Eight heroes: MES published new documents about the Great Patriotic War participants

Eight heroes: MES published new documents about the Great Patriotic War participants
Among them is Alexander, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya's brother. The system offers to view photos and autobiographies of heroes, as well as their award sheets, military registration cards and letters to relatives. All documents are published for the first time.

Moscow Electronic School (MES) library has a new collection of copies of rare archival documents related to the Great Patriotic War. The originals are stored in the holdings of the Main Archive Department of Moscow.

Materials are devoted to eight heroes of the Soviet Union, with Alexander Kosmodemyansky, brother of the intelligence officer and the guerrilla Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, among them.

Alexander Kosmodemyansky. Main Archive Department of Moscow

Photos, biographies, award sheets, military records, letters to relatives and memoirs of soldiers introduce MES users to the fate of heroes and their military exploits. All documents are published for the first time. Find selection in the MES library using #главархив tag.

"We continue to publish documents of the Great Patriotic War in MES. These are materials from the holdings of the Institute of Communist Party History of the Moscow City CPSU Committee, transferred to the Main Archive Department of Moscow in 1991. The Institute was collecting them from the late 1940s to the 1980s, most of the documents were handed over by the heroes themselves or their relatives. Each material is not only a combat, but also a personal story of men who fought for their Homeland. These documents can be useful and interesting for teachers and school students, as well as people who want to learn more about the history of Russia," said Yaroslav Onopenko, Head of Main Archive Department of Moscow.

Thanks to the archival information, it became known that Senior Lieutenant Alexander Kosmodemyansky (1925-1945) served as the battery commander of heavy SP artillery regiment. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously for particular feats during the East Prussian operation of 1945. Read about the brother of the legendary intelligence officer in the memories of his fellow soldier.

Extract from the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued on 29 June 1945 on the assignment of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union to Alexander Kosmodemyansky. 18 January 1946. Main Archive Department of Moscow

MES library has now the award sheet and materials to read about the fate of Major General Nestor Kozin (1902-1993). The rifle division he commanded was one of the first to enter Berlin on 21 April 1945. Another hero who distinguished himself in the capture of Berlin is the Colonel Pyotr Laktionov (1900-1945). Records say that on 26 April 1945  he was mortally wounded in one of the battles. The electronic resource published the notification of the assignment of Hero of the Soviet Union title to Pyotr Laktionov, which was sent to his wife.

Major Viktor Kashtankin's (1910-1944) documents, his biography written by his widow Tatyana, and a letter dated 20 January 1942 addressed to his mother are also available now in the library. On 23 March 1944, during a sortie to attack enemy ships, Viktor Kashtankin's aircraft was hit. The pilot sent his burning Il-2 to the enemy patrol ship and destroyed it.

Viktor Kashtankin's award sheet and letter   Main Archive Department of Moscow

MES users can learn about the exploits of Lieutenant Veniamin Gusev (1923-1994), too. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his participation in the Belarussian strategic offensive operation. During the fights from 23 June to 4 July 1944, a company he commanded liberated seven settlements, with Veniamin Gusev personally killing 25 enemy soldiers and officers.

Another hero is captain Ivan Astakhov (1921-1944). The fighter squadron commander died in a battle on 7 February 1944. In total, during the war, he participated in 63 air battles, shooting down 12 enemy aircrafts. Users may read the hero's autobiography, as well as the article 'Matured in Battle', published in the Stalin's Pilot newspaper on 19 June 1943, and the award sheet.

You will find among the documents a letter of Senior Lieutenant Yuri Zykov (1922-1944) to his relatives from the front. The pilot wrote it in December 1943. He received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for participation in 175 sorties. Yuri destroyed on his own 18 enemy aircrafts on the ground, 40 tanks, two echelons, 20 fuel tanks and crushed 22 anti-aircraft artillery points. On 21 February 1944, he was killed when performing a combat mission.


Autobiography, award sheet and other documents will introduce the MES users to the exploits of Senior Lieutenant Ivan Arendarenko (1921-2013). The battery commander of an artillery regiment distinguished himself in battles during the liberation of Vitebsk region, Belorussian SSR.

Main Archive Department of Moscow and MES's Great Patriotic War Project

Main Archive Department of Moscow together with the Moscow Department of Education and Science publishes materials within the media project 'Heroes of the Soviet Union — heirs of Victory'. The unique collection contains more than 1,200 articles about people awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Thanks to the project, the MES library users are able now to learn about their heroic deeds, read autobiographies, view award recommendations, award sheets, rare photos, listen to audio and watch video records.

This May, the first materials about the Heroes of the Soviet Union appeared in the MES library. It is about the pilots who participated in the rescue of the Chelyuskin icebreaker’s crew and performed long-distance non-stop flights, as well as participants in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, the Soviet-Finnish campaign, the Great Patriotic and Soviet-Japanese wars. The library also includes other numerous data related to the Great Patriotic War. In July, the library published materials about the participants of the battle of Kursk.

You can also find documents about the battle of Stalingrad. Users have access to wartime newspapers, magazines, brochures and leaflets, portraits of pilots, gunners, tankers and infantry officers, who distinguished themselves during combat missions. Photos were taken by well-known military photographers Sergei Strunnikov, Boris Yaroslavtsev, Robert Diament and Yakov Ryumkin.

You may also view archival documents telling about the lifting of Leningrad's siege. Rare photographs show houses destroyed by shelling, and Leningrad citizens who defended the city.

Main Archive Department of Moscow has been cooperating with MES since this March, adding rare historical documents and photos to the electronic library.

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