And near the top will be Sergeant Mariya Oktyabrskaya, the first women to win the Hero of the Soviet Union Award, and her tank, Fighting Girlfriend. During World War II, her army officer husband Ilya was killed in action. In response, Mariya sold literally all of their belongings in order to buy a tank. She then wrote Stalin the following ...
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The Soviet armies advancing into East Prussia in January , in huge, long columns, were an extraordinary mixture of modern and medieval: tank troops in padded black helmets, Cossack cavalrymen on shaggy mounts with loot strapped to the saddle, lend-lease Studebakers and Dodges towing light field guns, and then a second echelon in horse-drawn carts. The variety of character among the soldiers was almost as great as that of their military equipment. There were freebooters who drank and raped quite shamelessly, and there were idealistic, austere communists and members of the intelligentsia appalled by such behaviour. Beria and Stalin, back in Moscow, knew perfectly well what was going on from a number of detailed reports. One stated that "many Germans declare that all German women in East Prussia who stayed behind were raped by Red Army soldiers". Numerous examples of gang rape were given - "girls under 18 and old women included". Marshal Rokossovsky issued order No in an attempt to direct "the feelings of hatred at fighting the enemy on the battlefield. There were also a few arbitrary attempts to exert authority. The commander of one rifle division is said to have "personally shot a lieutenant who was lining up a group of his men before a German woman spreadeagled on the ground". But either officers were involved themselves, or the lack of discipline made it too dangerous to restore order over drunken soldiers armed with submachine guns. Calls to avenge the Motherland, violated by the Wehrmacht's invasion, had given the idea that almost any cruelty would be allowed. Even many young women soldiers and medical staff in the Red Army did not appear to disapprove. A number seemed to find it amusing. Several German women recorded how Soviet servicewomen watched and laughed when they were raped. But some women were deeply shaken by what they witnessed in Germany. Natalya Gesse, a close friend of the scientist Andrei Sakharov, had observed the Red Army in action in as a Soviet war correspondent. Drink of every variety, including dangerous chemicals seized from laboratories and workshops, was a major factor in the violence. It seems as if Soviet soldiers needed alcoholic courage to attack a woman. But then, all too often, they drank too much and, unable to complete the act, used the bottle instead with appalling effect. A number of victims were mutilated obscenely. The subject of the Red Army's mass rapes in Germany has been so repressed in Russia that even today veterans refuse to acknowledge what really happened. The handful prepared to speak openly, however, are totally unrepentant. He even went on to boast that "two million of our children were born" in Germany. The capacity of Soviet officers to convince themselves that most of the victims were either happy with their fate, or at least accepted that it was their turn to suffer after what the Wehrmacht had done in Russia, is striking. One can only scratch at the surface of the psychological contradictions. Domination and humiliation permeated most soldiers' treatment of women in East Prussia. The victims not only bore the brunt of revenge for Wehrmacht crimes, they also represented an atavistic target as old as war itself. Rape is the act of a conqueror, the feminist historian Susan Brownmiller observed, aimed at the "bodies of the defeated enemy's women" to emphasise his victory. Yet after the initial fury of January dissipated, the sadism became less marked. By the time the Red Army reached Berlin three months later, its soldiers tended to regard German women more as a casual right of conquest. The sense of domination certainly continued, but this was perhaps partly an indirect product of the humiliations which they themselves had suffered at the hands of their commanders and the Soviet authorities as a whole. A number of other forces or influences were at work. Sexual freedom had been a subject for lively debate within Communist party circles during the s, but during the following decade, Stalin ensured that Soviet society depicted itself as virtually asexual. This had nothing to do with genuine puritanism: it was because love and sex did not fit in with dogma designed to "deindividualise" the individual. Human urges and emotions had to be suppressed. Freud's work was banned, divorce and adultery were matters for strong party disapproval. Criminal sanctions against homosexuality were reintroduced. The new doctrine extended even to the complete suppression of sex education. In graphic art, the clothed outline of a woman's breasts was regarded as dangerously erotic. They had to be disguised under boiler suits. The regime clearly wanted any form of desire to be converted into love for the party and above all for Comrade Stalin. Most ill-educated Red Army soldiers suffered from sexual ignorance and utterly unenlightened attitudes towards women. So the Soviet state's attempts to suppress the libido of its people created what one Russian writer described as a sort of "barracks eroticism" which was far more primitive and violent than "the most sordid foreign pornography". All this was combined with the dehumanising influence of modern propaganda and the atavistic, warring impulses of men marked by fear and suffering. The novelist Vasily Grossman, a war correspondent attached to the invading Red Army, soon discovered that rape victims were not just Germans. Polish women also suffered. So did young Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian women who had been sent back to Germany by the Wehrmacht for slave labour. The rape of Soviet women and girls seriously undermines Russian attempts to justify Red Army behaviour on the grounds of revenge for German brutality in the Soviet Union. On March 29 the central committee of the Komsomol the youth organisation of the Soviet Union informed Stalin's associate Malenkov of a report from the 1st Ukrainian Front. In Berlin, many women were simply not prepared for the shock of Russian revenge, however much horror propaganda they had heard from Goebbels. Many reassured themselves that, although the danger must be great out in the countryside, mass rapes could hardly take place in the city in front of everybody. In Dahlem, Soviet officers visited Sister Kunigunde, the mother superior of Haus Dahlem, a maternity clinic and orphanage. The officers and their men behaved impeccably. In fact, the officers even warned Sister Kunigunde about the second-line troops following on behind.
