Transneft Upper Volga has assisted the Kurgan search unit of Nizhny Novgorod in organising and conducting a field expedition near the village of Cherny Ruchey, Belsky District in Tver Region.
The annual Memory Watch was launched in late July 2019. Within three weeks, the searchers of the Kurgan search unit of Nizhny Novgorod together with Transneft Upper Volga’s young specialists and employees of the Transneftemash Factory of Velikiye Luki carried out explorations and works on identifying the remains of soldiers and officers who had died during the Great Patriotic War.
The works resulted in finding the remains of 96 soldiers and commanders of the Red Army. Two of them were identified: Sergeant Konstantin Nikiforov and the Red Army soldier Khamid Khabilyaev, born in the Chechen Republic; their remains will be transferred to their relatives. Another tag was sent for examination. During the field works, many significant discoveries were made, including an Achievements in Combat medal, a pectoral icon, as well as other personal items. Almost all the remains were found in a relatively small area — approximately 300 to 500 metres.
On 13 August 2019, a solemn burial ceremony took place in the memorial zone of the Petropavlovsky cemetery in Bely. Representatives of the Bely administration, the Head of Transneft Personnel Management Department Yelena Shchurova, Director General of Transneft Upper Volga Yury Levin, search units operating in the area, relatives of the soldiers found, as well as residents of Bely took part in the mourning events. In total, the Memory Watch 2019 participants found the remains of 292 soldiers and officers.
Transneft Upper Volga began its cooperation with the Kurgan search party in 2018. Members of the unit repeatedly took part in patriotic military events conducted by the Company, arranged exhibitions of the displays found, worked in the archives to search for the employees’ relatives who were missing in action. In 2019, Transneft Upper Volga has provided charitable aid to the Kurgan unit to conduct search operations in Belsky District of Tver Region.
Due to its geographical location, in the 1941-43 years the Cherny Ruchey village was a scene of fierce fighting. The battles began in July 1941. Here, the advance German units that had managed to move far to the east clashed with the 250th Rifle Division of the Red Army, which first stopped the enemy and then launched a fierce counterattack. During the first months of the War, thousands of the Soviet division’s soldiers died or went missing. In October 1941, during the German offensive against Moscow (Typhoon Operation), the village was at the forefront of one of the most important enemy attacks. The battles near the Cherny Ruchey village ended only in March 1943.
The area’s first spontaneous burials of Soviet soldiers’ remains took place back in the 1980s. Serious exploration works near the Cherny Ruchey village began at the turn of the century. From 1993 to 2018, the Kurgan search unit of Nizhny Novgorod conducted 58 field expeditions in the area, found and buried the remains of 2,164 persons and identified 95 Soviet soldiers and officers. For the time being, the total number of Soviet warriors who had perished here remains unknown.