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Soviet veterans recall their youth in NE China

Updated: 2021-05-15 09:20 ( China Daily )
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"As I ate bread and salt provided by the Chinese people in those days ... now my home will always be open to the Chinese people," said Khomidzhon Uzganov, a 96-year-old Soviet Red Army veteran, repeatedly uttering the only Chinese words he remembered of "thank you".

May 9 this year marks the 76th anniversary of the end of the World War II. In a recent interview with Xinhua, Soviet Red Army veterans recalled their experiences during the anti-Japanese war in China.

On August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The next day, 1.5 million Soviet Red Army soldiers launched an attack on the Japanese Kwantung Army stationed in China's northeast region.

Risking their lives, they fought side by side with the Chinese soldiers and civilians in Harbin, Shenyang, Lushun and other cities, and made contribution to the victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Uzganov is in good health and full of energy. He has a family of five generations and enjoys a happy life in Uzbekistan's eastern Fergana region. In 1942, 17-year-old Uzganov left his home village with his comrades after a short military training for the Battle of Stalingrad.

After the Soviet Union won the Great Patriotic War, Uzganov and his comrades traveled by train from the European frontline to the Far East. His tank regiment pressed into China's northeast provinces.

"When we were crossing the Greater Khingan Range, some soldiers died after drinking the well water the Japanese had poisoned, so others had to drink the miserable amount of water in the radiators of tanks and vehicles to survive," recalled Uzganov, tears streaming down his wrinkled face.

Following fierce and intense battles, the Soviet Red Army and the Chinese army defeated the Japanese invaders. Uzganov's regiment liberated Lyushun. After the war, the veteran stayed in Dalian and engaged in the construction of roads and residential buildings. Soviet soldiers often tried Chinese delicacies and communicated with the locals. In 1949, he returned to his home village.

Tears welled up in Uzganov's eyes as he recalled the hardships of war and warm friendship with the Chinese people."Look! This photo was taken after the liberation of Lvshun from the Japanese army. I was in my early twenties then," he said, showing the only photo that reminds him of the days in China.

History serves as a mirror. "The war is cruel," Uzganov said, "and the victory was hard won. I hope history will not repeat itself and people across the world will cherish peace."

"I hope I will have the opportunity to return to the places where my flaming youth had been witnessed in the battles," he said.

During the WWII, nearly 2 million people in Uzbekistan took up arms and rushed to the anti-fascism battlefield. More than 500,000 people died and more than 150,000 went missing in the war.

The veteran said his mind was full of memories about China. After receiving military training, he was sent to the frontline in the Far East.

At the time, he served in railway troops, working in the logistic services on the Soviet-Chinese border and providing frontline soldiers with military equipment, clothing and food. "The Chinese people worked with Soviet soldiers. They helped us a lot," recalled Abdurasulov.

In Harbin, he witnessed the brutal crimes of the Japanese invaders."Our friendship with the Chinese people stood the test of time, especially during the anti-Japanese war. Today all of us should safeguard what we have achieved in the WWII," said Abdurasulov.

After the war, he returned to his home village and worked as a teacher at a middle school. To commemorate the 46 deceased comrades-in-arms from his village, Abdurasulov built a cemetery of martyrs for them. Although the WWII is over, it has not been forgotten and should be remembered by more young people, he said.


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