However, after the battles died down and the restoration of a peaceful life began, gradually, not immediately, the irritation of the authorities and the inhabitants who did not know the front-line life due to the large number of people crippled by the war began to appear. Somehow they did not fit into the new look of the reviving cities.
They were recalled, of course, but not often, usually by the holiday of victory, about their material distress, poor health care and the absence of acceptable conditions for normal life. But even on such holidays, military disabled winners felt uncomfortable. Bitter was the taste of their victory. Those who lost a family, their loved ones in the war, lost their housing and working capacity to support themselves in decent conditions especially suffered. Lonely disabled people were forced to beg, look for any feasible part time job for them. From such a savory life, many have leaned on the "bitter" in order to at least forget a little and return to their imaginary prosperous life for a moment.
There were also many who did not want to become a burden for the family in the difficult post-war years. They preferred to beg themselves, not condemning their presence to the poor situation of their loved ones. And, probably, they repeatedly recalled the words of wishes from the song about the wires to the war: if death, then instantaneous, if the wounds are small.
Autographs of war as a reminder of the price of victory
“Autographs of War” - this is how the national artist of the Russian Federation Gennady Dobrov called his cycle of portrait drawings of war invalids These black and white portraits, skillfully executed in pencil, convey the mixed feelings of anguish, heartache and positive expectations of war-torn people. Many of them are depicted with awards for feats of arms. The fate of each of them is an individual disaster of universal scale and an ordinary statistical fact at the same time.
Who just isn’t on these drawings of disabled veterans made in different places of the country! Here are artillerymen, infantrymen, scouts, partisans, and pilots. Each with several orders and medals. And all of them brought the fate of war with the bitter share of a disabled person. The cruel autograph left the war on their lives. And somehow it becomes uneasy when you look at the drawing of a “samovar” (disabled person without arms and legs) with a young face and piercing eyes of his wide-open eyes. Nobody knew who he was. The artist and his drawing, therefore, called "Unknown." So he lived 29 years on Valaam unknown to anyone. And physically disabled physician could not tell about himself. True, among the locals there is, most likely, a beautiful legend that his relatives traced him, who in 1994 found the only monument to the disabled hero on the island.
They recognized in him the pilot of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Junior Lieutenant Grigory Andreyevich Voloshin. He hit the front at the end of 1944 of the year. And in January 1945 of the year, saving his commander in aerial combat, rammed a German fighter. He himself was severely injured - he lost his arms and legs, he lost his hearing and speech. And all this for 3 weeks before its 23 anniversary. Most likely, his commanders reasoned this way - even if he survives, it will only be a burden to his relatives. And if the “funeral” comes, then at least they will receive a pension. So he became officially considered dead, and in fact almost a decade 3 lived in a disabled house on Valaam. The legend is beautiful and believable.
Disabled war veterans were the most disadvantaged. Their total number is still not known. It is officially considered that during the war years more than 3 million 798 thousand people were demobilized due to injury and illness. Of these, 2 million 576 thousand people were recognized as war invalids. This is about two thirds of the number of commissioned troops. However, in our opinion, these indicators need to be clarified. It is known that at the end of 1945, there were more than 1 million 30 thousand sick and wounded in hospitals. But how many of them were later demobilized for health reasons and how many were recognized as military invalids — such information was not published.
It is not entirely clear whether among military disabled people, those from 1 million 38 thousand officers demobilized from 1941 to 1945 for health reasons are taken into account. According to the above ratio (commissioned / disabled), perhaps about 700 thousand officers could be recognized as disabled with varying degrees of disability.
It should be borne in mind that later the right to receive a pension of a war invalid was used by the militia, partisans, former prisoners of war and some other categories of people who were seriously injured or injured during hostilities or in the line of duty. Thus, the total number of military invalids, in our opinion, can significantly exceed the previously published figures.
Special attention at public expense
As the historian of special services A. Volkhin noted, since 1943, disabled people have returned to the rear regions of the country, especially in rural areas, from the front. The security agencies began to systematically receive information on the growth of tensions associated with the adaptation of military invalids to new living conditions for them. Disorder, hunger, disease, indifference and abuse of local authorities - all this caused mass irritation and discontent of the disabled. Unfortunately, there were also data on the presence of traitors and agents of German intelligence among people with disabilities.
In this regard, work among war invalids was conducted in two directions: 1) informing Party and Soviet bodies about shortcomings in employment and rendering assistance to people with disabilities; 2) identifying the organizers of anti-Soviet activities, traitors and agents of enemy intelligence agencies. According to A. Volkhin, hundreds of war veterans were taken to operational records by the NKGB, especially from among those who, under suspicious circumstances, returned from German captivity. Psychological traumas received in a combat situation and during battles in environments, being in captivity and physical inadequacy hardened the handicapped and knocked out from the usual life rut. Some of them were thrown to the side of life. Persons with disabilities speculated, drunk, hooligans in public places, and some of them joined the criminals.
Since under socialism there could not have been the poor “by definition”, since the beginning of the 1950-s the government has tightened measures against the poor. In February, the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs reported 1954 to Malenkov G.V. and NS Khrushchev, pursuant to the 23 decree of July 1951 “On measures to combat antisocial, parasitic elements” for the period from 1951 to 1953, almost 450 thousand beggars were detained. Among them, 70% or approximately 315 thousand people were war and labor invalids. It was noted that even in the conditions of Moscow and Leningrad, no more than 2 – 3% of the number of detained beggars were employed or placed in the homes of disabled and elderly people.
It was believed that in the Soviet Union there should not have been poor and destitute, so for the bureaucratic communication on this issue, it was necessary to introduce the concept of “needy”. But as a poor person you call it, income will not add to him. Surprisingly, even inside the repressive system they understood that the whole thing was not so much the poorest disabled person as the unfavorable external environment. In this regard, the Interior Ministry has proposed not only to punish, but also to solve pressing social problems.
The country was sorely lacking in homes for the disabled and elderly. It was noted that from 35 of such houses, the construction of which, by decision of the government was supposed to be completed in 1952, at the beginning of 1954, only 4 homes for the disabled and the elderly were put into operation. At the same time, it was proposed to increase pensions and benefits to citizens who have lost their working capacity, as well as to lonely elderly citizens who did not have means of subsistence. The unfavorable situation was particularly acute at major railway junctions and in large cities, including the capital. So, for example, in April 1954, the secretary of the party CIM E. Furtseva reported N.S. Khrushchev on the measures taken to combat begging in Moscow. “Among those engaged in begging,” she said, “there is a significant group of elderly and disabled people, many of them shy away from the assistance provided in finding employment and sending them to the homes of disabled people.” Apparently, it was not sweet to live in the homes of people with disabilities.
Out of sight, problem less
Those who were lonely and in need of care more often came to such homes for people with disabilities. There were also those who voluntarily wrote a statement in order not to be a burden for relatives and friends in the hungry post-war period. Those who were detained for begging, vagrancy or drunkenness came here. Most of them had military awards and were once brave defenders of the motherland. But their military destiny so ordered that the victorious front-line soldiers had to live out their life on government grubs in closed establishments.
Until now, periodically on the Internet there is information about a special operation of the bodies to "clean up" cities from antisocial elements and mendicants with disabilities, conducted in the early 1950-s. It is alleged that night raids and raids were organized, after which the disabled were loaded into teplushki and sent to settlements and to boarding homes. At the same time, the authors and participants of the forums refer to the fate of their relatives, acquaintances or neighbors, cite everyday memories and stories of people who considered themselves to be witnesses of those gloomy events. It seems that we are talking about the events in the fight against poverty in major cities. In small towns and in the countryside, judging by the available information, no such measures were taken against disabled people. However, the problem from this did not become less.
Information is available on the Internet about the number of war invalids, which are 4 times the official data. However, no documentary and statistical evidence or references to archived data are provided. Therefore, neither confirm nor deny, for example, the data in articles and forums on the Internet for more than 9 million war invalids who lost limbs (arms, legs), including more than 85 thousand disabled people without arms and legs (“samovars”) seems possible. Provides information about another 1 million 500 thousand disabled with other war injuries and injuries. In our opinion, the question of the number of military invalids needs additional study in order to establish the truth.
At the same time there are other issues. Where in the war-torn country were there so many accommodations suitable for disabled people? Some of them were monasteries. But even approximately, assuming that an average 1000 person is located in each invalid home, and taking into account that only half of the 2 million 576 thousand disabled people were placed there, then it took about 1250 premises in combination with medical complexes and consumer services. If we take into account the unofficial data on the number of war invalids, the need for such premises will increase to 5 000, not counting the auxiliary buildings. But as we remember, the state set the task of building only 1952 disabled houses by the year of 35. So where, then, were war veteran war veterans placed?
Special ointment on Valaam. Legends and profits
The home of the disabled of war and labor on the island of Valaam, on Lake Ladoga, was established according to the decree of the Armed Forces of the Karelian-Finnish SSR in 1950. To accommodate disabled people used the building and premises of the monastery. Initially, 770 disabled people and 177 people were taken there. the staff. However, as documents confirm, normal conditions for living and treatment of people crippled by war were not created there. There was a shortage of the most necessary things - medicines, bed linen, health workers, and much more. It was only in 1952 that electricity appeared there. A small hospital was opened on the island. The number of people with disabilities in the specials ranged from 500 to 1500 people. On average, there were always about 1000 people with disabilities behind its walls, of which about 800 were “samovars”. In total, the boarding school for war invalids employed aroundNUMX service personnel. It should be noted that several other monasteries in Solovki were also “redeveloped” as invalid houses, although “on hearing” most often mentioned is the one that was on the island of Valaam.
In 1984, all monastery lands and buildings were returned to the ROC. The disabled house was transferred to another place. In the summer of 2011, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated a memorial to Valaam in memory of World War II veterans who had lived in the orphanage for more than thirty years and found their last refuge on the island. The memorial includes the Poklonny cross and seven black granite slabs, on which all 54 surnames are carved. At the same time, according to local residents, there are about two thousand nameless graves in the old cemetery of the island. Most people with disabilities died at the age of 30-40.
They recalled the war invalids who spent their days in the boarding school and in the central press. Journalists even conducted their investigations. Something managed to find out, find some documents. Even an exemplary list of about 200 surnames of people with disabilities has been compiled. The rest disappeared unknown. As the old-timers of Valaam recalled, nobody visited the disabled and did not look for them. And they themselves had already got used to their bitter share and were not ready for another life.
To be continued ...