Memories, facts of anti-Japanese war should be preserved: Russian veteran

Source:Xinhuanet Editor:Wang Xinjuan 2020-09-02 18:19:34

Students prepare to present flowers to martyrs during an exhibition on the Tokyo Trial at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 13, 2019. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Memories and facts of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression should be preserved, said 93-year-old Russian veteran Taras Shchudlo.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, which falls on Sept. 3. China's resistance against Japanese aggression is one of the most heroic chapters of the World Anti-Fascist War.

In August 1945, one and a half million Soviet troops were transferred to China's Northeast. They fought alongside the Chinese people and defeated the Japanese Kwantung Army. Shchudlo, a retired major general who participated in the operation, shared his memories of the events of those years with Xinhua.

File photo taken in August 1945 shows Soviet troops disarming Japanese invaders in northeast China. On Aug. 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito delivered a recorded radio address to the nation, announcing the surrender of Japan in World War II, one day after Japan declared its acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation jointly issued by China, the United States and Britain on July 26, 1945, with the Soviet Union joining later. More than 35 million Chinese were killed or injured in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, accounting for one-third of the total casualties of all countries during WWII, according to incomplete official statistics. (Xinhua)

"In 1945, I graduated from the Penza Artillery School at the age of 18. Then I was sent to the Trans-Baikal Front and ended up in the 39th Army," he said. "After two or three days, on Aug. 9, we went into China's Northeast for battle."

In the offensive, the Soviet troops needed to pass through the Greater Khingan Range. With the incessant pouring rain and no roads to walk, it was difficult for the soldiers to cross these mountains with military equipment, said the veteran.

"At first, we walked for almost two days before reaching the Greater Khingan Range, (and) we crossed it with great difficulty. When we descended into the valley, real battles with the Japanese began there. I will remember all this until my last days," he said.

When recalling the help and support that the Chinese people rendered to the Soviet troops, Shchudlo was deeply moved.

"The locals helped us a lot in crossing rivers and other obstacles. They even dismantled their homes to provide building materials that we could use to cross rivers faster despite the rainy season. They helped as much as they could," he said.

The offensive of the Soviet troops from the Greater Khingan Range, which had been thought as impassable, turned out to be completely unexpected for the Japanese aggressors, said Shchudlo.

With the lightning speed, the operation ended in victory ten days after its start.

Since the 1990s, at the invitation of the Chinese side, Shchudlo traveled to China almost every year, visiting Beijing, Dalian, and other cities.

The upper part of the combined photo shows Chinese soldiers fighting hard to resist Japanese invaders at Lugou Bridge in Beijing (file). The lower part taken by Zhang Chenlin shows people visiting Lugou Bridge on July 3, 2017. (Xinhua)

"I have the most wonderful memories of China, especially from the current successes of our best friends, the Chinese people. The country was changing before my eyes," he said.

In 2015, Shchudlo was invited to Beijing, where he took part in the commemorative events dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. He was among 18 Russian veterans who were awarded the commemorative medal on that occasion.

As a long-time observer of Russia-China ties, he called the current relations between the two countries "excellent."

"In my opinion, we are on the right path, we are strengthening our friendship with all our might. This has an impact not only in Asia, but throughout the world. I think that China's role in the world will continue to increase," Shchudlo said.

Photo taken on Aug. 11, 2020 shows exhibits at an exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War at the Imperial War Museum in London, Britain. (Xinhua)

Congratulating the Chinese people on the 75th anniversary of the victory, the veteran called on preserving the memories and remembering the facts of that war.

"We must remember this. We must talk about those events, talk about how everything happened. Everybody must be interested in this. After all, everyone needs the truth," Shchudlo said.