55 years ago, on December 3, 1966, the solemn funeral of the Unknown Soldier took place in Moscow. An armored personnel carrier with a gun carriage, on which the coffin was installed, moved from the Belorussky railway station to Red Square at a speed of 3 km/h. Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky walked in the forefront of the procession.
4 million missing
Hundreds of thousands of people stood in dense rows along the entire route. For many of them, fathers, children, brothers and sisters did not return from the front. Instead of a funeral, they received a notice with the short wording: “ Missing. '' On that day, each of them believed that they would finally be able to bury their loved one. Newsreels & mdash; mournful faces with tears in their eyes, which quickly turned into pieces of ice. The day was frosty.
21 years have passed since the Victory. A new generation has grown up. They, young people and girls of the same age as those who fell for the Motherland, paid tribute to the heroic deed of the soldier in solemn silence, on whose grave the words: “ Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal. ''
It was the day when in Moscow, for the first time, honors were paid to millions of fighters who were listed as missing. According to official statistics, there were more than 4 million of them. During Stalin's time, the wording 'missing' was something shameful. What if the soldier was captured? What if he deserted? These “ suddenly '' undeservedly denigrated the memory of millions of defenders of the Fatherland.
The idea was brought from Poland
A fighter about whom there was no accurate information for 15 days and whose body was not found and identified was considered missing. But how, in the conditions of that terrible war, was it possible to document the death of everyone ?! Here they send a wounded carriage from the front line to the rear, at this moment the bombing begins. The wounded never made it to the hospital … And that's it: relatives receive a message about the “ missing person ''. Or a group of fighters leaves on a mission. A gunfight is heard. Half did not return. And again, the terrible words “ missing '' fly to relatives. How many of them, who laid down their heads near Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Rzhev, who died in a multimillion-dollar bloody meat grinder, remained unidentified in the fields, at the bottom of rivers, in the forests. And how many widows and orphans did not know where to come to bow to the ashes of a loved one. And then she appeared: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The grave, which was considered native by millions of our compatriots.
Among all the victorious countries in the Second World War, the Soviet Union was the last state where such a monument appeared. The idea came to the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Alexei Kosygin after a visit to Poland, where the Soviet delegation laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. Interested in the question, he learned that similar monuments exist in the USA, England, France.
It was originally planned that the Soviet monument would be dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers who died in the battle for the capital. In December 1966, preparations were made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis near Moscow. Kosygin shared his thoughts with Nikolai Egorychev , First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee of the CPSU. For Egorychev, the creation of the monument became a matter of honor. He fought himself and lost his brother at the front. He disappeared without a trace. Egorychev considered it his duty as a soldier, who had returned from the front alive, to create a monument in honor of those who, as the famous song says, “turned into white cranes.” Very soon the idea of the monument expanded to an all-Union scale.
'Seeks cheap popularity among the people'
It would seem that this case should have been supported at the very top, but unexpectedly Leonid Brezhnev began to slow down the process of creating the monument. The fact is that Egorychev, wishing to start implementing the project as soon as possible, approved the draft sketches of the future memorial complex at Kosygin and Mikhail Suslov , who was considered the second person in the party after Brezhnev. But the sketches did not get to Brezhnev himself, since at that moment he was absent from Moscow. Both Kosygin and Suslov liked the sketches. They were approved. But Leonid Ilyich took Egorychev's operational activities with hostility. Allegedly, the first secretary of the Moscow City Party Committee takes on too much. At the same time, anonymous letters rained down on Yegorychev in the Central Committee, where he was accused of trying to gain cheap popularity among the people.
When it came to choosing a place where the memorial complex would be located, Brezhnev was in no hurry to agree on it. Three options were proposed: Lenin Hills, the Spit of the Moskva River (now there is a monument to Peter the Great) and Manezhnaya Square (there is now a shopping center). Brezhnev did not approve any of the options. At the same time, less than a month remained before the installation of the monument. Egorychev was sure that the monument should be located at the Kremlin wall in the Alexander Garden. But the place was occupied by an obelisk in honor of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. After the October 1917 coup, Lenin ordered the names of revolutionaries to be stamped on this obelisk instead of the names of the sovereigns. “ Everything that was associated with Lenin was considered unshakable in the USSR. No one even thought could do something with the obelisk '', & mdash; later told Yegorychev himself in a television interview. He, of course, took the risk, but he saw no other way out. Egorychev closed the Alexander Garden in the daytime and ordered to move the obelisk, and later managed to convince the Politburo members of the advisability of erecting the monument in the Alexander Garden. Finally, Brezhnev gave the go-ahead.
At the same time, the question of whose ashes will be buried at the Kremlin wall was resolved. In the fall of 1966, a mass grave was discovered during construction work on the symbolic 41st kilometer of the Moscow-Leningrad highway near Zelenograd. And in it & mdash; remains in well-preserved uniforms without insignia.
Why Post No. 1 was moved
On December 3, 1966, the remains of the Unknown Soldier arrived in Moscow. The burial was attended by Leonid Brezhnev, marshals Georgy Zhukov and Konstantin Rokossovsky. The latter thus paid tribute to the memory of his soldiers, since he commanded the Western Front and the 16th Army during the defense of Moscow. The monument at the grave was erected later. Inauguration of the memorial complex 'Tomb of the Unknown Soldier' took place on May 8, 1967. The ceremony was led by Nikolai Egorychev.
In 1997, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin issued a decree “ On the establishment of a permanent guard of honor in Moscow at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier '', according to which Post No. 1 was moved from the mausoleum to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
And since 2014, after the decision of the State Duma on December 3, when the ashes of the unknown soldier were buried in the Alexander Garden, it became officially known as the Day of the Unknown Soldier.
Now already the third and fourth generations of families come here, where in 1941-1945. a funeral came with the words “ missing ''. According to the documents, these fighters disappeared without leaving a trace. The main thing is that they do not disappear from our national memory, that we retain in us awe of their feat and fearlessness with which they met and drove the enemy from their native land.