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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Within the framework of the No Statute of Limitations project, the Russian Ministry of Defense publishes a new historical and educational multimedia section “Live in memory and hearts!” Dedicated to the preservation of historical memory, as well as the preservation of monuments and memorials to the soldiers of the Red Army who liberated Latvia from the Nazi invaders.

On September 14, 1944, after massive artillery and air preparation, Soviet troops launched a large-scale offensive in the Riga direction. This is how the Baltic offensive operation began – one of the largest strategic operations of the Great Patriotic War, in which the troops of five Soviet fronts and 12 armies were involved. They were opposed by the most combat-ready formations of German troops, and impregnable, as the Wehrmacht command believed, fortified defensive lines in wooded and swampy terrain.

The battles for the liberation of the Soviet Baltic republics were fierce, the enemy often went over to counterattacks, some positions changed hands several times. On October 7, 1944, Adolf Hitler declared the city of Riga a fortress. But thanks to the courage and heroism of the Soviet soldiers, the skillful leadership of the commanders who ensured close cooperation of all types of troops, and the competent concept of the operation, already on October 13 Moscow saluted the valiant liberators of Riga. On November 24, 1944, the Baltic operation ended in complete success.

The historical section contains documents about the warm welcome of the Red Army troops by local residents on the liberated Latvian land. Thus, a report to the head of the Political Directorate of the 3rd Baltic Front says: “The population of the city of Riga – workers, urban poor, civil servants, intellectuals – greeted our troops with great joy and sincere love. Residents of the city greeted soldiers and officers with flowers, red flags, with portraits of the leaders of our party and government. “

Another published document – the political report of the head of the political department of the 43rd Latvian Guards Rifle Division – also mentions the warm welcome of the soldiers-liberators from Riga: “The division fought from the borders of the Latvian SSR to Riga, but nowhere did the population welcome [us] more friendly than in Riga “.

For the courage and heroism shown during the liberation of the Baltic republics, 112 Soviet soldiers were awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union; three were awarded the second Gold Star medal; over 332 thousand soldiers and commanders received orders and medals. For the difference in battles, 131 military formations received the honorary names of Riga, Tallinn, Valginsky and others.

More than 205 thousand Red Army soldiers gave their lives for the freedom of Latvia. Their remains rest in more than 360 mass graves and cemeteries in the country.

Unfortunately, in recent years, forces have become more active in Latvia that strive to destroy the past of their own country at all costs. With the connivance, and in some cases with the approval of the Latvian authorities, acts of desecration against monuments and monuments dedicated to Soviet soldiers-liberators occur everywhere.

Today, on the territory of the Latvian capital, there are 25 Soviet military graves, in which 45 thousand people are buried. The majestic monument to the Liberators of Riga, erected in the city in 1985, has become a kind of symbol of all those who died for Riga. Since the 1990s and until now, this monumental structure seems to be waging an irreconcilable struggle with Latvian radicals who are stubbornly making attempts to dismantle or destroy it. So, in 1997, two malefactors (members of the Latvian nationalist group), trying to blow up the sculptures, died from the detonation of their own bomb. In 2012, the Minister of Defense of Latvia Artis Pabriks made a proposal to demolish the monument.

In 2019, the deputy of the Seimas from the New Unity party Ojar Erik Kalnins proposed a very subtle “solution”: “You can dismantle it not physically, but psychologically.” For this, it was proposed to rename the monument and supplement it with “explanatory tablets reflecting the historical context”, and the park itself around it “to remake in accordance with the pre-war layout.”

Not all monuments to Soviet soldiers-liberators in Latvia successfully resist the onslaught of radicals. The section presents a record card of a military burial in the city of Egabpils – a burial place that, with its tragic fate, once again confirms the barbarity and lack of principle of local “patriots”. In February 2021, unknown persons with the help of a tractor “dismantled” the Soviet cannon ZiS-3, a famous weapon of the Great Patriotic War, from the monument at the site of this burial. In March, the Latvian State Police established the location of the weapon – at the bottom of the Daugava River. After that, the authorities announced that they did not have the funds to raise the cannon and restore the monument. Moreover, a number of officials, including the country’s leadership, directly opposed the return of the weapon for burial.

Another example of how in Latvia they are trying to belittle the role of the Red Army in the liberation of their country can be observed in the city of Daugavpils. In the local park of Dubrovin, the memorial composition at a Soviet military grave in 1944 has fallen into an unsatisfactory state. In the fall of 2020, the Russian diplomatic mission in Latvia sent to the local administration a draft agreement providing for repair and restoration work to preserve the memorial at the expense of the Russian side. There has been no response from the local authorities to this day. And the memorial continues to collapse …

Attempts to redraw history, to erase the Red Army soldiers from it, were made in many other Latvian cities, for example, in Limbazh, Jelgava, Salaspils. At the same time, if initially marginal nationalist groups were engaged in such activities, then recently the question of demolishing Soviet monuments has often been raised at the government level. In 2019, during the discussion of this topic, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Seimas of Latvia, Rihord Kols, proposed to unilaterally denounce the article on the protection of memorial buildings in the Russian-Latvian agreement of April 30, 1994.

