I was surrounded by a Red Army soldiers from my birthday until I was twenty, because my father was an officer. No, what I just said, is not exact. When I was born in 1943, my father still was a soldier, aged 25. He was drafted in 1937, tragical year, young electrician from a small town Bobrov of Voronejskaia oblast. He was drafted to diabolical NKVD forces. Because he was electrician. In 1937 it was like to be internet specialist today. So NKVD had first choice in recruiting. Because of that, my father survived Second World War. His brother Yuri, four years younger than him, was drafted in 1941, so he was dead in first battle. My grandfather was also killed at war in 1944.
Anyway, my father was among NKVD soldiers whose job was to guard military factory producing bombs and shells, near town of Dzerjinsk, of Nijegorodskaia oblast. My mother worked on that dangerous factory. I was born in that ecologically terrible place [see eXile 193 story Toxic Feliks for more on Dzerzhinsk -- Ed.]. Even now Dzerjinsk has glory to be chemical capital of Russia. I was born in military NKVD hospital. Good beginning for somebody arrested in 2001 by FSB.
First thing what I remember in my life -- are laps of my father military overcoat, we were walking in the evening the snowy street of Khrakov. That was, I guess in 1946, because in 1944 -- 45 my father went to military school. He became lieutenant. His overcoat was long, according to Russian tradition, dating from the time of Emperor Paul I, he gave military overcoats (shinel in Russian) to Russian Army in 1800. Before that date Russian troops were fighting without overcoats, wearing whatever they can under their military jackets.
In Krakow our small family lived near railroad station in one of the rear buildings untouched by the bombes. Railroad station was non-existing itself, because of brave German fascist Herman Goering "Luftwaffe". Survived building on the Krasnoarnejskaja street (translated from Russian means "Red Army Street", of course, what else it can be possibly called?!) was occupied by a headquarters of NKVD division. But the last one, third floor was occupied by "dependants" members of officers families. Most of the officers were young, with young wives and small children. We have one room, facing ruins of railroad station: 20 square meters. We were happy.
We, children were living under and among the feet of soldiers and officers. That was a good time, NKVD, or not NKVD. Soldiers were distracting themselves in making fun of each other and teaching children bad things, and bad jokes. I still remember those young soldiers wearing faded uniforms, stinking of shoe polish of boots and cheap cigarettes, laughing as devils of me. Because they taught me to swear. As a trooper. We were all staying near the door to the basement, where was located dining-rooms. When our cook -- mustached Dimka would appears, soldiers would ask me: "Hey, Eddie, how is Dimka's fish cooked?" I would readily say: "Khuievaia!" ("of a dick quality", bad one). Everybody, including Dimka would laugh. They were simple boys, those NKVD soldiers.
Every soldier and officer was happy in those days. Because war was over, and they were alive! Officers were happy to sport out shining gold-looking shoulder-straps, Stalin have introduced them to Army in 1943. In every time of the day Khrakov girls would be looking for soldiers, the men were sparse in those days, and social status of military man stand high. From time to time I saw couples coming back from ruins: soldier and girl, clutching arms.
When we, children, will ask such couples what did they see in the ruins, they would say seriously: "the place is full of fascists". Then they would laugh. However it was not laughable for us, our mother severely forbid us to go to the ruins, on the ground that ruins are populated by bandits and are full of grenades and bombes. When you are three or four or even five years old you want to be scared. So, trembling, scared, but brave, we would walk to the ruins, nevertheless, made few steps... but we were always stopped by headquarters' brave sentinels.