An act of vandalism has been committed in the Western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi. Nationalists smashed a monument to Hero of the Soviet Union Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya

Around the feat of the young Komsomol member, who became the first woman – Hero of the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War, gossip and speculation still curl.

“Secret” mission

Lies rarely arise from scratch, its breeding ground – all sorts of “secrets” and omissions of official interpretations of events. Some of the circumstances of Zoya’s feat were classified, and because of this, they were somewhat distorted from the very beginning. Until recently, the official versions did not even clearly define who she was, what exactly she did in Petrishchevo.
Zoya was called either a Moscow Komsomol member who went behind enemy lines to take revenge, or a reconnaissance partisan captured in Petrishchevo while performing a combat mission.
Not so long ago, I met Alexandra Potapovna Fedulina, a veteran of front-line intelligence, who knew Zoya well. The old spy said:
– Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was not a partisan. She was a Red Army soldier of the sabotage brigade, led by the legendary Artur Karlovich Sprogis. In June 1941, he formed a special military unit 9903 to carry out sabotage operations in the rear of enemy troops. It was based on volunteers from the Komsomol organizations in Moscow and the Moscow region, and the command staff was recruited from students of the Frunze Military Academy. During the battle near Moscow, 50 combat groups and detachments were trained in this military unit of the intelligence department of the Western Front. In total, in September 1941-February 1942, they committed 89 penetrations behind enemy lines, 3,500 German soldiers and officers were destroyed, 36 traitors were liquidated, 13 fuel tanks and 14 tanks were blown up. In October 1941, we studied in the same group with Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya at the reconnaissance school of the brigade. Then together they went behind enemy lines on special missions. In November 1941, I was wounded, and when I returned from the hospital, I learned the tragic news of Zoya’s martyrdom.
– Why, then, was the fact that Zoya was a fighter of the Active Army kept silent for a long time? I asked Fedulina.
– Because the documents that determined the field of activity, in particular, the Sprogis brigade, were classified.
Later, I happened to get acquainted with the not so long ago declassified order of the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command N0428 of November 17, 1941, signed by Stalin. I quote: it is necessary “to deprive the German army of the opportunity to be located in villages and cities, drive the German invaders out of all settlements into the cold in the field, smoke them out of all premises and warm shelters and make them freeze in the open. Destroy and burn to the ground all settlements in the rear of the German troops at a distance of 40-60 km in depth from the front line and 20-30 km to the right and left of the roads. For destruction settlements within the specified radius of action to immediately drop aircraft, make extensive use of artillery and mortar fire, teams of reconnaissance, skiers and sabotage groups equipped with Molotov cocktails, grenades and explosive devices. With the forced withdrawal of our units … take the Soviet population with them and be sure to destroy all settlements without exception so that the enemy cannot use them.
This is the task performed in the Moscow region by the soldiers of the Sprogis brigade, including the Red Army soldier Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. Probably, after the war, the leaders of the country and the Armed Forces did not want to exaggerate the information that the fighters of the active army burned villages near Moscow, therefore the above-mentioned order of the Stavka and other documents of this kind were not declassified for a long time.
Of course, this order reveals a very painful and controversial page of the Moscow battle. But the truth of war is much more cruel than our present ideas about it. It is not known how the bloodiest battle of World War II would have ended if the fascists were given a full opportunity to rest in the heated village huts and feed themselves on collective farm grubs. In addition, many fighters of the Sprogis brigade tried to blow up and set fire only to those huts where the Nazis lodged and headquarters were located. It should also be emphasized that when there is a struggle not for life, but for death, at least two truths are manifested in the actions of people: one is philistine (to survive at any cost), the other is heroic (readiness for self-sacrifice for the sake of Victory). It is precisely the clash of these two truths both in 1941 and today that takes place around the feat of Zoya.

