Unearthing the battle for Kiev

Elena Filatova is a Ukrainian woman who gained some notoriety on the web for her remarkable pictures of the condemned zone around Chernobyl. Since posting those pictures (which I highly recommend), she has added more material to her site. One is a short photo set of the Orange Revolution, the event that has happily displaced Chernobyl as the world’s number one association with Ukraine. Another is her collection called The Serpent’s Wall, which describes her adventures as a camper and souvenir collector on the World War II battlefields around Kiev.

We get a steady diet of World War II nostalgia in the US, almost all of which, understandably, centers on campaigns with American involvement. But as Germans and Russians will point out, our war was much shorter than theirs and much less costly (more than that, ours was short BECAUSE theirs was long). The number of people involved in the battles of the Eastern Front simply boggles the mind. Filatova’s site lets you see through the eyes of someone from the Ukraine. I appreciate her pictures and her pithy no-nonsense prose. You learn that her favorite discovery isn’t a potato masher or a silver SS Death’s Head ring, but a box of German chewing gum. She also has a nice collection of personal photos taken by German soldiers during the 1941-1943 occupation of Kiev.

Even today, the war goes on killing. The landscape is riddled with bunkers, unexploded landmines, and artillery shells. Next to a picture of what looks like a twelve year old kid, she says, “Local boys are the best guides through the bunkers. In each village there is someone who lost arms, hands playing with the war toys. They are invalids of war.”

5 thoughts on “Unearthing the battle for Kiev”

  1. that is one of the best historical resorces i have seen, very valuable should be made known to more people.

  2. This is a wonderful sight I live near Atlanta, Georgia, USa. I am a writter and an illustrator, and I have had much of my work published over the last twenty years, mostly historical and military history. I am well know for books on the American Civil War, but I have also produced material on Viet Nam, World War II and other conflicts. I have published several stories on the Eastern Front of World War II, and am planning on a series of graphic novels of this period. I have been to Ukraine twice, the last time in May of 200r for Victory Day. I would like to return late this summer or in the fall, if my current schedule allows. I would love to get in contact with Ms. Filatova. She seems like an incredible resourse that could point me in the right direction in several areas.
    Ms. Filatova, if you are out there, please send me an E-mail. Thank you very much.

    Wayne Vansant

  3. I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO COMMUNICATE WITH THIS LADY.NOT ONLY HIGHLY INTELLIGENT,BUT A GREAT MIND ALL AROUND.ASWELL SHE AND I SHARE A PROFOUND INTEREST IN HISTORY,MILITARIA,MUSIC AND ARACHAEOLOGY. SOMEBODY PLEASE PASS THIS AND MY E-MAIL ON TO HER IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. THANKS, MARKO.

  4. I’ve browsed Elena’s site some months ago and I find it realistic and free of that political biased comments which are usualy made regarding those events…it’s pure history depicted at a level we are not used to see it…well done!

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