Victory Day in Kiev in 1945. How it was
It may have been a real folk festival since Soviet times. This war was too bloody, too many victims, it could be otherwise
After a turning point in hostilities, and especially after the liberation of Kiev from Nazi troops, the premonition of victory became more and more palpable. And although fierce battles were fought in the west, it was clear that the war was about to end. Soviet propagandists began to think seriously about celebrating the end of the war in 1944. How did the people of Kiev learn the news of the victory over Nazi Germany and how did they celebrate?
On May 2, Soviet leadership lost control of people
The first official proposal to celebrate Victory Day appeared at a meeting in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine on March 27, 1945. In April, everyone was already doing what they were trying to guess. day – the end of the war. People’s conversations, as well as all kinds of rumors, have been carefully recorded in the “relevant bodies”. For example, such a report on how a “collective farmer” in the Kiev bazaar said it would be great if the victory day coincided with Easter (May 6) – “then it would be immediately clear that God and Saint George helped that. “And Soviet officials dreamed of celebrating Victory Day on May 1, along with workers’ solidarity day. Perhaps this is why the first military parade after the Kiev’s liberation from the Nazis took place on May 1, 1945. One of the Kiev newspapers even called it the “Victory Parade”.
The “Victory Parade” in Kiev took place before May 9
The parade took place along Korolenko Street (today Vladimirskaya). The people of Kiev had a festive mood all spring, but there were times when some in their own way interpreted the victory, so to speak, not from a “politically correct point of view”, saying that “victory is come from God, because during the war the churches started to work for us. “And that was also recorded by the ubiquitous scammers.
The first “rehearsal” of the party took place on May 2. That morning, on loudspeakers which, at the time, served as a sort of analog of modern television and the Internet, it was announced that a major government announcement was expected at 11:00 p.m. After lunch, the crowd began to assemble on the streets of Kiev. Everyone was waiting for the announcement of the victory, but instead they heard Stalin talking about the capture of the capital of the Nazi Reich, Berlin. The Supreme Commander congratulated the Red Army. The celebration lasted almost until the morning, thousands of people hugged, kissed, sang, danced. The soldiers in the crowd shot in the air. The Soviet leadership has lost all control over the population. Only the next day could organize official celebrations, of a more formal nature.
Victory It was celebrated by 200,000 residents of Kiev. For Kiev then – an exorbitant figure
The Kyivans heard the official news of the victory on the night of May 9 at 2:15 p.m. Long before that, people started to gather in the streets on the loudspeakers again. And again, the authorities’ plans for pre-planned “spontaneous” events failed, because it was simply impossible to deal with people who experienced incredible emotions at the end of the most difficult war. The festivities did not stop all night, and already at 9 am, a speech by Stalin was heard. The day was declared a day off, but despite that, it was almost the first time that city dwellers went to work with joy – there you could hear the radio and talk with colleagues, share the joy.
Kievans on the restoration of Khreshchatyk
At 2:00 p.m., a parade and demonstration dedicated to victory began in Kiev. According to reports, almost 200,000 Kievans were present – a lot, given that in November 1943, immediately after the liberation of the capital of Ukraine, about 40,000 people attended the first meeting in honor of the liberation of Kiev.
It should be noted that the Ukrainian Soviet leaders feared that after good news and a victory, the population demanded better living and working conditions. Therefore, at a meeting on May 27, 1945, the ideologue of the People’s Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR Dmitry Manuilsky said: “In order not to make an impression on the population” that all is over, the articles must note that this is ‘a historic victory for the Soviet peoples, but do not demagnetize “.
Dmitry Manuilsky (wearing dark glasses) at a UN meeting
The authorities sought to restore full control over all areas of the lives of Ukrainians as quickly as possible. All spontaneous and spontaneous manifestations of the feelings of subordinates, although positive and frightened of party officials. The secretary of the Kiev City Party’s propaganda committee, Maria Podtychenko, called on the officials: “We must prepare ourselves so that the celebration of Victory Day is not spontaneous”.
Sacred Tombs: Communists Have Successfully “Ruled”
Moscow did not encourage or accentuate the large-scale celebration of the dead, focusing only on victory and expansion. And what other celebration of someone could be discussed when the cult of the “great Stalin” existed? In the early post-war years, military burials were small, organized by the forces of local residents. There were no majestic memorials, protected areas in the fierce fighting sites, or Ukrainian “books of memory” in the early post-war years. Only a monument to fallen Soviet soldiers was quickly built in Treptower Park in Berlin – it was opened on May 8, 1949, and it was a kind of Stalinist mark in Europe. The pantheon of heroes of the Great Patriotic War in Ukraine was formed after the death of Stalin.
One of the first places of worship in Kiev, liberated from the Nazis in November 1943, was the tomb of Nikifor Sholudenko – a Ukrainian warrior, foreman, whose chariot first reached the city center. Nikifor was originally from the Vyshgorod district of the Kiev region and died in the very center of Kiev – on Kalinin Square (today Independence Square). He was only 24 years old. The soldiers were buried there.
The first grave of oil tanker foreman Nikifor Sholudenko …
When work began at Khreshchatyk, the tomb was transferred to a park above Stalin’s square (now European) and a small monument was built. The humble tomb was a place of pilgrimage and the embodiment of a feat of arms during the war.
… then the tomb was transferred to the park above Stalin’s place (now European)
The authorities did not like this “initiative”, so that party members quickly found an alternative to the soldier – it was General Nikolai Vatutin, wounded by Ukrainian rebels in the Rivne region in the spring of 1944. Vatutin a led an army group that liberated Kiev and also died of injuries in a Kiev hospital on the night of April 15. He was buried in Kiev, in a park opposite the Verkhovna Rada building. The farewell lasted three days, the funeral procession was led by Khrushchev himself and around 125,000 citizens attended the funeral.
Later, the famous sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich created a monument with an engraved inscription: “To General Vatutin of the Ukrainian people.” For that “of the Ukrainian people”, Khrushchev flew from Stalin. Since then, at all commemorative events, delegations have visited the tomb of Vatutin. The general therefore pushed the foreman and became a sort of symbolic “liberator of the city”.
However, the people of Kiev have not forgotten Nikifor Sholudenko – his grave was on the list of the main memorable places, despite the fact that it was bypassed by high-ranking monks. In 1957 Sholudenko, along with other war heroes, was buried in Glory Park near the newly erected monument to the Unknown Soldier. Then they named in honor of Sholudenko and Shulyavka Street. It should be noted that the monument to the Unknown Soldier in Kiev was built one of the first in the USSR. In Moscow, for example, the grave of the unknown soldier with the eternal flame was not equipped until the end of 1966.
Victory day in 1945 was perhaps the most sincere Soviet holiday in the entire existence of the USSR …
The current independence square is only in the bell tower of Sofia
… and now there is a passage from Khreshchatyk to Luteranskaya Street under the arches (in the distance you can see the Alexander Church)
The following year, 1946, May 9, a “party” took place, in 1947 there were again festivities and a relay race, as well as fireworks. And after 1947, Victory Day generally ceased to be a holiday. In fact, it was no different from the day of artillery. It only became a day off in 1965, when the ideological commemoration started in the USSR and continued – the mythologization of the German-Soviet war.
Svetlana Shevtsova, Kiev
In preparing the material, Sergei Yekelchik’s book “Everyday Stalinism. Kiev and Kiev after the Great War “
Ugrinovich Images & Photos
According to the materials: ukrinform.ru