But in October, 1944 th residents of exultant Belgrade called the name of their liberator one of the central streets of the capital of Yugoslavia. But times are changing. After the American bombing of Belgrade in 1999, the pro-American liberal government of the Republic of Serbia, led by Z. Djindjic, rejected its real stories and renamed this street, calling it in honor of a participant in the First and Second World Wars, British Field Marshal Montgomery. Then, however, it turned out that the British commander had nothing to do with the liberation of Yugoslavia, and the street decided to return its old Serbian name.
However, not only Serbs suffer from loss of historical memory. Nor are we Russians any better. Here in front of me, on page 82, the only one of its kind, “The Great Patriotic War 1941-1945”, is revealed. (M .: Soviet Encyclopedia, 1985). We open the volume article “Belgrade operation. 1944. Two pages detail how the “offensive operation of the troops of the 1944 of the Ukrainian Front, the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and the troops of the Bulgarian National Front of Bulgaria, conducted on September 3 - October 28 of the year 20”, developed in October.
The encyclopedia in two places (pp. 82-83, 668-669) refers to the operation to liberate Belgrade in 1944, all its participants are named, even those who did not participate - for example, the troops of the Bulgarian Front.
Even Hitler’s Field General Marshal M. Weichs, who was holding Belgrade, was named. This encyclopedia does not contain only the genuine liberator of Belgrade - the Hero of the Soviet Union, the People's Hero of Yugoslavia, General Vladimir Ivanovich Zhdanov. Moreover, in the personalized biographical data for the letter “Ж”, one can read the biographies of A. A. A. Zhdanov, Colonel General aviation V.N. Zhdanov, however there is no hero of the Great Patriotic War, Colonel General tank troops V.I. Zhdanov. Why?
As I understand it, on the basis of the data I personally have, which is stored in my 1959 diary of the year, due to the fact that Vladimir Ivanovich, the only frontline general, back in 1956, he found the courage to protest the party leadership of the CPSU headed by N. Khrushchev and not allowed to distort the historical truth. This is the episode and walked a heavy steel roller in the fate of General Zhdanov. Vladimir Ivanovich himself told me about this story.
In 1959, I served in the sports company of the Trans-Baikal Military District in the city of Chita. The first deputy district commander, Colonel-General Yakov Kreyzer, was Lieutenant-General Vladimir Zhdanov. But this first deputy was engaged not in combat training, but in the organization of sports activities, the formation of national teams of the district in athletics and basketball for participation in the championship of the Armed Forces of the USSR. I was just a member of the national athletics team, more than once I watched V.I. Zhdanov in this field, and I will not hide it, was very surprised why a military general, Hero of the Soviet Union, is engaged in such an unusual case. Rumors went different, including that Zhdanov had ordered N.S. himself to be sent to this second-class district. Khrushchev. Since I had to deal with Zhdanov personally, and more than once, then, having chosen the right moment, I asked this question to Vladimir Ivanovich. He reluctantly replied that this was the case, but this time he did not spread. Only later did I find out the details of not only this case, but also much more - that General Zhdanov was the very person who liberated the capital of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, in October 1944 from the Germans, and personally knew I. Tito.
At the end of 1950, I still could not assume that in the future I would have to publish several books on Yugoslavia, defend my Ph.D. and doctoral dissertations on Yugoslav socialism, but I was already very interested in the history of the new Yugoslavia then.
And so I rarely spoke with Vladimir Ivanovich rarely in my personal diary, which I began to keep in 1953 year.
My diary entries of that distant time reflect the completely irresistible impression that all of us, military athletes, produced the personality of General Zhdanov. Now I look at his official photographs taken from the archives, and I am convinced that they do not at all reflect that vigorous dynamic nature, which Vladimir Ivanovich was in fact. The pictures can not guess that extraordinary energy, which literally spilled out of him when he watched the workouts. The general did not run after us across the field of the stadium. No, his favorite position was different. During training, he liked to put a chair on the edge of the field or near the basketball basket and usually accompanied all the actions of athletes with energetic comments, which were given to them not just loudly, but literally with a lion roar and in expressions not always, let's say, in the framework of a polite literary language . Always competently, in the case, rude, but not insulting. However, we were not offended for another reason: we all had 19-20 for years, and Zhdanov was already under 60, the General, Hero of the Soviet Union, we, of course, looked at him not just from the bottom up, but with adoration. And when he jumped out of his chair and approached you closely with conversations, every one of us tried not to miss even his interjections addressed to you.
Here is a summary of these conversations, later supplemented by my special scientific research.
In 1955, N. Khrushchev, correcting, as it seemed to him, Stalin’s geopolitical mistakes, made an official visit to Yugoslavia in order to restore relations between the CPSU and the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia and between the USSR and FNRY. And in June 1956, Josip Broz Tito arrived on a visit to the USSR and signed the Moscow Declaration. Relations between our countries have evolved incrementally. But in October 1956, the well-known Hungarian events occurred, Moscow brought tanks into Budapest and stifled the Hungarian insurrection with force. Tito, under the pretext that Moscow did not consider it necessary to consult him, strongly condemned this action. Relations between the SKYU and the CPSU deteriorated sharply again, Khrushchev repeated Stalin's mistake: he led the matter to a break with FNRY. And in this regard, he decided to force 13 to Soviet citizens who received the title People's Heroes of Yugoslavia for the liberation of Belgrade in October 1944, to give up these awards. He began with Lieutenant-General Zhdanov. And suddenly he came across a tough fight.
