The residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic celebrate Donbass Liberation Day one of the most important holidays of the year!
74 years ago, on September 8, 1943, the Red Army liberated the city of Stalino, known today as Donetsk, from the German Nazi occupation. The liberation of Donbass’ capital was an important stage of the Donbass operation, which began on August 13th with the Red Army’s offensive on the Southern Front.
During the offensive, Soviet soldiers had to overcome fierce resistance from the Hitlerites, who were well prepared to defend their positions. The Fascists built massive fortifications on the west bank of the small Mius river, where, during the years of Donbass’ occupation, they had created multiple defensive lines surrounded by powerful minefields. The total length of trenches and underground communications at the outer edge along the river bank alone exceeded the distance from the Mius to Berlin.
The fortified sector on the Mius river, the Mius-Front, which the Fascists created is comparable in its strength to the Mannerheim or Maginot Lines. Hitler called the Mius-Front Germany’s new frontier, “indestructible and secure.”
In 1941 – 1942, the 383rd and 395th Red Army divisions, mainly consisting of Donbass miners, fought to the death on this river. They managed to delay the Nazis’ offensive to the east for a long time. They shocked the enemy with their military skills, endurance, and courage.
The Mius operation in 1943 is justly compared to the Battle of Kursk in its significance, bloodshed, and scale; and to a great degree, it contributed to the victory in the Battle of Kursk by forcing the Hitlerites to divert combat-ready divisions from Kursk to the Mius river.
A high price was paid for the liberation of Donbass. The Red Army’s casualties totaled more than two hundred thousand people.
Two years of Nazi occupation brought much grief to the people of Donbass. The Hitlerites killed and tortured more than one hundred fifty thousand people. The bodies of many victims were dumped into the 4-4 bis Kalinovka mine shaft in the Kalininsk district of Donetsk. Approximately three hundred thousand people were forcibly driven to Germany.
Many monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, who gave their lives liberating Donbass from the German Nazi fascist invaders stand on the land of Donbass. The citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic laid flowers at the foot of these memorials.
Donbass remembers its heroes.
The bodies of Gurov and Grinkevich, who earned the title Hero of the Soviet Union, were buried in the center of Donetsk.
Kuzma Akimovich Gurov, a Lieutenant-General of the Red Army, was a member of the Military Council for the Southern Front, and was one of the leaders of the Donbass operation. Shortly after the liberation of the Donetsk region, on September 25, 1943, he died of a heart attack in the village of Gusarka in the Kuybyshevsk district, Zaporozhye region. The general’s heart had been buried there and a granite obelisk was erected. The inscription on the stone obelisk reads, “Here rests the heart of Lieutenant-General Gurov Kuzma Akimovich, member of the Military Council for the Southern Front, (1901-1943).” The general’s body was buried on Theater Square in downtown Stalino (Donetsk).
Another grave is located in this park. Grinkevich’s famous tank stands there as a memorial. Guards Colonel Franz Andreevich Grinkevich was the commander of the 32nd Guards Tank Brigade, which liberated the city of Stalino in September 1943. Franz Andreevich perished on October 11, 1943, in the village of Kharkovo, in the Zaporozhye Region. He died from a mortal wound received in a battle.
It is worth noting that in the summer 2014, when militants of the Ukrainian death squads tried to seize Priamusye, they used the old German routes. However, the Donetsk miners stood up to their enemies just like in 1942.
The Ukrainian fascists will never be able to enslave Donbass; they will never cross the river Mius. The heroes, who gave their lives for the freedom of Donetsk 74 years ago, stand in spirit next to the defenders of Donbass!
We wholeheartedly congratulate all residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on this remarkable holiday, Donbass Liberation Day.