The State Duma proposed to toughen the punishment for insulting the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland: the guilty face a term of up to five years and a fine of up to five million rubles. The deputies have prepared amendments aimed at changing the article of the Criminal Code “Rehabilitation of Nazism” and the Code of Administrative Offenses. If these initiatives are accepted, then uploading a photo of Hitler, Himmler and Mengele to the website of the Immortal Regiment will be rated “all five”.
In this initiative of the deputies, a lot of things are unpleasantly clinging to. Her compulsion. Her defensive nature. And something apologetic in the very formulation of the question. I thought: what is wrong here? Where is our vulnerability? And I understood: in the very word “veterans”. The word, which in modern Russian means very elderly, very deserved and retired people for a very long time. Qualified replacement for the word “old people”. Veterans need medical assistance, social taxis and flowers for the holiday. Our bright action-packed life is here and now, and veterans are there and then. They don't participate. They are – at most – present.
Actually, the word “veterans” is from our dictionary. Younger people. It was we, the descendants, who called them that, taking the generation of winners out of parentheses in a “vegetarian” formulation. Leaving them a parade on May 9 and the “Immortal Regiment”. It turned out to be forgotten a strong, energetic, proud word that reflected the essence of the historical action committed by these people. I propose to return the word to the system, to withdraw it from the well-deserved pension. Front-line soldiers. That is what they called themselves. You say – and you immediately want to straighten up, straighten your shoulders and raise your head. Pronounce.
I knew the front-line soldiers from childhood – adults, serious, beautiful grandfather's friends, from whom good power emanated. The same one. Everyone fought, returned and managed to create a second, no less striking, post-war biography for themselves. They were doing something very important: a teacher, a military man, a criminal investigator (like Sharapov), a scientist; were constantly busy: work, family, sports, travel. When they met, they knew how to celebrate like no one else. With a kind of tender and delicate joy. After sitting the kids on the backs of these great people, I learned all military songs and all Russian romances, as well as Pushkin and Tvardovsky (in some places). I learned that the conversations of a good company are conversations about their business and about the country. And about the future of the grandchildren. Clearly good too. Life obeyed these people and followed them like a faithful dog. Tambov Region
It was safe with them. Nothing is scary at all. A childhood protected by such backs is serene. Was it possible to imagine that someone would dare to slap them? It's funny. From each of these front-line soldiers it was possible to get directly into a non-photoshopped face. They said about such people “he fought” – and that was enough. It's like saying now: he is a real person. And it went on forever until it was over. I did not notice when they suddenly turned from front-line soldiers into veterans. And they started to leave. Gradually. Step by step. And then all the faster, running. And after them their word went away. The strongest front-line soldiers are still with us, but the word is gone.
Let's see who these front-line soldiers are? From the forties to the early nineties, they are the main active generation. Papanov, Etush, Gerdt, Basov, Zelenaya, Pugovkin, Bystritskaya, Smoktunovsky, Luspekaev, Yumatov, Chukhrai, Todorovsky, Gaidai, Pristavkin, Rybakov, Bogomolov, Drunina, Solzhenitsyn, Vuchetich, Kalashnikov, Garkavi, Pogoriev, Vuchetich Parfenov, Udodov, Myagkov, Meshkov, Zhukov, Feoktistov, Dobrovolsky, Beregovoy. The list goes on.
Didn't you recognize everyone? And here are the pillars. The pride of the nation, which has built everything from cinema to the exact sciences. Scientists, artists, astronauts, inventors, athletes. But we only know the actors and directors. And this, among other things, explains why a law was now needed to equate the spread of false information about veterans with the rehabilitation of Nazism. Mengele is known, but Parfenov, nicknamed Russian Tank, is not. 75 years of the Great Victory
The generation of winners is perhaps the only one that has managed to fully understand, describe, explain itself. None of the descendants have yet been able to repeat. Let's start from the end of the era, from our childhood times. In the 80s, front-line soldiers were people who lived their lives, but did not lose their power. This is Nikolai Bessoltsev, Lena's grandfather in “Scarecrow”, filmed by the front-line soldier Bykov, – an intellectual warrior who went through heavy battles, has many wounds and, despite his weakness, stands up not only to defend his granddaughter, but truth and kindness itself. And overwhelmingly, disarmingly generous.
In the 70s, front-line soldiers are still the strongest generation, there are many of them, they decide. Generals are they. In the film “Officers”, filmed according to the script of the front-line soldier Vasilyev, they told about themselves in detail: nurses, partisans, privates, generals, here is their entire military, professional and personal history. And our common symbol of faith: “There is no such family in Russia where its hero is not remembered.” Written by Yevgeny Agranovich, of course, also a front-line soldier. But the words have long been popular.
