Talk:Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya

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Legend, Propaganda, or Fact??[edit]

Great story. some of this deserves to be here, but some of it is obviously wartime propaganda. Better phrasing should help - e.g. "It is claimed" might be used - if we can say who claimed it - rather than stating things as fact that with a little thought, we should know cannot be documented - or even know - as fact. Smallbones 18:54, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Roughly, it went like this:
  • Ms. Kosmodemyanskaya joined a sabotage group.
  • She fulfilled some missions.
  • Eventually, she failed, and the Germans caught her.
  • She ended up dead, apparently with evidence that she was tortured before death.
  • An inspirational heroic story was spun.
  • The Party found the story useful for propaganda, and spun it larger.
  • The story became the story.
So, there's both a story, and a propaganda case, and some of the propaganda appears to be truthful. But her main cause of notability is the propaganda, and accordingly, the primary angle of the Wikipedia's article should be discussion of the propaganda. Digwuren 11:30, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Her torture and death were well-documented: lots of eye-witness accounts, from both sides. D.Prok. (talk) 04:47, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not. Why are people so cynical? Zoya was a true heroine. "You can't hang us all" was her epitaph. She is an inspiration to young heroic women everywhere. Wallie (talk) 10:48, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
The article refers to the "mainstream" version. Actually "Official Soviet (propaganda) version" would be more accurate. We should not forget that the story emerged from the Stalinist Soviet Union, at a time when official propaganda rarely resembled the truth about anything. (talk) 01:02, 28 June 2015 (UTC)


She was a soldier tortured to death. Soldiers now and then destroy properties of life. It does not give us the right to classify them as arsonists or terrorists. It is OK to attribute this opinion to somebody. It is OK to show that Soviet propaganda gilded her biography and show the dark and grey pages. It is not OK to specify libels as facts Alex Bakharev 05:13, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Women in War and Resistance, quoted in [1]:
As you can see, she was a repeated fireraiser, caught in the act, and then extrajudicially killed. Wikipedia's category for fireraisers is Category:Arsonists. Digwuren 05:48, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
This is your own original research that is better kept in your personal blog. You can put referenced facts and attributed notable opinion, not your own synthesis. Also please re-read WP:TROLL and stop behaving like one Alex Bakharev 07:46, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
First, let me declare your personal attack an indication of hypocrisy from your part. I'm disappointed; I used to believe you wouldn't descend to the level of Ghirlandajo.
Second, do you really want the Infamous Board -- the primary source for her being considered an arsonist by her captors -- to be cited explicitly? The board is quoted in so many secondary and tertiary sources it would pass WP:RS with flying colours, and as you can see from the cited biography, historians generally agree that it was accurate description of her actions. Digwuren 11:25, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Digwuren, get real. Arson is a criminal act; and calling Zoya an Arsonist would also be criminal. The Wikipedia article says in the first line "Arson, called fireraising in Scots law, is the crime of setting a fire for an unlawful or improper purpose." I don't think war qualifies in this sense, especially since she was doing it for her own country. One could possibly argue this if the invaders were setting fire. Otherwise, your accusation is absolutely senseless and silly. --Mista-X 19:48, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Talking about NPOV. For Soviets she was a hero, for others she was an arsonist and saboteur. Two sides. Or you think since SU won the war, then only opinion of SU is relevant and other should just shut up? Suva 05:33, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
For "others"? Let's make a complete statement, without hiding behind veils. Nazi Germany considered her an arsonist and saboteur. So, if you see Nazi opinion on this issue as noteworthy, just say clearly where opinion is coming from.RJ CG 13:13, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Try this argument at talk:Jewish resistance during the Holocaust or talk:Polish resistance movement in World War II. "For Jews (Poles)" (and most of the decent people) "they were heroes. For Nazis they were arsonists and saboteurs. NPOV."

Good luck. After that, get back to us here with how it all went. Disgusting! --Irpen 05:59, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