What happened in Petrishchevo

On the night of November 21-22, 1941, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya crossed the front line as part of a special sabotage and reconnaissance group of 10 people. Already in the occupied territory, the fighters in the depths of the forest ran into an enemy patrol. Someone died, someone, showing cowardice, turned back, and only three – the group commander Boris Krainov, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and the Komsomol organizer of the intelligence school Vasily Klubkov continued to move along the previously determined route. On the night of November 27-28, they reached the village of Petrishchevo, where, in addition to other military facilities of the Nazis, they were to destroy a field station for radio and radio intelligence, carefully disguised as a stable.
The eldest, Boris Krainov, distributed the roles: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya penetrates into the southern part of the village and destroys the houses where the Germans lodge with Molotov cocktails, Boris Krainov himself – into the central part, where the headquarters is located, and Vasily Klubkov – into the north. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya successfully completed her combat mission – she destroyed two houses and an enemy car with bottles of “KS”. However, when returning back to the forest, when she was already far from the place of sabotage, she was noticed by the local headman Sviridov. He called the Nazis. And Zoya was arrested. Grateful invaders poured Sviridov a glass of vodka, as local residents told about this after the liberation of Petrishchevo. Zoya was tortured for a long time and brutally, but she did not give out any information either about the brigade or about where her comrades should be waiting.
However, soon the Nazis captured Vasily Klubkov. He showed cowardice and told everything he knew. Boris Krainov miraculously managed to escape into the forest.


Subsequently, Klubkov was recruited by fascist intelligence officers and sent back to the Sprogis brigade with a “legend” about escaping from captivity. But he was quickly exposed. During the interrogation, Klubkov spoke about the feat of Zoya.
From the protocol of interrogation of March 11-12, 1942:
“- Specify the circumstances under which you were taken prisoner?
– Approaching the house I had identified, I broke a bottle of “KS” and threw it away, but it did not catch fire. At this time, I saw two German sentries not far from me and, showing cowardice, ran into the forest, located 300 meters from the village. As soon as I ran into the forest, two German soldiers fell on me, took away my revolver with cartridges, bags with five bottles of “KS” and a bag with provisions, among which there was also a liter of vodka.
– What testimony did you give to an officer of the German army?
– As soon as they handed me over to the officer, I showed cowardice and said that there were only three of us, naming the names of Krainov and Kosmodemyanskaya. The officer gave some order in German to the German soldiers, they quickly left the house and a few minutes later brought Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. Whether they detained Krainov, I don’t know.
– Were you present at the interrogation of Kosmodemyanskaya?
– Yes, I was present. The officer asked her how she set fire to the village. She replied that she did not set fire to the village. After that, the officer began to beat Zoya and demanded evidence, but she categorically refused to give any. In her presence, I showed the officer that this was really Kosmodemyanskaya Zoya, who arrived with me in the village to carry out acts of sabotage, and that she set fire to the southern outskirts of the village.
Kosmodemyanskaya did not answer the officer’s questions after that either. Seeing that Zoya was silent, several officers stripped her naked and beat her severely with rubber sticks for 2-3 hours, trying to get her to testify.
Kosmodemyanskaya told the officers: “Kill me, I won’t tell you anything.” Then they took her away, and I never saw her again.”
From the protocol of the interrogation of A.V. Smirnova dated May 12, 1942:
“The next day after the fire, I was at my burnt house, a citizen Solina came up to me and said: “Come on, I’ll show you who burned you.”
After these words spoken by her, we went together to the Kuliks’ house, where we moved the headquarters. Entering the house, they saw Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, who was guarded by German soldiers. Solina and I began to scold her, in addition to swearing at Kosmodemyanskaya, I waved my mitten twice, and Solina hit her with her hand.
Further , Valentina Kulik, who kicked us out of her house, did not allow us to mock the partisan .
During the execution of Kosmodemyanskaya, when the Germans brought her to the gallows, I took a wooden stick, went up to the girl and, in front of everyone present, hit her on the legs. It was at the moment when the partisan stood under the gallows, I don’t remember what I said at the same time.


