Vladimir Kogevin

Vladimir (Mirik) Kogevin was born in Kiev on April 14, 1923 into the family of transportation engineer Eugene Kogevin and the daughter of a Russian Imperial Army officer Raissa Kogevin.

Shortly after the graduation of a secondary school, on July 7, 1941 Mirik was drafted to the army but was sent to the front only after finishing a training course at the Tomsk artillery school in May 1942. In the summer of 1942, Mirik, as a young lieutenant, was sent to the 891st Artillery Regiment on the Kalininsky Front. On December 20, 1942 Vladimir Kogevin was wounded in battle during the 2nd Rzhevsko-Sychev operation under the command of Gen. Georgy Zhukov. This military operation (codename “Mars”) was one of the bloodiest and most unsuccessful in the history of the Soviet-German war. Fortunately, Mirik’s wound was not grave and two months later, in February 1943, he re-joined his unit. Mirik was wounded again, on November 5, 1943, one day before the liberation of his native Kiev, from which his unit was just several tens of miles away. This time around the wounding was more serious. After several months in hospital Vladimir Kogevin was pronounced unfit for active service and demobilized from the army. He could get to Kiev only in March 1944 where he found only his auntie Nina. She told him that his parents had been deported to Germany.

It was only after Stalin’s death that Mirik found out that his parents were living in America. For the rest of his life he had to conceal the relationship with his own parents, even when it could not have serious implications for him. After the war Mirik finished the physical department of the University of Kiev and upon graduation remained there to teach. The professional career of a university lecturer or professor in the Soviet Union was almost impossible without membership (often involuntary) in the Communist Party. In all the forms he had to complete Mirik stated that his parents had gone missing during the war. In the absence of his parents, Auntie Nina became for Mirik his second mother.

However, the war wounds eventually took their toll and on January 4, 1973 Mirik suddenly died of apoplexy. There were no signs of nearing death – three days before his passing Vladimir Kogevin got married. Mirik never saw his parents again because of the “Iron Curtain” between the USSR and the West.

Almost every day Mirik kept his diary and didn’t change this habit until the last days of his life making notes in tiny writing pads. Mirik kept his diary even on the frontline, which was strictly forbidden. If discovered, he would have most certainly been tried and executed. But Mirik survived and so did his war diary, its transcription will be soon put up on the web-site.