What is Irpen is talking about has its name on the Wikipedia jargon: undue weight. Some opinions are just more notable then the other. It is some times messy to establish wich opinions are notable and which are not but it was done many times. On the other hand, currently we do not have attributed notable opinions showing ZK is an arsonist. If you have ones please put them to the article; if you do not, please spend your free time looking for one rather than edit war. On the other hand, categories are for the uncontroversial facts rather than opinions. ZK is not in the Category:Martyrs or Category:Saints. She is in the Category:Heroes of the Soviet Union because it is a fact that she received that medal. The same is applied to the both positive and negative opinions about her. It is really basics that you with your experience could figure out yourself. Alex Bakharev 11:36, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, Category:Martyrs is quite applicable. As for source, let's try [2]. Accordingly, I'll add this category, too. Digwuren 19:10, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes Suva, you are right, I don't think the Nazi POV was/is relevant. Why? Because they were an invading, occupying force of genocidal maniacs. --Mista-X 12:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I see... So should we delete all Soviet POV from Estonia related articles for the same reasons? Anyways the comments by Alex make much more sense, I'll leave it at that. Suva 12:20, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I have put some Controversy section. Please check if I miss something important Alex Bakharev 16:25, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Great job, Alex. There is another very detailed article that devotes much material to controversy as well. It is already among the references:
Mikhail Gorinov, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (1923-1941), Otechestvennaya istoriia, №1, 2003,

Also, I removed the shocking image of the tortured dead young girl from the article. This image does not add enough content to justify its shocking value. Personally, I won't be able to look and edit this article with this image there. Let's not put it back. --Irpen 19:10, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Alex. Regarding "arsonist" POV, I guess we have pretty clear-cut solution tested on Estonia-related articles (since it were our Estonian friends who started the row). Let's add something in the nature "Estonian sources, following Nazi claims, consider Zoya an arsonist and petty criminal rather than freedomfighter". Pretty cut and dry statement. After all, with numerous Estonian "police batallions" waging anti-guerilla war for Nazi Germany in 1941-1944 they have every right to consider ppl their ancestors hounded for their Nazi masters as murderers and criminal, in Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and so on. BTW, I guess the article about Zoya is picked up by Estonian script too, as an edit war by Digwuren had been immediately supported by the other members of the group. RJ CG 15:31, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually I didn't mean arsonist for Nazis but rather to the villagers themselves. There are some sources that claim there were casualties and village members who lost their homes because of the freedom fighter. I don't know which sources are right, but studying similar nazi infested villages it seems highly unlikely that they were alone there. Ofcourse propaganda heroes don't make mistakes so most soviet sources say that there were only nazis there. Suva 16:32, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I have no doubts that some villagers lost their property (contrary to what Mart Laar's history might tell you, single-family houses was overwhelmingly private property in contryside in the USSR at all times from 1917-1991) as a result of Zoya's actions. That's called "collateral damage" during the times of war. As far as I understand, it's not ZK's actions which are discussed here, it's assessment of her actions. Would you like to agree with a Nazi's assessment and call her an arsonist, you're free to do it. Just don't cry wolf when I attribute those views to their original source - the Nazi propaganda machine. RJ CG 16:50, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't know anything about nazi propaganda machine. And I agree that the category arsonist is not appropriate here. I can argue about the private property though, but not right now. Suva 17:16, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
You may not know anything about Nazi propaganda machine, but you chose to support wikipedian who repeats it's claims. And if you agree that category isn't appropriate, why did you defend one who added it so militantly? RJ CG 13:10, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
She was not a soldier, she was a civilian saboteur. Under the laws of war she could be executed, and she was. She was not tortured to death. This is all of course assuming that she even existed, since she could simply be the creation of Soviet propaganda.Royalcourtier (talk) 18:54, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Let's not put it back[edit]

I'd like to see the propaganda angle explored a bit more, without any attempt to degrade Zoya. e.g. there doesn't seem to be any reason to accuse her of the crime of arson, but there also doesn't seem to be any reason to include a picture that is at best ghastly propaganda. Please check the dates of the execution and the photo, and the story of the first article. To me this just doesn't add up. Maybe we could get a pix of the statue at the Moscow Metro station Partisanskaya? Smallbones 02:15, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Getting such pics of statues won't be difficult. Also, the Gorinov's article in the scholarly magazine I linked above studies in great detail all the angles, including the propaganda one. --Irpen 02:48, 16 August 2007 (UTC)


Googling around, it's easy to see that classification of Ms. Kosmodemyanskaya's acts as sabotage is unequivocal, and done by both Pravda and neo-Nazis. If so diverse sources agree, it should be obvious that classifying her as a saboteur is WP:NPOV. (Not to mention that the military unit she served in was a designated recon/sabotage group.)