From the testimony of a resident of the village Petrishchevo V.A. Kulik:
“… They hung a sign on her chest, on which it was written in Russian and in German: “Pyro”. Until the gallows, they led her by the arms, because due to torture, she could no longer walk on her own. There were many Germans and civilians around the gallows. They led her to the gallows and began to photograph her.
She shouted: “Citizens! You do not stand, do not look, but you need to help the army fight! My death for the Motherland is my achievement in life.” Then she said: “Comrades, victory will be ours. German soldiers, before it’s too late, surrender. The Soviet Union is invincible and will not be defeated.” All this she said at the moment when she was photographed.
Then they put up a box. She, without any command, having gathered strength from somewhere, stood on the box herself. A German approached and began to put on a noose. At that time, she shouted: “No matter how much you hang us, you don’t hang everyone, we are 170 million! But our comrades will avenge you for me.” She said this already with a noose around her neck. She wanted to say something else, but at that moment the box was removed from under her feet, and she hung. She instinctively grabbed the rope with her hand, but the German hit her on the arm. After that, everyone dispersed.”
For a whole month, the body of a girl hung in the center of Petrishchevo. Only on January 1, 1942, the Germans allowed the residents to bury Zoya.
To each his own
On a January night in 1942, during the battles for Mozhaisk, several journalists ended up in a village hut in the Pushkino region that had survived the fire. Pravda correspondent Pyotr Lidov talked to an elderly peasant who said that the occupation overtook him in the village of Petrishchevo, where he saw the execution of some Muscovite girl:
“They hung her, and she spoke. They hung her, but she kept threatening them … ”
The old man’s story shocked Lidov, and that same night he left for Petrishchevo. The correspondent did not calm down until he spoke with all the inhabitants of the village, did not find out all the details of the death of our Russian Joan of Arc – that is how he called the executed, as he believed, partisan. Soon he returned to Petrishchevo together with Pravda newspaper photo journalist Sergey Strunnikov. They opened the grave, took a photo, showed it to the partisans.
One of the partisans of the Vereisk detachment recognized the executed girl as the girl he met in the forest on the eve of the tragedy that broke out in Petrishchevo. She called herself Tanya. Under this name, the heroine entered Lidov’s article. And only later it was revealed that this is a pseudonym that Zoya used for conspiracy purposes.
The real name of the executed in Petrishchevo in early February 1942 was established by the commission of the Moscow City Committee of the Komsomol. The act of February 4 stated:
“1. Citizens of the village of Petrishchevo (surnames follow), according to the photographs presented by the intelligence department of the headquarters of the Western Front, identified that the Komsomol member Kosmodemyanskaya Z.A. was hanged.
2. The commission excavated the grave where Kosmodemyanskaya Zoya Anatolyevna was buried. Examination of the corpse … once again confirmed that the hanged is comrade. Kosmodemyanskaya Z.A.
On February 5, 1942, the commission of the Moscow City Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League prepared a note to the Moscow City Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks with a proposal to present Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously). And already on February 16, 1942, the corresponding Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR saw the light. As a result, the Red Army soldier Z.A. Kosmodemyanskaya became the first woman in the Great Patriotic War to be awarded the Golden Star of the Hero.
The headman Sviridov, the traitor Klubkov, the accomplices of the fascists Solina and Smirnov were sentenced to capital punishment.


After it became known about the Nazi atrocities against Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Stalin ordered no one to be taken prisoner from the 332nd regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rüderer.

Soviet intelligence of all levels and purposes (regimental, divisional, army, including undercover intelligence) tried to track down, to establish more precisely where at the moment, in what sector of the Soviet-German front, the division, the regiment of Nazi executioners, the killers of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, is located. And soon, in the battles near Smolensk, the 332nd regiment of Lieutenant Colonel Ruderer was defeated by the Soviet army. The same amateur photographer officer was also killed in battle, in his field bag the soldiers found photographs of all the Nazi atrocities in Petrishchevo. Five “phased” pictures of the last minutes of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya’s life were published in front-line and central newspapers and caused a new wave of anger and indignation of our people fighting against fascism… Leaving for battle, the Soviet soldiers swore that they would severely, mercilessly avenge Zoya. Here is what the war correspondent of the newspaper “Forward to the enemy!” wrote. Major Dolin October 3, 1943: “A few months ago, the 332nd Infantry Regiment, whose soldiers and officers brutally tortured Zoya, was marked on the sector of our front. Upon learning that they were facing the regiment of the executioner Rüderer, who had executed Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, the soldiers swore not to leave alive any of the warriors of this of the accursed regiment. In the battles near the village of Verdino, the German regiment of executioners of our Zoya was finally defeated. Hundreds of Nazi corpses remained in the ruined bunkers and trenches. When the captured non-commissioned officer of the regiment was asked what he knew about the execution of the young partisan, he, trembling with fear, stammered: – It wasn’t me, it was Rüderer, Rüderer…

I think you understand what awaits the Nazis who desecrated Zoya’s monument.


Comments from China Writers’ Group,

Thank you so much Бойко Ирина Львовна for sharing. I feel terrible, that with German consent and open military support even, support by an ignorant green young woman who poses as foreign minister, atrocities of that sort can be committed again.


Thank you for your support, dear Irene. During WWII, the communist international had slogans in different languages of the world. “No pasaran” in Spanish, …… It’s time to remember the international solidarity of workers