By the beginning of the war 626 people received a high rank. The overwhelming number of Heroes of the Soviet Union appeared during the Great Patriotic War - 11 thousands of 657 people (of whom 3051 was posthumous), including twice Heroes of 107 (of whom 7 posthumously).
These were representatives of different nations of the multinational Soviet Union: Russians - 8160; Ukrainians - 2069; Belarusians - 309; Tatars - 161; Jews - 131; Azeris - 97; Kazakhs - 96; Georgians - 90; Armenians - 145; Uzbeks - 69; Mordvins - 61; Dagestani - 57; Chuvash - 44; Bashkirs - 39; Ossetians - 37; Mari - 18, Turkmen - 18; Lithuanians - 15; Tajiks - 14; Latvians - 13; Kyrgyz - 12; Udmurt - 10; Karelians - 9; Estonians - 8; Meskhetian Turks - 8; Kalmyks - 8; Buryats - 8; Kabardians - 7; Chechens - 7; Kumyks - 6; Adygeys - 6; Crimean Tatars - 6; Abkhazians - 5; Yakuts - 3; Moldovans - 2; Tuva - 1.
In total, during the existence of the USSR, the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to 12 776 people (excluding 72 deprived of the title for defaming acts and 13 canceled Decrees as unfounded), including twice - 154 (9 posthumously), three times - 3 (the legendary pilot first became fighter AI Pokryshkin) and four times - 2. In the total number of Heroes of the Soviet Union 95 women. Among the Heroes of the Soviet Union, 44 people are citizens of foreign countries.
The first heroes of the Soviet Union were polar pilots Anatoly Lyapidevsky (medal No. 1), Sigismund Levanevsky, Vasily Molokov, Nikolai Kamanin, Mavriky Slepnev, Mikhail Vodopyanov, Ivan Doronin for rescuing the passengers and crew members of the Chelyuskin steamer.
All of the above information, I firmly remember from school.
Our teachers were raised in such a way that the title Hero of the Soviet Union was something beyond all for everyone.
The title of Hero of Socialist Labor also, of course, inspired respect. But still not so. Although I already knew that “a medal for a fight, a medal for work from one metal is poured”. It is also possible that in our village of Doroshovka, in Vinnitshchina, the Social Worker Hero lived - combine harvester Ivan Gnidyuk. Over time, his name even somehow leveled out, and people just said: Ivan Hero. With his brother, also the combine harvester Theodosius, we were neighbors. And I even know that the younger, too, wanted to become a hero, but he had to be satisfied in the end, only the Order of Lenin. And in our district Yampolsky worked beet growers Hero of Socialist Labor Ekaterina Zaharchuk. I was already frankly proud of this circumstance and even instigated to the lads that I was in a distant kinship with the heroine. Although, if you dig, then maybe it was.
In those early years of my childhood, the Heroes of the Soviet Union did not appear in the country often. But if they did appear, it happened every time an event out of the ordinary. Say, the flight of Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin. Or the start of other astronauts: German Titov, Andriyan Nikolaev, Pavel Popovich, Valentina Tereshkova, Valery Bykovsky joyfully and festively added heroes to the country. And our great joy on this occasion excited. Each space flight then became the main holiday. I also remember my other children's astonishment associated with this high rank. So, at the beginning of 1960, the Soviet Army soldiers Ziganshin, Poplavsky, Fedotov and Kryuchkovsky 49 days spent in the open ocean on a fragile barge. At first they ate a belt, chopping it finely in noodles. Then welded strap from the radio. Then they cooked canvas boots on ocean water, lost almost a kilogram in weight every day. Ziganshin, who weighed kilograms 70, has lost weight to 40!
In these extremely extreme conditions, the Soviet soldiers were able not only to survive, but also to preserve human dignity. What then strongly Americans who saved our soldiers, admired.
They probably thought that in such situations, people should eat each other, or what? Our newspapers and radio every day called the guys heroes, but they did not give them the high rank. It was not clear: why? And no one explained it to me then. But after four years, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser suddenly became the Hero of the Soviet Union.
Much later, I will hear Volodya Vysotsky’s song (whose good attitude to me will be endowed with a generous life): “I will lose my true faith - / It hurts me for our USSR: / Take the order from Naser - / Doesn’t fit the order of Nasser! / , / Distribute gifts at random, / Call Nasser our brother, / But give a Hero is throwing! / Why is there no gold in the country? / Distorted, bastards, gave away. / It would be better given at war, / And Nasers would forgive us !