Alexander Snegirev b. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Her stories communicate something urgent through schizophrenic characters in anti-fairy tales. Archived from the original on 19 December The Time of Women is considered to be a groundbreaking work in contemporary Russian literature. If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material. Written following the wave of socio-political upheavals after the American War of Independence and just as the French Revolution was getting started, Radishchev hoped to change something in Russia by exposing the dire situation of the peasants. Dostoyevsky is one of the most renowned Russian authors worldwide alongside Tolstoy. A resident of St. The officers and their men behaved impeccably. Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis. In response, Mariya sold literally all of their belongings in order to buy a tank. The German soldiers used many different color tracer rounds, but red was among them. Read Next. After he was declared an enemy of the people and executed by Soviet authorities for opposition to the Bolsheviks, Akhmatova refused to denounce him and helped preserve his poetic legacy. Click here to find out more. Westminster Gazette. Caldwell, Daniel H Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Following the October Revolution in and the subsequent civil war, Gippius and Merezhkovsky joined the exodus of many prominent writers, philosophers and statesmen from Russia, moving to Paris in It opened the era of female writers who are now reclaiming the literary scene for themselves. She subscribed to the anti-Christian current of thought within Western esotericism which emphasized the idea of an ancient and universal "occult science" that should be revived. Altogether at least two million German women are thought to have been raped, and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appear to have suffered multiple rape. New York: J. He still lives in St. This elegant muse of Modigliani, was even nominated for the Nobel Prize. Edward Bulwer-Lytton  . Akunin, which has several allusions - combining the Japanese word "aku-nin" fiend or villain , and the name of the famous Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin. Drink of every variety, including dangerous chemicals seized from laboratories and workshops, was a major factor in the violence. A Quest book. Among the abilities that she ascribed to these "Masters" were clairvoyance , clairaudience , telepathy , and the ability to control another's consciousness, to dematerialize and rematerialize physical objects, and to project their astral bodies, thus giving the appearance of being in two places at once. An encyclopedia of claims, frauds, and hoaxes of the occult and supernatural: decidedly sceptical definitions of alternative realities. Raised in the Russian republic of Dagestan, Ganieva has lived in Moscow since , working as a literary critic and editor. Alexandra Guzeva. She appointed Besant to be the new head of the Blavatsky Lodge,  and in July inaugurated the new European headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Besant's house. He was nearly alone in his effort to unite people. Like Kafka, most of his works were published posthumously; like Bulgakov, his fevered surrealism is a response to life in Soviet Moscow, but much more than that. Vasilyev made a big name for himself as a scriptwriter. Harrison, Vernon Ulitskaya is one of Russia's most influential, intellectual and major contemporary writers. Most popular were evenings in the Moscow Polytechnical Museum. With this experience he wrote a non-fiction book, "Notes from a Dead House. The scorching sun, the polyphony of an Oriental city, various episodes from her early and teenage years come up again and again in Rubina's novels and short stories. Terekhov started his career as a journalist, and one of his most important books is the page "The Stone Bridge," which is actually a Soviet-era Romeo and Juliet story. She complied with their request to undertake a study of her and the paranormal abilities that she claimed to possess, although wasn't impressed by the organisation and mockingly referred to it as the "Spookical Research Society".
