Astana Billboards of Vets from “Great Patriotic War”

Yesterday’s bike ride along the highway to Astana’s airport yielded many photos of true heroes. Bold and honorable men and women who loved their Motherland enough to fight for their freedom against the Nazi Germans. That is, if you believe the Soviet version that the freedom they gained from the Bolsheviks (means “majority” in Russian which Lenin’s cohort wasn’t really a majority against comrade Kerensky who originally overthrew the Russian czar) was TRUE freedom.  Confused yet?

Let me explain, before the 1917 revolution there were many Kazakh nomads on the steppes who moved their sheep and cattle around and had strong connections with their property and their families that went back many thousands of years. Tradition, tradition!!! My husband (an ex-Sovietologist)  is currently studying about agriculture in Kazakhstan, something he did back in 1992-1995 when he first came to the Almaty area.  My sad and despairing point is that many of these Kazakhs or Kazakhstanis were forced to fight in a war after their nomadic lifestyle had been decimated by the collectivization policies from Moscow. Those who fought in what we as westerners know as World War II was necessarily dubbed “Great Patriotic War” by Leader Stalin (Ironman) as if to rally the troops around the concept of patriotism and love of the Motherland.  If these veterans in Kazakhstan are still living, they probably have many sad stories to tell even before they witnessed the bloodshed of the war on USSR soil.  That was sad enough, the reason I blog is to highlight the neglected facts from a Kazakh perspective that seemingly are covered over by history books written in the Soviet Union’s favor.

I draw my readers’ attention to the misnomer of the name of the war while at the same time I do not wish to negate the tragedy of those who bravely fought in it and saw many of their own die on the battlefield.  They are all heroes and many of those lived on after the war are much loved by their families.  I know, I have all my Kazakh students write about their grandparents and I get story after story about how these vets are greatly admired.  I will feature their photos the next several days to honor these vets as well.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    […] &#183 Tagged Astana, Great Patriotic War, Kazakhstan, WWII Here’s a continuation of yesterday’s theme of showing WWII (Great Patriotic War) veterans who are featured on Astana billboards going to the airport south of town.  I will try to get […]


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