Irpen, do you have any rational reasons to remove this classification? Emotional attachment does not qualify as such a reason under Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Digwuren 19:05, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Since when is saboteur a provocation? It's more like a proffesion. Your problem, Ghirla, is that you are assuming bad faith. Suva 19:49, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

There is a reason why Sabotage is classified in the category:Crime as well as an Arson. If she is a criminal, the cat would have applied. This has been already discussed. --Irpen 19:56, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh good idea. I will start adding Soldier, Deminer, Spy, Fighter pilot, Sniper and others to Category:Crime aswell. As it seems to be the consensus that military personnel are criminals. Suva 22:08, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess Irpen considers the people who committed the Norwegian heavy water sabotage during WW2 were criminals too, and the SOE, who organised many of these kinds of sabotage acts behind Nazi lines, was a terrorist organisation also. Martintg 10:38, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Sabotage in war says very clearly that "In war, the word is used to describe the activity of an individual or group not associated with the military of the parties at war (such as a foreign agent or an indigenous supporter)". I guess, that strikes political aspect of discussed matter off the table and leaves us with pretty technical question of classification. Was the Zoya's unit "not associated with the military"? If my memory serves me weel, hers was paramilitary unit, officially called "partizan unit 9903 of Western Front Staff" (see Russian wiki). Usage of numeric designation leads me to believe that it was at least "associated with the military". Therefore, Zoya can't be considered Saboteur. What you guys think? RJ CG 14:14, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Your attempt to infer exclusivity from that passage is in error. Digwuren 15:56, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Calling statement "an error" requires some proof. Yes, I understand, that you are amused by this suggestion. RJ CG 16:42, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


As seen above, there's a disagreement over whether it's factual to classify Ms. Kosmodemyanskaya as an arsonist, under Category:Arsonists. On one hand, there are sources explaining her experience in fireraising, and several that appear to state that the Nazis caught her while trying to set fire to a building (whose purpose is unclear, but which might have been either a stable or a storage building); on another, there are positions likening this categorisation to blasphemy. In order to sort out this mess, I'll request an RFC. Digwuren 18:51, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

This is a misrepresentation of the parties' positions but the discussion above is there to read. --Irpen 18:55, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Ok, let's see you trying to represent what's going on above. Digwuren 19:06, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

There is no need for me to "represent what's going on above" since "above" is available for anyone to read. --Irpen 19:09, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

If this is still unresolved (it probably has been by now), why not simply look up the articles of others who carried out similar actions in war and see how they're classified? There's bound to be plenty of them on Wikipedia somewhere. -- (talk) 19:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


I will - as I edit the page for grammar, style and usage as I have been doing for other USSR/Baltic States articles - leave this word in, but in English usage this word belongs more with religious sacrificial victims than with political activists. I can think of other words to use (heroes, resistance fighters, partisans etc) which are more neutral but I don't want to offend sensibilities in the cause of non-emotive language or incorrect terminology. The word "martyr" does not fit with Ms Kosmodemyanskaya's biography because it is evident she was not the victim of religious persecution. If anyone can suggest a different word please leave a message on my talk page. Lstanley1979 (talk) 19:44, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

"Truth is the first casualty" in war, and I think in the Soviet Union (especially during the war) truth was a lot less common than copies of Pravda. I don't know how to sort this out, but it's clear to me that there is a lot of propaganda here being presented as fact. The main problem: sabotage on Nov. 25, 1941, hanging on Nov. 27, 1st article on January 27, 1942 with story pushed by Stalin, Hero of the Soviet Union by Feb. 16. How can things like what info she gave up under torture ever be known? I'll suggest keeping it clear what source said what - since most of the sources are in Russian, most of us can't know for sure even this.. Some skepticism, without blasphemy, would be appreciated. Smallbones (talk) 02:37, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
"How can things like what info she gave up under torture ever be known?" It sometimes helps to educate oneself in subject before chiming in with noble indignation against vile Soviet propaganda. Soviets delivered major blow to the Nazi between Nov. 25, 1941 and Jan. 27, 1942 and re-captured Petrishchevo, so Soviet investigators had been able to question locals and German POWs. RJ CG (talk) 16:02, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
the word "martyr" is absolutely appropriate for the heroism and self-sacrifice of this noble person. She has done far more than many who have been made saints. Why bring down such a worthy person, just because we cannot match her greatness? Wallie (talk) 10:54, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

"Battle dress"?[edit]

I've been living in Moscow for the past two weeks and have been taking the metro from Partizanskaya into the city every day. The statue to Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya on the platform is impossible to miss.

