Archive for October 17, 2008

Laura K.’s Versions of the Three Babushkis Visit

       The first babushka who gave a speech was Valentina Romanovna. She was born in Russian village in 1930. There were 9 children born in her family including her however 3 children died when they were little and 2 at older age. They were very poor and during the WWII they were starving. She said that they had no candy, no food, and no clothes. Her mother was a very kind and giving woman. This lady studied in school only for 1 year. When the war started she was 10 and already began to work so she could help her mother. During Collectivization period they had to give a lot of milk and eggs to SelSovet otherwise they would get sued. People had to pay high taxes on everything. All of her life she worked in the mine and retired at age of 45. Her pension was pretty high during Soviet Union times but after Perestroika become a very little. Later she started to talk about her family. Valentina Romanovna had two sons who died at relatively young age. The oldest son Anatoly died while serving in the Army in Vladivostok, Chechnya. Another son by name Nikolay went for hunting and died by falling under the ice of frozen river. Later her husband went to the place where her son died and started to drink heavily, and soon died from liver decease. She was left to live with her mother who lived 100 years and 3 months.


     The second babushka was Natalya Nikiforovna. She was born in 1931. Her birthplace is village in Semipalatinskaya oblast, Kazakhstan. This lady said comparing to Valentina Romanovna who lived in Russia during the war their family didn’t starve because they had a fertile land and own garden where they grew corn, sunflower and other fruits and vegetables. There were two children in her family. Her father died in WWII. Grain seeds and livestock were sent to soldiers who were fighting against Germans. She studied at school for 7 years and later worked as an accountant for 22 years. Natalya Nikiforovna had two children as well and died at young age as well. She blames Semipalatinsk’s polygon. That place was known for its nuclear tests. Those tests began in 1946. At that time they didn’t know that it was so dangerous for their health and lives. Her only left granddaughter has a son who was born with many deformities simply to say he is invalid who will never be able to live by himself and possibly will not live long. Many people suffered from radiation that they were exposed to when they lived in Semipalatinsk closed to the Poligon.


     The last babushka I am going to write about is Raisa Nikolaevna. She was born in 1932, in Kirov, Russia. There were 4 children in her family. Her father died during WWII while fighting against German Fashists. When Germans came close to Kursk they were evacuated to live in Zabaikalie. She started to work at the age of 9 in order to be able to her mother. Her education is 7 years of school. In the morning she would go to school and after school she went to work. Her mom made clothes out of parachute material that was found on the field. There was 1 cow and chickens on their premises. Later she got married and went with her husband to Tashkent. Over there she went to Medical School and later became a medical nurse. After that they went to live close to her mother to Ulan Ude. They worked at animal farm as a veterinarian. That farm was producing different animal furs like mink and etc. Later she moved again to live in the North, Magadanskaya oblast. She taught native people-chukchi everything. Chukchi elected her as deputy official. The furs that they made were sent to auction to Leningrad.   



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