Table of contents:
- Childhood in a boarding school with a living father
- Dreams of tanks
- Rescue of tankers and the first combat award
- How a 24-year-old tank girl made it to Berlin
- Loneliness and oblivion after victory
The USSR politician Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov, better known by his political pseudonym Kirov, was killed in 1934, after which the “Kirov Stream” of the deported and repressed were drawn from Leningrad. Zhenya Kostrikova, the revolutionary's own daughter, grew up in a boarding school, and during the Great Patriotic War she did not use her father's loud surname and volunteered for the front.
Childhood in a boarding school with a living father
In the spring of 1920, the 11th Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA) entered Baku with the aim of establishing Soviet power. Then a member of the Revolutionary Military Council Sergei Kostrikov met his first wife, whose name remained a mystery. In 1921, when Kirov already held the post of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, his only daughter Zhenya was born.
There is no information about the further relationship of Sergei Mironovich with a stranger, but it is known that the woman died after a serious illness, when her daughter was still very young.
In 1926, Kirov was elected first secretary of the Leningrad regional party committee and got together with his old friend, Maria Markus. At that time, the woman was 41 years old, but she still hoped to give birth to her own child and flatly refused to raise Zhenya. Under pressure from his wife, Kirov sent the girl to an orphanage, where she was brought up with the children of the Spanish Bolsheviks.
The party leader lived in an unregistered barge with Maria Markus for another 8 years, but the children never appeared in this family.
In 1934, Zhenya Kostrikova became an orphan. She spent all her childhood in a boarding school under the "special" stamp, which was created especially for the children of the Comintern employees and refugees from Spain.
After graduating from high school, the girl entered the Bauman Moscow School.
Dreams of tanks
Evgenia Kostrikova did not aspire to become an engineer or scientific worker. From a young age, she was subject to patriotic sentiments and dreamed of a military career. In 1940, the tank "Sergei Mironovich Kirov" (SMK), a new development of Soviet engineers, was sent to the battle with the Finns. Zhenya, who at that time was only 19 years old, had a dream of becoming a tanker and taking part in battles with the enemy in this particular vehicle, but the war with Finland passed her by.
In 1941, friends of Kostrikova, from the children of high-ranking party members, Timur Frunze, Stepan and Alexei Mikoyans, were eager to join the active army and studied to be pilots. Another close friend of Zhenya, Ruben Ibarruri, the son of the famous activist of the Spanish communist movement Dolores Ibbaruri, was educated at an infantry school. Following the example of her friends, the girl studied nursing for three months and went to the front.
Rescue of tankers and the first combat award
In October 1942, E. S. Kostrikova was appointed military assistant of the 79th separate tank regiment.
In the battles of Stalingrad, the girl bandaged and carried wounded soldiers on her under the fire of the enemy. Then there was the Battle of Kursk, in which she fearlessly saved the lives of 27 tankers, pulling them out of the burning ones. The Battle of the Kursk Bulge brought Kostrikova the Order of the Red Star and a serious injury - a piece of the shell literally slashed her face and left a huge scar that would remind her of the war for the rest of her life.
After being wounded, in 1943, senior lieutenant Kostrikova was sent to the operational department, but the girl dreamed of tank battles, and she considered work at the headquarters uninteresting. Despite numerous refusals, Evgenia Sergeevna, with great persistence, nevertheless achieved a referral to an accelerated course at a tank school in Kazan, where she learned to cope with formidable armored vehicles no worse than her male colleagues.
How a 24-year-old tank girl made it to Berlin
During the Great Patriotic War, only two women were known who were educated in the field of armored vehicles: Maria Oktyabrskaya and Irina Levchenko. The third tanker was Evgenia Kostrikova, the only girl who was entrusted to command a tank platoon, and later a tank company.
The army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda repeatedly wrote about the exploits of the girl tanker. Tanks under the command of Kostrikova took part in the Vistula-Oder operation, on April 30, 1945, they approached the southeastern border of Berlin, and on May 5 they made a dash across the Ore Mountains to help the rebellious Prague. In Czechoslovakia, the front-line path of a 24-year-old girl tanker ended. By that time, she had already been awarded five military orders and a medal "For Courage".
Loneliness and oblivion after victory
During the war, Zhenya found, as it seemed to her, true love in the person of one of the staff workers and even managed to be married to him. But, as it turned out, the man had no serious intentions, but just wanted to use his wife's connections to improve the regiment's supplies and make a career for himself. In a marriage with Kirov's daughter, he received the rank of general, and after the war he left her for his lawful wife and children, about whom he prudently kept silent. The brave front-line soldier, who aroused fear and admiration even among seasoned SS officers, had a hard time betrayal and never again let men into her life.
In 1945, Evgenia Sergeevna demobilized, settled in Moscow and lived for another 30 years in complete solitude. Due to old front-line injuries that did not pass without leaving a trace, the daughter of the famous Sergei Kirov died at the age of 54 and was buried at the Vagankovskoye cemetery. On the last journey of the Guard Captain Evgenia Kostrikova was seen off by the only front-line friend.
It did not work out with personal happiness for another woman, Lyubov Brezhneva. She was simply not allowed to marry anyone.