists’ attack first?

There were some people among the youngsters, who remember the feat of the defenders of Brest Fortress.
I'm dying, but I won't surrender! - inscription found inside the Brest Fortress

How many days did the Siege last?

The Leningraders had been fighting with death during 872 days – in the Leningrad siege, under fire, and the toughest trial was famine. During the hardest days only 125 grams of black bread mixed with wooden chips was rationed per one person. 600 thousand people died in the city merely because of the extreme famine. One can never forget such things.

In addition, during this entire period the only thread connecting sieged Leningrad with back land was the road across Lake Ladoga. In winter period and on the thin ice, the supplies were transported to the city and people were evacuated from it under the continuous airstrikes of the enemy. The deadly but salvational route was called The Road of Life.
Road of Life - Lake Ladoga route, WW2

Who is Tanya Savicheva?

A small girl from Leningrad (Leningrad was renamed to St. Petersburg) left the short but shrill diary behind, in few lines of which there was the entire inescapable horror of the blockade. There were dates of death of all her relatives, one after another. The last note was: “Everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left”.
Tanya Savicheva

Who is Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya?

Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was a Soviet partisan caught by the Germans and executed after the unhuman tortures. Before she died, she had shouted to her tormentors: “You can't hang us all. They will avenge me”.
Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya before hanging

The list is not over. For example, Alexey Maresyev’s distinguished action at war, the feat of Alexander Matrosov, the facts which are known about aviation pilot Nikolai Gastello... For everyone to whom the Victory is priceless, Nazism is the absolute evil. Nevertheless, the time undermines the reminiscences about the places where the fascists committed their atrocities. And provided that nearly half of the respondents knew that Auschwitz was a concentration camp, almost nobody except few remembered the events which took place in Belarusian village Khatyn.

Not many could tell about the events directly relating to the holiday being celebrated on May 9th. May 1945, Berlin, Victory Banner above the defeated Reichstag. None of the surveyed knew that Lieutenant Berest headed the battle team, which hoisted the scarlet ensign on the building. Only a small amount of people remembered Mikhail Yegorov and Meliton Kantaria who had left their mark in history.

For some reason the Victory Parade of 1945 is being forgotten in a similar way – the very parade where the victorious soldiers threw the Nazi standards down next to the Mausoleum. No other than Marshal Georgy Zhukov commanded this parade.
Georgy Zhukov during the Parade on Red Square

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