Monday, September 28, 2009

On September 23rd Poltava celebrated the City Day

On September 23rd Poltava celebrated the City Day. 66 years ago Poltava was liberated by advancing troops of the Red Army. A unique photo of the Red Army soldier and Red Flag over the Glory Monument in Poltava was taken by unknown photographer on September 23rd. Poltava was liberated soon after the battle of Kursk. It remains both the largest series of armoured clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka, and the costliest single day of aerial warfare to date. It was the last strategic offensive the Germans were able to mount in the east. The resulting decisive Soviet victory gave the Red Army the strategic initiative for the rest of the war. Here is a quotation from the order of Marshal Josef Stalin to Army General Ivan Konev who commanded the Ukrainian Front (later renamed the First Ukrainian Front) dated after September 23rd, 1943.
"Today, September 23, at 21.00 hours the capital of our Motherland, Moscow, on behalf of the Motherland, will salute with 12 artillery salvoes from 124 guns our gallant troops which liberated the town of Poltava. For excellent military operations, I express my thanks to all troops commanded by you who participated in the fighting for the liberation of the town of Poltava. Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in the fight for the freedom and independence of our Motherland. Death to the German invaders!"

Many flowers and wreaths were laid at the Memorial to the Glory of Soldiers on September 23rd. This memorial was opened in October 1969 in Kotlyarevsky Park on the site of the former city cemetery. All remains of the soldiers and officers that had been killed during the liberation of Poltava were moved from Petrovsky Park to the newly unveiled memorial. The Memorial contains 21 common graves and 22 separate graves covered with granite tombstones. The monument itself is shaped in the form of a 22-meter high bayonet and a 6-meter high sculpture of a soldier wearing military gear and holding a shield with a bas relief of the Glory Monument. An Eternal Flame is located at the base of the monument.

Many flowers and wreaths were also laid at the monument to Lieutenant-General Zygin. The monument was unveiled in 1957 on the square named after him. Zygin was promoted in September 1943 to Commander of the 4th Army that participated in the battle for the Dnieper River. Shortly after his promotion, on the 27th of September, his car was blown up by a German mine. Lieutenant-General Zygin was buried in Poltava.