Such a rare exception to the sad rule is the majestic memorial complex “Maternal valor” in the village of Alekseyevka, Kinel city, Samara region, dedicated to Praskovye Eremeevna Volodichkina. The memorial is a bronze sculpture of the mother-heroine, surrounded by nine bronze cranes located on a granite stele, symbolizing her nine sons. Six sons of Praskovya Eremeevna died on the front of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. the death of the brave, three later died from their wounds. She did not wait for these last surviving sons: she received news of the death of her sixth son, and her heart could not stand it ... Praskovya Volodichkina was awarded the Order “Mother Heroine” under the number 1.
Anna Savelyevna Aleksakhina, the mother of ten children, sent eight sons to the front. Four of them did not live up to the Victory. Kuban peasant woman Epistima Fedorovna Stepanova, who lost her six sons at the front, was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, I degree. Tatyana Nikolaevna Nikolayev from Chuvashia also gave six of her eight sons to the Motherland.
And how many unknown Russian heroine mothers lost their sons on the fronts of World War I! .. Of the surviving historical chronicles of that time, there are known cases of the death of all or most of the brother officers from hereditary military families. At the same time, it was widely told, for example, about the fate of six brother officers, the sons of Major General Mikhail Ivanovich Stavsky. The eldest of them was killed in the Japanese war. The other five brothers were on the fronts of World War I, and three of them died in battle. And it is not surprising that their death was spoken of as the heroic deed of three Russian heroes. The first brother, Lieutenant Nikolai Stavsky, died attacking the enemy and raising a battalion that lost its commander. The soldiers completely defeated the enemy, but their new commander was mortally wounded in the head. For this feat, by decree of the emperor, Lieutenant Stavsky was posthumously awarded the honorary Golden St. George weapons. His brother Ivan repeated this feat exactly, raising two companies of warriors to attack, and was also hit by the enemy’s bullet. The third brother, Alexander Stavsky, had the opportunity to remain in the rear, as he held a public office, but went to the front after his brother-officers, and for a number of feats he was awarded the Order of St. George 4 degree. All his newspapers wrote about one of his exploits. He, already an officer of the Life Dragoon Regiment, being in cavalry reconnaissance with a dozen cavalrymen, broke away from his unit and fought for six months in the rear of the enemy, until he broke through to his regiment. It was a dashing cavalryman and also laid down his head in the attack, directing his horsemen at the enemy.
Speaking about these heroes, the newspapers never mentioned the unfortunate mothers of fallen soldiers, but one maternal tragedy of that war left its mark both in the memory of its contemporaries and in the pages of the remaining newspapers.
This is the story of Vera Nikolaevna Panaeva, the mother of three sons - hussar officers. These were the captains Boris and Lev Panaev and the staff captain Guri Panaev. They served in the famous 12th Akhtyr Hussar General Denis Davydov regiment (that same partisan poet, hero of the war of 1812). The Panaev family was well known in Russia. Vladimir Ivanovich Panaev (1792-1859) was at one time a popular poet. His nephew Ivan Panayev (1812-1862) became a writer who revived the journal Sovremennik together with the great Nekrasov. His wife Avdotya Yakovlevna Panaeva (Golovacheva), also left a noticeable mark in the memoirs of that time. Many Panaevs served in the Russian army. Grandfather of the Hero Brothers Alexander Ivanovich, University Friend of the Writer S.T. Aksakova, participated as an officer in the Patriotic War of 1812 and was noted for his courage with two types of award weapons - Golden and Anninsky. His son, Colonel Arkady Aleksandrovich Panaev (1822-1889) was a hero of the Crimean War and an adjutant to the commander in chief of the naval and land forces in Crimea, Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov. Possessing a hereditary literary talent, he wrote a book of memoirs about his commander. Arkady Alexandrovich was married to Vera Nikolaevna Odintsova. In his family living in the city of Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg, four sons were born, whom he raised as future soldiers. His early death shifted the upbringing of children to a widow, who not only did not impede their military aspirations, but also helped them to establish themselves in their choice, although they chose the most difficult and dangerous military professions - light cavalry and navy. Mother was the closest person for the brothers, and they were the greatest joy and care in life for her. By the time the Great War began, they were already thirty years old experienced officers: three served, as already mentioned, in the 12th Akhtyr Hussar Regiment, and one on navy. The eldest of the brothers, Boris Arkadyevich Panayev, has already passed the Russo-Japanese War, experienced all its hardships and was twice wounded. For his courage, he was awarded four military orders, and was not only a caring commander, but also committed an act that the whole army was talking about. In one of the battles, Panayev saw that the veteran, who had jumped with the report, was wounded, and the Japanese wanted to capture him. Under the strongest gun fire, a brave officer rode up to him and took the wounded soldier from the battlefield to the Russian trenches.
