Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
I responded to Artemy Troitsky of “Echo of Moscow”.
Such bastards as him, with jokes, condition us into thinking that the Germans were generally cool guys, and Stalin is to blame that we don’t drink Bavarian beer. Artemy walked around Staraya Russa, and writes about his grandmother, stoked for the Germans.
It seems to me if there were no Reds, the joyful Trotsky would have been lying in the ditch near the Polist, instead of drinking delicious beer in the Baltic States.
Staraya Russa is my native city, if you want to know.
For who is interested.
A few days ago, well-known journalist Artemy Troitsky wrote on his blog on “Echo of Moscow” [fifth column – ed]:
“…Once we found ourselves in Staraya Russa. Walking around town, I chatted with a local antique grandmothers. I joked with sadness in my voice: “You have such devastation here, it’s possible to film war movies here without scenery…” But the more vintage of grandmothers said to me: “…When the Germans were leaving – it was better than now”.
Artemy, when you will again be in Staraya Russa, let me take you to my grandmother Lyusya? When she was 4, the Baltic Auxiliary Policemen drove her to the Ninkovo concentration camp, where blood was taken for German pilots — my grandmother was lucky to be born a girl with blonde hair, but not everyone had such luck. On the edge of the ditch on Betkhoven Street, beside the River Polist, Jews, Gypsies, Communists, were lined up and forced accurately undress and were shot with machine guns. “Better under the Germans” was not a reality for them. And grandma Lyusya still flinches when she hears a Baltic accent and the barking of dogs…
I was born 17 years ago in the small town of Staraya Russa, and I spend the warm summer holidays there. We swam in the Polist, ran to look at the beautiful planes on the aircraft factory, walked around the resort, the road to which goes past our house from the train station through the old wooden bridge. The living bridge — as it was called at the time of Catherine II, once it was on the pontoons, it swayed and was alive. Before the war near the bridge was standing the booth of photographer Vasily Grigorievich Bykov. The father of Bykov was a famous old Russian merchant, who had many shops and labourers, and Vasily himself was either a Menshevik or socialist-revolutionary, was fighting with Reds, for which he received three years of camps, which he served, left, and went to a got a job in a photo studio in Staraya Russa.
Bykov was working like a dog, serving schools, institutions, and military barracks – in the city there was a large military airfield. When the war started — the photographer worked day and night in the military commissariat, and before the fighting in the city – disappeared. Then he appeared in the German offices together with a complete photographic archive of the Communists and activists of the town, and then along the “alive” bridge, from the station to the resort, the gallows stretched out. And Bykov, having gathered the remnants of the not-finished-off-by-Stalin White Guard freaks, organized the town Council and became mayor of Staraya Russa.
Then he reported to the Germans that he made Staraya Russa territory free from Jews and Gypsies, more than 5000 of whom were tortured and killed. Near the town 4 concentration camps were organised, in which tens of thousands of captured Soviet soldiers were killed. More than 10,000 of Staraya Russa citizens were driven into slavery in Germany.
On 18th February, 1944, Staraya Russa was liberated by the troops of the 1st Shock Army, and at the moment of liberation of 2000 homes in the city, only four remained intact, and a little more than a hundred people. In 2015, by the decree of the President, Staraya Russa was awarded the title “City of Military Glory”.
Artemy Kivovich Troitsky. I am wondering if your antique grandmother probably is a relative of the those not-finished-off-by-Stalin Bykovs, who now crawl out from everywhere with stories about the beautiful “lost” Russia and the “horrific” Communists?
Artemy, what do you think — how would you have been under those who are “better”? You would have lectured the Baltic Auxiliary Policemen and would have drunk Bavarian beer?
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