in Austria we were greeted with silence, in Czechoslovakia with red flags

He has a military bearing

Vladimir Ivanovich Sibanov looks much younger than his 92 years old. he, As in the past, he is tall, stately, elegantly dressed. Plus, no bad habits. He has a military bearing. Our unhurried, detailed communication lasted more than two hours, and it was only towards the end of the conversation that I learned that my interlocutor, a counterintelligence lieutenant colonel, was in reserve. Vladimir Ivanovich, no matter how hard I tried, did not reveal the secrets and subtleties of his work. But we talked about war and politics for a long time …

– Vladimir Ivanovich, what do you remember first of all in your years?

– Of course, the war. I was not mobilized to the front immediately, but only in March 1943. First, I got into the Telavi military infantry school, at that time it was relocated from the Georgian Telavi to the city of Skopin in the Ryazan region.

In the summer of 1943, the reserves of the High Command – the airborne troops – were being formed near Moscow. So I ended up in the reserve military units of Stalin. We lived in Ramenskoye, on the outskirts, practically in the forest, we ourselves built dugouts, were engaged in military training. There I made my first parachute jump.

– What battles and battles did you have to go through?

– A year later, I took part in the 4th “Stalinist strike”, one of ten, which today, in fact, is rarely remembered. In total, I repeat, there were ten serious military operations that significantly influenced the course of the war. The 4th strike was aimed at withdrawing Finland from the war. The operation took only 17 days.

I was enrolled in an engineer-demolition company, and in this area I felt myself for the first time in a war, seeing real armadas of equipment and a lot of fire. In those days, the Finnish side was constantly drawn by smoke and gunpowder. The Finns did not hold the defense for a long time, because it was not our first strike. My job was to clear the roads, including those in the forest.

In the city of Kalinin, we continued to engage in tactical training. In the spring of 1945, on alert, we were sent to the West. Our landing teams were slowly being pulled up by the second echelon to the main forces of the army. We became guards. The 114th division, which was in front, took part in the battles. Our division mainly cleaned up the territory, removed the banners and mines. We passed through Vienna, there were fleeting battles. So I got the medal “For the capture of Vienna.”

What do I remember? Where there were no serious battles, the neatness of the streets and houses was striking, and I still remember women dressed in trousers. I will not forget the attitude of the local population towards the Red Army. Fascist propaganda was everywhere: houses and fences were covered with posters depicting our army soldiers torturing children and women.

But in our advancing army there was a strict order: for looting or violence – a tribunal. Until the execution. So, when we walked through the Alps, the local population met us, as a rule, in silence. Many cottages were empty, the owners had left them beforehand. The houses were hung with white sheets – a sign “give up.” But in Czechoslovakia, residents met our army with red flags, because there was a very strong anti-fascist resistance.

Do not think down on seconds …

– Vladimir Ivanovich, you were no longer a youth in the war. Please tell us about your childhood, parents.

– My family moved to Moscow when I was five years old. And I was born in 1925 in the city of Kimry, Tver region. Parents are from the village of Mikhailovskoye. Mom graduated from high school with a gold medal, then taught for some time. My father received a good education, and in 1930 he was transferred to Moscow to work as a financial consultant in VSEKOPROMSOVET – the council for industrial cooperation. Sister Rimma, five years older than me, had been disabled since childhood, she had tuberculosis.

The family settled in Sokolniki, on the 6th Luchevoy Prosek. Then there were many summer cottages built at the beginning of the 20th century. We lived in one of them. There were no amenities: water, electricity, not even a foundation. They fired at first with an old tiled stove, then they put the stove on two floors. We were given firewood.

I lived there fleshly until my marriage, until 1952. For the children this place was fertile, in the forest we were left to ourselves – we played, went in for sports … In the center of the park there was a large ice rink. All the residents of the dachas on the farm helped each other, and the kids were friends. My sister and I often visited in the summer at my grandparents’ house in Lianozovo, because my father also moved his parents to Moscow. Then it was a dacha place, located in the forest.

In 1931, my father died after being run over by a car. We survived as best we could. Mom started working as a librarian at the Historical Library and eventually got the high position of storage manager. I helped around the house, I knew how to do everything. I went to school by tram, my sister, who moved on crutches, constantly accompanied her to school. When I became a student, I felt a little better, although the scholarship was scanty.

– How did you meet the war?

– In 1941, I was a 2nd year student at the Moscow Power Engineering College, specializing in electrical engineer for electrical machines. I had to serve including power plants. The war began, because of my age I was not mobilized. He took part in the anti-aircraft self-defense of the city: he was on duty at night, mainly on the roofs. They extinguished incendiary bombs, because they could get stuck in the ceilings or pipes of houses. In the summer, I repaired tanks at the Borets plant.

I do not believe fate …

– Probably, your post-war life was already completely different than before the war or at the front?

– I served seven years. The “cold war” began … He was demobilized in 1950 with the rank of guard senior sergeant, as he did not manage to finish the officer’s school that way. I came to the military registration and enlistment office to register. After a detailed conversation, I was invited to work in the state security bodies.

But before that I decided to transfer to study at a shipbuilding college. I was overwhelmed by this offer, but did not refuse. I worked for six months at a machine-tool plant, all this time they checked me. On August 30, I was sent to study at a school where they trained employees of the Main Directorate for the Protection of Particularly Important Objects, as well as members of the government, the Politburo and Stalin personally. After Stalin’s death, this department was disbanded, and the FSO was created on its basis.

I served in counterintelligence for 25 years. He became the head of the unit with the rank of lieutenant colonel. What I did, I will not say. If you are interested, read special literature. In general, my task was to develop operational cases.

He worked in the Central Office, which means that he performed particularly important tasks in identifying foreign agents, as well as dissidents. Preventive work was carried out with this contingent, we talked. It is not true that people were imprisoned en masse for their political convictions. I grew up under Soviet rule, I buried her, but not in my soul. I was a living participant in the formation of power.

– Please tell us about your personal life, about your family.

– I got married when there was a plan to send me abroad. I found a wife among friends of my relatives. She worked in the aviation industry. Our son died when we were 47 years old. The wife passed away a year ago, she had senile dementia. Everything happened late in my life. I got married when I was 27 years old …

– Do you believe in fate, in God?

– I am a convinced atheist. Man builds his own life. It is important to make the right decision. Some circumstances could not be changed. After a while, sometimes I realized that I could have acted differently. I was not mistaken with my marriage. We have lived together for almost 65 years. The wife was homely. I have long forgotten how to do housework, but now I have to do it, and the state, the organization of veterans, helps me. The Moscow government does not leave me unattended. The CSO provided me with two people to help me around the house.

– What are you doing now?

– I’m, of course, a little sad. It saves me that I’m a member of the veterans’ council. I attend various events, I am friends with the district administration. Under the Moscow Longevity program, I learned computer literacy. Social and civic engagement is an important component of any person’s life.

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