About the Victory

At the age of 17, I went to see a girlfriend in Malta during the summer after completing the first year. We were invited by a family for a supper. We spent the evening by a pool with a fancy table around which many notables from this tiny nation were sitting. They were related to the girlfriend’s husband, and they were old enough to be my parents and even grandparents. And then they suddenly started to speak about World War 2.
It all ended with my girlfriend tearing me away from the Maltese aristocracy which couldn’t understand what triggered me. I was seventeen, and it was the first time I heard that USSR played only a minor role in that war. They were around, they helped bring victory closer.
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Fatherland Defender’s Day

Not every man is a defender. The presence of testicles does not bestow this quality on everyone.
I’m often near the Partizanskaya metro station. The monument to partisans stands there.
There is a grandfather, next to him a youth and a woman.
One can stand without end.
Here’s a grandfather, a grandson next to him. Or no, perhaps not–not a grandson, they met later. Rather the boy’s parents were shot back in 1941. While he was watching, hiding in the garden. Then there’s a woman. Straight-backed, resting on a submachine-gun. Her husband was most likely hanged. She’s not young, all of her children were probably killed…
And he, with a beard, stands and raises his hand.
I can’t convey how much pain is contained in that monument.
I don’t understand that day. I don’t understand to whom it is dedicated

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Declassified German Archives

A sensation at RIA: “German actress and singer of Hungarian extraction Marika Rekk turned out to be a Soviet intelligence agent.” One fact concerning my family drew attention in that story.
“The intelligence network included about 35 agents, including bankers, military, civil servants, and also the actress Olga Chekhova.”
In actuality, there were many discussions concerning the participation of Olga Chekhova–a famous actress and Hitler’s favorite, a nephew of Olga Knipper-Chekhova (the wife of the great writer)–in Soviet intelligence operations. There were TV shows, movies, books. But no actual documents confirming these stories. Sudoplatov’s famous book about Olga as intelligence agent had no references to actual documents. I was even contacted by intelligence historians in order to confirm these stories. Specialists thought this was simply a beautiful legend and fairy tale, pleasing the public and spread by the media.
The “actress-agent legend” also mentioned, among others, Olga’s brother, Lev Knipper, a famous Soviet composer, who was supposed to have participated in the mission to kill Hitler. Little is known about his role. But it is known that he went to Germany more than once to visit his sister, to deliver something, and have some meetings. But I know this only from generally available sources.
That was my grandfather.
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June 22

There isn’t a single elderly inhabitant of the Donbass who wouldn’t say that he’s living through the second war of his life.
I’m living through my first one.
I don’t know how it was back then, when suddenly “it began” 75 years ago.
People probably couldn’t believe it was happening either.
Out of the blue, in the midst of summer and river swims, having to suddenly come to grips with reality.
Probably few did so.

Vergunka, June 2016

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