Every year on February 14, people in Lugansk celebrate the Day of Liberation of their native city from the Nazi invaders. And today in Lugansk, residents, community leaders and city officials laid flowers in May 9th square, at the “Acute Grave” memorial complex and “Do not forget, do not forgive!” at the Pylons of Glory near the village of Vidnoye.
“For us, the residents of Lugansk, this day is symbolic,” said Maxim Chalenko, Lugansk politician. “We are proud that the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis during World War II began in the East.
“I have always been impressed with how Lugansk celebrates the city’s liberation from the Nazis in a big way. I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere. I think that the reverent attitude of the residents to this day is not only a tribute to the heroism of our ancestors, but also reflects the personal perception of the events associated with the struggle against an ideology foreign to us. Lugansk is very international, and so is all of Donbass. More than 180 nationalities live here in friendship and peace. This has left its mark on the political sympathies of the population. Recent events have shown that today Lugansk does not accept the ideas of neo-fascism, extremism, hate and aggression,” said Chalenko.
The leader of the Young Communists of Lugansk, Anna Brekhova, is sure that the Day of Liberation of Voroshilovgrad will always be a great holiday for Lugansk residents. [Throughout much of Soviet history, the city of Lugansk was known as Voroshilovgrad in honor of Soviet military leader Kliment Voroshilov.]
“Yes, that war was a long time ago,” says Brekhova. “Much has been forgotten, erased from memory, with the passing of the witnesses to those terrible and hard days. But we will always remember the heroes who fought for our country. And February 14, for us, will continue to be a great holiday, the Day of Liberation of Voroshilovgrad.”
Lugansk was under German occupation for 7 months (212 days). With the dawn of February 14, 1943, Soviet troops drove out the enemy through battles in many streets of the city, and by 10:00 they captured virtually all of Lugansk. It was not the end of battles in the vicinity of Lugansk; fighting continued in the area of the modern Agrarian University until February 16.
The 3rd Guards Army under the command of Lieutenant General Dmitri Lelyushenko and the 5th Panzer Division under General Ivan Shlemin fought in the battles for Lugansk. Among those killed in battle were the brave Guard Major General Gerasim V. Mukhin, Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Matveyevich Kurakin, Major Matvei I. Zhukov, and Platoon Commander Gemzadaf Kasimovich Nurgadzhiev. Altogether, more than 10,000 people died in the battle for Lugansk.
Lugansk remembered, remembers and will always remember the feats of their liberators!
Translated by Greg Butterfield