“We need to thank them” — how Tatarstan preparing to honour veterans on 75th anniversary of Victory

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov has hold a meeting of the Organizing Committee to prepare for the 75th anniversary of the Victory

“We need to thank them” — how Tatarstan preparing to honour veterans on 75th anniversary of Victory
Photo: tatarstan.ru

Kazan hosted a meeting of the Organizing Committee for the preparation and celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War in Tatarstan, chaired by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. The participants of the meeting told what events have been planned for the holiday. For example, a monument to former minor prisoners of Nazi concentration camps will be installed in Kazan Victory Park. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

"79 days left until Victory Day”

“The year 2020 is declared the Year of Memory and Glory in Russia. “There are 79 days left until the Victory Day celebration," Rustam Minnikhanov reminded, opening the meeting. “The events dedicated to the great events and heroes of the Great Patriotic War have been launched in all regions, involving ministries, departments and organizations.”

As Deputy Prime Minister of the Republican government Leila Fazleeva added, the republican plan for the Year of Memory and Glory has been formed, but its time frame is conditional.

“The feat of our fathers and grandfathers, our gratitude for the Great Victory does not and cannot have an expiry date," said Fazleeva. “Unfortunately, time is inexorable, and there are fewer participants in those historical events with us. Our task is to hold all planned events at the highest level. It is our time to say thanks to all those who survived the terrible years of the war, who did not return, who worked, who believed in victory. We should have time to thank them.”

Leyla Rinatovna also spoke about the events dedicated to the upcoming holiday. It is numerous cultural and charitable projects, the work to improve the living conditions of veterans and their medical care.

“The feat of our fathers and grandfathers, our gratitude for the Great Victory, does not and cannot have an expiry date," Fazleeva stressed

According to Fazleeva, the work to improve the social, medical and housing conditions of veterans is most efficiently carried out in Almetyevsk district, Arsky district, Laishevsky district, Sabinsky district, as well as in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny, but the leadership of the Bavly district, Muslimovsky district and Yelabuga district should be faster.

1,195 out of 700,000 left

As Military Commissioner of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Pogodin reminded, during the war, 700,000 people were called to the front from Tatarstan.

“The Victory Day is one of the most important events not only for our country but also for everyone who cherishes the memory of the generation of heroes who saved the world from fascism," said the general. “During the war, about 700,000 people were drafted into the army from Tatarstan, more than 350,000 did not return from the front, 185 of our countrymen became Heroes of the Soviet Union, more than 100,000 veterans were awarded orders and medals.

Currently, 33,216 veterans of the Great Patriotic War live in Tatarstan, including home front workers. Out of them, 1,195 were direct participants in the war. By the holiday, all of them will receive a one-time payment from the federal budget (75,000 rubles — for war veterans, 50,000 rubles — for home front workers), to which the republican budget will add its own amount (another 25,000 and 5,000 rubles, respectively).

The veterans will also receive a commemorative medal established by the federal government by May 8. On behalf of Rustam Minnikhanov, the awards should be presented in a solemn atmosphere.

As Military Commissioner of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Pogodin reminded, during the war, 700,000 people were called to the front from Tatarstan

“The main goal is is to sustain attention and do everything so that veterans feel our grateful care. This especially concerns lonely veterans," Fazleeva reminded.

“All events organized for veterans should be targeted and take place with the active participation of veterans' organizations," added Rustam Minnikhanov.

The most mass events dedicated to the Victory Day will be the finals of the republican contest Sozvezdie-Yoldyzlyk, the campaigns of the Immortal Regiment and Ribbon of Saint George, the historical dictation, Student Spring of the CIS Countries.

“They knew that if they stopped taking their blood, they would be in a gas chamber...”

Children also endured a lot of hardships during the war. It was especially difficult for young prisoners of Nazi concentration camps.

“International Day of Liberation of Prisoners of Nazi Concentration Camps is celebrated all over the world on April 11. Women, children, and old people went through inhuman hardships during the war, and their biographies are real lessons of courage for the current generation," Rustam Minnikhanov believes.

Zaytuna Khusainova, the chairperson of the republican public organization of disabled people — former minor prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, said that her mother and older sisters' stories about that monstrous time are fresh in her memory. Before the war, her family lived in the Kuibyshev district of Tatarstan. The Soviet government, as part of the resettlement policy, sent the family to the Karelo-Finnish SSR. Shortly afterward, the war began, the head of the family was called to the front, from where he did not return, and the family, along with the other inhabitants of the farm, in August 1941, was in a concentration camp in Finland, where Zaytuna Burganovna was born on 10 December 1941 and lived until the end of the war.

According to Zaytuna Khusainova, children in concentration camps had to endure unbearable slave labour, hunger, cold, terrible conditions, beatings and bullying

“My mother and older sisters have fresh memories of those days. Surrounded by barbed wire barracks, multi-tiered bunks, earthen floor, iron couches ... Parents and older children were escorted to the sawmill. They lived very poorly, but miraculously survived in these inhuman conditions," the woman said. “The Finnish Tatar diaspora found out that there was a group of Tatar prisoners in a concentration camp, and the representatives of the diaspora came to us on New year's day 1942. They brought some food and some clothes. Our family survived only thanks to the Finnish Tatars.

According to Zaytuna Khusainova, children in concentration camps had to endure unbearable slave labour, hunger, cold, terrible conditions, beatings, and bullying.

“Children became donors, they were taken their blood and serum was made of it for the needs of German hospitals," continues Zaytuna Burganova. “Sometimes the children themselves asked for it: “take my blood” because they knew that if they stopped taking blood, they would be in the gas chamber…

After returning to their homeland, new hardships awaited them: many had to go through filtration camps.

“The sisters were not accepted for work and universities, as we were considered traitors. It was only years later that we had the opportunity to talk about what happened to us," says Zaytuna Khusainova. “Currently, 156 former minor prisoners of Nazi concentration camps are living in Tatarstan. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, we have taken the initiative to install a monument to these children in Victory Park. We hope that the issue will be resolved positively.”

Rustam Minnikhanov demanded that his subordinates work out the issue of installing the monument as soon as possible.

The president also stressed that the initiatives of public organizations related to the Victory anniversary should be supported and be under special control

All support to public activists

The president also stressed that the initiatives of public organizations related to the Victory anniversary should be supported and be under special control.

One of these initiatives is the Russian project 'Connection of Generations: history in letters'. According to Ivan Kolesnikov, the project coordinator, the essence of the initiative is to preserve front-line letters — a source of information about the war, which demonstrates the reverse side of it.

“The idea of the project was born when we, working in the archives, realized that letters are a real source of historical memory of living people who were participants of the war. We realized the importance of preserving this source. The words written by the soldiers then are not just archives. They show the reverse side of the war. Every word, every line of such a letter evokes genuine emotion. Today, a message is sent within a second, but then it was a link that united people across vast distances, it was a symbol of hope, it was waited for every day. Someone never waited...” Ivan Kolesnikov told. “We feel responsible for preserving this memory. Each participant of the project will have the opportunity not only to upload a letter, but also to respond to it, now, from 2020, to tell its author that today we are alive, and we are doing well thanks to the feat that the authors of the letters performed.

According to Kolesnikov, special emphasis will be placed on children and young people during the implementation of the project.

By Vitaly Akhmerov. Photo: tatarstan.ru
Tatarstan