b>The last attempt to preserve the USSR failed. Recalling our past publications
There have been many letters coming to the office, but this one grabbed our attention. It was a short letter, written in very neat handwriting, like junior schoolchildren do. Here it is:
“Hello, my dearest. I learned about you a year ago. I have been bugging my friends for a year already, trying to find out your address. I wanted to write you a letter so much, to help you in a way that I can. My name is Grandma Nadya. I am 74 years old. I am sending you a package. Please write me back when you have it. I want to know in what condition it was when you received it. Maybe I will send you something more, when I can. Please write something about yourselves: who you are, how old you are, and what you do. I will close for now. Have courage! Goodbye. Grandma Nadya.”
The package arrived in a couple of days. It was a small cardboard box containing two packs of macaroni, a pack of semolina, and three pieces of fat. Well, I have to say that I had a strong wish to see Grandma Nadya, this Russian woman with an open soul. When I returned home, I started writing a letter to her. I wrote all I knew about us and how we live. Of course, I thanked her for her package from the bottom of my heart.
Days and weeks were going by, and no answer came. I was so surprised to see a letter from her a couple of weeks later. “Hello, darling! Where are you, and how are you doing? My grandson Sergey was killed in Chechnya. My son Andrey could not stand the tragedy, and we buried him too. I have been crying my eyes out during these two years. Like it was in 1945, when I was waiting for my husband Vasily to come back home from the war. He didn’t come back. I stayed a widow for the rest of my life, until my son Andrey grew up. Trouble came to my house again. I was prayed to God to take me to heaven. I have been through the whole war, which totally devastated my family. My father died in 1942, and the Germans burnt my sister alive. I could not believe I lost the people closest to me. But what is going on now? We saved the country from fascist Germans in 1945, but we surrendered it in 1991 without even a shot. I do not know what you think over there in Moscow, but we have a lot of questions here. Who needed all that? I think that the State Committee for Emergencies acted faint-heartedly, and we did not had the nerve to say it. Were we afraid of blood? I am sure that there were no people in the committee who would have ordered to shoot their own fellow Russians. But there was so much blood shed after the USSR collapsed! Blood in Armenia, in Azerbaijan, in Moldavia, and in Tajikistan, thousands of refugees and destroyed lives.
They say that the members of the State Committee for Emergencies were protecting the honor of the Soviet Army. They said that Armed Forces were supposed to stay beyond politics. This is a doubtful aspiration. Three people died in 1991. People say that they had stupid deaths, because no one was shooting anyone in Moscow at that moment. However, they all were awarded with the Hero of Russia Decoration. I share their mothers’ grief and pain. About 100 thousand Russian men have been killed in Chechnya What are their mothers to do now? No one even bothers to think about the Army anymore.
Speaking of honor. Let’s remember how Dmitry Yazov, the defense minister, behaved. He was in charge of the armed forces of the Soviet Union. I think that he only had to say one word to save the Soviet Union. But he decided to go to prison instead. Wasn’t it a shame? Now we have to reap the fruits of our labor.”
This letter stunned me. This reminded me of another story, another Russian woman from the Smolensk region. When I was a child, I lost my parents and remained completely alone in a town that I did not even know well. This woman had two children and a sick husband. She took me to her apartment and said: “This is your home now.” She had to work for all of us. I will never forget the day when I was held the telegram that said she died. The letter from Grandma Nadya was like a vestige of human care that I was so lucky to have long time ago, when I was a kid.
Vladimir Kortyrko PRAVDA.Ru February 2, 1999
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov