If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

The story of one photo. Kuzma Chuykin

The story of one photo. Kuzma Chuykin - e-history.kz
Today I’d like to tell about the soldiers who gave us the peace, who continued the great struggle and raised our cities and villages from the ashes after the war

22 June 1941 is a historical date marked with blood. Many years separate it from that day in May when our country saved the world from fascism by the cost in millions of human lives. Millions of people contributed to the victory over the enemy on the front line and at the rear.

Today I’d like to tell about the soldiers who gave us the peace. They continued the great struggle and raised our cities and villages from the ashes after the war. They merit our highest respect, gratitude and care.

No one family in our country was affected by the Great Patriotic War. My family is not an exception. I am great-grandchild of a person who won the peace in the 1940s.

My great-grandfather Kuzma Chuykin was born on October 14, 1923 in the village of Taysyugan, Zhelezinskiy area, Pavlodar region near the Kazakh village of Burbay. He was informed about the war when farming. His father Ivan Chuykin went to the front in 1942. The elder brother Petr was a soldier since 1940 and at that time defended roads to Leningrad. My great-grandfather joined the Red Army on August 26, 1942. He was a young man at the age of 18. He was first brought to the city of Semipalatinsk to the military school. There he studied military science. And in November 1942 he was sent to the forefront near Astrakhan in Kalmyk steppes. That was the most difficult period. It was cold. Sometimes the soldiers had to chase fascist for up to hundred kilometres per day. They slept in trenches. Sometimes they had to go all night long. They reached the village of Matveev-Kurgan, Rostov region, on the border with Donetsk region (Ukraine). Germans retreated. The city of Rostov was liberated on February 14, 1943. The brigade where my great-grandfather served lost most people.

On March 31, 1943 Kuzma Chuykin was wounded for the first time. The commander of the company sent my great-grandfather and another soldier out to reconnoitre. The company should take control over the road from Kirsanovka along the bank of the Mius river to an upland. There was a village where soldiers should protect headquarters and medical and sanitary battalion. There was an order not to allow anybody to pass. All civilians were put into a shell-hole where they should stay until night when they could go and not afraid of firing. The enemy occupied the nearest heights and constantly shelled the road. Suddenly one of the civilians decided to cross the road. Germans started firing. My great-grandfather raised his submachine gun to fire a warning shot, but a mine exploded behind him. It was like a hit in the back with a wooden stick. Kuzma Chuykin stood up, his wounds were bleeding. There were two pieces of shrapnel in his shoulder and another one in his leg. From April to June 1943 he was in a hospital in Saratov. After the recovery, he returned to the front line.

My great-grandfather Kuzma Chuykin was injured for the second time near Dolgenkoe farm (Izyum direction). The Soviet soldiers had to liberate the farm from the enemy. The road to the place laid through a field of maize. And there were windmills in the village occupied by German observers. The enemy saw Soviet soldier and started firing mortars. One piece of metal cut the rifle belt and wounded Chuykin’s arm and below the west. Despite the contusion, my great-grandfather reached their medical battalion without any help.

He was sent to a hospital in Alma-Ata. There he knew that a certain Chuykin was sent for treatment to the same hospital. My great-grandfather hoped this man was his father or brother. But he appeared to be an unknown person. Unfortunately, they were just people with same surnames.


Friends and brother-soldiers. Kuzma Chuykin is in the middle

After the second wound, my great-grandfather undertook courses of commanders in Astrakhan. This education gave graduates an opportunity to take command of a platoon, company or even battalion. Kuzma Chuykin started studying in May 1944. The course was designed for three years, but students had to learn everything within one year. That was the place where my great-grandfather met the Victory. It happened so. Only one week remained until the exams. At one night, the soldier on duty woke up other and proclaimed this joyous news. However, the short course was cancelled and it took two more years to finish it. Then Chuykin served as First Sergeant in the 295 Training battalion in Vladimir-Volynsky on the border between Ukraine and Poland.

Kuzma Chuykin was released from the Armed Forces on March 31, 1947. He returned to his village destroyed by the war. His father survived the war and returned home, but they never met again. Ivan Chuykin passed away in 1945 immediately after the war. He knew that both his sons were alive. The elder brother Petr also returned home. He died in 2004.


My great-grandfather Kuzma Chuykin (on the right), his elder brother Petr Chuykin (in the middle), cousin V. Chuykin (on the left)

For his courage and heroism, Kuzma Chuykin was awarded the medal "For the Victory over Germany", the order of the Great Patriotic War of II class and commemorative medals.


My great-grandfather Kuzma Chuykin survived famine, cold weather, the collectivisation, war and development of virgin lands, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the difficult 1990s. His life is an epoch, the history of the generation.

Today he is a 91-year-old man. He lives by the principle "I have survived one day more. It is good".

Recalling those terrible years he can’t stop the pain: so many soldiers and civilians were killed. How many troubles people, who stayed at the rare, had to overcome. But the challenges didn’t break him. He remained a person with a trust in life and kindness and fulfilled his military duty. He always told his grandchildren and great-grandchildren about the spirit of comradeship and commitment to the Motherland of each soldier who protected it.

Druzhinin Maksim,
grade 6 student of the Mikhaylovskaya Secondary School,
the village of Mikhaylovka, Pavlodar region