Posts tagged Victory Day

Victory Day in the former Soviet Union

I guess I could proclaim my own Victory Day after having taken a fall on April 22nd, the day before my hubbie’s birthday. Bad timing. I had all this energy to get things done because there is MUCH to get done and that can all change in the twinkling of an eye. I fell and ended up in ICU for four days and two weeks later, I was released from the hospital. I don’t take my energy level for granted anymore after having been zapped of it. It takes a while to heal and I am still in the recovery mode.

Tomorrow I will be in the graduation exercise and hope I can survive that, the hours of sitting listening to the guest speaker, the other speakers and then watching all the graduates cross the stage. However, I DO need some kind of formal function to go to. I hate sitting at home in bed with nothing to do. Actually, I have plenty to do but not the keenness of spirit or mind to get it done.

I’m glad that the second book is on the conveyor belt now and scheduled to come out on June 16th. That’s just in time for our all school’s reunion at the end of June. We shall see how many people venture to buy this book, similar to the first one I did of my hometown. Now it is about the important people who helped form my town. I think it is really good, I put a LOT of work into it. Eventually, people will see the value of it.

I am celebrating with Ukrainians during this day of Victory which happened many years ago. Things are changing in Ukraine, we are praying for the good of the whole country.

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Astana Victory Day Billboards–Grand Finale

I have many more photos of the Victory Day billboards which featured at least 65 of the WWII veterans.  We just finished celebrating 65 years since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Sadly, this will be the last that I’ll show these brave veterans on this blog.  Now I need to sit down with someone who knows both Russian and Kazakh to help translate the quotes of what each war hero said.  I can understand all their names and their ages but I need help especially with Kazakh.  Seeing these billboards on my bike rides towards the airport, south of Astana, was a nice surprise. It shows just how much respect the Kazakhs give to their older generation, something our American culture could learn something about the older I get.

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Astana Billboards and Beket’s Grandparents

These are the last two photos I took of the billboards of WWII veterans on my way biking out to the Astana airport. (I will try to get translations of the quotes next to each veteran that go with each billboard picture.)  Victory Day is tomorrow which is why it is fitting to feature Beket’s story about his grandparents.

“We live in a constant rush. That is why we do not have enough time to share it with our relatives. There are always some doings, some meetings. But it is in our power to change this sad fact.

I am proud of living in Kazakhstan. Kazakh culture has deep roots in the nomadic history beginning from Saks and finishing by the 21th century. Our traditions play a large role in our life. Kazakh people follow customs of being respectful to old people. Every male must know his family’s tree.

I am a happy guy because I have a lot of relatives. We are always gathering at holydays. I have grandparents both from mother and father’s side. Every summer I go to Shymkent where they live. I spend all summer just for being with them. My grandpa, Tulegen Zhakipbayev , is a veteran of the Second World War. He is an ex-army officer. And now he has written 4 books about his life experience, his life during the War. It was specially made for his kids, grandchildren with the aim to tell them a full truth about those 1940s years. I have already read them and still listen to his stories. Here is part of his book:

“… on the 3rd of September there will be 55 years since the victory over Japan. Unfortunately, this date is undeservedly not celebrated although this victory is the official end of the Second World war.  I am going to tell you about this victory more detailed.

Japan Army was on the peak at the end of 1942.  They captured northern and north-eastern part of China, defeated American Fleet in Pearl Harbor, occupied Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Indo-China, Malaysia. There were 1.5 million soldiers in Soviet Army in Manchuria. But both sides had signed a  Protocol of nonaggression.

…            The most dangerous was the “Detachment 731” which produced bacteriological weapons of mass destruction. ..

… Now and 1945 came. We stay in Transbaikalia. The Great News about the The Great Victory we met with thunderous soldiers cheers. Embraces, tears… But The War has not finished for us. Japan has declined the capitulation act. We began the war with Japan. Our actions were successful…”

I have read this book twice or maybe three times.

Each summer our big family gather in my grandpa’s huge house which was built specially to provide us relax and entertainment. I usually get up early in the morning and then water the garden. My grandparents put there grapes, peaches, apples. That is why it is so pleasurably to eat fruits on open fresh air.

Each 9th of May they visit us in Astana to participate in the Victory Parade. During this day they meet a lot of their old friends, comrades. Sometimes it is so harrowing: their tears so sad!

Life is passing day by day, that is why we must use this time to share it with our parents, Grandparents. They need attention, just few words.

We love you.”