As Vladimir Ivanovich told me, he replied to Khrushchev in the following way: “Stalin did not dare to offer such nonsense to me in 1948, do you really think that it will work out for you ?!”
Khrushchev did not tolerate resentment and ordered the obstinate head of the Military Academy of armored troops to be sent to ZabVO by a general for sport. However, the rest of the National Heroes of Yugoslavia did not dare to touch. This is how the military general found himself on the periphery of military service.
And with the liberation of Belgrade, according to General Zhdanov, everything looked like this.
In September 1944, the troops of the 3 of the Ukrainian Front, commanded by Marshal Fyodor Tolbukhin, entered the Belgrade sector. It was an important strategic success. The capture of the capital of Yugoslavia entailed the exit of the Red Army to the communications of the group of German armies "E" deployed in Greece, and the complete blocking of the Germans on the Balkan Peninsula. Therefore, Belgrade was defended by a powerful group of German armies "F" under the command of Field Marshal Weichs.
The assault on Belgrade itself began on September 28 of 1944, but only on October 12, the 4 Guards Mechanized Corps under the command of General Zhdanov managed to reach the border of the city to the bridge over the Sava River. However, it was impossible to overcome the bridge on the move in the event of a hurricane of oncoming fire without large casualties. On the other side of the Sava, the Germans concentrated 40 tanks, 170 guns and mortars. Therefore, Zhdanov offensive stopped and requested reinforcements. The front commander, Marshal Tolbukhin, in a telephone conversation, assured that there would be reinforcements, parts of the NOAJ 1 Army Group led by General Peko Dapchevich were coming soon. To which the commander of the mechanized corps said that he needed not partisans, but air and artillery support. Tolbukhin assured that he was negotiating with Colonel-General Aviation Sudtsu and soon several squadrons of the 17 Air Army and two artillery regiments would arrive at Zhdanov's disposal.
Meanwhile, the Yugoslav partisans actually arrived at the river bridge. They did not add enthusiasm to Zhdanov. On the loose, with open sides of captured trucks sat a few dozen dressed in battered uniforms, armed with rifles guerrillas. Under them was the commander, Lieutenant-General Peko Dapchevich, thin, in army boots, with a German pistol in a belt holster. The Yugoslav general reported that he had arrived at the corps on the orders of the Supreme Commander of NOAJ in order to liberate Belgrade with the Russians.
Greeting the Yugoslav general by the hand, Zhdanov waved his hand in the direction of the bridge: “Behind the bridge is the capital of your Yugoslavia. Storm! .. ”Just at that time, the Germans, noticing the activity of the Soviet troops, opened heavy fire on the bridge. Dapchevich, looking at all this, replied: "I am not crazy, send people to certain death."
- And I mean crazy ?! - flared Zhdanov. And, leaving the Yugoslav ally, went to the point of contact. He again contacted Tolbukhin and explained the situation. And at the end of the conversation in a quick temper he said: “This is their capital. They want to free her. I do not mind. Let them storm. I will not send my people into battle until I receive reinforcements. ”
Marshal paused, and then said: “Vladimir Ivanovich, the partisans must enter the city with your eagles. Do not mind. The "master" (IV Stalin. - VK) ordered to put them on your tanks and start an assault with your fighters. The reinforcement is already moving. I take you three days to take Belgrade. But to enter the city with the partisans. "
Three days after this conversation, the stormtroopers ironed the German positions on the other side of the Sava, and then artillery regiments entered the scene. After which Zhdanov put Soviet infantry and Yugoslav partisans on the armor of his tanks, and the corps broke into the capital.
Judging by the story of Vladimir Ivanovich, during the storming of Belgrade, no other troops, except for the 4 mechanized corps and the partisans of Peko Dapchevich, were even close.
... With Colonel General Peko Dapchevich I happened to talk through 21 a year after conversations with General Zhdanov. This happened during my work at the Soviet embassy in Belgrade. At the celebration of the anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade, I publicly spoke about my conversations, which General Zhdanov honored me in 1959. After the official part in the reception hall, a thin Colonel-General of the JNA approached me with a glass in hand and introduced himself: Peko Dapchevich. He was at that time already 67 years old, but he looked very fit. “Everything is correct, the first secretary told. - he said. “Everything was exactly like that with the liberation of Belgrade.”
Unfortunately, fate was not favorable to Vladimir Ivanovich Zhdanov. The leadership of the Armed Forces could not, of course, contradict the First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, but nevertheless sought to protect the general from Khrushchev’s anger and hid him from the eyes of the party leader. Already in October, 1961, Zhdanov was appointed senior military specialist in the People's Army of the GDR, and after a very short time he was returned to his previous duty station - head of the Military Academy of Armored Forces. In October, 1964 of the year, immediately after the plenary session of the CPSU Central Committee, which relieved Khrushchev of his post, Marshal Biryuzov, Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, initiated Zhdanov to the rank of colonel general and took him on a trip to Yugoslavia to celebrate the 20 anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade.
But October 19 plane with the Soviet military delegation crashed near Belgrade. Killing all who were in it ...
Vladimir Ivanovich was buried in Moscow, at the Novodevichy cemetery.