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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Kiev: Hero City of the USSR

Soviet troops crossing the Dnieper, November 1943

From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War we continue our series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."

This fourth post looks at the Hero City of Kiev.

It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.

Kiev: Hero City #4:

The war came to Kiev at dawn on June 22, 1941. The first enemy bombs fell on the city. The Nazi command expected to capture the city on the move, but the plans of the Nazis were frustrated by the stubborn resistance of the Soviet troops. The defense of Kiev lasted 71 days. The enemy lost more than 100,000 soldiers and officers here.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, the working people of Kiev took measures in advance to strengthen the defense of the city, and did everything possible to keep the capital of Ukraine. In the first days of the war, 200,000 Kiev residents (including half of the Kiev city party organization) joined the ranks of the Soviet Army, 35,000 joined extermination battalions and the people's militia. Every day, about 160,000 inhabitants of the city built defensive lines. The industry of the city was rebuilt in a military way.

After fierce, bloody battles, superior enemy forces managed to capture Kiev. Under the conditions of occupation, a merciless struggle with the enemy unfolded. This struggle was led by the underground committee of the party.

On November 6, 1943, the Red Banner of Freedom was hoisted over ancient Kiev. During the crossing of the Dnieper and the liberation of Kiev, Soviet troops defeated 15 enemy divisions.

The motherland highly appreciated the mass heroism shown by the soldiers in the battle for Kiev. 663 soldiers and officers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, more than 17,000 were awarded orders and medals, 65 formations and units received the honorary name of Kiev. The medal "For the Defense of Kiev" was awarded to 105,000 defenders of the city.

June 21, 1961 the Hero City of Kiev was awarded a second Order of Lenin, in 1965 it was awarded the Gold Star medal.

During the battle for the Dnieper, during which the capital of the Ukrainian SSR, Kiev, was liberated, Soviet troops inflicted a heavy defeat on the Nazi army, creating conditions for an offensive in Belarus and the complete liberation of Right-Bank Ukraine. The "eastern defensive rampart" collapsed - the last hope of the Nazis to disrupt the offensive strategy of the Soviet Army.

The Motherland Monument -- Monument in honour of the defenders and liberators of Kiev erected in 1981. The monument has since been defaced by the coup regime in Ukraine.



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