After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus, unlike other post-Soviet states, was very careful about historical memory. President of Belarus A.G. Lukashenko, himself brought up in childhood on the ideals of the partisan movement and the heroism of the war years, continued the tradition of respect for the history of the Great Patriotic War, laid down even under P.M. Masherov.
Guerrilla commander, twice wounded in battles, Hero of the Soviet Union, Pyotr Myronovich Masherov became the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus in March 1965. For him, everything connected with the Great Patriotic War had a deeper meaning. Already in the second year of their leadership of the BSSR P.M. Masherov initiated the creation of the Mound of Glory. 19 August 1966 was adopted by a resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus on the construction of the monumental sculptural composition "Mound of Glory" near Minsk in memory of the heroism of Soviet soldiers and officers, victims suffered by Belarus, and also in honor of the victory in the Great Patriotic War.
P. Masherov saw the creation of memorials as one of the meanings of his leadership, which were supposed to consolidate the memory of the Great Patriotic War for centuries.
Thanks to his personal attention and initiative, remarkable memorials were created - the Brest Fortress, Khatyn, the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the partisan museum of Old Man Minaya, the Mound of Glory.
Monstrous atrocities committed by the fascists on the Belarusian land. The scale of these atrocities is demonstrated by impassive and, at the same time, terrible figures. From 9 200 settlements destroyed and burned by the Nazis in Belarus, they destroyed 5 295 along with all or part of the population during punitive operations. Of the total number of villages destroyed, 3% was destroyed in 1941, 16% in 1942, 63% in 1943, 18% in 1944. The victims of the Nazi policies of genocide and scorched earth in Belarus were 2 million 230 thou. People killed during the three years of occupation. Killed every third resident of Belarus.
Monuments of the war immediately eclipsed in Belarus monuments of the revolution period, which faded into the background and somehow faded away, because it was not the revolution at all, but the Great Patriotic War that became the core of the national Belarusian identity.
The ideology of a proud and rebellious partisan region was dominant. In this sense, Soviet patriotism and communist ideology in Belarus had their own specifics. The guerrilla movement stabbed with blood the Russian-Belarusian unity. Many of the Red Army soldiers, immigrants from Russia who joined the ranks of the partisans, subsequently remained in Belarus for permanent residence. The war changed Belarus forever.
It seems that this circumstance is largely explained by the current Belarusian phenomenon, when only Minsk, unlike other CIS capitals, consistently seeks rapprochement with Moscow. After the collapse of the country, the situation in Belarus was fundamentally different than in other former republics of the USSR. The hero of the war, on which the main values of the Belarusian self-consciousness were based, was not seriously affected in the years of perestroika, and it became the basis for the Russian-Belarusian integration processes.
Anti-Sovietism and Russophobia did not take root in Belarus because they were unnatural for the partisan, military consciousness of the Belarusians.
Immediately after the collapse of the USSR, the Belarusian nationalists were labeled “aspiring policemen” for a long time, because they were fighting just for what weapons in the hands of Belarus fought in 1941-1945.
This, strictly speaking, is the difference in the situation in Belarus and, for example, in Ukraine, where, unfortunately, the ideas of neo-Banderers were widely spread, although there was military heroism in the same Ukraine — Kovpak guerrillas, Young Guardsmen, and underground fighters in Crimea.
... In Belarus, 199 partisan brigades, 14 partisan regiments (997 detachments) and 258 separate partisan detachments, which numbered 374 thousand, were active throughout the occupation period; the hidden partisan reserves reached 400 thousand people. Along with this, there were more than 70 thousand people in underground organizations and groups, including 10 thousand agent intelligence officers. The actions of the partisan detachments and formations inflicted tangible damage to the Hitler armies on the Eastern Front, seriously hindered the supply of enemy troops and the supply of military reserves, and distracted considerable forces of the Wehrmacht.
The guerrillas have provided significant assistance to the Red Army in the liberation of Belarus.
It should be noted that the occupiers controlled only 40% of the territory of the BSSR, the Soviet authorities operated on 60%.
