Friday, August 10, 2007

Battle Continues

I was mistaken in my last post. Two people died, in separate incidents, owing to bombs planted or dropped during the Great Patriotic War.

The first death was July 29, a village woman burning trash in what had been a mine field. The second, cited below, happened on the evening of Aug. 4, behind the airport in Belgorod.

I would've expected this to be big news, the stuff of sad stories in national papers. But it seems it may be all too commonplace. Here's the brief write-up in the Belgorod paper (Russian).

The picture above is the soviet memorial of Prokhorovkoe Field, nearer to Kursk than Belgorod, where the largest tank battle took place during the Second World War. The newpaper headline references it, saying the battle continues.

The picture below is the Yelstin-era memorial, a few kilometers down the road from the Soviet structure.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

62 Years Later, WWII Finds Another Victim

I couldn't believe what I heard just yesterday, when my wife told me how a 25 year-old father -- and the friend of her girilfriend's husband -- died in the woods behind her parents' dacha. He was doing something so Russian -- cooking shashlik, skewered meat, over an open flame. Barbecuing, if you will. And in an area I've been before myself. But there was something else there, waiting for him since well before he was born, since before his father was born, most likely, a bomb that had been put there by the German some sixty-two years ago this day. It seems implausible, but this is what I'm told. He selected a spot that was charred, darkened by a fire already, but while building his flame, the heat of the soil ignited the bomb that was juch an inch or two below -- shrapnel cut his cheek, he was dead inside of ten minutes. So young, married, with a child. There's a reason Russia still celebrates Victory Day every year, and you see signs commemorating how many years it's been since the fascists were driven off their land. It's a war that's still killing.

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