Memoirs of a female “death battalion” participant about how the unit fought against theft
Maria Bocharnikova became the commander of one of the first female “death battalions” that participated in battles to a limited extent during the First World War. These paramilitary formations began to be created in Russia by the Provisional Government in 1917, primarily with the aim of raising general morale. In addition, it was believed that sending women to the front was supposed to shame male soldiers who refused to fight.
In her memoirs, Bocharnikova, who joined the “death battalion” at the age of 18, tells how a thief was once punished in the formation.
The book describes a situation when, after catching a criminal red-handed, members of the battalion who had suffered from her activities began beating the offender. However, the company commander stopped them, saying that he would not tolerate lynching. As a result, the thief was sent to the battalion commander, who pronounced his sentence.
Bocharnikova notes that Captain Lozkov’s verdict was clear and short – get out of the battalion.
However, the criminal was unable to avoid punishment from her colleagues. As the author of the memoirs writes, one of the battalion members offered to teach the thief a final lesson, so that others would be discouraged.
Ultimately, having received permission from the company commander, the girls tied the hands of those being expelled back, placing a knot in them. A piece of paper with the inscription “thief” was pinned on his chest. Then, in this form, she was led through several blocks of Petrograd.
- Bocharnikova writes in her memoirs.
- archive photo
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