For many years, I was friends with the remarkable writer Anatoly Markusha. He was a World War II veteran, who fought on the Karelian front. In time of peace, he was a test-pilot and wrote books for children and adults in fine and plain language. They are so fascinating and interesting, that they were republished more than a hundred times with a total print of 15 mln copies. In 2005, Anatoly Markusha passed away at the age of 84.
Shortly before that, on the eve of the next anniversary of the Victory Day, he brought me a couple of sheets with a handwritten text asking to publish his thoughts in the media. It so happened that they were lost. Only recently, I found the papers with his touching reflections about those times and about himself in one of his books. Today, I am honoring the request of my old friend and publishing his will to all those who live these days. On Behalf of Those who are Passing AwayWhat will the soldiers of World War II leave to their great-grandchildren? As if my generation, my last friends and comrade-in-arms are leaving, I seem to hear sometimes the heavy footfall of kirza boots the soldiers wore. I am thinking: what are we leaving for today's boys, our peers of that distant time? Rare monuments to marshal heroes whose horses look more expressive than the horsemen...? ...is it surprising that today young men do not care about the fate of the siblings Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Alexandr Kosmodemyansky, Nikolai Gastello, the pilot who attacked a column of Nazi mechanized infantry in the first days of the war, and Viktor Talalikhin, who was the first to ram through a Nazi plane during the Battle of Moscow?... So what will we leave to our boys? They will soon command the country and sway its history. The war and has separated the people. The next generation must know it. Some residents of sieged Leningrad shared the last crumbs of bread with their neighbors who were also starving. Others collected golden tooth crowns ripped off from the teeth of the dead. There were pilots whose aircraft had been brought down. The stories of that kind are not unusual. There were others who left the battle diving into the clouds. Fortunately, these cases were rare. Our generation was anointed with oil and tarred. Most of all, we missed the truth.People were killed. This process was called a purge of the party or fighting the enemies of the people. It is terrible to remember how many march-backs there were… Official reports called it “front line reversing.” We are passing away. Therefore, I believe, we are entitled to be completely honest. Our anxiety for the fate of the young is growing. Do not believe in the power of money. This is obvious that it is better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. And yet, we must not forget: money makes people not solely generous, but more often greedy and selfish. Do not accumulate hatred in your souls. It is very difficult. But if we who reached Berlin, managed to do it, then you should succeed in it for sure. And take care of your friends. There is nothing more precious in this world than human interaction. Never blindly believe in words you hear from the rostrums. Measure people only by their deeds. Perhaps, that was the cruelest lesson the war taught us. My generation was disciplined by suffering. Good memory was considered a dignity but reasoning ability – you’d better not show it. “You are too clever by half!” yelled the petty officer, my very first officer-in-charge. “You must do what you were told to do.”After 18 years in the army, I would hear from my colonel: “Comrade Senior Lieutenant, do what you are supposed to. Keep your opinions to yourself...” The only thing I was allowed to say: “Let me remind you, Comrade Colonel, I am a Senior Lieutenant of the Guards.”Soldiers' kirza boots are pounding the ground. The generation of friends and comrade-in-arms are passing away. On the approaches to Berlin, we were thinking of you who were not born yet. Listen to our words. Do not ignore them... Anatoly MarkushaAnatoly Markusha was a writer and a veteran of World War II. What may be added to the words of the splendid man and a battle-front veteran? Maybe, only the thought that was expressed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery at that time. He did not share any ideas of Communism: “Russia has performed a great military feat... In a heavy battle and almost one-on-one with Hitler's armies on the advance Russia faced the attacks of the Germans and stuck it out. We, the British, will never forget the feat of Russia.” Thinking why the relations between our countries are so complicated today, I unwittingly wonder: has my generation forgotten all this?! The reference of wek.ru: Anatoly Markusha, a Russian and Soviet writer, a fighter pilot, a senior lieutenant and a soldier during the World War II. Before the war he worked as a reporter for Vechernyaya Moskva newspaper. From December 1939 to August 1941, he was a cadet of the Borisoglebsk Military Aviation School. In August 1942, he joined the 12th Air Army on the Trans-Baikal Front, as part of Soviet units in Mongolia. Since January 1944, he was in the 7th Air Army on the Karelian Front. From June 1944 to May 1945, he was in the field army. From April 1948 to June 1950, Markusha attended the School for Test Pilots of the Ministry of Aviation Industry in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow. He worked as a test pilot. Over the years of service, he mastered about 50 types of aircraft. He retired from active duty to the reserve on health grounds in May 1954. In the following years, he was a reporter and a writer. From 1955 to 1958, he was a member of the editorial board of the Znamya magazine. In 1957, the first book of short stories named “Apprentice of the Eagle” was published. Anatoly Markusha is the author of 106 books with a total print of over 15 mln copies. His books have been translated into 18 languages all over the world.These are books about pilots for children.