Grigoriy Kagan with his sons Igor and Oleg

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  • Photo taken in:
    Arkhangelsk
    Year when photo was taken:
    1962
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia

This is me having a walk with my sons. From left to right: I, my younger son Igor and my older son Oleg. This photo was taken in Arkhangelsk in 1962.

In 1954 I was offered the post of communication chief in Moscow. It was a significant promotion for me. I finished the war in the rank of chief of division communication. A corps included 3 divisions. Of course, I gave my consent and did not even ask where this corps was located. Actually, this was the Northern Air Defense in Belomorsk, between Murmansk and Petrozavodsk, 6000 km from Moscow. This town was located on the bank of the last sluice on the Belomor-Baltic Channel. My wife, my son and I moved to where my job was. In 1957 my second son Igor was born in Arkhangelsk.

I had to work hard to improve the communication system. What made my work much easier was that my former fellow students, who were not as good in his studies as I was, succeeded well having no 5th item. One of my former fellow students even became deputy chief of communication forces of the Ministry of Defense. My friend Mikhail Kapustin, whom I used to help with his studies on various subjects, was communication cable logistic manager in the Ministry. I established convenient and extensive communication between the two radio engineering regiments of the corps (in Murmansk and Petrozavodsk) and two RE battalions at the command post. It also covered our neighbors and command posts of the Anti-Aircraft Defense forces of the country and the 22nd Air Force army in Petrozavodsk. Besides, I installed a powerful radio transmitting center in the reinforced concrete shelter that could not be destroyed even by a direct hit of a radio bomb. In 1956 I was significantly promoted by being appointed commanding officer of the 34th communication regiment and then chief of the new AACD communication forces. However, before this happened, I had to do a lot of work bringing the communication system to order. My commandment developed a very good opinion of me. On 17 August 1958 I had my last, 163rd, parachute jump in Arkhangelsk. I was chief of the army communication department and a colonel.

In 1963 I had to resign from the army due to my health condition. I lived a long time in the severe northern climate and it resulted in my foot artery congestion. The doctors said it might mean amputation of my foot. The doctor said that if I wanted to survive, I had to change the climatic conditions and my job. I resigned and decided to move to my parents in Kiev. By that time the relations between my wife and me were misbalanced. She had a strong character and accepted no objections. She even tried to resolve our family disagreements by means of fights and scandals. I wanted to divorce her several times, but divorce was not appreciated in the army. Chief of the political department warned me that if I applied for divorce, I would be expelled from the party and demounted in my position at best. I divorced her immediately after I resigned. I left her everything we had in Arkhangelsk. I wanted to take my books with me, but Maria did not give them to me. My sons studied at school. They stayed with Maria. I left Arkhangelsk having just one small suitcase. I went to my parents in Kiev. I was 43 and had to start life anew. 

Interview details

Interviewee: Grigoriy Kagan
Interviewer:
Ella Levitskaya
Month of interview:
September
Year of interview:
2004
Kiev, Ukraine

KEY PERSON

Grigoriy Kagan
Jewish name:
Gersch
Year of birth:
1920
City of birth:
Kiev
Country name at time of birth:
USSR
Occupation
before WW II:
Military
after WW II:
Military

Other Person

Oleg Bykov
Year of birth:
1946
City of birth:
Leningrad
Country name at time of birth:
USSR
Occupation
after WW II:
Lower-level public employee
  • Previous family name: 
    Kagan
    Reason for changing: 
    Assimilation
    Decade of changing: 
    1960

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