The Nazis literally burned the Belarusian land under their feet. From June 1941 to July 1944, partisans of Belarus incapacitated about 500 thousand military personnel of the occupation forces, administration officials, armed colonists and their accomplices (of which 125 thousand people are irretrievable losses). They defeated 948 enemy headquarters and garrisons, 29 railway stations, blew up and derailed 11 enemy trains, 128 armored trains, blew up, burned and destroyed 34 railway and 819 other bridges, destroyed more than 4 thousand rails, over 710 km by telephone telegraph communication line, shot down and burned at the airfields 300 aircraft, shot down 7 300 tanks and armored vehicles, destroyed 438 guns of various calibers, blew up and liquidated 18 vehicles, 700 military depots. During the same period, Belarusian partisans took the following trophies: guns - 939, mortars - 85, machine guns - 278 1, rifles and machine guns - 874 20.
The total irretrievable losses of the Belarusian partisans in 1941-1944, according to incomplete data, amounted to 45 thousand people (that is, three times less than that of the enemy). Guerrillas, leading continuous battles, saved thousands of civilians from destruction and theft into fascist slavery. That is how the war was perceived at that time by the majority of Belarusians.
... After studying all possible options, the Mound of Glory memorial was decided to build on the 21 kilometer of the Minsk-Moscow highway in the Smolevichi district of the Minsk region. Here in July, 1944, during the largest offensive operation "Bagration" of the troops of the 1, 2, 3 and Belarusian 1 Baltic fronts, with the active support of the Belarusian partisan brigades and 105-thousandth German grouping forces were surrounded and were eliminated 11 July 1944. 30 September 1966 was held at the place of the future Kurgan rally, which was attended by residents of Belarus, as well as representatives of all the cities-heroes of the USSR, many war veterans and partisan movements from all over the Soviet Union.
A memorial plate was laid in the foundation of the future Kurgan, into which they built in a capsule with instructions to subsequent generations to cherish the memory of the past war and the shown heroism of our people, to be true patriots.
After that, for about a year, details were clarified, elements of the memorial were projected.
PM Masherov always very thoroughly approached the choice of both projects of constructed memorials, and places for their location. He tried to make the best decisions both in terms of estimated costs and aesthetic historical effect, as well as convenience of the location for viewing and visiting. At the same time, Pyotr Mironovich carefully got acquainted with the arguments of specialists and sometimes changed his own decisions after he was convinced that the arguments presented deserve attention.
The team of authors - sculptors A. Bembel, A. Artimovich, architects O. Stakhovich, L. Mitskevich, engineer B. Laptsevich - worked on the future Kurgan. Andrei Bembel was an experienced and successful sculptor, he worked in the field of easel and monumental sculpture. He was the author of the reliefs of the Government House and the House of Officers in Minsk, the high relief “9 May 1945 of the Year” for the Victory Monument on Victory Square in Minsk, one of the authors of the Brest Fortress Memorial. Muscovites know his work from the monument of D.I. Mendeleev, who is installed in front of the building of the chemical faculty of Moscow State University.
In November, 1967 began the construction itself, which immediately became a nationwide one.
Numerous delegations of war veterans, Belarusians, residents of other republics of the Soviet Union, young people and children came to the place of the future Kurgan of Glory. Everyone wanted a handful of earth to be thrown into the base of the memorial, thrown by his hands. They brought here and the land from all the Soviet hero-cities - Moscow, Leningrad (from the Piskaryovsky cemetery), Volgograd (from the Mamayev Kurgan), Sevastopol, Odessa, Kiev, the Brest Hero Fortress. Bags of the native land and guests of Belarus from other, very different places of our vast Motherland were brought with them. It was a continuous stream of buses, cars and tens of thousands of people. Further to the work connected trucks and excavators.
Masherov closely followed the work and delved into the details. However, he preferred not to interfere in the decisions of specialists and only chose the best, in his opinion, from what they had proposed. But in two cases, Pyotr Mironovich still had his decisive word. He insisted that the erected Kurgan was above the mound under Waterloo and, thus, emphasized the greatness of the feat of the Soviet people. Another problem was the stability of the steps. In no case it was impossible to allow them to slide down the slopes of Kurgan, and if this happened, it would be possible to quickly put everything in order. As a result, spiral staircases leading to the summit, in fact, designed Masherov personally, each step in them is fixed independently of the others. In the very center of Kurgan there is a pillar foundation with a depth of 30 meters, which reliably preserves the stability of the embankment. To strengthen the slopes of a special turf, resistant to erosion and landslides. The whole project was practically designed for centuries.
The opening of the Mound of Glory took place on July 5 1969 of the year. The total height of the memorial, together with the monument at the top of the hill, was 70,6 meters, while the height of the embankment itself is 35 meters. The diameter of the base of the mound - 100 meters.