With all the most complicated twists of the social life of the great power of the USSR, its main award always retained among the people that high status, genuine respect, which were laid in it by the founding fathers in 1934 year. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest degree of distinction and was conferred for personal or collective merit to the Soviet state and society related to the accomplishment of a truly heroic feat. That was, as they would say now, a unique brand owned exclusively by the Soviet Union. Heroic title was conferred only by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Yes, at the same time, to the great regret, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, it happened that heroic ranks came in units and formations according to the order over and above regardless of the actual combat situation. I ran into this when I was writing a story about the father of Muslim Magomayev. Senior Sergeant Magomed Magomayev was posthumously presented to the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union (his regiment commander Colonel Pokhlebayev told me about this), but the award did not take place because the entire 301 rifle division was not “lowered” by any Hero Star.
But in another case, such centralized planning of heroism is now seen as more than justified. It is known that for crossing the Dnieper in the Smolensk region and below, and subsequently equal to the Dnieper rivers in the difficulty of overcoming the commanders of units and formations whose subordinates took up water barriers, they automatically presented themselves to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Specifically, the soldiers were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for forcing the Dnieper 2438, which is more than the total number awarded for the entire previous history rewards. Such a massive, unprecedented rewarding happened only once in the entire history of the war.
Other annoying misunderstandings happened during that war. Well-known military writer Vladimir Karpov told me: "With his comrades, I regularly delivered" languages ". We, like in other branches of the army, had their own unwritten laws and even norms by which they distinguished themselves were presented with various rewards. Pilots, for example, 15-20 downed aircraft was supposed to represent the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. And intelligence -. Twenty "languages" I had a special case, since I come from the penalty box. Therefore, the regimental commander, wishing for the highest honorary title I was still assigned, and that no doubts arose in the instances, presented the award material when I had participation in the capture of 45 “languages”. And I did not know about all this myself, as I did not know the course of the commanding thoughts. Once he called me to headquarters. Was unusually gloomy. Silently he handed me a prize list, across which a red pencil was boldly written: “Do you think, who do you represent ?!”
“Nothing, Volodya, do not be upset,” he said, and the bumps ran on his thinner face. - True, brother, always triumph. There is she on earth, there is ...
Omitting the innumerable details of that epic with heroism, I note that thanks to Kortunov and a member of the Military Council of the 39 Army, Major General Vasily Romanovich Boyko, I nevertheless received a high rank. ”
If you go back to the statistics with which I started my personal ode to the heroes, you will still have to admit: despite the most severe selection of candidates for Heroes, people, to put it mildly, unworthy of such a high rank, penetrated there as well. Get the same Khrushchev. He not only gave the country the highest award to Nasser, but also “appropriated” the title of Hero of Socialist Labor to himself three times in a row, and at the end of his career he also became the Hero of the Soviet Union! Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was four times a Hero of the USSR! So many Stars had only one more person - the great Marshal Georgy Zhukov.
However, even with such a premium “voluntarism”, in the absolute and overwhelming majority of them, the Heroes of the Soviet Union were examples not only of exceptional courage and dedication, but also of the highest human morality.
As for the "marriage", then among the Heroes it was insignificant - 0,6 percent. For all its shortcomings, socialist society has managed, nevertheless, to grow in its midst a unique, unparalleled in the world, heroic elite, for which, in principle, there were no impossible tasks (this is, by the way, a phenomenon that has not been studied much yet their researchers).
... It so happened that before the cadet epaulettes I never had the opportunity to "meet" with at least one Hero of the Soviet Union. I saw them only in the cinema, on television and in the unattainable presidiums. I say - that title was rare. And in the Lviv Political School I read to us tank case Colonel Ivan Revkov. On May 7, 1944, during the assault on Sapun Mountain, the crew of his tank, at that time the commander of the platoon of the guard, Lieutenant Revkov, loading the guards of senior sergeant Khanov, the radio operator Minin and the driver of the guard, senior sergeant Vodolazkin went on the attack. After two platoon tanks were shot down, Revkov’s car fought alone. The crew fought for a day, reflecting the attacks of German machine gunners and tanks. The driver Vodolzakin was injured, but did not leave the battle. By the end of the day, 3 tanks, 4 cannons, 6 firing points, 6 easel machine guns and 145 killed enemy soldiers and officers remained in front of the positions of four tankers. Two days later, the crew of Revkov destroyed 4 more German tanks, 6 guns, a six-barreled mortar, 12 firing points, 18 easel machine guns, crashed 3 bunkers and 5 bunkers, 4 cars and 15 wagons with cargo, destroyed 180 enemy soldiers and officers. By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated March 24, 1945, the guard Lieutenant Revkov Ivan Ivanovich was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal. The same title was awarded to the sergeant-driver Vodolazkin, the driver of the guard tank. Charging Senior Sergeant Khanov was awarded the Order of Lenin, and radio operator Minin - the Order of the Red Banner.
