Ivan Bushilo: why the Belarusian veteran of 40 years hiding in the woods

History 23/02/20 Ivan Bushilo: why the Belarusian veteran of 40 years hiding in the forest

In Stalin’s time to break the fate of a man at times could one careless word. Escaping from the camps, former soldier Ivan Bushilo after the war went to the woods and swamps. Away from civilization “Belarusian Robinson” lived for 42 years.

Brave gunner Bushilo

a native of the village Bostyn (now the Brest region of Belarus) Ivan Bushilo fought bravely in the great Patriotic war. In the army he was drafted in August 1944, after the liberation of Belarus, and ended in 1081 312 infantry regiment infantry division. As follows from the documents available in the database “feat of the people”, in January 1944, private Bushilo distinguished himself in the village of zhab’yanka on the direction of Zwoleń – Radom (Poland). Under heavy enemy fire, he managed to deliver the ammunition to the easel machine gun, and later in the same battle killed one of Fritz and wounded another. For it in March 23-year-old soldier was awarded the medal “For military merit”. And on April 23, when he was a corporal, Bushilo showed bravery in the storming of the capital of the Third Reich.

“the destruction of the encircled Southeast of Berlin first broke into the trench of the enemy and killed four German soldiers”, – says in the document awarding the Ivan Bushilo the medal “For courage”.

the conflict with the

after demobilization to his native land, Bushilo faced with tough-minded winners. In 1947, returning from felling (in another embodiment, the path for the cigarettes), the veteran met the local district police, accompanied by the Lieutenant of the NKVD. According to one version, knowing that Bushilo fought under the command of Zhukov, his interlocutors began to insult the name it has got to that time in disgrace Marshal. Offended Busila told them the following:

“Zhukov was the commander – is commander. And you’re here running nothing”.

At this the officer replied in the spirit that about beetles Bushilo will remember next to polar bears. Realizing that the young man faces Kolyma, relatives “away from sin” sent him to the far farm. Ivan’s father tried to negotiate with the authorities, but they remained adamant. Yesterday’s soldier, have no way but to hide in the woods.


Ivan Bushilo settled on an uninhabited km island in the middle of the swamps. The police tried to look for the fugitive with dogs, but to reach it failed. Relatives of Ivan made the terrain completely impassable by digging a deep pit in the middle of the swamp. And only “your” knew a secret path leading to the supposedly “dead” villager.

the Night Ivan had in the dugout, arranged like a tent. First he made a “roof” made out of canvas, and then to make it warmer, adapted for these purposes, films for greenhouses. In addition, the hermit “winterized” hay. More of a problem than the cold was the mosquitoes in the summer. Bathed Ivan Bushilo only in the warm season, using heated in a five-liter tank of water. However, the “Robinson” look after themselves and regularly shaved.

Ivan Bushilo kept in touch with relatives who admired his endurance and willpower. Once a week or two they passed him his food. Listening to the radio, the forest dweller was aware of all the events in the event country, but signs of the Soviet “thaw” did not trust, and openly return to the village did not dare. Sometimes, though, he was hired as a worker on the farm, but then always returned to the forest. On his island Ivan Bushilo kept the hives, sometimes the hunted.

In recent years, one of those who supplied the hermit with food, was his nephew Paul Zylevich. He also helped Ivan Bushilo to reach out to people in 1989, when he was already 68 years old. In the era of perestroika once a wanted “criminal” has already nothing to fear. It is noteworthy that when Ivan Bushilo issued a new Soviet passport, he could not even sign her name – I forgot how it’s done.

the Past few years, veteran of the great Patriotic lived in a tiny hut in Postini, which was more convenient than the dugout. Accustomed to a hard bed, yesterday’s “Robinson” refused to sleep on the couch. Died Ivan Bushilo in 1994, already in the independent Belarus.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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