The well-known truth: fighting is at the front, while victory is being prepared in the deep rear. It was here in the south of the former Soviet Union, at factories and fac-tories re-equipped for defense purposes, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, aircraft and tanks, artillery and ammunition that were necessary to support ar-my were produced here. It was here that evacuation hospitals were opened, the formation of military units took place, and military schools were transferred here.
Today, on the Victory Day, remembering our heroic compatriots who fought for the Motherland at the fronts, we should say about those who, far from the war, did everything possible and impossible to bring its end closer. Not without reason is that May 9 is celebrated as a national holiday.
From the first days of the war, Turkmenistan worked under the motto “Everything is for the front, everything is for Victory”. Turkmenistan became one of the rear ba-ses of the Red Army, and, in a short time, the national economy of the country was reoriented for the needs of war.
Enterprises of the metal-working industry and industrial operations were re-oriented for the manufacture of ammunition and weapons. Enterprises of light, textile and lo-cal industries re-oriented for the production of military equipment and uniforms.
Turkmen citizens took the most active part in the creation of the defense fund. All population of the country from young to old were active. Everywhere people hand-ed over money to provide the front with military equipment.
Turkmen women donated their jewelry and other valuables, including those inherit-ed, representing the true masterpieces of Turkmen jewelry and family heirlooms, to the defense fund.
In the most difficult initial period of the war on November 20, 1941, about 9 million rubles in cash, 42 million government bonds, 969 kilograms of gold and 2929 kilo-grams of silver were collected in Turkmenistan.
In total, during the war years, 7392 kilograms of gold and silver jewelry and 243 mil-lion rubles were handed over for the construction of tank column and combat air-craft. It made about 80% out of total precious metals collected throughout the USSR. For the needs of the front, 21.5 thousand tons of ferrous and 450 tons of non-ferrous metals were sent off.
After classes, schoolchildren of the cities collected scrap metal, while their mothers and fathers, working in factories and mills, carried out two, and sometimes three, production norms per shift. Rural children, along with adults, worked in the fields and farms.
Livestock, food, seeds, agricultural tools, etc. were sent to the liberated areas as fraternal assistance. The most valuable assets of the Turkmen people, the Akhal-Teke horses, also were given to the defense fund. In the first months of the war, about 200 purebred horses were set up for cavalry.
Every assistance was provided to the population of the territories newly-free from invaders. In the spring of 1943, 15,379 cattle were sent to the liberated areas. In 1944, 20,000 karakul sheep were sent to Ukraine for the resumption of animal hus-bandry. 45 Akhal-Teke stud horses were sent to Krasnodar Region to restore horse breeding.
Personal funds of Turkmen people regularly gave up for specific goals – restoration of kindergartens and nurseries in the Kharkiv region, assistance to residents of the destroyed Minsk and other cities of the country.
Women of Turkmenistan made and sent about a million warm clothes to front-line soldiers – short sheepskin coats, felt boots, fur hat, fur vests, etc. During days and nights, they sewed clothes, knitted warm clothes for the fighters – wool socks, gloves, pillowcaps, and scarfes.
Of course, each of them thought that these mittens or socks-jorabs would come to the part where their relatives serve and, putting them on, they will feel the warmth of their home, but if they get to other fighters, it is still good, because at the front, a soldier is a brother to another soldier, and the goal is common for everyone – Vic-tory.
During the war years, about 300 wagons with warm clothes, underwear and gifts for the Red Army soldiers were sent to the front from Turkmenistan.
At the end of December 1941, several enterprises were evacuated from the Ukraini-an city of Kremenchug to Ashgabat, the workers of which – about two hundred people – joined the collective of the Krasniy Molot plant. As early as January 1, 1942, the plant, which had previously produced non-war items, started to manufac-ture hand grenades and fuses to mines and air bombs.
Another enterprise of Ashgabat, the Krasniy Metallist plant, which previously pro-duced household utensils and appliances, has mastered the production of complete-ly new products – the mine for M-82. In general, during the war years, both enter-prises sent five million grenades and more than three million mines to the front, con-tributing to the common Victory.
In addition to ammunition, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, Turkmeni-stan provided the country’s defense departments with the most important strategic raw materials – products of the petroleum and chemical industries, cotton, raw silk, glass and agricultural products.
Local enterprises developed the manufacture of production of army equipment and uniforms – more than 70 new types of industrial products of defense and national economic importance.
The fuel and energy industry of Turkmenistan was of particular importance. The volume of drilling increased 4 times. Oil industry of the country, showing labor her-oism, provided the non-stop supply with fuel of front and national economy.
Railway and port workers of Turkmenistan made a great contribution to the victory over the enemy. The role of transport communications has especially increased in the tense situation of the summer of 1942, when the Nazis reached the Volga and the foothills of the Caucasus. After the Nazis occupied the Rostov and part of the North Caucasus, the Ashgabat railway turned into a frontline route – into the main railway that linked the Trans Caucasus through the Caspian Sea with fronts and center of the country.
Since August 1942, the port of Krasnovodsk (now Turkmenbashi port – ed.) be-came the most important base for the supply and replenishment of the Caucasian Front with people and equipment. The cargo arrived simultaneously from several ports of the Caspian Sea – Makhachkala, Derbent, Baku, and Astrakhan and through the Ashgabat railway were forwarded to other republics of Central Asia and Western Siberia, and in the opposite direction.
