Russian Order of Courage (posthumously): Who Are The Real Heroes Of Russia (Part 2/2)

The Orden of Courage (in Russian: Орден Мужества, Orden Muzhestva) is a state decoration of the Russia Federation which recognizes selfless acts of courage and valor of the Russian citizens and foreign nationals. Since the establishment of the Order on March 2, 1994, about 90.000 people became recipients of that particular decoration, many of them were decorated posthumously. Their stories are all different, but the courage, selflessness, and sacrifice of these real life heroes are equally significant and of great importance for all people around the world.

Alexandr Pechersky


The Nazi German extermination camp Sobibór was built on the south-east of Poland in 1942. The prisoners had made numerous attempts to escape, but almost always they failed. Until the autumn of 1943 when a group of soviet prisoners of war was moved to the camp. There were about 600 men, 520 of which were killed right away. The survived 80, including Alexandr Pechersky, were chosen to do different kinds of manual labour. He didn’t expect anything, it was clear for him: alive now, dead later. Lieutenant Pechersky decided to make use of the given delay and to take the last battle. The idea was as follows: the rebels were to lure the 14 camp guards out, one by one, and kill them. The prisoners managed to kill 11 guards and several Ukrainian policemen before those of them who survived rose the alarm. 300 prisoners out of 550 escaped from the extermination camp but not all of them survived. They faced the necessity to chose whether to stay in Poland or run away to Bielorussia following Pechersky. Unfortunately, most of those remained in Poland were found and executed. Alexandr Pechersky and the rest of the survived escapers joined the Belarussian partisans. The Germans were furious, and soon the camp was razed to the ground. Alexandr Pechersky organised and led the most successful mass-escape from a Nazi German extermination camp during the Second World War. In 2016 Alexandr Pechersky was awarded the Order of Courage.

The Kursk submarine crew


The tragedy of the Kursk submarine took place during the first major Russian naval exercise in more than ten years, in the Barents sea on August 12, 2000. The Oscar-class submarine sank with 118 members of the crew on board. Nearby ships registered the first explosion and a second, that was much larger, two minutes and fifteen seconds later. First, the Russian Navy didn’t realise that the submarine had sunk and did not stop the exercise or organise the search for it for more than six hours. The nearby submarines thought it was a part of the drill. The Kursk’s emergency buoy had been intentionally disabled, and it took more than 16 hours to locate the sunken ship. An official investigation after most of the wreck was raised along with analysis of pieces of debris concluded that the crew of Kursk was preparing to load a dummy torpedo when a faulty weld in the casing of the practice torpedo caused high-test peroxide to leak, which caused the kerosene fuel to explode. The intense fire resulting from this explosion in turn triggered the detonation of between five and seven torpedo warheads after the submarine struck bottom. An alternative explanation to the faulty weld offered by critics suggested that the crew was neither familiar with nor trained on firing HTP torpedoes and had unknowingly followed preparation and firing instructions intended for a very different type of torpedo. Combined with poor oversight and incomplete inspections, the sailors initiated a set of events that led to the explosion. The Kursk nuclear submarine was finally raised from the Barents sea more than a year later after it became a tomb for its 118 crew. The whole crew were decorated with the Order of Courage posthumously.

Vladimir Chupin


It happened on March 21, 2018, in Belgorod Oblast, Russia. During the training of throw a hand grenade, a private pulled out the safety pin but didn’t manage to throw the grenade: it fell on the ground. There was no time to waste, and Major Chupin’s reaction was flesh-like: he pushed the soldier aside and covered the grenade with his own body. The private was not injured, whereas Chupin was hospitalised with numerous wounds. Medics couldn’t save his life.

Albert Safiulin


In 2017, Safiulin was serving in the North Caucasus. On April 16, 2017, the Federal Security Service discovered that a terrorist attack was being planned in the Mozdoksky region of North Ossetia. According to the gained data, there would have been a suicide bomber who was planning to activate a bomb during Eastern celebrations. Officer Safiulin revealed the criminal and decided to arrest him as soon as it was possible. Safiulin succeed in blocking the terrorist in the officer’s car where the bomb went off. The officer didn’t let the terrorist attack to be perpetrated, but the price was very high: Safiulin died but saved dozens of people. He was 36 years old.

Petr Ostapenko


Petr was 35 years old. He was a swimmer in the past and had no fear in front of the element. Six years ago Petr sacrificed his life in the sake of saving others during the 2012 Krasnodar Krai floods on the 6 and 7 of July, 2012. On that crucial day, the city of Krymsk was hit by almost half a year’s worth of rainfall. Furious, destructive, and unstoppable waters came when the people were asleep. 30,000 people were affected by the floods, 13,000 were left without roof over their heads. According to the official data, the element took the lives of 171 people. Nevertheless, the eyewitnesses of the tragedy claimed the victims were much more numerous, raising the number up to 2,000. But despite such chaos, terror, and seemingly reigning despair, there was a place, a huge and extremely important place for heroism taken by Petr Ostapenko who saved 10 people and gave that of his own in exchange. The last minutes of his life the hero spent with helpless pensioners, when hit by a beam floating past. After the floods, Ostapenko was found lifeless. The people saved by Ostapenko asked President to award the hero and help his family: Petr Ostapenko left the wife and two little children. The Ostapenk family was granted a new flat, Petr Ostapenko was decorated posthumously with the Order of Courage.

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