June 6, 2023
Sergei Stepashin

Sergei Stepashin

Photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN

“What are your favorite lines about the war, about Victory Day?”.

This is the name of the “Question of the Day” (our traditional column), which was published in the daily issue of “KP” on Friday, May 5, on the eve of the main holiday of the country – Victory Day over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War.

We asked the well-known politician and public figure, President of the Russian Book Union and Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Sergei Stepashin

– I have many favorite songs about the war, – said Sergei Stepashin. – Because I grew up in a family with a long military tradition. The late father-in-law, Vladimir Mitrofanovich Ignatiev, fought, Hero of the Soviet Union. My grandfather, Dmitry Ivanovich Stepashin, a senior sergeant, a member of the CPSU (b), unfortunately, went missing near Stalingrad.

Mom survived the entire blockade of Leningrad with her grandmother. So for us, the war, for my family, for me personally, this is not an empty phrase.

– But is there a song that is especially memorable?

-Eat. In 1965, May 9 was made a public holiday for the first time. The country celebrated the 20th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. And we, schoolchildren, prepared for this holiday a staging of a song from the famous film “Silence” (directed by Vladimir Basov, released in 1964 – author) – “At an unnamed height.” It was written by composer Veniamin Basner and poet Mikhail Matusovsky.

For us boys, performing this staged song was a memorable event. And all of a sudden, 40 years later, in 2005, I again experienced great excitement in connection with this song. They celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Victory and they came up with an action on the radio: famous Russian politicians sang songs about the war. I just sang this song then.

– Sergey Vadimovich, can you perform at least one verse?

– I can even sing two verses. The first and last, they are so significant and significant for me.

The only thing, of course, is that it is very difficult for me to sing without accompaniment. So forgive me generously.


– You said that your father-in-law was a Hero of the Soviet Union.

– Father-in-law Vladimir Mitrofanovich liberated Kyiv, received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for crossing the Dnieper. Had 19 wounds. He passed away a long time ago, he was only 68 years old.

He was originally from the Lipetsk province, and was drafted into the army from Gorlovka, where he worked in the pre-war period. And now this city is being shelled by Ukrainian Nazis. If the front-line soldier would wake up now, I think he would again take the machine gun and go into battle.

– You quite often think about your wife’s father. And everyone knows that cadet Stepashin married for love the girl Tamara Ignatieva, daughter of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

– I was already a lieutenant, please don’t demote me.

– And now Tamara’s husband is a colonel general. And often you and your wife celebrate a great holiday, and go to the Immortal Regiment, as far as I know, not in St. Petersburg, where you have lived most of your life, not in the capital, where you now live, but in one village.

– Yes, this is the village of Pruzhinki in the Lipetsk province. There, the local school bears the name of my wife’s father. We helped this school very seriously at the time. They really wanted to shut it down. We got the school to leave. Now it is equipped with the latest technology. There is a special museum there, the guys know very well why the school is named after this hero – he studied there. On May 9, the inhabitants of this village, of course, organize their own small Immortal Regiment.

This time we will celebrate the holiday at home with family and friends. And in the morning I will go to the parade on Red Square. Moreover, Tamara’s father was a participant in the great parade in 1945 in the month of June.

– Today we cannot but remember your mother, Lyudmila Sergeevna.

Yes, God bless your mom. She turned 95 this year. My mother is an amazing resilience person! The ordeal of starvation that Leningraders endured during the blockade is probably even worse than the ordeal of battle. In combat, death may not be painful, but instantaneous. And the test of hunger is a slow and painful path to death.

Nevertheless, Leningraders survived, in inhuman conditions they remained people. They saved their city and themselves too.

– And now, by the way, they are saving the Russian city of Mariupol, which was destroyed during the hostilities in the process of liberating it from Ukrainian Nazi formations.

– And the most interesting thing is that literally the other day the first Leningrad tram went to this city after the restoration began. This is also very pleasing to me.

My fellow builders are restoring the theater there, which was blown up by the Nazis.

Governor Alexander Beglov personally oversees this issue.

– Well, there, in Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin day and night. Already the first kindergarten was populated …

– A lot has been restored or rebuilt. I personally was there with the mission of the Public Council under the Ministry of Construction, I saw the pace of the city’s revival. In two years, there will be no traces of the battles for sure.

– Taking advantage of the fact that we broadcast in new regions, in particular, in Mariupol, you can address with words of congratulations.

– Fortunately, in Mariupol, in the Donbass, this holiday was not forgotten – Victory Day, unlike some other cities in Ukraine, did not turn it into a day of mourning and reconciliation with the German fascists.

And two wishes. The first is that the word “arrivals” remains in history. Do you understand what I am talking about.

And secondly, I wish you a speedy restoration of normal life in the long-suffering Mariupol, in Donetsk, Gorlovka and throughout the Donbass and the Azov region. So that those who were forced to leave their native places finally returned to their homes.


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