Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Reburial of Red Army Heroes in Czechia with Full Military Honours

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At the Red Army cemetery in the Czech town of Hlučín (Moravian-Silesian Kraj), the remains of two Soviet pilots… G S Rogachko and Ye I Slyusarenko… received burial with full military honours. This cemetery is one of the largest burial places of Soviet soldiers in Czechia; it has the remains of 3,895 Red Army soldiers. Until now, records had the pilots as “missing”.

In August 2015, Czech searchers located the crash site of a Soviet Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter (s/n 5315374), shot down on 15 April 1945, near Zabreg (near Hlučín). In the wreckage, they found the remains of its 25-year-old pilot, Guards Lieutenant Yevgeni Ivanovich Slyusarenko. The searchers identified the Soviet fighter plane and its pilot through the serial numbers of the engine and aircraft, along with documents from TsAMO in the Russian Federation. In September 2015, in Petrovice u Karviné, searchers found and recovered the wreckage of another Soviet fighter, an American-built Bell P-39 Q-25 Airacobra (s/n 44-32665), shot down by German anti-aircraft guns, which crashed into a swamp near the railroad tracks. The shootdown of the American fighter, received from the USA under Lend-Lease, occurred on 13 April 1945. Russian documents identified the pilot as 27-year-old Senior Lieutenant Grigori Sergeyevich Rogachko, deputy commander of a squadron of 268 Fighter Regiment of 310 Fighter Aviation Division of the VVS-RKKA PVO. At the crash site, searchers found not only remnants of the aircraft, but also the remains of the pilot and some of his personal effects. According to documents, Guards Lieutenant Ye I Slyusarenko, born in Kiev in 1920, received his call to service from the Petrovsky RVK in 1939; Senior Lieutenant G S Rogachko came from Grodovka (Donetsk Oblast), being born in 1918.

The honour guard at the ceremony were members of a military history re-enactment group. They wore VOV-era uniforms and laid wreaths at the burial-place. We were able to establish the names of the pilots due to preserved documents and anthropological forensics, with participation from the Minoborony Rossii office for maintaining military memorials in Czechia. Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Ostrava Aleš Zedník noted:

Today, thanks to hardworking researchers, we bid farewell, not to unknown heroes, but to heroes known to many in Moravia and Silesia by their names and by their podvigs*. Thus, instead of the dry phrase “didn’t return from combat mission”, we shed light on their all-too-human fate.

  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.

A N Budaev (Consul General of the Russian Federation in Brno), Aleš Zedník (Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Ostrava),  P Pašek (Mayor of Hlučín), I V Shchepin (Military Attaché of the Russian Federation in the Czech Republic), V V Konnov (head of the Minoborony Rossii office for maintaining military memorials in Czechia), Russian Orthodox church representatives, ordinary Russians, and members of Czech veterans and public organisations attended the burial ceremony. Fr Nikolaj, pastor of the Orthodox parish in Ostrava, served Pannikhida.

28 August 2016

Minoborony Rossii

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