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Two Soviet military graves found in China

BEIJING, March 24 Recently discovered in China two previously unaccounted for Soviet military graves, said Andrei Kisenko, head of the Russian Ministry of Defense representative office for organizing and conducting military memorial work in the PRC, adviser to the Russian Embassy in China.
The diplomat emphasized that “the search and certification of Soviet military graves continues in China.”

“The Russian Embassy in China, the representative office of the Russian Ministry of Defense for the organization and conduct of military memorial work in the PRC are constantly working to establish information about Russian (Soviet) military personnel who died and went missing during wars and military conflicts in China, with the aim of perpetuating their memory,” Kisenko said.
He reported that “recently, the result of such work was the discovery of two previously unaccounted for Soviet military graves: in the Heping village of Yanhe County, Tongren City, Guizhou Province, and the Hangu Village of Jiulongpo District, Chongqing City.”
Information that in the indicated places there are graves of two Soviet volunteer pilots who fought in China during the war of resistance of the Chinese people against Japanese aggression came from the head of the Chinese search detachment “Soviet Falcon”. After which, representatives of the Russian Embassy and the Russian Ministry of Defense went to the site to inspect and clarify the information received and collect detailed information.
The diplomat pointed out that in the village of Heping in Yanhe County, places associated with the death of the Soviet pilot, known in China as “Jinjiaolofu,” were examined.

According to local authorities, on December 24, 1939, Soviet volunteer pilots took off from Chongqing to bomb targets of the Japanese aggressors in the Nanjing area. After successfully completing the mission, fuel began to run out on the way back, and the pilots were forced to land on a sandbank of the Wujiang River, and one of them died.
The next day, a large-scale funeral ceremony for the Soviet pilot was organized, in which more than 10 thousand people took part. In June 1953, a new monument was erected at the pilot’s grave. Even later, in 2017, construction of a thematic square dedicated to the memory of the Soviet ace was completed on this site. The square was named after him, and next to the memorial stele there was a model of the Soviet I-16 fighter.
The burial itself in 1976 was moved to a new place – the Shipo cemetery, and in August 1985, the remains of the pilot along with the monument were moved to a new place – the memorial to the fallen heroes of the revolution “Babaoshan”, where they are currently located.

“The local administration allocated funds for the arrangement of the burial and the installation of a stele with a text containing information about the feat of the Soviet officer, the circumstances of his death and the history of the transfer of the grave,” Kisenko said.
He added that every year, on the traditional Chinese holiday of remembrance of the dead, “Qingming,” commemorative events are held at the burial of the Soviet pilot, in which people of different ages and professions take part. Chinese schoolchildren come to the grave of the Soviet pilot to learn about the hero’s feat and pay tribute to his memory.
At the same time, the Russian name of the deceased pilot has not yet been precisely established, however, it is assumed that the Soviet pilot Senior Lieutenant Fyodor Zinchenko, who was on a business trip in China from June 10, 1939 and died on January 10, 1940 during an emergency landing, is buried in the provincial city of Yanhe plane on the river bank near the city of Yanhuo.
Representatives of the Russian Embassy and Ministry of Defense also inspected the site near the city of Chongqing, where the Soviet pilot Captain Salam Kaurbekovich Bdaytsiev is supposedly buried. According to archival data, Captain Bdaytsiev was on a business trip in China from June 21, 1939, died on October 2, 1939 in an air battle in the Chongqing area, he jumped out with a parachute and crashed against a rock.
“The place not far from the former Chongqing Baishi airfield, where until the 60s of the last century there was a grave of a Soviet pilot with a monument installed on it, is well remembered by residents of the Hangu village of Jiulongpo district of Chongqing. Unfortunately, the monument was lost and cannot be determined today The exact burial place of the Soviet pilot-officer is not possible,” Kisenko added.
Only a specially organized search event will help to find the remains of the fallen defender of the fatherland; according to Chinese researchers, the search area can be up to 50 square meters.
Kisenko added that the secret operation codenamed “Z”, organized by the Soviet Union in 1937-1941, in which Soviet military specialists and technicians were sent to China, still remains one of the little-known pages of the country's military history.
Soviet specialists, who were called volunteers, came to the aid of the Chinese people in the most difficult years for them – the years of struggle against the Japanese aggressors.
More than 5 thousand Soviet citizens took part in the fight against the Japanese invaders while providing international assistance to China, honorably fulfilling their military duty, of which 3665 were military specialists and advisers, including about 2500 pilots and aviation technicians. 14 Soviet pilots who defended the skies of China were awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
“227 Soviet volunteers did not return to their homeland, the memory of them remains forever in the hearts of the Chinese people. All burial places and monuments of Soviet soldiers in China are maintained in good condition,” the diplomat added.

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