Krasnodar, 7 May. Today our guest is Yevgeni Shendrik, Chairman of the Council of Veterans of Krasnodar krai.
Q.: How did you start your service to homeland?
A.: The very decision to pick this way was shaped in childhood. I grew up in the Cossack village of Rogovskaya. My uncle was an armoured colonel. At school, we often had Fortitude Lessons, where we were told stories of hard days of the Great Patriotic War. One day, during a Victory parade, we saw that our neighbours, whom we were used to meeting every day, were soldiers and officers – they had put on their tunics covered with medals and orders all over. It was then that I understood that I would like to become an officer. I began to practise, study better, and keep proper hours, as though I were a cadet. It lasted for a couple of years. Upon graduating school, I entered the Serpukhov Military Academy.
Q.: Who is your exemplary warrior?
A.: Earlier, my examples were WWII heroes, Aleksandr Matrosov, Nikolai Gastello, and Zoya Kosmodemianskaya. Now I can add to this list my 17 fellow countrymen, Heroes of Russia. They all live like everybody else, and if you would meet them without uniform, in everyday life, you would never guess what difficult and complicated tasks they had fulfilled. As a matter of fact, at the moment of feat they were simply carrying out their work, without thinking of rewards or glory.
Q.: What has been done to support the Great Patriotic War veterans in the runup to the holiday?
A.: We have the list of all war veterans, and we regularly visit them, controlling the fulfilment of their requests. By the initiative of Governor Veniamin Kondratiev, the deputies of the regional Legislative Assembly amended the regional law, allowing for rendering social support to war veterans as soon as special-purpose voluntary donations and contributions go into the regional budget. Speaking about helping our veterans, in addition to all privileges, they are qualified for additional payments from the federal and regional budgets and charitable aid coming from donators.
Q.: What does the word ‘patriotism’ mean for your personally?
A.: Every person has to know the history of their country. Regretfully, it has facts that may arouse our resentment or doubts. But our task is not to judge our history, but to take up its lessons. To learn from what is valuable and useful, and to proceed moving. We did not live under those circumstances and in that time, so we would never understand the decisions taken by people who lived then – but what we will do we will be held responsible for our own decisions. So I consider genuine patriotism as acknowledgement of personal responsibility before your own nation.
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