(Image description: Pictures of Soviet women in the army fighting during WWII)
“We went to Kineshma, that’s in Ivanovo region, to visit his parents. I went as a heroine and I never expected someone to welcome me, a front-line girl, like that. We’ve gone through so much, we’ve saved lives, lifes of mothers, wives. And then… I heard accusations, I was bad-mouthed. Before that I’ve only ever been “dear sister”… We had tea and my husband’s mother took him aside and started crying: “Who did you marry? A front-line girl… You have two younger sisters. Who’s going to marry them now?” When I think back to that moment I feel tears welling up. Imagine: I had a record, I loved it a lot. There was a song, it said: you have the right to wear the best shoes. That was about a front-line girl. I had it playing, and [his?] elder sister came up and broke it apart, saying: you have no rights. They destroyed all my photos from the war… We, front-line girls, went through so much during hte war… and then we had another war. Another terrible war. The men left us, they didn’t cover our backs. Not like at the front.” from С.Алексеевич “У войны не женское лицо”
In Soviet Union women participating in WWII were erased from history, remaining as the occasional anecdote of a female sniper or simply as medical staff or, at best, radio specialists. The word “front-line girl” (frontovichka) became a terrible insult, synonimous to “whore”. Hundreds thousand of girls who went to war to protect their homeland with their very lives, who came back injured or disabled, with medals for valor, had to hide it to protect themselves from public scorn.