From this railway, troops were transferred to Stalingrad. Railway and port workers provided not only the evacuation to the east of industrial enterprises, grain and other cargoes, but also a quick transfer to the front of military replenishment, weapons, equipment and food.
In June 1942, the train with gifts for front-line soldiers and things for the population of the territories that had been occupied departed from Ashgabat station. Echelon consisted of 34 cars with food and things.
The next echelon consisted of 45 wagons of gifts was sent to the defenders of Sta-lingrad by November 7, 1942. Later, sending echelons with holiday gifts to the front has become a tradition. The largest echelon of 85 cars was sent to the front by the 25th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the USSR in February 1943.
The increase in supplies to the front, the evacuation of people and industrial enter-prises required uninterrupted and hard work of all types of transport. In Turkmeni-stan, the transport routes load has increased several times.
The railway workers of the country with honor carried out their duties on regulation of increased freight traffic, on reception and transit of people and goods. In sup-port of the front, the Ashgabat Railway has allocated 20 diesel locomotives to sup-port the railways of Russia in transporting military trains to the front.
In addition, to provide military needs, Turkmenistan sent to the army more than 3 thousand vehicles, 125 tractors, about 24 thousand horses and more than 2 thou-sand carts with harness sets.
During the war years, a large network of evacuation hospitals was opened on the territory of Turkmenistan. For these purposes, the best buildings in cities and towns were allocated, the most experienced medical personnel were engaged.
As to data on medical case, percentage of patients who recovered and other indica-tors, the evacuation hospital of Turkmenistan was among the best hospitals of the USSR. Hundreds of doctors from our country, including many women, worked di-rectly on the fronts, saving the lives of thousands of warriors.
Already in August 1941, enterprises, educational, scientific and cultural institutions evacuated from the western part of the country, began to arrive in Turkmenistan. At the beginning of the war, Moscow State University, Odessa State University, Khar-kov Hydrometeorological Institute, Sochi Balneological Institute were evacuated to Ashkhabad. Future academician Andrey Sakharov and other prominent scientists were among those evacuated students.
The cultural figures of Turkmenistan also contributed to the common Victory. Fa-mous writers, poets, artists, musicians, singers, and artists of the country, as part of concert brigades, repeatedly traveled to battle sites to raise the fighting and morale of their compatriots and their fellow soldiers.
Sometimes concerts took place directly on the front line, just few hours before the fight. In the family archives of the front-line soldiers, letters are kept; the letters say that the meeting with their favorite artists inspired them to smash the enemy.
From the first days of the war, the government of the republic showed tremendous care for evacuees, families and children of front-line soldiers, and for the disabled of the Great Patriotic War.
In the period of July-December 1941, about 103 thousand people were transported from Makhachkala and Baku to Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashi – ed.). However, the flow of refugees was growing. There was evacuation from the territories occupied by the enemy – Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltic States, the Caucasus.
In the second half of 1942, the number of refugees already reached more than 500 thousand people. You can imagine how much effort it took to feed and temporarily accommodate half a million old people, women, children and the disabled. Turk-menistan performed this task excellently.
Understanding the tragedy experienced by people who lost their homes and came to Turkmenistan only with the property that they managed to take along with them, mainly with goods of first-necessity that they put into bundles and plywood cases, the government and residents of the country fraternally shared all they had, includ-ing warmth and every support.
For evacuated families, which were distributed in all major cities of the country, houses were urgently built; plots for collective and individual gardens were allocat-ed. Those of them who worked on the collective farms were allocated Melleks (land plots – ed.) along with the collective farm workers.
Additional amount of goods from the funds of the trading system to supply the families of servicemen was allocated, and through the cooperation system, special workshops to repair shoes and clothing of the evacuated population were opened.
By creating the fund to help families of front-line soldiers, the people of Turkmeni-stan shared everything with them. Perhaps, there was no any enterprise, institution, or daykhan farm, which did not contribute to it, whether it money, clothing or food.
War is mercilessly. Taking the parents, it ricochets the most defenseless – children. During the war years, all the children who arrived in Turkmenistan were provided with the necessary conditions for normal study and rest.
Orphanages and Turkmen families, erasing the boundaries between nationalities, sheltered the orphans and children, whom the war had separated from their parents. Although what the boundaries of maternal love may be!
Many families who were evacuated to Turkmenistan during the war years returned home after it ended. Warmed by the hot and generous Turkmen sun, they have long remembered the country that pleased their body and soul. However, there were a lot of those who stayed here forever, for whom this hospitable southern region became the second homeland. Here they found both a new family and a new destiny.
During the war years, Turkmenistan, like the whole country, lived under the motto “Everything is for the front, everything is for victory!”, sparing neither its labor nor material resources. But the most valuable thing that our country has given to the fight against Nazism is dozens of thousands of lives of Turkmen people.
We do not know many names and surnames of ordinary workers of the rear, who had their own front and their own front lines. But when we kneel down before the courage and heroism of the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War, we bow down be-fore the feat of the great army of unknown, but equally courageous people – work-ers, farmers, doctors, teachers, housewives, even children, whose dedication, pa-tience and unity brought the desired Victory closer.