78 years and a week ago - liberation of Novgorod
Novgorod, Kremlin. January 20, 1944 / Novgorod, Kremlin. May 2021
Soviet soldiers enter the city Kremlin [fortress] on the day of the liberation / "Rout of Fascists from Novgorod" by Kukryniksy
From the memoirs of Alexey Filippovich Popov. Junior Sergeant, artillery sound ranging operator. (taken from 53news.ru)
"At this time the unit where Alexey Filippovich served was deployed in the area of the village of Grigorovo. They learnt that Novgorod was liberated from a radio report in the morning and a delegation from his unit was sent to a solemn meeting in the Kremlin.
- We rode there in a truck, kept looking left and right and we couldn't wait to see where Novgorod would finally start. And our battery commander said: "Comrades, we're already in the town!" But instead of the town we only saw ruins of houses and other buildings. Inside the Kremlin, just like charred people's bodies, huge statues of Russia's rulers from the Millenium of Russia monument were scattered on the ground, while smaller pieces were carefully packed in small crates, however the Fascists didn't manage to ship them off. Then a column of captured Germans entered the Kremlin, all of them so frail and weak, then another column. After that it was announced there would be a meeting at the southern arch of the Kremlin. The Red Banner of the regiment was brought to the Kremlin wall by a platoon of soldiers led by Lieutenant Anatoly Novikov, but it were the Colonels Shvagirev and Nikolayev who were entrusted to plant the banner on top of the Kremlin wall. Later on we were fed with kasha [buckwheat or pearl barley porridge - Alexander Shmidke] and told to continue the offensive in an hour. Our task was to march on towards Pskov."
Alexey Popov was awarded the Medal For Courage during this operation. After retiring from the Soviet Army in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1960 he chose to settle in Novgorod.