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Tuvans were the first to open the second front

Tuvans were the first to open the second frontTuvan People's Republic, a sovereign state in the center of Asia (1921-1944) was the firs of foreign countries to declare preparedness to fight the fascist Germany together with the Soviet Union "until the final victory". This took place 11 hours earlier than the historical radio announcement by the Premier-Minister of United Kingdom, Winston Churchill. "The danger threatening Russia is a danger threatening us and the United States, exactly the same as the action of every Russian who fights for his home and hearth is an action of a free people and free nations in all the corners of the world. Let's learn the lessons already given to us by bitter experience, - British Premier's announcement stated, which was broadcast by the BBC on 22 June 1941 at 23 o'clock. - Let's double our efforts and fight together as long as our strength and life lasts…"

Events developed in the center of Asia very fast on this day. On the morning of 22 June, the Tenth Great Khural was to commence in Kyzyl, and 334 delegates converged on the capital from all the districts to participate in its work. A large umber of issues were on the agenda, including an amendment to the Constitution. But the Tuvans were the first to open the second frontmeeting had to be postponed until the evening, and the schedule had to be revised.

The main task of the convention, which opened at 17:00 hours, was the ratification of the Declaration, deploring Fascist aggression: "Tuvan nation with the entire revolutionary party and government at its head, without sparing life, is prepared with all its strength and means to participate in the fight of Soviet Union against the fascist aggressor until the final victory over him."

President of USA Franklin Roosevelt announced at a press-conference about readiness to support the Soviet Union in the fight with fascism on 24 June.

During the first months, Tuva expressed readiness Tuvans were the first to open the second frontto mobilize its army on the side of USSR. In January 1942, the first group of Soviet citizens departed for the front; in May 1043, tank soldiers of Tuvan people's revolutionary army went, and in September 1943 - the volunteer squadron.

According to the evaluation of "Rossiyskaya gazeta" expert Alexei Chichkin, the aggregate contribution by Mongolia and Tuva on behalf of the Soviet Union in the four years of WWII was only by one third less than the total volume contributed by the Western allies - from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand all together.

Tuva handed over to the USSR its entire gold reserve of the republic, the entire yield of Tuvan gold of the war years.

Beside that, in 1941 - 1945, USSR received from Tuva 50 thousand war horses; the money collected by the people of Tuva paid for an air squadron of destroyers and two tank brigades. Plus, Red Army received from Tuva 52 thousand pairs of skis, 10 thousand fur coats, 19 thousand pairs of gloves, 16 thousand pairs of felt boots, 67 tonnes of raw wool, 400 tonnes of meat, butter and flour. Not even mentioning honey, fruit and berry conserves and concentrates, bandages and dressings, medicinal herbs and medicines of folk pharmacology, wax, resin… Ukraine, when liberated in 1944, was given 30 thousand cows. This was the herd that was the foundation of the post-war rebirth of Ukraine livestock herds.

Tuvans were the first to open the second frontA telegram by the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of Ukraine SSR to the Presidium of Small Khural of Tuva stated: The nation of Ukraine, just as all the nations of the USSR deeply value and will never forget the help to the front and to the liberated districts extended by the workers of Tuvan people's Republic…"

Altogether, Tuva presented almost 750 thousand heads of cattle to the USSR during the war years, including export operations. There was not a single Tuvan family that did not give of their own livestock from 10 to 100 heads. 309 wagons of presents went to the front from the far-of republic.

The aggregate sum of material aid by Tuvan population to USSR comprised 66 million rubles or 50 million aksha, which is equivalent to 11 annual budgets of TNR in pre-war years.

Exhibition "Tuvan People's Republic. Everything for our common victory!", which opened on the initiative of the head of Tuvan Sholban Kara-ool in Moscow at the museum of Great Patriotic War on Poklonnaya Gora in 2010, showed the Muscovites and visitors to the capital the contribution of this small republic in the center of Asia to the common victory over Hitler's Germany.

Dina Oyun, translated by Heda Jindrak, photo by Vladimir Yermolaev
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