Vera Vladimirskaya was urgently assigned to the Lenin Library to fulfill the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Meanwhile, units of the Moscow Military District, the Air Defense Front, and the Moscow Defense Zone, under the general direction of Colonel General Artemyev, were preparing to carry out the same order. The famous “voice of the Soviet Union" Yuri Borisovich Levitan was warned by a call from the Kremlin: “Get ready to recite an important document between 23:00 and 23:30.” So, it is 23:30. Levitan reads a sheet: “Today on August 5, 1943, Soviet troops occupied Orel and Belgorod!" And in conclusion of the order: “At 24 hours the capital of our Motherland – Moscow will salute our valiant troops who liberated Orel and Belgorod, with twelve volleys of artillery from 120 guns....” Exactly at midnight the volleys were heard. The whole country literally listened to the salute on the radio. And if the sound of one cannon being fired would have been enough for the country, for a large city at least 120 cannons would have been placed on the wastelands and stadiums. Due to wartime circumstances the stock of blank shells in the capital was small, only 1200 pieces. Fortunately, there were plenty of shells for the twenty-four mountain cannons of the Kremlin battalion. So, there were enough shells for twelve ceremonial shots. The order of the Supreme was not only fulfilled quickly – in a few hours – but also exceeded, as the number of guns was 124. The first salute of the Great Patriotic War, as it was planned, gave charge of enthusiasm and strengthened faith in victory. The second salute sounded in honor of the liberation of Kharkov. In total, there were 354 salutes before the Victory salute, sometimes up to five a day in the last year of the war. There was one last question: what was Vera Vladimirskaya doing in the library? She was studying the subject – the previous salute in Moscow was given under the Romanov dynasty.
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Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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