Most puzzling to me is that, despite the fact that contemporary photos show Z.K. the partisan wearing trousers, the monuments to her all seem to portray her in a (more feminine?) skirt—even when other martial accessories are included. (Cf [3]) Does anyone know why this is so? Did Socialist Realism have a problem with "gender bending" attire? Everyone who lived through the war would know that you're not likely to be wearing a skirt—no matter how sturdy and utilitarian its design—while fighting Nazi occupiers and their collaborationist henchmen in the forests and swamps. —Zalktis (talk) 15:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Can you grab a photo of Zoya?[edit]

Dress vs. pants I can't answer. (Maybe a comparison to the young lady with a gun at Ploschad Revolutsii might suggest an answer!) Also, many female statues in Moscow (everywhere?) seem to have (by modern western interpretations) a sexist attitude. Say hello to the Izmailovsky Hotel for me!

Taking a look at Socialist Realism it seems that every female has a skirt. And most of the buildings have an ediface complex. Part of the reason may be that skirts are/were more commonly used as work clothing in Russia, many times with pants or thick tights underneath.

But could you take (and donate with proper license - e.g. "public domain") a good photo of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya at Metro Partizanskaya? The problem with all those other pix, is that there is no copyright clearance. While you're there, maybe a pix of the young lady at Poschad Rev as well?? (It's on your line)

Smallbones (talk) 17:55, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Done, even though you have to excuse the fact that I'm not the world's greatest photographer—even by amateur standards. Also, in order to not be accused of sexism and/or ageism (perhaps I've been living in Scandinavia too long?), I also made a snap of the other statue depicting the oft-forgotten Hero of the Soviet Union Matvey Kuzmin. I'll upload these masterpieces when I get home from my trip. As I'm en route to the airport now, I won't make it to Ploshchad' Revolutsii, though. —Zalktis (talk) 08:11, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Fantastic - thanks so much. I'll suggest placing it right under the section break Bringing her story to the public. If you are unfamiliar with picture formating, I'd just copy the code from the first picture and place the name of your image right after "Image:" Please remember to identify your pix as "donated to the public domain" or similar license so that the picture patrollers don't delete it.
What to do with Matvey?? Maybe put it in the Partizanskaya metro article, maybe create a stub for him. Too bad about the Ploshchad Rev. statue I was thinking of creating a section in the Soviet propaganda article called "Young women with guns".
Smallbones (talk) 15:32, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I've now uploaded my photos of Zoya and Matvey, thereby opening myself to worldwide ridicule for my shortcomings as a photographer... Regarding "battle skirts", I have noticed that the sanitarka/love interest "Nurse Ninochka" (Yekaterina Klimova) in the recent blockbuster "Мы из будущего" also spends a lot of time crawling around the battlefield in a skirt (cf. [4]). So maybe is was simply de rigeur after all. —Zalktis (talk) 15:09, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Bravo! Both pictures are wonderful, thank you very much. You might not have noticed, but they are on WP in their full resolution, e.g. you can zoom in and clearly make out the fingers on the gloves that somebody placed, beneath Matvey's feet. Which brings up

(unindent)1. We could ask the photo workshop people to crop the photos, if you'd like. I'd suggest cropping above the head, below the feet, and outside the backing marble column, so as to include the full statue, but as little else as possible.

2. You can read the inscriptions perfectly. Note that Zoya's starts out saying "legendary."

3. Matvey's definitely says "Hero of the Soviet Union." I was looking for some documentation of this claim, and it is hard to find. There's a ship named for him, his name doesn't appear to be on the "semi-official, semi-commercial" HoftheSU website. There is something about him on the Pskov (?) city/tourist website, but that info seems to contractict the info on this inscription. (In any case) I don't have any good info on Matvey (other than the ship)

Thanks again,

Smallbones (talk) 17:40, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

PS - no coincidence that the Ploschad Rev Girl with Gun is so similar to Zoya's statue. Same sculptor: Матвей Манизер

Spelling of surname[edit]

The inscription of the statue of her in the Partizanskaya Metro Station in Moscow spells her surname KOSMODEMYANSKOI, not -SKAYA. I know Skaya is the feminine form, but why is it not used here? Presumably the Soviet authorities who erected the statue knew what her name was. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 16:52, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

The name is written here in Dative case: "посвящается ... Зое Космодемьянской" ("devoted to ... Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya"). See picture — Ace111 (talk) 12:54, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

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There is no reference to the obvious fact that this girl was used as a propaganda tool by the Soviet regime. She may not have done anything she was alleged to have done, or even existed for that matter. The Soviets were very creative with their propaganda. The alleged quotes were obviously created by Stalin's propagandists, and should not be taken as reliable any more than we can rely on Shakespeare to have accurately quoted MacBeth etc.Royalcourtier (talk) 18:56, 22 August 2016 (UTC)