A new section on the website of the Russian military department has published a number of historically significant documents designed to remind Latvian officials of their obligations to preserve and improve Soviet military graves in the country. One of the first in the section is the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Latvia on the issues of social protection of military pensioners of the Russian Federation and members of their families residing in the territory of the Republic of Latvia dated April 30, 1994. The document explicitly states in Article 13 that “taking into account international practice, the Latvian Party shall ensure the care, improvement and preservation of memorial structures and places of mass graves of soldiers on the territory of the Republic of Latvia”.

Another document presented in the section is devoted to the obligations of the parties to maintain military graves and memorials on them in proper condition. In this document – the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Latvia on the status of Latvian burials on the territory of the Russian Federation and Russian burials on the territory of the Republic of Latvia of December 18, 2007 – Article 2 states that the parties are obliged to prevent vandalism and other illegal acts in relation to military graves.

A significant part of the documents published on the website of the Russian military department tells about the Red Army military graves in Jekabpils, Daugavpils and Jelgava, and about the battles during which the Red Army liberated these cities from the Nazi invaders.

The photographs of the Jelgava memorial presented in this section clearly demonstrate the methods used by the falsifiers of history in their attempts to belittle the role of the Red Army in the liberation of Latvia. In the late 1990s, in Stacijas Park in Jelgava, a majestic monument to Soviet soldiers-liberators, erected over a common grave, under the pretext of threatening the monument with destruction, was replaced with an inconspicuous memorial plate. However, according to the registration card of a military burial, the remains of nine Heroes of the Soviet Union are buried in this place. The reward materials listed in the section will tell about the exploits of some of them.

Buried in this mass grave, Hero of the Soviet Union, Senior Sergeant Khakimyan Akhmetalin, as noted in his award list, received government awards four times. The significance of one of the battles of his unit and the heroic death of the senior sergeant are evidenced by the lines of the published document. “The platoon under his command, despite the hurricane fire of the enemy, with the help of greatcoats overcame the barbed wire. Bursting into the trenches, he destroyed 2 tbsp in hand-to-hand combat. (easel – ed.) machine gun with calculations. Firmly held the occupied line. Taking advantage of this, the other two companies, building on the achieved success, broke through the enemy’s defenses. This was the beginning of the victorious offensive of the troops of the 2nd Baltic Front. ” In his last battle, he and 10 other soldiers of his platoon, being surrounded, repulsed the furious attacks of superior enemy forces for 24 hours and held the height. In this battle, only one fighter survived, the rest, including Khakimyan Akhmetalin, died before reinforcements could break through to the encircled.

In addition to the Soviet military grave in the Stacijas Park in Jelgava, there are other mass graves of the Red Army soldiers. The section presents a record card of a military burial located on Graudu Street. According to the list of those buried in the document, this grave contains the remains of 398 soldiers and officers of the Red Army. The section contains award documents and a description of the exploits of some of them.

An interesting combat episode is described in the award list for the commander of the attack aircraft of the Guard, Senior Lieutenant Ivan Shtabelnikov, on conferring the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. During the mission, his group of 5 aircraft was suddenly attacked by 8 enemy fighters. Despite this, the link under the leadership of Ivan Shtabelnikov continued to attack ground targets. However, his plane was set on fire during an air battle, and the gunner covering the rear hemisphere was killed. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Shtabelnikov “… went out on an unguided plane and was completely burning into his territory. In pursuit of one ME-109 (German Messerschmitt fighter plane – ed.) Fell in the disposition of its troops. The enemy continued to shoot the hot plane on the ground … ”.

Some mass graves in Jelgava remind of the atrocities of the fascist henchmen. According to the published record of a military burial located on Aviationas Street, about 12 thousand people were buried in this place – prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, most of whose names could not be established. The document contains a brief description of the memorial: “On the northern side of the cemetery, a memorial wall was erected with the inscription“ 1941. Victims of fascist terror. 1945 “. There is a monument behind the wall with the inscription: “Victims of Nazi terror. 1941-1945. People be vigilant! ” Many of those buried here are Soviet prisoners of war from a concentration camp located in the city.

Jelgava, an important communication center between the Baltic states and East Prussia, was turned by the Nazis into a powerful stronghold. However, the combat log of the 279th Infantry Division of the 1st Baltic Front testifies to the pointlessness of enemy resistance in this area. Most of the city was liberated on July 31, 1941: “The division, in cooperation with tanks and 347 rifle divisions (rifle division – ed.), Captured the city of Jelgava (Mitava), the main communications hub connecting the Baltic States with East Prussia.” But despite this, the enemy continued to resist fiercely, often turning to counterattacks. Thus, an entry in the journal dated August 1, 1944 says: “The division during the night and day successfully repulsed enemy counterattacks and at the same time conducted a secondary sweeping of the city with separate detachments.”

