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Lydia Bezrukova

Wife of the Soviet officer Nikolai Bezrukov


I went to the market, then to Khreshchatyk. I wanted to buy shoes for the boys. There’s nothing for them to wear now. Returning from Khreshchatyk, I heard the news on the tram: "Our troops crossed the border." They said that the radio broadcast a report from Molotov - it said that the Red Army would go help our brothers - Ukrainians and Belarusians of Poland.

I do not know how I managed to keep it together and not cry, my heart sank. People who have relatives and friends in Poland were worried and were listening to the stories; others were indifferent and took no part in the conversation. I wanted to get home as quickly as possible.

Our entire city is panicking. Everyone rushed to the shops, almost everything is gone from the shelves now. In our cooperative, there’s already a giant waiting list for flour, pasta, oil, cereals, etc. Marusya & I decided we won’t stockpile anything - be it as it may. But is there indeed a war going on - with whom? This is something we can’t figure out. No one declared war on us - and, surely, we won’t start a war ourselves. No one spoke about it on the radio or mentioned it in newspapers. Is this just a military exercise? It seems to be too huge. See more

One battalion leaves after the other, the tanks are moving in an endless line. Wives are crying, husbands drop in “for a minute”. Kolya didn’t come, I stupidly waited for him yesterday and today. It was painful, and upsetting. My guys are also worried, they are constantly bringing some kind of news. They say that the Red Army House is full with newly drafted conscripts Wives, mothers, sisters are standing there in a crowd; they are afraid that the “real war” has begun. Our women are gathering in groups, sharing impressions, drawing their own conclusions. 

Today there was an admission exam for nursing courses. I also want to attend these courses, but I don’t know if I have enough time. 

In the evening we went to the meeting. It turned out that this will not be a year-and-a-half course, which would allow one to be a staff nurse, but a nine-month course, that would only give a reserve nurse license. Many people were disappointed. Today the head of the course, Grishnev, came to us, encouraging us to sign up, but I decided not to go. They need to recruit a group of at least 35 people, otherwise, the courses won’t start. They started accepting people even with a four-year education. And before that, there was a decree to accept only those who have an education not lower than seven years.

A collective farm in the Dnepropetrovsk region.

We have had such good weather in the past few days, but I haven’t had time to be in the sun. In Vinnytsia, there was more free time. Yesterday, Nikolai and I went to the market. We bought tomatoes, cucumbers and eggs. He took the basket, and at the tram stop there were plenty of people, as usual, and it is always a fight to get on the tram. Nikolai is always polite, he lets the women go first, Leningrad style. And here this isn’t done, men push women, even those with small children. See more

Today was the loan subscription. I asked for 100 roubles.

The flat in Kiev isn’t bad, I was expecting worse. In July, Klavdia Dmitrievna arrived with her family. They were transferred to Chernigov. She spent a whole day with us. I really grew tired of running around Kreshschatyk Street with her, and then I was busy with lunch. Everything is so expensive now, there is never enough money. Oh well.

The courtyard here is very, very big. The government dacha is on our side, it has a large fence around it. We often look over the fence with envy, there is a wonderful park, with a pond, a swimming area, huge trees, manicured alleys, and many pine trees everywhere. It is so nice, so tempting. In the spring, the park is filled with the songs of birds. I can’t even describe the happiness when I heard nightingales here for the first time in many years. Several hours after that, I stood next to the park, frozen, listening to their songs. See more