Back in the WWII USSR: вспоминая советское детство (2)

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I’ve already written about the lists of memories Russians make remembering their childhood of the 1970s and early 1980s. They even devote whole communities to memory-digging. Today I wanted to write about the “military” memories of these children.

  • В принципе Великая Отечественная Война была выиграная на Малой Земле

That is, according to the book “written by” Leonid Brezhnev, USSR leader between 1964 and 1982. The book was made up of thick three volumes of boring narration: “Малая земля,” “Возрождение,” “Целина”. The most memorable book of the trilogy is a war memoir of Brezhnev and his leadership in regaining a territory on the black Sea from the Germans. Published in millions of copies in the late 1970s (first publication 1978) the book was a must-read in the school, university, workplace pioneer, komsomol and party organizations. The rumors of ghost-writers of the memoir appeared immediately after Brezhnev’s death, and by 1987 the book was taken out of print and the libraries to be recycled for paper. As the memory suggests, “Brezhnev’s military heroism” was supposed to outshine all other events of the war.

  • Девиз вашего класса в пионерской дружине имени Цезаря Куникова вашей школы был: “Ни шагу назад, ни минуты на месте, а только вперед и только все вместе”

Major Cezar Kunnikov led the attack against the Germans on the Malaya Zemlya, and, subsequently became a member of the military pantheon of the Brezhnev era.

  • Вы способны на спор вспомнить имена как минимум пяти пионеров-героев: Володя Дубинин, Валера Волков, Коля Мяготин, Марат Казей, Леня Голиков, Валя Котик, Зина Портнова, Нина Куковерова, Витя Хоменко, Шура Кобер, Саня Колесников, Нина Сагайдак, Юта Бондаровская, Галя Комлева, Костя Кравчук, Лара Михеенко, Вася Коробко, Саша Бородулин, Володя Казначеев, Надя Богданова, Аркадий Каманин, Лида Вашкевич, Толя Балабуха…
The cult of pioneer-heroes started in the Stalin’s times with the “canonification” of Pavlik Morozov, who (allegedly) gave in his own father to the police for hiding the food supplies from other collective farmers. Yet the “true cult” came after WWII supplying the canon with many more figures, who died sometimes torturous death for the sake of their motherland. Pioneer divisions at schools and pioneer camps were  named after them and many people knew their deed by heart. You are welcome to find out to, if interested. (Володя Дубинин, Валера Волков, Коля Мяготин, Марат Казей, Леня Голиков, Валя Котик, Зина Портнова, Юта Бондаровская,  Лара Михеенко, Вася Коробко, Володя Казначеев (the hero who lived), Аркадий Каманин) Along with pioneer-heroes there were the Komsomol heroes (most famously – the partisans from Krasnodon) Yet the most famous was Zoya Kosmodem’yanskaya – the first woman-hero of the Soviet Union, tortured (her fingers did not have fingernails at the time of death) and hung for her partisan activity. According to the accounts, Zoya condemned her fascist torturers was talking to the people viewing her hanging even as she went up the gallows.Her strength and will became the stuff of legend and a saying “be silent like Zoya Kosmodem’yanskaya at the questioning.” The cult of pioneer-heroes did not die with the Soviet Union however, in modern Russian schools you could see the posters with portraits and brief descriptions of the deeds of the pioneer-heroes hung up on the walls.
  • Поездка всем классом в разъезд Дубосеково запомнилась тем что было жутко холодно.
Dubosekovo crossing point is a place near Moscow, where according to the story, 28 heroes destroyed 18 enemy tanks. This allegedly happened on the November 16, 1941, during the hardest days of defense of Moscow, so it is not surprising that the children on the field trip would be cold, as were German and Soviet soldiers in late Russian fall. Later this particular story was found to be a myth, invented by the state to commemorate the defense of Moscow.
  • На смотре песни вы пели “Бухенвальдский набат”: “…это закалилась и окрепла в нашем сердце пламенная кровь… и восстали и восстали, и восстали вновь!”
Pioneers in the Soviet School had to present songs on special celebrations dedicated to the memorable dates of the Soviet year. May 9th – Victory day was one of them, and The Alarm-Bell of Buchenwald was an easy song to learn because of the repetition of the many words, and had the overbearing amount of the military spirit, just right for the honorable party commission. Here it is, sung by one of the best Russian baritones, Muslim Magomaev
Song-writer A. Sobolev, composer V. Muradeli

Люди мира, на минуту встаньте!
Слушайте, слушайте:
Гудит со всех сторон –
Это раздаётся в Бухенвальде
Колокольный звон,
Колокольный звон.
Это возродилась и окрепла
В медном гуле праведная кровь.
Это жертвы ожили из пепла
И восстали вновь,
И восстали вновь,
И восстали, и восстали,
И восстали вновь!
И восстали, и восстали,
И восстали вновь!

Сотни тысяч заживо сожжённых
Строятся, строятся
В шеренги к ряду ряд.
Интернациональные колонны
С нами говорят,
С нами говорят.
Слышите громовые раскаты?
Это не гроза, не ураган.
Это вихрем атомным объятый
Стонет океан, Тихий океан.
Это стонет, это стонет
Тихий океан.
Это стонет, это стонет
Тихий океан.

Люди мира, на минуту встаньте!
Слушайте, слушайте:
Гудит со всех сторон –
Это раздаётся в Бухенвальде
Колокольный звон,
Колокольный звон.
Звон плывёт, плывёт
Над всей землёю,
И гудит взволнованно эфир:
Люди мира, будьте зорче втрое,
Берегите мир, берегите мир,
Берегите, берегите,
Берегите мир!
Берегите, берегите,
Берегите мир!

  • Вы знаете кто такие фашисты по фильму Ромма “Обыкновенный фашизм”, а также сериалам “Семнадцать мнгновений весны”, “Ставка больше чем жизнь”, а также, почему-то, “Четыре танкиста и собака”, хотя там нет ничего собственно про фашистов.
Finally, as this last memory says, fascists were known to the children, as well as adults by the films and party propaganda, not through historic accounts. And even those films did not always portray “the true fascists”: “Обыкновенный фашизм” was a Mikhail Romm’s documentary about the German Nazi State and its ideology, “Семнадцать мнгновений весны” – an eleven-episode film about the soviet spy in the higher echelons of the Nazi state in 1945,  “Ставка больше чем жизнь” is a Polish TV-series about the adventures of the Polish spy, and finally “Четыре танкиста и собака” is again a Polish TV-series about the military adventures of the four people and a dog in a tank.
So much for WWII.

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