Matvey Kuzmin

Matvey Kuzmin was born on August 3, 1858, in the village of Kurakino, in the Pskov oblast. Not much is known about his life. However, we know he was a self-employed farmer who refused to join a collective farming community.

In February 1942, Kuzmin helped house a German battalion. The German unit was ordered to pierce the Soviet defense in the area by advancing into the rear of the Soviet troops.

On February 13, 1942, the German commander asked the then 83-year-old Kuzmin to guide his men. In return, they offered him money, flour, kerosene, and a hunting rifle. He agreed to the trade, but upon learning the route, he sent his grandson ahead to warn the Soviet troops with a proposal that they instead ambush the Germans.

That night, Kuzmin guided the German units through paths, leading them to the outskirts of Malkino at Dawn. The Soviet troops defending the village attacked the Germans. The German battalion came under heavy machine gun fire and suffered losses of 50 killed and 20 captured.

During all the chaos, a German officer realized what had happened. He turned his pistol on Kuzmin and shot him twice. The Soviet army buried him with military honors, and he was posthumously named a Hero of the Soviet Union.[1][2]

[1] From military diaries of Boris Polevoy Archived at the Wayback Machine(in Russian)
[2] Boris Polevoy. The most memorable: history of my reportings (Полевой Б. Н. «Самые памятные: Истории моих репортажей».


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