The service in the Akhtyrsky regiment was not easy, it was necessary to take care not only of personal preparation, but also of the maintenance and training of his mount. But, despite being busy, the Akhtyr hussars found time for both literary impromptu and fun jokes. There are photos of the dashing dzhigitovka of the Panayev brothers and the humorous training of a horse, which helped to put on a greatcoat to his master Guria Panayev. And the family literary gift was manifested, in particular, in Lev Arkadyevich's writing of the poem “On the Revival of the Hussars”:
Put on dolmans soon
Hussars of the former glorious years,
Insert into the shako Sultans
And fasten mentiskat.
Today is a great day for us -
Hussar and partisan Denis,
Hear our talk and clicks
Arise from the tomb, come here ...
The war made the brothers and their fellow soldiers forget all the hussar games and plunge into the fiery military abyss, which instantly swallowed many of them.
Russian officers have always been distinguished by selfless courage and the desire to be ahead of their soldiers, which eventually led to their mass death. So, by 1917, in some parts, up to 86% of officers were killed or disabled.
In addition, the Russian officers hardly got used to the modern methods of warfare, where not only courage was required, but also reasonable cold thrift in battle. This largely explains the success of the enemy troops in a series of battles in which the German and Austrian officers only in extreme cases went ahead of the soldiers. In his memoirs, the War Minister of that time, General of Infantry A.A. Polivanov noted that the Russian soldier fights hard and will climb anywhere, when there is an officer who leads him ...
The first to die was the most experienced, seasoned in battles with the Japanese, thirty-six years old Boris Panayev. In the most difficult August battles of 1914, he and his squadron attacked the superior forces of the enemy - the enemy cavalry brigade and in a short time was twice wounded. He received a particularly heavy wound in the stomach. Overcoming terrible pain, he continued to lead the squadron in the attack and entered into a fight with the commander of the enemy unit. The enemy, seeing this, concentrated all the fire on the Russian officer. Several bullets hit his head ... The hussars, inspired by the commander's feat, with a desperate attack forced the enemy to retreat. Boris Panayev died on August 13, and posthumously, by decree of October 7 1914, was awarded the Order of St.. George 4 degree. In his book on cavalry tactics, “Squadron commander in battle,” he wrote in 1909 year: “Chief, sting, the attack of part of which did not succeed - repelled, and he was safe and sound.” And he remained true to himself, not only in words, but also in deeds ...
We do not know when his mother received news of her son’s death, but most likely two terrible news came at the same time ... Two weeks later, in the same attack, in Galicia, the second brother, thirty-five-year-old captain Gury Panayev, also died. At the same time, a few minutes before his death, he repeated the feat of his elder brother: he carried a wounded private hussar from the battlefield. He was posthumously awarded, like his brother, the Order of St. George 4 degree. Here's how one of his fellow soldiers described the feat of Guria: “... Guriy Panayev, fighting off him, fell hit by a bullet and a shell fragment in the chest. His body was found in a dead horse, the bridle of which he and the dead continued to hold in his hand. The amazing beauty of death imposed on his face. Guri buried his brother Boris, Lev buried Guri ... ".
In the same battle, the third brother, captain Lev Panaev, earned the Golden Georgievskiy weapon for taking an equestrian strike of enemy trenches and artillery guns. Struck by the double blow of fate - the death of his brothers, he nevertheless finds in himself spiritual strength to write a letter of consolation to the mother of his military friend, Nikolai Flegonovich Tempperov, who also died in battle:
“... Lord God will send you comfort in sorrow and with the righteous, rest the pure soul of Nicholas ... after three days I buried my brother Gury, who also died a glorious death during the attack ... Earlier, on August 13, the Lord called my elder brother in the same way Boris These are the losses, dear Maria Nikolaevna, you and my mother suffered, laying dear sacrifices on the altar of the Fatherland ... May the Akhtyrskaya Mother of God help you in grief, standing before the cross and gazing at the sufferings of her Divine Son ... ”
Within a few months, unfortunate Vera Nikolaevna received the third terrible news. 19 January 1915, her third son, thirty-two years old Lev Panaev made a truly unparalleled feat.
