“Border remembers”: WWII battle reconstruction takes place in Nizhnekamsk
The event was organised by Nizhnekamskneftekhim, with the support of TAIF JSC, and the National Museum of Tatarstan
Russia celebrated Day of Remembrance and Sorrow on June 22. It was on this day 80 years ago that the bloodiest and most terrible war in the history of our country began. The total human losses of the USSR during the war amounted to 26,6 million people. Of these, more than 8,7 million died on the battlefields. It is important to preserve and pass on the memory of the feat of the Soviet people to the younger generations. For Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, the military-patriotic direction is one of the priorities in the company's youth policy. On this day, the petrochemical company organised the military-historical reconstruction 'Border remembers!' for the residents of the city. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya became an eyewitness of the military battles.
Lest we forget
Day of Remembrance and Sorrow in Nizhnekamsk traditionally began with commemorative events. At 4:00 am, representatives of Nizhnekamskneftekhim laid flowers at the Eternal Flame on Victory Square. The trade union and youth activists of the enterprise, veterans and soldiers of Neftekhimik search party, led by their leaders, honoured the memory of the victims with a minute of silence.
The series of events continued with a citywide rally on Victory Square. Hundreds of people came to the Eternal Flame — representatives of the municipality, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, and other industrial enterprises, schoolchildren, kindergarten students, and concerned citizens. They observed a minute of silence in memory of the soldiers who fell on the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War and then laid flowers at the monument.
The petrochemists followed them to the city cemetery, where they also laid flowers at the mass grave of the soldiers of the 80th Tatarstan ski battalion who died near the city of Velikiye Luki.
On the same day, the company's trade union leaders visited the participants of the Great Patriotic War and home front workers. Front-line soldier Anas Khayrullin personally took part in the rally at the Victory Monument, and Fauzi Taziyev received the guests at home. Currently, two participants of the Great Patriotic War and 81 home front workers are under the special care of the enterprise.
The main actions unfolded in the evening on the outskirts of the city. In memory of those who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of our country, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, with the support of TAIF JSC, together with the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan and with the assistance of the administration of Nizhnekamsk, organised the historical reconstruction of the battle 'Border Remembers'.
“Exactly 80 years ago, the longest day of the year turned into an eternity. The Great Patriotic War began. We have gathered to honour the memory of the fallen soldiers of the Red Army," Alexander Alexandrov, the head of the WWII Memorial Museum, addressed the audience. “The border remembers how the invaders walked through it on 22 June 1941, how the border guards heroically defended it. The border remembers how in 1944 its soldiers returned, knocking out the invaders back to where they came from.
“As long as they remember — there will be no war”
In the battle, the reconstruction of which was shown in Nizhnekamsk, units from Tatarstan could also participate in the battle. This is the unit of the 334th rifle division, which goes to the border with Prussia, detachment of the 147th division on the Polish border, 202nd division on the Romanian border, and others.
“What we will show you today is not a holiday. This is an occasion to remember your grandparents who participated in the Great Patriotic War. The fight will be shown by the young people who are engaged in military-historical reconstruction. They sew the uniforms of soldiers of the Soviet Army and not only at their own expense, on their own. We will show you what our grandfathers were like in their youth — cheerful, young, full of hope," Vladislav Khabarov, the head of the reconstruction department of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, addressed the residents of Nizhnekamsk.
About 60 people from military-historical and patriotic clubs of Tatarstan and Russia took part in the reconstruction of the battle 'Border Remembers!'. Infantrymen, gunners, snipers, policemen, Wehrmacht soldiers, and partisans appeared before the Nizhnekamsk residents. The uniform of military personnel, equipment and weapons — strictly correspond to the era of the Great Patriotic War. The reenactors paid special attention to details — buttons, flasks, belts, and helmets.
Besides, the audience saw the unique equipment of that time — a cannon, German armored car, Soviet T-70 tank, and self-propelled weapon.
All performances were held according to the scenario associated with the history of the Great Patriotic War.
“Today, the connection of generations is being lost. I would like to introduce the younger generation to history, so that they do not forget the feat of the Soviet people. As long as people remember — there will be no war," Alexander Alexandrov, the head of the WWII Memorial Museum, emphasised.
“We planned to carry out the reconstruction of the battle last year, for the 75th anniversary of the Victory. But due to restrictive measures, the event did not take place. This year we decided to realise our plans. The reenactors came from different regions of Russia, brought weapons, equipment, and military uniforms with them. It will definitely leave a great impression on the residents of the city. This is especially useful for young people," Oleg Shumkov, the chairman of the trade union organization of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, believes.
The first explosions, the movement of equipment immediately sent the audience back to the distant 1944. The battle unfolded near the border, where bloody battles had already taken place four years ago. According to the scenario, the Germans set a camp and started repairing a car. Policemen brought children and underground workers-women who were arrested for assisting the partisans. The fascists send prisoners to a field where mines can be laid. Seeing this, the Soviet soldiers move forward to help and selflessly go into battle.
Tank shells explode, machine-gun fire is heard, the field is covered with a thick haze. The audience closely follows what is happening, after the end — they give a round of applause.
“It impresses to tears," Alevtina Samoylova says without hiding her emotions. “My mother-in-law always said — everything but the war.”
“A spectacular sight. Thank to the organisers for the unique opportunity to touch history," says Venera Polyumova excitedly.
After the event finished, the residents of Nizhnekamsk did not go home for a long time. Children literally clung to military equipment. Everyone had the opportunity sit on the unique exhibits and take a photo for memory.
At the same time, interactive platforms and an exhibition of retro cars were open, where cars and cargo ambulances of wartime were presented. A special delight was caused by the layout of small arms 'Everything for Victory', exhibits of search teams, uniforms 'Touch to War', shooting range, vintage photo salon, and 'No Mines!' platform.
There was also a free field kitchen, everyone was given mineral water and hot buckwheat porridge with stewed meat.
The Day of Mourning and Sorrow ended with the action 'Candle of Memory'. At 9:00 pm, representatives of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC lit their candles at the Victory Monument in tribute to all those who died during the Great Patriotic War.