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Russian defense minister bestows World War II veteran with long-awaited medal

The award ceremony took place 72 years after the initial bestowal ceremony

MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister, General of the Army Sergey Shoigu has awarded a medal to a Great Patriotic War (World War II) veteran, Kirill Shirinya, who did not even know he had been granted it. The award ceremony took place 72 years after the initial bestowal ceremony during a personal reception of citizens in the Russian government’s reception room.

Information about conferring Shirinya with the Patriotic War Order of the 2nd degree was found thanks to the People’s Memory web portal.

"The award has waited for a long time, and the waiting is over. Your work and your exploits were highly praised by the motherland," Shoigu stressed during the bestowal ceremony. He also gave the veteran documents from the Russian Defense Ministry’s archive. "This is your whole military history, all orders from the Defense Ministry’s archives. I believe there is something here you can’t even fathom," the minister said.

The veteran, who will turn 96 in December, thanked the defense chief and the archive members. "It is not important to war veterans, what is important is the actions you are taking now to strengthen defense capacity and preserve the Great Victory and its value in our people’s memory. This is what really matters to us," the veteran stressed.

In the Great Patriotic War lines

During his military service on the front lines of WWII, the announcer of the 998th short-range night bomber aviation regiment of the 313th aviation division, sergeant major Shirinya, made 153 successful combat missions and 987 radio transmissions from the aircraft in order to force the enemy to surrender. He spread more than one million agitation leaflets. His radio broadcasts greatly impressed German soldiers, as could be seen from the captives’ testimonies.

One of them was mentioned in the award list. "The German soldiers’ mood darkened after your broadcasts. The war is really lost, and we are shedding blood for nothing. I believed in the words about captivity and decided to surrender. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so," the document quoted a captive.

The award order was issued and signed by the commander of the 15th air force on April 30, 1945, for exemplary performance of tasks assigned by the command and for displaying valiance and courage.

During the citizens’ reception, the defense minister also studied some appeals related to housing provision for servicemen, military education, patriotic upbringing of young people and personnel issues.