It is difficult to find a person farther from technology than the author of these lines. But two years I taught a tank deal with such zeal, as if to lead the production of armored vehicle. As a result, the exam on the equipment of the tank and its driving passed for "excellent." And he was not alone in his diligence. All my classmates (and I with them!) Are still proud that we were taught the tank case by the Hero of the Soviet Union, Colonel Revkov. Not every cadet had such an honor. By the way, if you, the reader, find in Wikipedia an article about Hero Revkov, then you will read my grateful memories of Ivan Ivanovich there.
Further long-term work in the "Red Star" has allowed me to print admire many Soviet national hero. Some even make friends. What, I confess, is still frankly proud.
And the highest possible degree of naivety to believe that they were all by chance on my way, but did not have any effect on me. I wrote about the Heroes of the Soviet Union E. Antonov, R. Aushev, S. Akhromeev, G. Baidukov, P. Batitsky, A. Beloborodov, G. Beregovoi, V. Varennikov, E. Vysotsky, P. Grachev, A. Grechko, V Grizodubova, B. Gromov, V. Dzhanibekov, G. Zhukov, K. Zaslonov, R. Ibarruri, M. Kalashnikov, V. Karpov, I. Kozhedub, A. Koldunov, D. Lelyushenko, A. Matrosov, A. Snesarev , G. Titov, D. Ustinov, A. Fedorov, V. Chkalov. I first introduced two Afghan heroes (from 85), lieutenant colonel Nikolai Kovalev (posthumously) and sergeant Igor Chmurov to Soviet readers. Then this high rank was conferred to the fighters "behind the river", that is, in Afghanistan, exclusively closed by decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Therefore, to make public the heroic feat of the soldier or officer required special permission Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces. Not always, and not all of it was issued.
Whenever I became acquainted with people who had accomplished heroic deeds, or only with their biographies, I always wanted to find in their characters, behavior, or even appearance, some special features, the very exclusivity that I saw in reverence from childhood. all heroes. But, as a rule, I was convinced: there is nothing so special that would distinguish them from us, mere mortals. No exaltation, romantic elation, uniqueness. Not a single person with the Star of Hero has ever even boasted with her. Maybe, in fact, as it is sung in that song: “When a country orders to be a hero, anybody becomes a hero”? No, of course, this is a poetic exaggeration. However, you must agree, reader, a very significant exaggeration.
In the summer of 1984, in the same Zvezdochka, my great material “Hero Village” was published, which also has some reason to be proud of. The thing is that even during the years of the Great Patriotic War this settlement had a different name - Forecasts, in everyday life - Purulent. And then his natives: Visovin Konstantin Gavrilovich, Dubinda Pavel Khristoforovich, Ovodovsky Grigory Yakovlevich, Tansky Nikolai Georgievich became Heroes of the Soviet Union. Dubinda - in addition, also a full knight of the Order of Glory. Already in the peace years, they were joined by villagers, two Heroes of Socialist Labor - the whaler harpooner flotilla "Glory" Nikolai Nikolaevich Gnilyak and the captain-director of the fishing trawler "Krylov" (in the Baltic) Vasily Vasilyevich Mikhasko. In their honor, the Prognoys were renamed into Heroic.
The last Soviet man to whom the Gold Star Medal of the Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded was Leonid Mikhailovich Solodkov, a diving specialist, 3 rank captain.
He participated in a complex experiment simulating long-term work at a depth of 500 meters under water. At the awards ceremonies, an unfortunate incident occurred that perfectly describes the bad time that fell to our common share. Taking from the hands of the marshal aviation E. Shaposhnikova a box with a Golden Star, the officer almost whispered: “Thank you” instead of “I serve the Soviet Union!”, 57 years proudly pronounced before him in this case. January 16, 1992 the USSR has already 22 days as it did not exist legally.
And 20 March 1992 in Russia was established the title "Hero of the Russian Federation". At the same time, the Heroes of the Soviet Union retained the same rights as the Heroes of Russia. It is noteworthy that four Heroes of the Soviet Union also received the titles of Heroes of Russia: cosmonauts Sergey Krikalev and Valery Polyakov, polar scientist Arthur Chilingarov and colonel of the Russian Army Nikolay Maidanov (posthumously).
In all the former Soviet republics, with the exception of the three Baltic republics, hero ranks were also established. There are also in Cuba, China, Mozambique, Nepal. In Vietnam, the title of Hero is assigned exclusively to military men. Detailed awards are entirely copied from the Hero of the Soviet Union. A good legacy from a lost great country ...