History 02/02/20 Nicholas pestretzoff: how racists abused Soviet prisoners of war ensign
One of the cornerstones of Soviet foreign policy was to support anti-colonial movements on the continent and fight with the “racist” South Africa. The consequences of the hostile attitude of Moscow to the white South African government on their skin felt the ensign pestretzoff Nicholas, trapped in the dungeons of the “bloody regime of apartheid.”
In the mid-1970s, the center of the cold war shifted to Africa. In the Portuguese colony Angola gained independence in 1975, civil war broke out, which was accompanied by large-scale foreign intervention. On one side of the front line was South African troops that supported the moderate groups, on the other, the 25-strong contingent of Cuba, who came to the aid of the local Marxist movement MPLA. The Soviet Union was limited to sending military advisers, one of whom was warrant officer Nicholas pestretzoff.
the Task Pestretzoff was to advise the commander of one of platoons of the people’s armed forces for the liberation of Angola. This division defended the city of ondjiva near the border with Namibia (and in fact with South Africa, which occupied a neighboring country). In August 1981, the South Africans launched operation ‘Proteus’ – an invasion of Angolan territory, using aircraft and armored vehicles. The result of the environment Ondjiva 14 Soviet citizens, military advisers and their wives, were forced to fight our way out.
the Ensign pestretzoff, who was wounded on the first day of the clashes were part of the core of the Soviet group, moving in three Cars. The road began a battle with the soldiers of South Africa. Four Russians were killed, pestretzoff received a concussion. When he awoke, he loaded the bodies of his wife Jadwiga and co-workers in an abandoned Soviet reconnaissance car and drove till it ran out of fuel. Then he hid killed in a ravine and remained near them until I had to enter a new skirmish with the enemy. This time the battle ended with the capture of the military adviser.
the Prisoner and the prison
a Soviet warrant officer was brought to South Africa in mutilated form, he avenged the death of two soldiers. Own words Nicholas Pestretzoff about those events are in the book of Sergey Colonnina “Russian special forces in Africa”.
“Poizgalyalis me in good faith. Half of the ribs were broken, shattered fingers on his right hand, on the face of the living space is not left, even the nostrils did not forget to pull out,” said pestretzoff.
After treatment in the hospital, “Soviet mercenary” brought to the military prison of Johannesburg. South African Newspapers, followed by European and American even posted a photo of a gaunt bearded man in the Angolan form, worn over a Russian vest.
“the Official Soviet press Agency TASS did not name the captured man, which South Africa identified as 36-year-old senior Sergeant Nikolai Fedorovich Pestretzoff. But the Agency demanded his “immediate return” together with the bodies of two Soviet soldiers,” – wrote the newspaper “new York times” in September 1981.
In South Africa Nicholas pestretzoff was subjected to harsh hours of questioning, which was accompanied by harassment and beatings: he wrenched the recently remodeled the joint and stuck the knife blade in the calves of the legs. At night, the fanatics included in the total power of the siren, disturbing prisoner to sleep. To psychologically break Pestretzoff, his eyes were held executions of African rebels. Sometimes the “stick” was changed to “carrot”: to the Soviet Lieutenant came who lived in South Africa, Ukrainian immigrants who encouraged him to betray the Motherland.
Despite the torture, pestretzoff continued to stand his ground: he had only a factory worker GAS sent to Angola for the repair of equipment. In the end, for the murder of South African military court has officially appointed the citizen of the USSR, the punishment – 100 years in prison. However, to fully serve the term persistentthe ensign was not necessary. Thanks to the efforts of diplomats prisoner was released on 12 November 1982 he was exchanged for downed in Angola South African pilot. To tell about his misadventures Nikolai pestretzoff was able only a few years.
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