He and his cavalry soldiers stopped the retreating infantry regiment and, leading it, went through deep snow to a foot bayonet attack on the enemy’s machine guns, and captured his inaccessible defensive positions at the cost of his life. Posthumously, as well as his brothers, he was awarded the Order of St.. George 4 degree. An eyewitness to the battle wrote: “... Not only the attack of the enemy was repulsed, part of its position was taken, many prisoners were captured, several machine guns, but in this attack Captain Leo Panayev was killed by two bullets into the liver.” The feat of the Panayev brothers not only struck the whole patriotic Russia, but also became an example and a call for all to go to the front as volunteers. In the native cavalry school for the brothers Nikolaevsk, they decided to open a marble plaque with a description of their feat and place it in a new classroom. Sculptor V.V. Lishev portrayed V.N. Panaeva in the form of a boyary, who, with a three-fold folding-icon and three swords in her hands, blesses three sons who were bent before her in the form of the old Russian knights ... One cannot but admire the act of the last of the Panayev brothers - Plato. He, a career officer of the Russian military fleet, left the naval service in the Far East, where he was the commander of the gunboat Sibiryak, to go to the front and face the enemy. The response to this act by the commander of the 8 th army of the general cavalry A.A. Brusilov, who said that the Panayevs are a truly heroic family, and the more there are, the better. Meanwhile, the fleet command, wishing to save the life of the last of the Panayev brothers, prevented him from being sent to the front and sent to serve in the naval headquarters in Petrograd.
And then the great mother turned to his superiors, demanding to immediately send her son to the front, where his brothers died, and defend their Fatherland with arms. The admirals, stricken by the action of Panaeva, could not refuse her and sent Platon Arkadyevich to one of the existing squadrons of the Russian fleet.
Since 1 April 1916, he has already participated in the hostilities, and on April 2 the imperial rescript was signed and widely promulgated to award Vera Nikolayevna Panayeva with the St. Olga 2 degree award. This sign was established by 11 on July 1915 of the year by Emperor Nicholas II to commemorate the 300 anniversary of the reign of the House of Romanov "in consideration of the merits of women in various fields of state and public service, as well as their efforts and labors for the benefit of their neighbor." It seems that it would be appropriate to provide here the text of the highest rescript completely.
on Nikolaev Cavalry School
from 5 April 1916
I declare with pride and a happy, joyful feeling the HIGHEST Rescript addressed to the Minister of War. In the current great war, our army has revealed an endless series of examples of high valor, fearlessness, and heroic feats, both in whole units and in individuals. The heroic death of three Panayev brothers, officers of the 12 hussars of Akhtyrka General Denis Davydov, now Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of the regiment of the Captain Boris and Leo, and Staff Captain Gury, who fallen on the battlefield, attracted particular attention. The Panayev brothers, imbued with a deep consciousness of the sanctity of the oath given by them, fearlessly fulfilled their duty to the end and gave their lives for the king and homeland. All three brothers were awarded the Order of St.. George 4 st, and their death in open battle is an enviable lot of the soldiers who have become a breast to protect me and the Fatherland. Such a correct understanding of his duty by the Panayev brothers is wholly attributed to their mother, who raised her sons in the spirit of selfless love and devotion to the throne and homeland. The consciousness that her children honestly and courageously fulfilled their duty, fill the mother's heart with pride and help her to endure the test sent over from above. Recognizing for the benefit of noting merit before me and the Fatherland, the widow of Colonel Vera Nikolayevna Panayeva, who brought up the heroes of her sons, pity her, in accordance with Art. 8 of the Statute of the Insignia of St. Equal to the Apostles Princess Olga, with the sign of the 2 degree and with a lifetime pension of 3000 rubles.
I remain to you favorable.
For two more years, the mother lived with the hope that the last son would still return home, and every day she prayed for him and all the Russian soldiers, but in 1918, the last brother-officer Platon Panayev was no more ...
It was a different time, no one was concerned about the heroic or tragic death of the front-line Russian officer — revolutionary unrest and madness swept over Russia. And in 1923, the heart of the mother of the fallen heroes of the First World War, the hereditary Russian noblewoman Vera Nikolayevna Panayeva could not stand it, as it did not stand much later with another mother, the simple Russian woman Praskovya Volodychkina ...
The Order of Saint Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga still exists today. It was established by the definition of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Pimen and the Holy Synod of December 28 on 1988 of the year to commemorate the 1000 anniversary of the Baptism of Russia.