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Red Hues Used in Astana

I love color, can’t get enough of blues and greens. Seems that the red dye is predominantly used in carpets made in Kazakhstan.  I have a small red one back home in Minnesota that I purchased back in 1993 for only $80.  I keep looking for BLUE carpets because they are so rare here.  Billboards are all over Astana reminding us to celebrate 65 years since the end of WWII in Europe. (they call it “Great Patriotic War”) Victory Day will be remembered throughout the former Soviet Union on May 9th, this upcoming Sunday.  That’s when you will see GPW vets walking around the streets displaying all their medals on their suitcoat.  By this time there should only be a few vets from that era because otherwise they are about 85 years old.  Life expectancy of men in Kazakhstan is not typically that long. These older men might be from the war in Afghanistan that the USSR was involved in for at least ten years.  In any case, thought you might want to see some red hues used in Astana.  No red tulips yet!!!

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Gulsezim’s Grandfather’s Name was Khalel

Each of us in the world appreciate our roots. One of those whose name is impossible to forget is my grandfather’s name Khalel. He is an irreplaceable pride for me. Because he was one of those people who saw that war under fear of death, starvation, pain and loss. 

But despite all this terrors only devotion to the people and aspiration to a happy new life with bright sky could help finish the war and start a new era.

 My grandfather was born in 1917 in a small village which is situated in the west part of Kazakhstan. As far as I know, my grandfather and my grandmother lived at the time Soviet Union formation, and there was a forfeiture of property, so that their lives were full of suffering.  

Unfortunately, I have never seen my grandfather because he died far a long before my birth.

During the war he was wounded that is why he could not walk. Despite of his ache in his leg he walked with two cords and sang a song.  

I think my grandfather was a man full of friends and cleverness. All our relatives congratulated him every victory day before his death. It is a pity that I cannot see my grandfather but sometimes I think everything can be differently. As it is said “a good man is taken , but all good things are not forgotten”. So my grandfather’s name is never forgotten too.  

He is a hero and pride for me because such people as he presented us life without tears.

My grandfather will be always in my mind and my children and grandchildren will know about heroic action of their grand-grandfather.  

I pray god let never be that terror our grandparents saw. Let always be peace and never repeat the war in the history.

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Great Patriotic War Medals and Memorials

medalsI often wonder what happens to all the medals that were given out to veterans of Soviet wars once they die. Do those medals on veterans’ chests during Victory Day eventually end up on the sidewalks for sale? Funny that they should be sold next to silverware and books on Sufiism. See also the memorials that are in every small town throughout Kazakhstan to remember the courage the Red Army soldiers had while fighting during WWII.WWII memorialWWII soldiers

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Assel’s Grandfather in Great Patriotic War

In my big family, our authority and source of pride for us was and will always be my grandfather. His name is Amangaliyev Kalesh, and he was a participant of Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. All of us, that is grandchildren, grew up hearing his interesting, sometimes terrible stories about Patriotic War. During his stories I would always observe that he had sad eyes, and at that moment I always understood all the depth of his sorrow. I think, sorrow about his lost friends, who died to get for us desirable freedom!

Amangaliyev Kalesh was born in West Kazakhstan in Atyrau on 1924. According to the family photos I think in his youth he was very smart guy. He was tall and had a beautiful face. I think many girls dreamed to get married to him. At school he was a talented pupil. According to his stories he liked literature and mathematics, the exact sciences. Sometimes I think, if there had been no War, he would have been a professor of mathematics or physics. But in 1941 the Great Patriotic War began and he was seventeen.

My grandfather was sent to the War with his father. But his father didn’t come back from the War, since his father was considered as “lost without trace.” From the beginning of the War my grandpa was determined to be a marine, because he was tall, height 1,85-1,90 and had strong health. Initially the base of Baltic fleet was in Cromshtad near Leningrad. He was a chief commander of a ship named as “Sea Hunter.” As I mentioned that base of Baltic fleet was near Leningrad, and almost all of his stories are connected with this town. It seems to me that one of the exciting (for me), but at that time sad story told by my grandpa was that he witnessed the famous “Siege of Leningrad.” At that time Moscow gave an important meaning to the marine, as a powerful force, so they provided Baltic fleet with food, clothes and etc.

My grandpa and his best friend from Ukraine, Sasha Kovalchuk, were imperceptible from the enemies. They shared their foods and provided goods, clothes and other necessary things with hungry families and the population of Leningrad, the victims of the siege. But sadness of this story was that one day when they went to Leningrad with provision and clothes one of the German officers shot down the Soviet people. In that exchange of fire the best friend of my grandpa, Sasha Kovalchuk, died. Grandpa always tells us that Sasha was a great singer, that during the nights without sleep Sasha sang songs about home, about their girlfriends, about their mums that waited for them at home. I think it was very hard to lose his best friend with whom he shared food, clothes, with whom he reconnoitered.

