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Victor Tretyakevich, executed in 1943 and once considered a ‘traitor’, posthumously made Hero of Russia

Source: TASS

The Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the Hero of Russia title posthumously to Victor Tretyakevich, one of the founders of the Young Guard, an underground anti-fascist youth organization active in 1942–1943 in the German-occupied Ukrainian city of Krasnodon. Since 2014, Krasnodon is controlled by the self-proclaimed “LNR.”

The presidential order awarding the title to Tretyakevich, has been published on the federal legal information website. The document connects the award to Tretyakevich’s active involvement in the Young Guard’s leadership, as well as his “courage and gallantry demonstrated in the struggle against German-fascist invaders in the period of the Great Patriotic War.”

Tretyakevich was executed by the occupying forces in 1943, together with other Young Guard members, apparently by being thrown alive into a 58-meter reconnaissance well. Until the 1960s, he was considered a traitor responsible for the arrests of other group members. For that reason, his name is not mentioned in Alexander Fadeyev’s historical novel “The Young Guard.” As a result, Oleg Koshevoy became instead an iconic resistance figure, made famous by Fadeyev. Tretyakevich himself became the prototype for the character who betrays the group in the novel.

By 1960, the accepted version of the Young Guard’s history changed. Betrayal was now attributed to another member, Gennady Pocheptsov. Tretyakevich was rehabilitated and awarded the order of Patriotic War of the First degree.

To this day, there is no entirely certain account of the Young Guard’s capture and who was responsible for it.

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