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We Were Grown Up by Stalin

We Were Grown Up by Stalin
Alexander Trubitsin 08.12.2006

In the club of militaryunit 64369 – of a small military town in Vinnitsa region where junior aviation experts studied - a surprising microclimate existed. In summer - was always cool and smelled damp floors. In winter - was dry and warm. It was pleasant to enter it both in bright hot summer day and in winter icy cold. There was a cosy library in the club, sports hall, office accommodations and small but absolutely real theatrical hall with a stage, side scenes, an orchestra pit, small foyer. They showed films in the hall, amateurs staged plays, sometimes wandering collectives came – with concerts and circus. Flying planes with red stars were painted on the ceilings and around the pictures can be seen bullet holes – they were made by the Germans who shot at the painted planes for the sake of entertainment.  The ceiling was plastered then but even now it’s probably possible to find German bullets shot 65 years ago into the wooden bulks.

A man on duty was standing near the door of the club and soundly made, in strong frameworks - portraits of heroes of war, a picture and the description of their deeds were hanging on the walls.

The first in a row hung the portrait of shortly cut officer with concentrated sight and blue aviation buttonholes. Under it - illuminated by a flame of a fire an echelon with German tanks and burning red-star bomber which was just about to ram into the echelon - a feat of captain Gastello.

What is characteristic: I wrote a surname Gastello - and the computer underlined it in red, the surname’s not entered into its memory … But try to write: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Hitler, Saharov, Solzhenitsin - no underlining, these "heroes" are standardly entered into the memory of computer. Probably, it is not necessary to doubt that in the days of Stalin in memory of a computer there would be surnames of all Heroes of the Soviet Union. And not only their names but also nice surnames of heroes of all wars which Russia ever took part into.

However, we shall not distract ourselves, we shall return to a club corridor. Certainly, I won’t recollect all Heroes but, certainly, Alexander Matrosov also was there (the computer didn’t underline the surname having considered it to be a form of a word "sailor") rushing on wooden-eathern fire unit, Michael Panikaha (this surname is also unfamiliar to the computer), being in fire he’s setting fire on the fascist tank, Victor Talalihin in a view of projectors chopping off a tail of the enemy plane by the propeller and Nina Onilova (one more "unknown surname") furiously peppering from a machine gun on the fascists…  

At school - portraits of pioneers-heroes, in the library - books about their deeds. And not only about their – about the deeds of the boys battled on bastions of the First defense of Sevastopol – of Kolya Pischenko - the best point man of mortars and Kostya Stanukovich - future marine writer. About fortitude and bravery of the boys who took part in Civil war.

I recollected all that when on Putin’s TV they showed a program where some midges and small insects discussed and sucked round Alexander Matrosov's feat.

They were discussing some specifications as what the day was when Matrosov rushed on a machine gun, how he did it and whether it’s possible to do it at all, what real surname he has, why the other soldier who destroyed a wooden-eathern fire unit but was awarded less and other unimportant details.

An approach of the "democrats": to send into obscurity the names of heroes - and to take them out only so that to slobber and to belittle.

And Stalin's approach was - to glorify their names, to make them as a sample and an example for imitation.

Ask a schoolboy of the times of "democracy" to name ten surnames of heroes of the Soviet Union, to tell about their deeds – he will fail. And to name ten Heroes of Russia? Also will fail. Here’s the way the "democrats" grow their change, people who do not know the best examples of human valour, courage, honesty.

Poet-front-line soldier Sergey Orlov ("The guy is put in a sphere terrestrial as though in mausoleum"), the tankman burnt in the tank, wrote about people who resembled him. I shall not recollect literally but the essence is the following - he called to look at people mutilated and deformed by war without fright and regret - they gave the youth and beauty to the Victory, "so that it was such - to look - and failed to take ones eyes off it!" This idea is present not only in one of his poems. Another poet-front-line soldier, Simeon Gudzenko, wrote: "When they go on death – they sing. And before it is possible to cry…”

How, in what way can those who are alive give the duty to the heroes, the fallen heroes? Memory. They also can glorify the deeds, can write and remember not how the hero cried but how he sang.

"Ennobling deceit is more dear to us than the darkness of low truths" - the poet said. And let the feat accomplished by Matrosov was done a day or two earlier or later - let it to be considered that it was done in day of holiday. Let his body was disfigured that it was ghastly to look at after a burst of a machine gun – but let it look beautiful and elevated in films. How else we can thank the Hero? Germans poured water in a frost day on captivated general Karbyshev. I think that this kind of execute did not differ an aesthetics – they simply excelled. But in the magnificent sculptural portrait made by Muhina from glass Karbyshev is magnificent and fine, turning to a block of ice. 

The Polish writer who wrote a book "Long and Happily" told as the division concentrated before attack in a hollow - and the same place served to the hospital attendants for taking down those who were wounded. And the corporal under the threat of execution ordered to hospital attendants to take the wounded into another place - soldiers should not see before the fight that the duty before the Native land looked as the unstitched stomachs and pulled out jaws.

The Christ was crucified, they used the most shameful kind of execute which was never used to citizens of Rome just because that kind of execute was extremely non-esthetic - we shouldn’t specify the details. But whether we shall put fingers into his wounds, to specify physiological details - or will conscientiously close eyes to it and will discuss only for what he has undergone torments and has given his life?

On a high sense of feat, on spirituality and glory were brought up during Stalin’s times new generations of patriots and heroes. And if it was necessary to make the feat esthetic, to make it more beautiful - so it, I repeat, is a small part of a duty which should be given to the fallen hero.

Value of Matrosov’s feat is not only and, maybe, not at all that he has closed by himself an embrasure of wooden-eathern fire unit. Sooner or later wooden-eathern fire unit would be destroyed eventually. But the principal value is - to remain an example of heroism, defied death to teach others, to teach new generation to make feats.

Stalin understood it - and so, on examples of heroes he grew up new generations of soldiers for whom there were no barrier.

One more thing. In that program some doer argued that, say, it’s not possible technically to close by oneself an embrasure, therefore, it’s unlike that there was a feat at all. But I remember Simonov's program, the program of the journalist who smelt a lot of gunpowders, saw a lot and many. In that program he met soldiers who made a miracle: they closed themselves an embrasure and, stitched by a burst, remained alive, despite all. What’s the reason of making theories, if it’s possible to find that program and to learn everything from the own lips of the soldiers?

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