Echoes of the war — all over Karelia

Moving around Karelia by car, we now and then saw signs along the roads directing to soldiers’ graves: «Military burial.» As a rule, most burials are mass graves…


It so happened that we ended up in Karelia in the first days of May, when the whole country was preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the Victory. And, although the cities had not yet been put in order after the winter, the memorials were cleaned and groomed.

We were amazed at how many soldiers’ graves were scattered across Karelia. Scattered, but not abandoned. All graves are well maintained.

But why be surprised? The Karelian front during the Great Patriotic War was both the longest — more than 1600 kilometers, and the longest existing one. The defense was kept here for more than three years. From Lake Ladoga to the Barents Sea. And in very harsh conditions: North!

The Red Army fought against both German and Finnish formations. At first they fought to the death, but still retreated, suffering huge losses … From January 1942 to June 1944, they held positions — and again losses, losses … In June 1944, they went on the offensive, but even then the fighting did not become less fierce.

More than 100,000 residents of Karelia went to the front. And also units fought from the Urals, from Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union.

Fighting was possible only along the roads, because the rest of the Karelian spaces are swamps, rivers, lakes, rocks located in dense forests.

According to various sources, from 67 to 75.5 thousand people died in Karelia. And about 200 thousand soldiers were injured and maimed, many soon died of their wounds. These are soldiers of the regular units of the Red Army, and members of the people’s militia. By the way, the people’s militia in Karelia was created already in July 1941.

Partisans actively worked in Karelia. They knew the places well, knew how to bypass the swamps. And from among the partisans, too, many laid down their lives. But it is extremely difficult to more or less accurately calculate the losses among the partisans.

Mass grave in Pryazha

Yarn is a fairly large village near Petrozavodsk. Terrible battles took place in these places. The losses were huge. In the mass grave in the village rest 880 soldiers and local rural activists who helped the Red Army. This grave was formed in the late fifties of the XX century from several burials made in the surrounding areas during the war years.

Burial in Lyaskelya

In the village of Lyaskelya , a monument in honor of the defenders of the Fatherland was erected over the grave, where 9 Soviet soldiers were buried. They died in 1941, during defensive battles. By the 20th anniversary of the Victory, an obelisk and sculptures were installed in the village.

Memorial in Lyaskelya. Photo of the author. Memorial in Lyaskelya. Photo of the author.

By the way, according to the site, in Lyaskelya in a mass grave there are the remains of 16 fighters, and they are listed by name.

Mass grave in the reserve «Kivach»

This reserve is one of the oldest in the country. He appeared in 1931. And with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, he found himself in the thick of hostilities. In 1941, the reserve was officially disbanded; it became one of several lines of defense for the city of Kondopoga.

Memorial in the reserve «Kivach». Photo of the author. Memorial in the reserve «Kivach». Photo of the author. These helmets on the slab of the memorial turned my whole soul upside down! Photo of the author. These helmets on the slab of the memorial turned my whole soul upside down! Photo of the author.

About the fighting in 1941 in the area of ​​​​the reserve and the beautiful waterfall of the same name, it became known in detail from the diaries of Private Veniamin Nikolaev. He was only 22 years old. It was strictly forbidden to keep any records, but the young fighter kept a diary at his own peril and risk.

And the losses in the Soviet troops were so huge that private Nikolaev was soon appointed company commander, despite the fact that he was so young and was just a private.

The Nazi troops at that time crushed the resistance of the Soviet soldiers. On the territory of the reserve, 63 fighters were killed, 194 were missing. Several more graves were found by search teams already in the post-war years.

But the fighter Veniamin Nikolaev was not among the dead and missing. In those battles, he managed to survive. He went through the whole war, and in 2000 he took part in the opening of a memorial in the Kivach reserve. We recently visited this reserve. We stood and were silent at the memorial.

This is only a small part of the mass graves of Karelia. And how many more soldiers remained forever in swamps and forests and are still missing …

Bright memory!

Thank you for your attention to the article!

I will be glad if you come to my blog again. In the near future I will publish a video and an article about the Kivach waterfall and the reserve of the same name.

Here are my other publications about Karelia:

About Lyaskel Village Traveler May 6 From Altai to Karelia. Where we visited in 8 days. Routes.Village TravelerMay 4


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