THIS was the podvig* of the Soviet soldiers… of all nationalities, all social classes, all faiths, all places, and all races… they defeated a racist monstrosity… which rears its head again today, sadly enough. Fascism walks the earth again… thanks to people such as George W Bush and Hillary Clinton… reflect on that.
Ayusheyev killed 25 German soldiers and officers in the battle, but died in action before the end of the fighting.
More than once, I found myself wondering what motivated the Soviet soldiers, whose podvigs, self-sacrifice, and ruthless denial-of-self amazed both friend and foe alike? I have only one answer… they believed in the legitimacy of the Russian people. Our soldiers believed in Russia, in Rus, in the sanctity of their motherland and native soil. For that, not only were they willing to persevere, to suffer, and to shed their blood, they were ready to give their very lives. They had a deep, often unconscious, belief that the Russian Way, the Russian culture, had a right to live, that it had meaning even for those outside of their tradition. The Russian warriors who gave their lives in that terrible war felt that our people have something to say to the whole world. Therefore, if someone destroyed or enslaved our people… that would be an even greater disaster than the war itself. Today, we must often ask ourselves… what would we give our lives for? What is our message to the world? Or, are we just consumers of novel foods, high-tech gadgetry, and vacuous entertainment? Today, do we believe in spiritual, cultural, and national consistency? Can we still perform podvigs; can we reach beyond the empty posturing in the media? Today, what can we say that we’d give our lives for? These aren’t idle questions. Our future depends on how we answer them.
- 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.
His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev
Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias
23 June 2015