In the cult film “July Rain” by Marlen Khutsiev, front-line soldiers are more than forty – like Alik, played by Yuri Vizbor – a star and a symbol of the era. He transmits signals of the exact time to the generation: “Calm down, comrade, calmly, we have yet to come.” In the thaw 60s, they were at their prime. According to the current WHO classification, they are young people. In the famous final scene at the Bolshoi Theater, where the front-line friends meet – there are many of them, they are still a big people. They, in fact, are the people. And all will be well. And everything is already good. From the war, only disturbing memories remained – like the smell of lilacs, in which Alik hid for four days, while German tanks were around, and which since then he cannot stand. Culture
And if you spin in the 50s, then these men and women are thirty each. And they are the main characters of the era, there are no others at all. Have not grown yet. They create the art of post-war revival, rising to heights that no one has been able to reach until now. In the world – not only in Russia. Military doctor Ustimenko in the film “My Dear Man”, based on the novel by front-line soldier German, soldier Alyosha from “The Ballad of a Soldier” by the front-line soldier Chukhrai, volunteer Boris from “The Cranes Are Flying” based on the play “Forever Alive” by the front-line soldier Rozov, the driver Sokolov, who adopted an orphan, – from “The Fate of a Man”, filmed by the front-line soldier Bondarchuk after the story of the front-line soldier Sholokhov: “I was looking for you, sonny, both in Germany and in Poland, and you ended up in Uryupinsk.” These are people with whom you want to be one family. No others are needed. They have set the bar to which modernity has not grown. The ideal of masculine and feminine. The ideal of the human. They have created our worldview by recording their value formulas in books and on tape. Defined our views even before birth. Simply by creating their own high culture, which was then enough to create cultures in several countries after the collapse of the USSR. They are all constructed from parts of the Russian Soviet, created by the military generation.
If you go back to the 40s, then they are twenty years old, strong, happy, intent on living forever. With that special deep, merciful and wise look, which is unmistakably recognizable in old photographs. Even if they are without shoulder straps and orders. People who have seen everyone who spent four years at the bottom of hell look like the righteous. They changed world history, and then went about their other important business, to create an economy, cinema, science, space. And, of course, they wrote us our historical recipes, coming out of the war with stories and novels and making us a movie – from “The Exploit of a Scout” to “The Story of a Real Man.” Now compare with reflection on the 90s to assess the level and scale of a generation. Until now, we have not written anything great. The heroes are not us. But we measure both good and evil by them. We have been living in the shadow of our great ancestors for 75 years.
By the way, even in the 90s, Govorukhin did not allow the generation to remain in inaction, a victim of circumstances and people, having removed the “Voroshilovsky shooter”. Afonin, already harmless to scum, has already turned from a front-line soldier into a “vegetarian” veteran, avenges his granddaughter. According to Govorukhin, for outrage at the future that Ustimenko-Sokolov-Bessoltsev fostered. And, defending his ideals, the front-line soldier is outlawed. This is one of the most honest and tragic pictures about the breaking of times and the departure of a generation of winners from business, often forced.
On Thursday, at a round table dedicated to the international project “Immortal Memory” of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly (the task is to find and digitize documents from foreign archives that prove that the Nazis wanted to destroy Soviet civilians, that this was a plan, and our project “Nuremberg. Beginning of the World “will become a platform for these publications)” the words “Victory is our civil religion” were heard.
And it's true. A powerful formulation that you shouldn't be shy about. Words are important now. Each country has its own civil religion. France stands on the fact that it is a country of brotherhood, equality and freedom, America – on the Declaration of Independence and the American Dream, Great Britain – on the fact that it is the oldest democracy and will teach everyone to mow this 300-year-old lawn, Israel – on the idea of gathering people and memory of the Holocaust. Russia stands on the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the results of the Second World War. And the people who founded this state – and it, of course, was re-established on May 9, 1945 – are front-line soldiers. The idea of Victory also fits into the concept of pre-revolutionary great Russia as an infused one. And it all came together. The front-line soldiers are our founding fathers. And it is logical that the state, founded by them, provides and provides them with protection. 75 years of the Great Victory
The Founding Fathers must be in their rightful place. At the head of the table. But then one legislative movement is not enough. It is not for nothing that he flies to this painful point over and over again, why does the state give so poorly to veterans? It is impossible to return the debt that we are obliged to give to the front-line soldiers. Literally – nothing. As parents, you can never return. And there is no one already: the majority already meet comrades in arms in paradise.
