From The Shores Of Azov Sea To The Rocky Mountains In 100 Years

1453 words - 6 pages

I never had a chance to meet my Great grandfather Viktor Ivanovich Mikulin, because he passed away in the 70’s. As far as I know he was half Russian and half Ukrainian. He was a much respected civil engineer. Great grandpa was working on the construction and development of multiple Kolkhozes or collective farms in the Ukraine during the collectivization period in Soviet Union in the 1930’s. (Link) During World War II his family was evacuated to the city of Uralsk, where he supervised construction of the armament and munitions factories. Ukraine was one the few areas of the Soviet Union where the Germans committed the worst atrocities towards the civilians, but the knowledge and the work ...view middle of the document...

I had a chance to meet her multiple times and knew her very well. Every summer our family was coming to Berdyansk for vacations, and every summer we stayed at my great grandma’s old house that was built in the early 1900’s by my great grandfather Viktor. I was lucky to hear a lot of stories about the past from her. She told me about the civil war, how destabilized the situation was in Ukraine in the 20’s. The control over the city could have changed multiple times in one week. First day the city might be controlled by “Whites” (Loyal to Czar and old government army), next days the Anarchist gangs would raid the city and kick out the “Whites”, day after the “Reds” (Bolshevik army) would push out the Anarchists and take control, and few days later same carousel would start over again. She told me about World War II, how on the way to the evacuation zone their train underwent multiple air raids from Nazis, how she fell behind the train after one of those air raids, and it took her few days to catch up and reunite with the family again. She told me in the details about air raids on Uralsk, when all adult citizens including her had to undergo on the night duty on the roofs of their dorms or hostels. The Germans used different tactics against civilians; instead of wasting expensive bombs with explosives they would drop incendiary loads on the neighborhoods to burn them down. The people would have to patrol the roofs every night, and in case of bombardment the would literally have to grab those incendiary bombs with their hands and throw them inside of the barrels with water, that were placed on every roof for that purpose.
My great grandma loved to talk about her cousin Zhenya Rudneva (Link), who was a navigator in the legendary bomber regiment “Night Witches”. It was the only unit that was completely staffed with female pilots, who carried their mission only during the night; hence it got its name (Link). Zhenya flew 645 night combat missions before she was shot down in 1944 near the city of Kerch, Crimea. She was awarded the highest soviet award “The Hero of Soviet Union” posthumously.
I am feeling very lucky that I had a chance to hear all those stories and received that cultural and historical enlightenment. Of course we did a lot of other activities, she taught me bunch of different songs in the Ukrainian language. I was maybe 8-10 years, and had no idea what those songs were about. But being able to sing in the foreign to me then language, made me feel like very cool important guy that just graduated with diploma in linguistics. Most of our family and cultural values were inherited in the forms of stories, photographs, songs and even recipes. I would cherish all the stories and traditions passed on me and will make sure that my future children will know about them too.
Great grandma moved to Moscow in the early 90’s to live with her younger daughter Olga and granddaughter Yulia. She just couldn’t live and support the house in Ukraine on her...

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