She gained an international following as the leading theoretician of Theosophy. Born into an aristocratic family of mixed Russian-German descent in Yekaterinoslav , then in the Russian Empire now Dnipro in Ukraine , Blavatsky traveled widely around the empire as a child. Largely self-educated, she developed an interest in Western esotericism during her teenage years. According to her later claims, in she embarked on a series of world travels, visiting Europe, the Americas, and India. She also claimed that during this period she encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the " Masters of the Ancient Wisdom ", who sent her to Shigatse , Tibet , where they trained her to develop a deeper understanding of the synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. Both contemporary critics and later biographers have argued that some or all of these foreign visits were fictitious, and that she spent this period in Europe. By the early s, Blavatsky was involved in the Spiritualist movement; although defending the genuine existence of Spiritualist phenomena, she argued against the mainstream Spiritualist idea that the entities contacted were the spirits of the dead. Relocating to the United States in , she befriended Henry Steel Olcott and rose to public attention as a spirit medium, attention that included public accusations of fraudulence. In , she published Isis Unveiled , a book outlining her Theosophical world-view. Associating it closely with the esoteric doctrines of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism , Blavatsky described Theosophy as "the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy", proclaiming that it was reviving an "Ancient Wisdom" which underlay all the world's religions. That same year, while in Ceylon , she and Olcott became the first people from the United States to formally convert to Buddhism. Amid ailing health, in she returned to Europe, there establishing the Blavatsky Lodge in London. Here she published The Secret Doctrine , a commentary on what she claimed were ancient Tibetan manuscripts, as well as two further books, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence. She died of influenza. Blavatsky was a controversial figure during her lifetime, championed by supporters as an enlightened Sage and derided as a charlatan by critics. Her Theosophical doctrines influenced the spread of Hindu and Buddhist ideas in the West as well as the development of Western esoteric currents like Ariosophy , Anthroposophy , and the New Age Movement. Developing a reliable account of Blavatsky's life has proved difficult for biographers because in later life she deliberately provided contradictory accounts and falsifications about her own past. Blavatsky's family was aristocratic. As a result of Pyotr's career, the family frequently moved to different parts of the Empire, accompanied by their servants,  a mobile childhood that may have influenced Blavatsky's largely nomadic lifestyle in later life. It was in this city that Blavatsky's sister Vera Petrovna was born. After a return to rural Ukraine, Pyotr was posted to Saint Petersburg , where the family moved in Blavatsky's mother liked the city, there establishing her own literary career, penning novels under the pseudonym of "Zenaida R-va" and translating the works of the English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton for Russian publication. In , Blavatsky's mother moved with her daughters to be with her husband at Poltava , where she taught Blavatsky how to play the piano and organised for her to take dance lessons. The three surviving children were sent to live with their maternal grandparents in Saratov, where their grandfather Andrei had been appointed Governor of Saratov Governorate. She later claimed that in Saratov she discovered the personal library of her maternal great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Vasilevich Dolgorukov d. According to some of her later accounts, in —45 Blavatsky was taken by her father to England, where she visited London and Bath. Her reasons for doing so were unclear, although she later claimed that she was attracted by his belief in magic. The escorts accompanied her to Poti and then Kerch , intending to continue with her to Odessa. Blavatsky claimed that, fleeing her escorts and bribing the captain of the ship that had taken her to Kerch, she reached Constantinople. She did not keep a diary at the time, and was not accompanied by relatives who could verify her activities. Campbell, there was "no reliable account" for the next 25 years of her life. She later claimed that in Constantinople she developed a friendship with a Hungarian opera singer named Agardi Metrovitch, whom she first encountered when saving him from being murdered. While she provided various conflicting accounts of how they met, locating it in both London and Ramsgate according to separate stories, she maintained that he claimed that he had a special mission for her, and that she must travel to Tibet. She made her way to Asia via the Americas, heading to Canada in autumn Inspired by the novels of James Fenimore Cooper , she sought out the Native American communities of Quebec in the hope of meeting their magico-religious specialists, but was instead robbed, later attributing these Natives' behavior to the corrupting influence of Christian missionaries. She later claimed that she then headed back to Europe by ship, surviving a shipwreck near to the Cape of Good Hope before arriving in England in , where she faced hostility as a Russian citizen due to the ongoing Crimean War between Britain and Russia. After spending time in France and Germany, in she returned to her family, then based in Pskov. It was there that she met up with Metrovitch, and where she reconciled with Nikifor in Recovering in Tiflis, she claimed that upon awaking she gained full control of her paranormal abilities. She claimed to have then received a message from Morya to travel to Constantinople, where he met her, and together they traveled overland to Tibet, going through Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and then into India, entering Tibet via Kashmir. Koot Hoomi was described as having spent time in London and Leipzig , being fluent in both English and French, and like Morya was a vegetarian. She claimed that in Tibet, she was taught an ancient, unknown language known as Senzar , and translated a number of ancient texts written in this language that were preserved by the monks of a monastery; she stated that she was, however, not permitted entry into the monastery itself. Among the abilities that she ascribed to these "Masters" were clairvoyance , clairaudience , telepathy , and the ability to control another's consciousness, to dematerialize and rematerialize physical objects, and to project their astral bodies, thus giving the appearance of being in two places at once. Many critics and biographers have expressed doubt about the veracity of Blavatsky's claims regarding her visits to Tibet, which rely entirely on her own claims, lacking any credible independent testimony. Suzuki , suggested that she later exhibited an advanced knowledge of Mahayana Buddhism consistent with her having studied in a Tibetan monastery. Blavatsky alleged that she departed Tibet with the mission of proving to the world that the phenomena identified by Spiritualists were objectively real, thus defending Spiritualism against accusations of fraud. However, she also stated that the entities being contacted by Spiritualist mediums were not the spirits of the dead, as the Spiritualist movement typically alleged, but instead either mischievous elementals or the "shells" left behind by the deceased. Leaving Egypt, she proceeded to Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, there encountering members of the Druze religion. Blavatsky arrived in New York City on 8 July Infatuated with her, he repeatedly requested that they marry, to which she ultimately relented; this constituted bigamy , as her first husband was still alive.