Russian MoD Declassifies Docs About Soviet Women's Feats During WWII

Russian MoD Declassifies Docs About Soviet Women's Feats During WWII Russian Defence Ministry

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Russian Ministry of Defense has published archival documents about the feats of Soviet women during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).

The special selection includes declassified documents from the Central Archive of the ministry, including letters, photographs, wartime newspaper clippings, reporting notices, etc.

"Each of these collections is a story in miniature, and together they are a kaleidoscope of women's destinies, full of courage, bravery, selfless and by no means female deeds," the Ministry noted.

Nurse’s Feat

The documents touch upon the act of bravery of Maria Fofanova, who heroically pulled 46 wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Being a volunteer, she managed to help 200 injured people from July 5 to September 19, 1942. Fofanova was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for bravery and courage.

She Was the First to Throw Herself on the Enemy

Natalya Kostyanitsyna, lance-corporal from the 133rd detached Guards Pioneer Battalion, led the soldiers to attack the adversaries at a decisive moment after destroying the enemy’s machine-gun crew with a hand-grenade in 1944.

“At the very decisive moment we heard a ringing voice of a girl, calling for an attack. We raised our heads. There was a woman standing in front of us holding a rifle. Natasha was shooting and then she drew a grenade from the girdle around her waist and was the first to throw herself on the enemy, shouting “Forward! Hurray!” one of the combatants described.

Kostyanitsyna was awarded the Order of the Red Star for her bravery and heroism.

Farewell Comrades!

In February 1943 Olga Filatkina was appointed a radio operator; during the fighting the wounded woman transmitted messages up until the end. She indicated the location of the detachment with a calm voice, сalling down fire.

“…Germans invaded our location. Farewell comrades! I am blowing up the radio,” she said in her last transmission.

Olga, however, survived; it was only in 1945 when it became known that she had to go through various ordeals; from captivity and concentration camps, to escape and working underground in occupied territory. She went through all of it and returned home.

She Fought Until Her Last Breath

In 1944 Tatyana Baramzina volunteered for the army and became a sniper. In June she was sent behind enemy lines; during an battle between the Germans and the Soviet soldiers where they were outnumbered, she managed to kill twenty adversaries.

Later, when German soldiers attacked their camp; Baramzina defended herself by shooting until she ran out of ammunition and was taken prisoner. Tatiana was tortured and then shot dead from close range with an anti-tank weapon. She was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.