Elena got married out of great love and together with her husband went through the collapse of the USSR
Service in the army at all times was a difficult craft. Here you have hardships, hardships, and “nomadic” life in the garrisons. Wherever the Motherland sends, there you will go and repay your debt. And she, of course, can send to the most unexpected places. The second half has no choice but to simply follow her husband. Such a share. The wife of a retired midshipman told what it is like to be the wife of a military man.
Photo: Press Service of the Ministry of Defense
Not everyone becomes generals
Only in my memory the attitude towards the servicemen of the Soviet (Russian) army in society changed three times. I remember the 80s, when “mowing” was considered shameful, and the boys left to serve, so that later, in the company of friends, proudly talk about their experiences. Those who nevertheless somehow avoided the “deadline” were contemptuously said: “What a man he is.”
Girls, too, did not particularly like such gentlemen. Cadets and officers were generally a special stratum of society. And honor to you, and respect, and prosperity. So everyone's relatives – from loved ones, to the seventh water on jelly – were filled with pride.
Then came the 90s – the collapse of the Union and with it the valiant Soviet army. Substitution of values and concepts, decline in morality. Life on coupons and delayed wages. So, of course, the whole country lived, not only the military. But the tram driver is not required, if necessary, to give his life for a peaceful sky over the heads of others. And the soldier is obliged. He took the oath. So we gradually came to the conclusion that there were fewer and fewer people willing to serve.
At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, a new stage began, which led to a radical change in the appearance of the Russian army. Today our Armed Forces have become the legal successor of the valiant Soviet army, the pride and support of the country.
Servicemen who have gone through all these hardships and have not changed the chosen path of life evoke the deepest sense of respect. As well as their companions, whose everyday feat almost always remains in the shadows. After all, the wife of a military man is not just a spouse. She is both a fighting friend and a reliable rear. Largely due to their dedication, generals are made from lieutenants. Still, they remember the catch phrase from the movie “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”: “To become a general, you have to marry a lieutenant, and wander around the garrisons with him for twenty years.”
Of course, not all become generals , but the opportunity to experience the delights of garrison life goes to most women who decide to link their fate with the defender of the Fatherland.
I'm going into some kind of hole
“This year it was exactly 35 years since we have been together,” says my interlocutor, the wife of a retired midshipman, Elena. – Sometimes I can't even believe it myself. I lived with my parents in the suburbs at that time. We had relatives who lived in a closed military town. And I loved it very much when we came to visit them on the May holidays. There reigned some kind of its own atmosphere, not similar to the life of ordinary cities.
You are asking if I thought that I would become the wife of a military man. Of course, I didn't have such a goal as such. But it was prestigious to marry a military man, and it seems to me that all the girls thought so. In military educational institutions came mainly from the families of military personnel. These were people who really wanted to defend their homeland. They were perceived as strong, courageous and, of course, the girls liked them.
– They didn't even think about it. And I didn't think until I met my betrothed. That was in 1986, I already turned 23. By that time I graduated from the institute, I was an adult, independent person. At least that's how it seemed to me. I got a good job assignment in Moscow, right in the center, as I always wanted. I had to go to work on August 1st.
Summer, vacation, and in July I went to visit my grandmother in Kronstadt. In the city, as expected, there was a House of Officers. Everyone loved to go there. They showed movies and dances there. One evening my cousin and I were just walking nearby, it started to rain, and we ran into the Officers' House. I had never been there before. We decided to walk and see the interior. By the way, it is very beautiful there: huge halls, antique doors, large aquariums.
After walking enough, we sat down to rest. And then two young men in cadet uniforms come up to us and invite us to dance. It turned out that they are future warrant officers. At first we refused, but they all fit and fit. In general, they agreed.
Alexey, my future husband, during the very first dance asked me: “Do you believe in love at first sight?” Apparently, he really liked me, but somehow I didn't really like him then. They did not go to see us off, because their leave of absence was running out, but he asked for my address. I wrote down the street and said: “You can find a house yourself if you want.” I didn’t even have a thought that he would go to all the houses and look for me.
Imagine, with my friends I went around all the houses in a week and found. We talked for another week, and then I went home, I need to go to work. They began to correspond. We still have these letters at home, a whole stack. Nowadays people probably don't write letters to each other at all.
He finished his studies in November. On November 14 he came to me, on November 15 we got married, and after a couple of days I left “at my husband’s place of service” … to Kyrgyzstan.
I am such a theatergoer, I constantly went to performances, read poetry. All sublime. And I'm going to some hole.
– The village was called Spartak. And there was a military town in it. In terms of amenities, in fact, it turned out to be not all that terrible. I was preparing myself for the worst, to be honest. We were immediately given an apartment in a new building, with gas and water. In the yard we had a cherry orchard and a playground. A year later, our son was born, and two years later, a daughter.
– My husband is at work all the time, I hardly saw him. He has either exercises, or courses where you cannot go with him, or night alarms, constant combat readiness. At any time of the day or night, he may be alerted and he will leave. Maybe for a day, maybe for a week. This means that you learn to do everything yourself. And the children are on you.
– Oh, yes, of course, there were, – Elena laughs. – It seems to me that if we lived closer, I might have done so. So the distance is sometimes good.
The soup was boiled with a boiler
– It was a very difficult time. For all. But people always find some way out. Here we are – we built a garage, brought in rabbits, a pig. All the acquaintances were surprised how this city girl was looking after the household. So what to do? Although now sometimes I think: “How did we survive?” I remember we ran out of gas, but we didn't have an electric stove. Then there was nothing in the stores. In Moscow, even on coupons, but in our country, in general, there are empty counters.
I had to cook the soup with a boiler. Have you tried doing this at least once? Then the transfer to Moscow was confirmed for us, and we sent a container with things. But it turned out that some papers were hanging somewhere in the headquarters, and we lived in an empty apartment for six months. We slept on a mattress, there were almost no clothes. Winter is coming, and we are without warm clothes. We sold a garage for 65 soms and bought jackets for children with this money. I remember now, like a bad dream.
– Not. He chose this profession and wanted to serve. I couldn't put pressure on him, that would be wrong. Then we decided that we had to transfer to the capital. But to say is one thing, and to do is another. With all the bureaucratic delays, the translation took us almost three years. Probably, it could have been faster somewhere else, but I wanted my children to have a good education, so I insisted that only to Moscow or the Moscow region. To transfer to the General Staff, my husband had to give up his service housing due to his seniority.
– That's it. This was such a condition, and the husband signed a waiver. In 1998, we were nevertheless transferred to Moscow. I got a job in the archives of the Ministry of Defense. The military was then lowered below the plinth, salaries were delayed for both my husband and me. Six months later, I had to leave and get a job at a bank, so that at least I had something to feed my family. The spouse worked part-time in the protection, then many military men did this. In 2008, my husband decided to leave the army.
– I don't even know. One thing I can say for sure – that difficulties can be experienced only when you truly love a person.