Four bayonets faced with titanium rushed up. Each bayonet symbolizes one of the fronts that liberated Belarus - 1, 2, 3 Belarusian and 1 Baltic.
The height of each bayonet is the 35,6 meter. It almost coincides with the height of the hill, so the proportions of the monument and the embankment are successfully combined, forming a single whole. The bayonets at the base surrounds the Ring of Glory with bronze bas-reliefs of Soviet soldiers and partisans.
On the inner side of the Ring of Glory mosaic is laid out the inscription: "The Soviet Army, the Liberator Army - Glory!". The base of the obelisk is decorated with images of orders of the Patriotic War and Glory. Around the Kurgan, from its foot to the top, two very concrete staircases, which were designed by P.M. Masherov. Each of them has 241 steps.
Mound of Glory made a very strong impression on his contemporaries. Numerous wintering of certain elements in the construction of monuments dedicated to the events of the Great Patriotic War, subsequently widely practiced by architects and sculptors throughout the Soviet Union. The two most famous were performed in 1974 year - in Vitebsk, the monument itself was partially repeated, setting up the “Three bayonets” monument on Victory Square, symbolizing the unity of the partisans, the Red Army soldiers and underground fighters. And at the entrance to Zelenograd, a monument to the Defenders of Moscow was opened. There, also, on the roadside kurgan, a monument was erected, consisting of three closed forty-meter bayonets, symbolizing the resilience of three military units - rifle, tank and cavalry.
One curious story is connected with the Mound of Glory. In 1972, Kurgan, accompanied by Peter Masherov, was visited by Fidel Castro.
After inspecting the memorial and the environs, Comandante unexpectedly stepped beyond the steps (the stairs do not have a railing) and began to go down the slope, on wet grass. Masherov was puzzled by such an extravagant act of the Cuban guest, but hesitated for some time, followed him. Then, in the same way, right along the grass, numerous persons accompanying them began to descend.
Mound of Glory is clearly visible from all sides from passing by highways. Passengers of the Minsk airport arriving in Belarus must also pass through here. Even those who have already seen the memorial more than once, passing by, exclaim: “Look - Kurgan!” And everyone involuntarily turned their heads in the direction where the bayonets shot into the sky ... So PM was supposed to be at that time. Masherov.
Mound of Glory is included in the state list of historical and cultural values of the Republic of Belarus. 9 May approaches and very soon continuous rows of people with flowers and wreaths in their hands will rise along the Kurgan of Glory stairs. There are fewer veterans among them, and many old people are not able to climb to the top. They usually look at the young people climbing the stairs, remember the past ...
Of course, not everything is so simple in Belarus. And we have people who are not averse to questioning the heroic past of the Belarusian people, blaming not the fascists, but the partisans for the mass death of the population - they say, the partisans specifically provoked the invaders to retaliate in order to force the Belarusians into the woods. And every year such voices demanding a revision of the outcome of the war, and relying on Western grants, sound louder and more annoying, the Belarusian Internet, opposition newspapers, books published abroad are filled with such “truth” about the war. All this is intended, first of all, for the younger generation, for which the war that had died down is a distant story. But Belarusians had to pay too expensive a price for their liberation from the brown plague, and the partisan Belarus is still resisting all this flow of dirt and lies.
It is unlikely PM Masherov looked so far. Perhaps he could not have imagined that with the Soviet Union what would have happened only ten years after his death would become. But Pyotr Mironovich understood the significance of what Belarus and Belarus had experienced as no one else.
It should be noted that A.G. Lukashenko not only preserved what he got from his authoritative predecessor, but also constantly seeks to expand the network of military memorials.
Under the current Belarusian leader, famous museum complexes were built - Buynichskoye Pole and Stalin Line, the construction of a new, modern Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk is being completed.
All wartime monuments and memorials in Belarus are maintained in proper condition and, if necessary, are promptly restored by the state.
The mound of glory was restored in 2004 year. The Belarusian president also took part in its re-opening after restoration. A platform with samples of Soviet military equipment from World War II appeared next to the mound: heavy tanks T-10 and EC-3, self-propelled unit “ISU-152”, best tank of World War II T-34, 57, 76 and 85 mm guns.
And the Mound of Glory proudly towers over the surroundings, recalling the most terrible war in the history of mankind and the courage of the people of the Soviet country. The memorial provides historical continuity of generations. Such monuments serve as a hope that the Union State of Russia and Belarus being built will be filled with real content and will not remain just a loud declaration.