On May 9, Uzbekistan marks two dates: Remembrance and Honor Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Fascism in the 1941-1945 War. However, the grand, special and festive air has been felt for several months. This year, Uzbekistan has enhanced the care for veterans of war and labor front and broad advocacy of the resilience, courage and heroism they had demonstrated during the war.
LAVISHED WITH CARE
The people of Uzbekistan remember the enormous contribution of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers to the victory over fascism. The commemoration has been promoted by the implementation of the provisions of the Presidential Decree ‘On the preparation and conduct of the national holiday of the Remembrance and Honor Day’. A diversity of events on the occasion of the date has been underway across the country. War and labor veterans of 1941-1945 have been given personal support. This year, the events are being held under the motto ‘Feat, Duty, Resilience’. They have involved authorities, public organizations, health and social institutions, culture and art professionals, athelets, and servicemen.
“We are grateful for the attention and care we have been given. I am in excellent health and mood owing to the care of the state and the society, peace and tranquility in Uzbekistan,” says labor veteran Vahobjon Oripov, a resident of Kurkam Mahalla in Tashkent.. “I believe that a country that remembers and honors elderly people and their contributions will prosper for ever.”
Central and regional television and radio channels broadcast documentaries and feature films, enrich the newscasts with stories entitled ‘May 9 – Remembrance and Honor Day’. Talk shows reveal the essence of such sacred concepts as a rewarding human memory, remembrance of those who passed away, the comprehension of immense courage of heroes. Print and online publications are making a significant contribution to the commemoration by covering the present-day life of war and labor veterans, and their contribution to the common cause. The country’s leading publishers have issued a collection of works about the Second World War and veterans.
Recreation parks, streets and squares will host theatrical performances, cultural and educational rallies, sports events under the slogan ‘For Peace on the Globe’. Young people will take part in sports tournaments and a charity marathon on the occasion of the Remembrance and Honor Day.
All educational institutions will conduct peace lessons and spiritual and educational activities entitled ‘Meeting of Generations’, ‘Attention and Care for the Senior Generation’, ‘Honor and Respect’ involving veterans of war and labor front of 1941-1945, veterans and representatives of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan. The Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education jointly with representatives of universities held a conference ‘No Future without Historical Memory’. All mentioned and many other events at educational institutions, organizations and military units are aimed at ensuring the continuity of generations, cultivation of a sense of love for the motherland and respect for the older generation in young people.
“Arrangement of meetings with war and labor veterans on the eve of the Remembrance and Honor Day is a long tradition,” says Shakira Mamatova, a student of school №3 of Qibray district in Tashkent region. “Communication with them is a chance for the young to further explore the history of our multinational people, to learn appreciating peace and tranquility in our country.”
THE VICTORY WE SHARE
These days we are commemorating the contribution of the Uzbek people to the victory over fascism. According to the Nuroniy Public Foundation, World War Two involved more than 1.4 million Uzbek people, over 400,000 of them died, and 130,000 went missing. Today, there are more than 3,000 participants of the war, and about 70,000 veterans of the labor front in Uzbekistan. There is hardly any family that was not affected to a certain extent by World War Two, which, according to historians, affected 80% of the world population .
Participation in the fight against fascism did not necessarily require going to the battlefield – people needed manpower. 100 industrial enterprises were evacuated to Uzbekistan during the war. The country's leaders and industries were entrusted with providing those enterprises with the workforce. It was a tough challenge, as most of the able-bodied men, including many skilled workers and technical staff, went to the battlefield. Thousands of women at factories voluntarily learned the professions that had been previously regarded as male jobs. Over 20,000 women worked at factories and plants in the first months of the war in Tashkent.
Owing to the labor enthusiasm of the local population, the factories that were relocated to Uzbekistan, reached their full capacity by the middle of the first half of 1942, supplying the battlefield with military equipment, ammunition, outfit, and clothing. That was the time when new industrial towns of Chirchik, Angren, Bekabad, Yangiyo’l appeared on the map.
During the Second World War, Uzbekistan played an important role in addressing the food problem. Adolescents came to help rural workers. Uzbekistan met not only the domestic needs, but also supplied agricultural products to the areas liberated from the Nazis. That was possible through the mobilization of internal resources, expansion of acreage and increase of the yields of grain, vegetables and livestock foods maintaining the previous volumes of cotton production. During those tough years, the farmers had to plow the previously idle agricultural lands, and build new irrigation facilities. This way, numerous irrigation canals appeared throughout the country.
During the war, Uzbekistan became the second home for a huge number of people that were evacuated from the war zone. Local people took care of them, provided shelter, food, and clothing. Particular attention was given to children who had lost their parents.
Uzbekistan saved more than 1.5 million people from starvation and death, including almost 300,000 children of different nationalities from Russia, including the besieged Leningrad, Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. All of them found shelter and care while many found new families.