The entry from the combat operations log of the 347th rifle division directly indicates the despair of the doomed enemy: “Small groups that settled in the attics of buildings, putting up useless resistance, were destroyed by our units.”

The section presents a record card of a military burial in the city of Jekabpils (the same one with a barbarously dismantled weapon). In addition to a photograph of the monument and a diagram of the location of the fraternal burial, the document contains a list by name of those buried here: Colonel Sakhabutdin Gazeyev, Guard Major General Sergei Kupriyanov, Guard Colonel Gabriel Sharikalov.

Visitors to the section will be able to familiarize themselves with their exploits from the published award materials. The officers were posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree. All of them in August 1944, directly controlling the battle, died on the front line.

In the award list for the head of the armored forces of the 130th Latvian infantry corps, Colonel Sakhabutdin Gazeyev, it is indicated that during the entire war he was wounded three times. In his last battles, Gazeyev “… when crossing the river Aiviekste well organized the crossing of tanks and self-propelled artillery, as a result of which the river Aiviekste was forced by our units, and, despite strong enemy counterattacks, the units expanded their bridgehead on the western bank, firmly held their occupied borders and, in addition, they inflicted a number of successive blows. “

In the award list for the commander of the artillery of the 130th Latvian infantry corps of the guard, Colonel Gabriel Sharikalov, it is noted that, in fulfilling his duties in the leadership of artillery units, he was on the front line: “… being at observation posts, he personally supervised the conduct of artillery fire and concentrated fire in the necessary directions on the nodes of enemy resistance ”. In recent battles: “As a result of the skillful leadership of the entire breakthrough artillery and artillery reinforcement comrade. Sharikalov secured a breakthrough to the depth of 65 km and an exit to the border of the Aiviekste River ”.

The published journal of military operations of the 29th Infantry Division of the 1st Baltic Front describes how on August 9, 1944, the advanced Soviet units liberated the town of Jekabpils: , defending the city, by 11:00 on 8/9/1944. with bold, daring and energetic actions, he completely destroyed the enemy garrison defending the city, and took the latter by storm. “

The section presents a record card of a military burial in the city of Daugavpils in Dubrovin’s park.

From the description of the memorial complex given in the document, one can see the scale and significance of this memorial structure: “In its center there are 7 wedge-shaped granite monuments, on which metal plates with the names of buried soldiers are fixed. A memorial plate with an Orthodox cross and a device for the Eternal Flame are installed in front of them. In front of the memorial there is a memorial plate with the designation of the year of the liberation of the city of Daugavpils ”. Seven soldiers of the Red Army are buried in a mass grave under the memorial. Two of them are Heroes of the Soviet Union.

The section contains lists of irrecoverable losses and award lists with descriptions of the deeds of the deceased. For example, the chief of the signal troops of the 4th Shock Army, Major General Yakov Lagodyuk, was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree for the fact that: command of the signal troops and ensured the command and control of the army in the Polotsk – Drissa – Bigosovo – Kraslava – Dvinsk sector (the former name of Daugavpils – editor’s note). “

The journal of military actions of the 360th rifle division of the 2nd Baltic Front presented in the section tells in detail about the liberation of the city of Daugavpils on July 27, 1944: “The advanced units of the divisional units at 7:00 broke into the outskirts of the city of Dvinsk and started street battles with small groups of enemy machine gunners … The first to break into the city of Dvinsk were 1195 rifle regiments (rifle regiment – ed.) And 419 orr (separate reconnaissance company – editor’s note), which with a swift advance forward, bypassing enemy strongpoints from the flanks and from the rear, quickly cleared of the enemy the city of Dvinsk. 360 SND (rifle Nevelsk division – ed.), Was the first to hoist a banner over the city of Dvinsk, which was preserved by the inhabitants of this city. “

Also, units of the 311th rifle division burst into the city of Daugavpils that morning, as evidenced by the combat operations log of the compound: “1067 joint venture (rifle regiment – editor’s note) pursuing the retreating enemy, at 7:00 with battles, on the shoulders of the retreating enemy , burst into the western outskirts of Dvinsk. [By] 18:00 units of the division completely cleared the city of Dvinsk from the enemy, which is an important stronghold on the right bank of the Dvina and a railway junction of the Latvian SSR. “

By order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Marshal of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin, the front commander, General of the Army Andrei Eremenko, of the 311th Infantry Division was given the honorary name “Dvinskaya”.

The publication of declassified documents about the Great Patriotic War from the funds of the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of Russia is aimed at preserving and protecting the historical truth, at glorifying the feats of Soviet soldiers, at countering the falsifications of history.

Archival documents included in the exposition of the multimedia section have been declassified and published within the framework of the project “No statute of limitations”, implemented on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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