Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vadim Mikhaylov - In Begin's Footsteps, Literally

We have received this report from an amazing individual, Vadim Mikhaylov:


In August – September of 2012 the voluntary project ”PeaceMaker Oboz-2” was performed in connection with the future 100th anniversary (to be celebrated in 2013) for Menachem Begin, Israeli prime-minister in 1977 – 1983, Nobel Peace prize laureate (1978).

Two persons from two countries participated in the project as walkers:
from Russia - Vadim Mikhaylov (also organizer), born in the north of the European Russia, now living in the Moscow region;
from Belarus – Alexandr Korzhun, born and now living in Brest.

The route of the nowadays moving was arranged as an analogue repeating of the real moving of M. Begin in the 1930-1940-s as follows:

- by trains from his native town of Brest (now Belarus) to Warsaw (Poland) where M. Begin studied at the Warsaw University in 1931-1935;

- then in the walking format from Warsaw to Vilnius (Lithuania) where M. Begin was in 1939 -1941 – the distance of about 500 km was covered by two volunteers in turn for 11 days;

- afterwards again by trains from Vilnius – via Saint-Petersburg – Vologda – to the station of Kozhva (in the eastern part of the Republic of Komi in Russia) where Menachem Begin was in labor camps on the Pechora river in summer-autumn of1941.

The start of the project was made at the Memorial Ceremony on August 16, 2012 – on the day of the 99th anniversary - in Brest at the memorial plaque dedicated to M. Begin at 49, Kuybyshev street.

In Warsaw another memorial plaque dedicated to M. Begin was attended in the building where Auditorium Maximum is located at the Warsaw University.

Several places where informative meetings were held were attended on the route including:

- Jewish Museum, Museum of Genocide Victims and some places where M. Begin originally lived and stayed in Vilnius;

- Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery in Saint-Petersburg dedicated mostly to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in 1941-1944 – on the day, when the 73th anniversary of the break-up of World War II was remembered;

- some places at railways station of Kozhva and in Pechora town (Pechora district of the Republic of Komi) related to the original staying of M. Begin.

The finish of the project was made in early September in the village of Sizyabsk (Izhma district of the Republic of Komi) where the mother of the organizer of the project Vadim Mikhaylov – Mrs. Yelena Nafanovna Mikhaylova was born in 1929 and lived till 1934.

While visiting the local museum, archives and registry authorities in the district center of Izhma Vadim Mikhaylov learned that his grandfather – Mr. Nafanail Kharitonovich Mikhaylov, born in 1897, was sentenced in 1930 under notorious Criminal Code clause 58-10 to five years in labor camps.
After short staying in the Pechora district the organizer of the project returned to Moscow.

A lot of discussions were held on the route of the project while communicating with the people from Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Russia about the future V. Begin’s anniversary and the volunteer project ”PeaceMaker Oboz-2”.

The on-line diary of the project was placed in Russian at

Within the post-project activities a number of PeaceMaker Lessons or PeaceMaker Games are scheduled to be given and arranged for children in Russian schools.

Some proposals will be also prepared concerning the eventual memorialization for Menachem Begin before his 100th anniversary.

 We would like express our gratitude to ALL who assisted us in our volunteer project!

Vadim Mikhaylov, organizer of voluntary projects as historical remakes
Contact details: e-mail: / phone: +7 (910) 484 61 46 (MTS, Moscow, Russia)

up-dated as of September 10, 2012

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