The Second World War left its trace on all aspects of people’s life, and even in the work of research institutions. The challenges of war changed the peaceful focus of research papers. All areas of research were reviewed in line with the needs of the front and the national economy. Uzbek scientists were greatly supported by their colleagues from evacuated academic institutions. The mathematicians Niyazov and Sarymsakov, geologists Abdullayev, Uklonsky, philosopher Muminov, chemists Sadykov and Yunusov, power engineering specialist Askochensky contributed to the development of the defense industry, mechanical engineering, the discovery of new mineral deposits.
Researchers developed new varieties of cotton, worked on coking domestic coal and other fuels, and increasing the production of medicines. Doctors were busy with advancing surgical and neurosurgical treatment, contributing to the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. Writers and artists left a trace as well. Hamid Olimjon, Ghafur Ghulom, Abdulla Kahhar, Oibek and others glorified patriotism and love for the motherland.
MORE THAN JUST WORDS
Solemn ceremonies of awarding veterans of war and labor front of 1941-1945 with the commemorative anniversary medal ‘Ikkinchi Jahon urushidagi ghalabaning 70 yilligi’ (70th Anniversary of Victory in the World War Two’ and a lump sump payment on behalf of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan have taken place on the holiday’s eve nationwide. Those who could not come to the event have been visited at home. Region and district mayors, representatives of departments of the Ministry of Defense, Nuroniy Foundation and other organizations also met with veterans. The veterans living in Sahovat and Muruvvat mercy homes were visited as well.
“We live in a country where people are valued,” says resident of Yukori Mirzaobod village of Asaka district of Andijan region, participant of the Second World War Muhammad ota Bozorov. “We often meet guests at home these days: representatives of municipality, local community activists, and doctors from the local clinic. They ask about my health, congratulate. Such respect inspires us, the elderly, and gives us strength.”
Ceremonies and concerts are being held everywhere. The events to commemorate the gone and honor the alive have been held throughout the country at the initiative of Nuroniy Foundation. For instance the veterans of Tashkent were received at the Turkiston Palace of Arts.
The concert program comprised the songs of the war years and contemporary compositions. A few days ago the Council of Federation of Trade Unions organized cultural and educational events for the veterans that recreate in the Botanika and Buston sanatoriums of Kibray district in Tashkent region. The campaigns are held at municipal and village scales, in separate local communities, and organizations. As a rule, they present veterans with valuable gifts.
Incentives for veterans of the Second World War and the labor front of 1941-1945 will be continued. Under the national program the Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation they will also be presented with the domestically produced modern television sets and cell phones.
The elder people of Karakalpakstan, regions and Tashkent city are invited to concert programs ‘Melodies of the War Years’ with the involvement of students of children's music and art schools.
Health of veterans has been in the spotlight. They have undergone a thorough medical examination. Those in need of a high-tech specialized treatment received preferential vouchers for multifunctional specialized research medical centers, clinics, and research institutions. Nurses and doctors render medical aid at the place of residence to those who cannot visit a hospital for health reasons. Veterans are provided with essential drug kits, free medicines prescribed by doctors for outpatient treatment.
“I have celebrated my 95th anniversary, and my health does not allow me going out,” says World War Two veteran Tursunkul-ota Rakhimov of Jizzakh district. “A team of doctors came to my home the other day with equipment, and prescribed some treatment, after which I felt better.”
The country's best health resorts provide every war and labor front veteran of 1941-1945 with the opportunity for free treatment. Starting with this year, each of them gets a voucher for 12-day treatment. Resorts have prepared for the implementation of the President's Decree in advance. They opened specialized departments.
“A few days ago, I got back from the Tovoqsoy sanatorium,” says labor veteran Usman Khakimov of Tashkent. “The recreation was both useful and enjoyable. I took some treatment and received useful advice on how to maintain my health at my age.”
The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Nuroniy Foundation, and the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan in cooperation with local community committees have been implementing a range of measures to provide targeted humanitarian assistance to the veterans of war and labor front of 1941-1945, including the beautification and repair of their homes.
NOT ONLY ON HOLIDAYS
Independent Uzbekistan remembers and honors the contribution of the Uzbek people to the victory over fascism. Much has been done to ensure that commemoration is expressed in the everyday care.
Located on the territory of the country's central Independence Square, Remembrance Square is a major place of worship of all those who perished in one of the bloodiest wars in world history. The names of all Uzbeks killed in the war are carved on the pages of the Remembrance Book. The Eternal Flame and the Monument of the Mourning Mother is an inalienable part of the architectural composition.
“I have been to Tashkent many times, but this visit is special for me because I have come to the Eternal Flame with my son for the first time,” said Shukhrat Matyakubov from Urgench. ‘The Book of Remembrance has a record of my grandfather and my father, who never returned from the battlefield. I want my children to know and remember them; appreciate the peace and harmony in our country.”
Dozens of memorial complexes have been restored and re-built during the years of independence in Uzbekistan. There are similar remembrance squares in the regions, which record the names of representatives of those regions.
The largest memorial of those killed in World War Two with the symbolic name of “Bed of Honor” has been landscaped as well.