My grandpa finished the War with the Baltic fleet in The Far East on 1948. After that he came home to Kazakhstan, especially to Atyrau. I consider that special pride of grandpa in his awards, medals. Here some of them: “For defense of Leningrad,” “For emancipation of Keninzberg (Kaliningrad),” “For fighting merits,” “Order of Patriotic War” and many, many other medals.

Every year when we celebrate May 9 Victory Day, my grandpa wears his suit with many medals on his breast and I feel a deep gratitude and great pride that he is my grandpa.

In conclusion, I want to say that without our grandfathers and grandmothers we would not be living in such a civilized country as Kazakhstan. And I hope that my grandfather and other veterans of Wars will live many, many years, because they won the life under the peaceful blue sky!!!

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Ainash’s Grandparents Difficult Lives


In my life I have seen my grandparents very few times. Moreover, I have not met my first grandmother in this life. We are used to living in the city, but my grandparents lived outside of city. So I have been there only on summer holidays. In spite of this, it was the best holidays of my life because it allowed me to play a lot with nothing else to do. The history of my grandparent’s life is not very well known by me because they did not like to talk about their lives and considered that children don’t need to know about the difficulties of their experiences. I know it only from my mother’s history.

My grandfather’s name was Turmuhambet. He was born in 1919 in Dzhambul city. He was tall, thin, quiet and a very kind person. My grandparent’s family worked on the railway. In the family were two sons and my grandfather was younger. He graduated only seven years at school. After that he went to serve in the armed forces. However, the war came and he began to serve in the regular Army. He served in the regiment, which Iran won in 1941. After 2 years in Tehran held a meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders – there are General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPSU Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Consequently, the city had been completely blocked by troops and special service for three conference days. My grandfather was at that time in those troops. Unfortunately, my grandparent lost his brother in war.

My grandparents became acquainted on Victory Day’s celebration. Thus, my grandfather married my first grandmother. My first grandmother’s name was Kanymkul. She was not tall, but thin and a modest woman. She was born in 1927. My grandparents lived together 31 years. They had 8 children; there are 5 boys and 3 girls. After the war my grandparents moved to the village. My grandfather worked as an accountant and then foreman. He learned the Arabic language and wrote poetry. They have not been published, though. Grandmother was a housewife. She brought up children, supported a house and cared for the livestock. She died at 49 years old. Grandfather married a second time, 8 years later. Her name was Aigan and she was much younger than him. In their life together there were no children. My grandfather died at 85 years old, 2 months after the death of grandmother Aigan. He became ill after the grandmother’s funeral and was never able to recover from this loss. These were difficult times for our family.

In conclusion, I would like to note that grandparents of our generation lived in difficult times. They had many experiences of grief and suffering in protecting the homeland. Currently, there are a few retirees who remain and who served and fought in the Soviet army. Our country cares about them. They are providing incentives and working on social programs for them. But, in my opinion, this is not enough for the elderly, as well as our concern and love brings them more happiness and comfort. We must not stop talking with them and listen to their stories. The main purpose of their life was a peace for their grandchildren. Our main task does not forget history and persons who created this story.

Now I am very sad that I have spoken little with my grandparents about their lives. That gave them little time. But I know that every summer, which I spent with them, brought no less joy.



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Photos of Victory Day (Part II)

young and oldMore photos from yesterday’s Victory Day celebration of giving appreciation to WWII (Great Patriotic War) veterans and their families.  Lots of billboards were reminders of the Soviet Union past, which are featured in today’s photos. Victory Day poster IVVictory Day poster IVictory day poster IIVictory poster III

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Sundry Photos and Sunday Morning Thoughts

view-of-mtnsNotice lately all the photos I have on this blog? Seems I have more to show than to tell. Must be the end of the semester because all I can think about now is figure out final grades and submit those grades the students have earned and finish up other odds and ends projects. I’ll have more time later to think and write, but for now these photos will capture why I like it here so much in Almaty. I have some various sundry photos of artwork from my excursion to the crafts fair last Sunday. See below the hunters and the hunted, the traditional nomad and how he lived off the land without the help of industrialization and the accompanying pollution that attends it here and now in Almaty. Because of our recent rains, I’ve been seeing the stars and crescent moon lately in the cleaned up sky. I also saw the big fireworks display just south of the Kazakhstan hotel to celebrate May Day.


Victory Day is coming up next week, I want to really enjoy this celebration by going to the festivities unhindered by teacher duties. I plan to see the remaining, white haired war veterans parade around with a chest full of medals on their suit and to see all the tanks and missiles drone through the streets. Tanks vs. bow and arrows, quite a contrast the world of Kazakhstan used to be to what it is today.


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