As Russian immigrants saved the Soviet prisoners of the Afghan war

Heroes 02/01/20 As Russian immigrants saved the Soviet prisoners of the Afghan war

During the war in Afghanistan not less than 417 Soviet soldiers and officers were captured by the spooks. Many of them Afghans were taken to camps in neighboring Pakistan, where the Soviet army was no longer able to release them. In this situation, to help the prisoners of war came their compatriots – Russian immigrants in the West.

Ludmila Thorne

One of the most important places of Soviet prisoners was in the camp Badaber near Peshawar, the infamous uprising of 1985 that crushed the Pakistani army. In photos taken at the camp 2 years before these events, close to three Russian prisoners of war captured a beautiful young woman in a red silk skirt. This is a human rights activist Ludmilla Thorne from Freedom House (“freedom House”).

Her own biography it’s hard to call typical. Ludmila Zemelis was born in 1938 in Rostov-on-don. When the girl was 4, her parents escaped from occupied Soviet territory to Germany. After 1945 the family was threatened forced repatriation to the Soviet Union, however, the expulsion was avoided thanks to the “Baltic” names.

In America, Ludmilla Thorne worked as a journalist and human rights activities. Knowing that the Islamic society of Afghanistan is ready to release the prisoners if the West will give them political asylum, the woman went to Pakistan. In the picture together with Lyudmila thorn sat a man who introduced himself as Michael Varvara, Vladimir Shibaev and Nikolay Shevchenko. The conversation, as recalled Thorne, were in one of the tents in the presence of 5-6 Mujahideen. Meeting with compatriot initially were not inspired by Soviet fighters. But gradually the conversation became more animated. Prisoners told Ludmilla Thorne their BIOS and told what he did in the civilian sector. The human rights activist also advised them to sign an appeal to US President Ronald Reagan’s onlthe Department of political asylum. Some, however, a lot of cajoling did not have to.

“One of the boys, his name was Sergei Meshcheryakov, saw my Orthodox cross and began to shout loudly, that the echo in the mountains heard: “Lyudmila, I, like You, Orthodox! Lyudmila, take me with you to America, I don’t want to stay here, release me!” I cried…,” recalled an immigrant.

Ludmila Thorne visited the conflict zone 4 times. Thanks to her efforts, 18 prisoners were freed and were able to travel to the United States and Canada.

Olga Svintsova

negotiated the release of Soviet soldiers and the journalist Olga Svintsova, a French citizen born in 1948. Her father, a former soldier of the border troops of the NKVD, came to the West as a prisoner of war, and his mother and grandmother were taken by the Nazis as “Ostarbeiters”. Family Lead took the ideas of General Vlasov, and not to return to the USSR, went to Morocco. Olga Svintsova was a member of the people’s labour Union of Russian solidarists – the main post-war political power of the Russian emigration.

“During the Afghan war seemed to me quite natural to help prisoners of war and deserters, since my dad was in this situation,” said the journalist at Deutsche Welle radio.

In Peshawar in 1982, Olga Svintsova met prisoners Alexander Matveev, Ravil sayfutdinova and Nikolai Dudkin and took their requests for political asylum in France. However, they all subsequently died in Badabere. The refusal of French officials to give asylum to the captives, Svintsova are regarded as the “indifference and contempt of the West to Russian”.

Among other activists, immigrants, contributed to the liberation of the Soviet fighters, the sources referred to Salkazanova, Rybakov, Szczecin and others. Their activities have been made to discredit in the Soviet press. Negative assessment partly present in modern Russian journalism. For example, the authors of the book “If anyone hears me. The legend of the Great fortresser” Andrey Konstantinov and Boris Podoprigora called Lyudmila thorn “by ceresnie”, claiming that she tried to persuade prisoners “to abandon the homeland.” Most likely, the human rights activities of the emigrant was “under surveillance” by us intelligence. However, in a position where it was about saving tens Russian guys from certain death, it was probably inevitable concession to the realities of the Cold war.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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