With money after the war, it turned out like this. They were all poor. Everyone was rebuilding the country out of nothing. And they did it in five to seven years. Starting from a negative point, from a negative point – from execution ditches and demolished cities. Our current coworking spaces and smoothies appeared only because they once buried the dead, planted flowers on graves, swept out garbage, aired the country, designed and built houses, and sat children at their desks. They have worked hard and almost free of charge for us, who sometimes have no worse dilemma than choosing from ten varieties of coffee.
So that this argument about poverty (the poverty of veterans is lexically much more bearable, and the poverty of front-line soldiers causes an acute sense of injustice, isn't it?) Stopped serving every May 9 – indeed, one could fork out. According to the Pension Fund, as of April 1, 2020 (I did not find the latest data), there are 1.2 million invalids and veterans of the Great Patriotic War in Russia, as well as persons equated to them. In numbers, this means: disabled people and participants of the Great Patriotic War – 55,557 people, blockade – 88,733 people, former juvenile prisoners of fascism – 93,543 people, widows of disabled people and war veterans – 305,579 people, home front workers – 665,982 people, former adults prisoners of fascism – 101 people. The numbers are decreasing every year. As long as they are, as long as there is this statistics of the living, we feel the connection of times. We're talking numbers – don't change. Listen, dear deputies, there are too few of these people not to finally resolve the issue of money.
But, if you've noticed, front-line soldiers are not about money. They don't ask, even if they have to. This is us – about money. We are practical guys, we are good at mortgages, bonuses, grades, offers. We understand about money and statuses. The status of a veteran is honorable, recognized and important. But now anyone who has power, media presence, capital is more important than a veteran. And the young fools who upload photos of Nazis to the site of the Immortal Regiment know about it. It is impossible to ignore reality – it has changed since the days of “July Rain” and “Man's Fate”. In order to place veterans in their rightful place in the social hierarchy, you have to look at the accounts. If the highest value is the right to life, which the front-line soldiers defended, if the front-line soldiers paid with their lives for our future, then let's pay this debt to the rest. Human life is worth protecting it by all means and forces. I dream that planes with the best doctors and the most modern equipment would fly to the front-line soldiers on demand. To fight and save everyone, as they saved the political blogger Alexei Navalny and the talented writer Dmitry Bykov. They did the right thing and saved them – these are the values of the front-line generation. Not a single objection. But translated from the language of ideals into the language of our young, practical capitalism, a respected person is a person with an airplane. Like the blogger who got so rich that he flew to Sochi alone, in an empty liner, for fun. For a fine of five million, you can send a medical plane even several times.
And yet the front-line soldiers are definitely not about money. This is not their battlefield (but this is not a reason to cash in on the impracticality of man, as Woland rightly said). Their dignity is not measured by the amounts on the account. What did my grandfather and his friends need to be happy? Money? Not. They were even not bad, but if they were huge, they would not solve the problem of their sense of self in the current reality. The only thing that mattered to them was that it was not in vain. As the protagonist Ivan was clowning in the film “Courier”: “Who will we give the building we have built?” (By the way, it was then that veterancy began to depreciate. Again, the directors understood everything about time.) But it is really important for them that what they have created does not disappear. To become professionals the students they have learned. So that society appreciates – as if written, in a bookish way – those who teach, heal, build, protect. So that everything is fair. I do not know what kind of grandfathers, but ours was like that. Sometimes you think: it's good that he did not live to see the time when his memory must be protected with the law in hand.
The best defense of their good name will be to return their values, which they have formulated for decades in life, books and movies. Boris, who goes to the front, despite the reservation, and dies, and not Mark, who pays for his life with meanness. Actually, this simple formula has everything (if anything, buzzer, the formula is topped with a Cannes palm branch). The moral law that is within us.
There is one idea that I heard in the famous Krasnogorsk archive of film and photo documents, where evidence of Nazi crimes recorded by front-line operators is kept. What if punished with culture and art? I would put forward such an initiative. To convict those who, through stupidity, negligence or malicious intent, offend the honor of the front-line soldiers – to watch this chronicle every single day. Where are the dead children, women, old people. Where are the close-ups, right on the firing ditch just opened. Or on the prisoners of the concentration camp, who lie motionless on the bunk – and live – only eyes. Watch from morning till night this chronicle, from which our seasoned editors fly out of order. Begging for mercy. And then pardon, on parole – on the terms of viewing the entire great humanistic cinematic heritage created by the front-line generation. And to report to the police for the movie they watched. Daily. I am sure that neither five years nor five million will fix the villains. And Dr. Ustimenko and operative Sharapov – yes.