By Prof. Nor. Dr. George P. Titani
– The story of Natalia Aleksandrova, the youngest daughter of the famous Soviet general, Radimchev, who led the troops in Ukraine in the Second World War and in the late 1950s, served as an adviser to Beqir Balluk, the military attaché of the USSR – of, in Tirana-
Memorie.al / For the last time, General Radimchev, former advisor to the Minister of People’s Defense, Lieutenant General Beqir Ballukut, was in Albania in the summer of 1959. He was traveling on the tourist steamer “Bjello Ostrov”. Yes, with this steamer, we, a group of Albanian officers, were returning to Albania after studying in the Soviet Union. It was there that we had the great fortune to meet General-Colonel A. I. Radimchev, twice “Hero of the Peoples of the Soviet Union”, who gave us a wonderful impression of life in the army, memories of the Spanish war, Stalingrad, meeting with the allied armies, on the Oder River, the liberation of Prague, etc. At that time, the general was 55 years old. While after the 90s, I returned to Moscow for some archival research and scientific studies. Knowing that the general and his wife had died many years ago, I decided to pay a visit to the two daughters: Irina, director of the world-famous “Moscow Kremlin” museums, Natasha, candidate of philosophical sciences, and his son, Ilia, candidate of technical sciences. All three, married with children.
Continues from last issue
The journey of the general with the Albanian officers
The steamship “Bjello Ostrov”, filled with Albanian officers who had just graduated from the Soviet Union, left the port of Odesa on July 24, 1959 and arrived four days later in the port of Durrës. General Radimchev was also traveling with them. Although he did not know, that this would be his last trip to our country. According to the officers who participated in this trip, Radimchev told you about his adventures in famous wars, where he had participated, such as; in Spain, Stalingrad and the liberation of Prague from the Nazi German army.
For the war in Spain, he remembered that; Albanian volunteer fighters also fought heroically in the internationalist brigades in Spain, such as the writer Petro Marko, Mehmet Shehu, professor Skënder Luarasi, Asim Vokshi, Teni Konomi, Zef Prela, Veli Dedi, Mane Nishova and many others. According to the conversation, Radimchev had started his military life in Spain, as a simple captain, being an instructor directly at the front, in the trenches, or fighting in the city, house to house, and street to street.
When the young Albanian officers asked the general; how is it explained that your division, although it had an unlucky number, number 13, had only successes, Radimchev smiled and said: “… yes, apparently, in the case of my guard division, we are dealing, with one exception to the rule…”!
The weather, in those distant days of August 1959 (the protagonists of that trip remember), was beautiful, the sky clear and the sea calm. The general read sitting on the deckchair, or talked with his many acquaintances. The head of the group of Albanian officers was lieutenant colonel Qamil Poda, a very beloved man and a lover of young officers, and his assistant, or “commissioner”, as they jokingly called him, was the president of the Court of Korça, Ibrahim Xhuli.
Qamil Poda told everyone to get ready for a friendly photo with General A. I. Radimchev. The Albanian officers who met the general were; Gjergj Titani, Halit Zhupa, Lutfi Shehu, Turhan Dervishaj, Rustem Peçi, Petraq Kita, Fuat Berdaj, Cane Matohiti, Ismet Demishaj, Fadil Zeqiri, Memo Pazaj, Rexhep Muftiu, Enver Bujari, Kamber Dinollari, Jaho Stepa, etc.
From there, the steamer traveled through the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, through the Dardanelles and Canakkale, to the main port of Piraeus in Greece. After a stay of a few hours in Piraeus, they left for Durrës, via the shortest route, the Corinth canal. As soon as the steamer docked at the port, General Radimcev was waiting for his close friend, the Minister of Defense of the RPSH, General Beqir Balluku.
Who is General-Colonel Alexander I. Radimchev?
General A. I. Radimchev was born in the village of Sharlik, Orenburg province, on March 8, 1905 and died on April 18, 1975. In 1927, he was called up and in 1929, he finally linked his life with the army. In 1932, he finished his secondary military education with “Excellent” results and five years later, in 1936, he left with the first volunteers for the Spanish War, with the nickname “PAVLITO”. In 1937, the future general returned to Moscow. On October 22 of that year, he was decorated with the order of “Lenin”, given the high title “Hero of the Soviet Union” and two orders of the “Red Banner”. With the rank of major, Radimçevi enrolled in the “Frunze” Military Academy and in 1939, completed it with “Excellent” results.
This year, he took part in the tense events on the front of Western Belarus. After returning to Moscow, Radimchev was assigned to attend the one-year courses of airborne troops at the Military Academy of the “Zhukovski” Air Force, which, according to the most advanced experience of the time, had been opened for the first time in the world in Soviet Union. In April 1941, he was appointed commander of the 5th Airborne Brigade. World War II found it in Ukraine. More than 8000 km. war path, Radimchev’s guards crossed, fighting heroically from the western regions of Belarus, to Stalingrad and, to the Oder and Elbe.
The last operation was for the liberation of Prague on May 11, 1945. The general was 40 years old when the Second World War in Europe ended. After the Great Patriotic War of the USSR, he returned to school, where A. I. Radimçevi completed the senior course at the Academy of the General Staff. He served in high positions: as corps commander, army commander, deputy commander of the Military District and finally, inspector general in the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union. Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation and the Ukrainian Soviet Republic are elected.
The end of the war finds Radimchev with two titles “Hero of the Soviet Union” and on his chest, 16 orders of the USSR, 16 medals of the USSR and 15 orders and medals of foreign countries graced his chest. The People’s Assembly of the People’s Republic of Albania has decorated General Radimçev with the order of “Skënderbeu of the First Class” for special merits during his service in our country. From 1953 to 1956, General Radimchev was the chief military adviser of the Albanian army, next to the Minister of People’s Defense, Beqir Balluku, and at the same time the military attaché of the USSR in Albania./Memorie.al