Page 51. " For his bravery he was awarded the St George 's Cross "


St George's Cross for Bravery
Public DomainSt George's Cross for Bravery

Established in the Russian Empire in 1807, The St. George’s Cross was granted to non-commissioned officers, soldiers and sailors for their military heroism.


 The Cross of St. George was an extension of the Order of St. George, and like it the Cross of St. George was awarded in four classes and only for extreme bravery in face of the enemy.


Page 51. " After the revolution of 1917, Ocheretko joined neither the Russian White Army nor the Soviet Red Army "
Tsar Nicolas II
Public DomainTsar Nicolas II

The Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in the overthrow of Tsar Nicolas II and the rise to power of the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin. It consisted of two main revolutions, one in February and one in October.

These revolutions took Russia into a civil war, fought between the communist Soviet Red Army and the Russian White Army, which included Nationalists, Imperialists, Conservatives and other anti-Bolshevik groups. 

The Red Army was named for the blood shed by the working class in its struggle against capitalism. 

Vladimir Lenin
Public DomainVladimir Lenin


Page 51. " ...while he went off to fight with the rebel Ukrainian National Republican Army "

The Ukrainian National Republican Army was made up of various armed volunteer units during the struggle for independence from 1917-1920. 

The UNR Army had no permanent base and was never able to complete its enrollment, and therefore was not an entirely organised army. 

The UNR Army and the Ukrainian Galacian Army fought together against the Bolsheviks and the Whites. 

Page 51. " The Civil War was waged through a succession of bloody massacres and reprisals so gruesome that it seemed as if the human soul itself had died "


Photos from the Russian Civil War
Public DomainPhotos from the Russian Civil War

The February and October revolutions eventually led Russia into a civil war which was fought between the Soviet Red Army, also known as the Bolsheviks or Communists, and the Russian White Army, which included the Nationalists, Imperialists, Conservatives and other anti-Bolsheviks groups. 

In January 1918 the Soviet Red Army invaded the Ukraine. 


The Russian Civil War was fought from 1918 to 1921 and was won by the Soviet Red Army.


Page 52. " When Mother described her early childhood it was always as an idyll - long summers when the sun was hot and they ran barefoot in the fields and skinny dipped in the Sula River "

The Sula river flows into the Dnieper River through the Kremenchuk Reservoir , with which it forms a large delta with numerous islands, on which rare kinds of birds live.

Sula River, Ukraine
Public DomainSula River, Ukraine

Page 63. " Of course it was pulled down in 1935. What was? St Michael of the Golden Domes. Who pulled it down? The communists, of course. "

During the first half of the 1930s, various Soviet publications questioned the known historical facts regarding the age of the Cathedral.   It was declared to belong primarily to the Ukrainian Baroque style, rather than to the twelfth century as was previously thought, and thus did not merit preservation due to its lack of historical and artistic value.


St Michaels Golden Domed Cathedral - 1930's
Public DomainSt Michaels Golden Domed Cathedral - 1930's








This conclusion backed up the Soviet authorities' plans to demolish the entire monastery. 


St Michaels - in ruins
Public DomainSt Michaels - in ruins







After the Ukraine regained independence in 1991, the demolition of the monastery was deemed a crime and voices started to be heard calling for the monastery's full-scale reconstruction as an important part of the cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people

 The newly rebuilt St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral was officially opened on May 30, 1999.


St Michaels Golden Domed Cathedral - Opened in 1999
Public DomainSt Michaels Golden Domed Cathedral - Opened in 1999


Page 64. " It was still several years before the purges were to reach their terrible climax.... "

The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of persecution and political repression in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Stalin from 1936–1938.


Joseph Stalin
Public DomainJoseph Stalin

It involved a large-scale purge of Government officials and the Communist Party, repression of Red Army leadership and peasants, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterised by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and executions.


According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot - an average of 1,000 executions a day.

Page 68. " In the brief flowering of Ukrainian Independence in 1918 he was even Minister of Education for six months. "

West Ukrainian Peoples Republic Territory map
Public DomainWest Ukrainian Peoples Republic Territory map
The Ukraine first achieved independence as the "West Ukrainian National Republic" for a period of eight months from late 1918 to early 1919. Its territory included eastern Galicia, Carpathian Ruthenia and Bukovina, with a population of 5.4 million people. 

In 1920, the western part of the West Ukrainian National Republic became incorporated into Poland and the eastern component became part of the Soviet Union known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. 

The Ukraine did not become an independent state again until August 24th, 1991 - after the end of cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.