These two images are shown side by side in the Andrei Pozdeev museum. The caption reads: “(Left) The artist Evgeny Stepanovich Kobytev the day he went to war in 1941. (Right) In 1945 when he returned”. This is the human face after four years of war: a thin and tired face, deep wrinkles, a worried look, this man has been completely changed.
Evgeny Stepanovich Kobytev was born on December 25, 1910 in the village of Altai. After graduating from the pedagogical school, he worked as a teacher in the rural areas of Krasnoyarsk. His passion was to paint: especially portraits and landscapes. The dream of higher art education came true in 1936 when he began studying at the Kiev State Institute of Art in Ukraine.
In 1941 he graduated with honors from the art institute and was ready to start a new life, however, his dreams were interrupted on June 22, 1941 when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The artist voluntarily became a soldier, he enlisted in one of the artillery regiments of the Red Army. His regiment was engaged in a fierce battle to protect the small town of Pripyat, which lies between Kiev and Kharkiv.
In September 1941, Kobytov was wounded in the leg and became a prisoner of war. He ended up in the German concentration camp called “Khorol pit” (Dulag # 160). About ninety thousand prisoners of war and civilians died in this camp.
In 1943, Kobytev managed to escape from captivity and rejoined the Red Army. He participated in various military operations in Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Germany. After the end of World War II, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal for his excellent military service during the battles for the liberation of Smila and Korsun in Ukraine. However, the High Command refused to award him the medal of victory over Germany, as his military career was “ruined” for being a prisoner of war.
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