|Nikolai BELYAEV on his 90th birthday|
The last participant in the storming of the Reichstag, veteran Nikolai Belyaev, died today in St Petersburg.
During the Great Patriotic War, Lieutenant Belyaev was a Komsomol leader of the legendary 756-th Regiment, that took the Reichstag in 1945.
Here are the words of TASS writer Valentina Ilyina about the well-known hero: “Nikolai Mikhailovich was 93, he led an active lifestyle up until the very end, never ceasing from the historical and patriotic work.”
Text from the NTV feature:
Today is the birthday of a man from St. Petersburg, whose services to the city and the country as a whole can not be overestimated. A veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Nikolai Belyaev took part in the capture of the Reichstag.
Today the bearer of numerous military awards fired a cannon from the Petropavlosk Fortress. The event was a gift from relatives. And tomorrow, the veteran will receive a visit from the chief of the Krasnoselsky district administration.
Alexey Kobylkov, NTV correspondent, congratulated him on his 90th birthday.
In the morning, first thing, just out of bed, Nikolay Belyaev does his morning exercises, about 15-20 minutes regardless of weather, mood, or his plans for the coming day.
Time in this house doesn’t stop, [The TV show panned on the chiming clock] but the clock will not hurry. A committed Communist, Belyaev has kept his beliefs and ideals, even when everything around is changed.
Viktor Belyaev, his son, calls him “a real Bolshevik, as they used to say. He was a member of the Politburo of Krasnoselsky District Committee, and is now involved in the patriotic education of youth.”
He was born in Kobenёvo village in the Tver region to a peasant family. After graduating from the eighth grade, he went to work in the newspaper “The Leninsky Hammerer,” where he met with Lisa Chaikin herself [Chaikin: Partisan and partisan organizer, and Hero of the Soviet Union — tr] whom the Germans shot in 1941. As for Belyaev, the war found him at one of his official tasks.
Nikolai Belyaev, veteran of the Great Patriotic War: “At the time, we were establishing GTO norms [Готов к Tруду и Oбороне — “Ready for Labor and Defense — National physical training standards — tr]. We had just started the races, and the guy in charge of the MTS shows up. He said Molotov had just spoken, the war has begun.”
He says that during the entire war he retreated only one day. He was in the defense of Murmansk in the famous Valley of Death, fought in the battle for Staraya Russa, got to Riga, took Warsaw, and then on to Berlin. He was wounded three times, and, as usual, it was a miracle he didn’t get killed.
Nikolai Belyaev, veteran of the Great Patriotic War: “It was obviously a sniper. The bullet struck the helmet, put a dent in it, and ricocheted up – crack. Of course, I lost consciousness.”
|Belyaev shows the interviewer where the bullet ricocheted off his helmet.|
The war took one of the major parts of his life, but in the kitchen with his son and daughter-in-law of course, he has more to say about the utility bills or the weather.
After the victory in 1945 he was still in the service, with the Pacific Fleet, and then he worked 40 years at the factory “Red Flag.” Already in 2001, he realized that the company was falling apart and the world around was rapidly changing. These changes were not upsetting, but required new and special skills. In particular, the ability to use a computer.
The capture of the Reichstag has now become a vivid recollection, and the factory “Red Flag” is long gone. But he still has a lot to do every day: meetings of the Politburo, conferences, presentations to the youth, and finally, his own anniversary, clearly not the last.