In the year of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory day celebration, Diamond holding is continuing its best social project «The 1941-1945 Stories of eyewitnesses». Diamond holding’s Elena Meretskaya and Tatyana Vakhova went to congratulate the President of the Faculty of Journalism in Moscow State University, Yasen Zasurskiy and take account of his war time story.
The name Yasen Zasurskiy is well-known in Russia and abroad, and it is inseparably associated with the Moscow State University (MSU). He started his work at the same time the Faculty of Journalism in MSU was founded in 1953. And since then in 1957, he became the Head of Chair of international Journalism and Literature. He was the head of the faculty for 42 years. During the meeting, we did not ask him, why he had such a rare name because someday ago in one of his previous interviews he confessed that his mother had given him this name because he had serene eyes.
This meeting with the guru of a huge national family of journalists was devoted to the anniversary of the Victory day. We would like to find out how he, being an 11-year old boy, received the news about the War and what he experienced in those challenging years.
- The war came unannounced and all of a sudden. Our family, just the day before was getting ready for a vacation to the cottage. My Mom and my younger brother had the chance to leave on June 21st while my father and I were supposed to join them on Sunday. Alas, these planes never became a reality.
I remember clearly, what I heard about the beginning of the War, that same day on June 22nd. It was on a Sunday morning, my friends excitedly told me that anti-aircraft guns were being installed at Gorky Street. And of course, everybody was waiting for Stalin’s speech, but it was Molotov who delivered a message on the radio at 11 a.m. This fact only accelerated the state of alertness and panic with everyone asking each other – “Where is our Leader?”
One of the concerns of Mr. Zasurskiy in those days was his granny, who had lost her hearing. While the family was getting ready for departure from Moscow he was asked to inform her of the alert signals. He remembered that those days he normally visited the reading hall of the Library named after Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht located next to the St George cathedral and the German embassy. And he totally pored over books and almost missed the alert signal and could hardly reach home to accompany his granny to the air-raid shelter.
- I remember, we were frightened when the air warning signals rang twice, but the bombs were not dropped yet.
Since June 1941 till May 1943, the Zasurskiy family took refuge in Barnaul. The family came back to Moscow after 2 years in May 1943. They came back to a changed Moscow.
- There were not so much people in the capital though everybody was working: both women and children. My classmates were busy at the factories. Benches were adjourned to the machines to make work operations easier. Their input in the Victory was enormous. We had a rationing system. I had to use the tram to reach the place where I could get powdered baby milk for my younger brother. During one of those trips, I lost my rationing card. Oh, my parents were hard on me that day!
- Dear Mr. Zasurskiy, our compliments on the Victory day! We wish you good health, courage and a victorious cheery mood! And of course we would like to give you a treat with our delicious products of the “Spelo-Zrelo” brand, nurtured on our Russian fields.
- Thank you for your kind wishes and great gifts! I wish the employees of the company to remember that the slogan of their activities should not only become a commercial success achievement, but also an expert and up-to-date instruments for promotion of own brands. Then it will be more interesting to live and you will have a lot of working motives. I always thought that people wherever they work should have a serious education background that can increase self-significance not only for promoted growth of own achievements but also ensured high authority in the eyes of people for whom they work. The more you know the better you can do by yourself. We need to study constantly – that’s how I usually start my lectures at MSU on Mohovaya Street.