How Rostov State University saved and preserved its scientific base during the Great Patriotic War

During the Great Patriotic War, RSU (now Southern Federal University) experienced many historical events. Many employees and students went to the front — the project “Scientific Regiment of Southern Federal University” introduces them to their fates. In this essay we will talk about those who remained in the rear: they helped the front as best they could and preserved the scientific equipment and accumulated knowledge of the university for future generations.

Before evacuation

From the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Rostov-on-Don turned out to be a front-line city, and RSU was a front-line university. From June 1941 to July 1942, the university continued to operate under tense conditions. In the very first days of the bombing, the Nazis destroyed the physical and chemical buildings of the university, as well as the academic library — one of the largest book depositories in the USSR. Because of the bombing, many prominent scientists, teachers and students died.

Frontline Rostov Frontline Rostov

In June 1941, the main building of the Russian State University (B. Sadovaya, 105) was transferred to a military hospital. In the very first days of the Great Patriotic War, more than 60 university teachers and researchers and 600 students were drafted into the army and went to the front to defend their homeland.

The university employees who remained at their jobs took on a double, triple load, replacing the dead and comrades who went to the front. In a difficult situation, when the city was constantly bombed and shelled, university employees worked on the construction of defensive structures: they dug trenches and built barricades. In the summer of 1941, about 500 students and university staff went to the Tarasovsky and Tsimlyansky districts to harvest the crops. About 200 people were sent to work at various Rostov enterprises. The work was carried out almost around the clock, since the Nazis were already on the approaches to these territories.

German infantry in the Rostov region German infantry in the Rostov region

Mathematicians and physicists from the Russian State University carried out orders from the command of the Red Army, testing the strength of various materials, gave opinions on the permeability of the soil for various types of transport, and manufactured special devices for the needs of the army and the front. Work continued day and night—the university joined the ranks of the city’s defenders.

The academic year at the university, although belatedly, still began on December 22, 1941, and systematic classes were resumed in the senior courses of most faculties. A significant event in the life and activities of the university was the decision to open a new Faculty of History and Philology. It was formed on August 16, 1941.

City residents dig trenches around Rostov City residents dig trenches around Rostov

The selfless work of the entire university staff was highly appreciated in the order of the People’s Commissar of Education dated May 22, 1942, in which the university’s researchers were thanked «for their initiative, energy and diligence in carrying out special tasks aimed at accelerating the defeat of the Nazi troops.»

Every day the situation in the city became more complex and tense. On July 8, 1942, fascist aviation bombed the building of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, in which 14 workers of experimental workshops were killed at a combat post. 18 people with various injuries were pulled out from under the rubble of the destroyed part of the building. But this did not frighten the university workers, who, despite everything, steadfastly continued to fulfill their professional and civic duty. The front was approaching. The university began to prepare for evacuation.

German self-propelled gun in Rostov-on-Don German self-propelled gun in Rostov-on-Don

Long journey

On July 14, 1942, the regional executive committee and the Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks decided to evacuate Rostov-on-Don universities with teaching staff, students and valuable equipment deep into the country.

Rector Semyon Belozerov was given an evacuation certificate with the destination — the city of Makhachkala. Mikhail Chernyaev, a famous scientist in the field of synthetic, projective and differential geometry, remained to act as rector in Rostov-on-Don .

Order of the RSU Rector on evacuation Order of the RSU Rector on evacuation

Ivan Builo , a teacher at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, was appointed responsible for organizing the shipment of valuable equipment from RSU . After the war, he raised and raised two sons, Sergei and Boris. After graduating from Rostov State University, they both became eminent scientists — professors of physics and philosophy.

Sergey Ivanovich Buylo Sergey Ivanovich Buylo

By mid-June 1942, railway traffic across the Don had already been stopped; employees and students of the Russian State University and three other institutes — medical, pedagogical and financial-economic — were transported in a special order from the Nakhichevan railway station. On July 23, Red Army troops left Rostov-on-Don. 12 professors, 20 associate professors and about 20 teachers, assistants and laboratory assistants managed to leave the city.

“With deep pain, observing the flames of the belts that engulfed the city from all sides, and the monstrous destruction inflicted on it by Hitler’s scoundrels, we left our hometown, which especially in recent months had become so dear and beloved, carrying in our hearts the thirst for revenge and hatred of the fascist beast “ recalled the vice-rector of Rostov State University ,Head of the Department of General and Russian LinguisticsProfessor Georgy Serdyuchenko.

Georgy Pavlovich Serdyuchenko, vice-rector of the Russian State University, eyewitness of the events Georgy Pavlovich Serdyuchenko, vice-rector of the Russian State University, eyewitness of the events

In Makhachkala, the lobby of the Dagestan Pedagogical Institute was provided for temporary accommodation of Rostov universities. But Makhachkala was already overloaded with visitors, and the authorities of the Dagestan Republic were not able to provide shelter for the RSU for a long time. Rector Belozerov convenes a meeting to decide on the further route and offers his colleagues two options: Transcaucasia or Central Asia. The majority of those present spoke in favor of the second option — the city of Frunze, modern Bishkek.

The Council of People’s Commissars of the Dagestan SSR asks the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kyrgyz SSR to provide Rostov-on-Don University with “all possible assistance” in locating and restoring the work of the university in Frunze. On the evening of August 2, the university staff of 60 people with their families left Makhachkala on the Kaganovich tanker and headed across the Caspian Sea to Krasnovodsk; along the way, the tanker survived a severe storm.

Tanker «Kaganovich» Tanker «Kaganovich»

From Krasnozavodsk, the team of the Russian State University and part of the workers of the Rostov Pedagogical Institute, through Samarkand and Tashkent, reached the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic — the city of Frunze. There, the university was given the building of school No. 10, and then a club, and catering was organized . Within a month, two carriages with university equipment arrived in Frunze. But the capital of Kyrgyzstan did not become the final destination of this journey — the leadership of the republic decided that the combined team of both universities — we are talking about RSU and RPI — was sent to organize educational work in the city of Osh — one of the regional centers of the Kyrgyz SSR.

When the RSU team arrived at the place of work in Osh on September 23, it consisted of 9 professors, 25 associate professors, 20 teachers, assistants, laboratory assistants and 25 students. Initially, they were all located in the old part of the city.

“The leadership of the city of Osh received us in the mood to expand the work of the university and are doing their best to meet us halfway… There is no satisfactory basis for expanding the work in Osh, we will have to create everything there anew,” writes rector Semyon Belozerov in a memo to the leadership of the People’s Commissariat for Education .

Semyon Belozerov, rector of Rostov State University in 1938-1954. Semyon Belozerov, rector of Rostov State University in 1938-1954.

Personnel training

At first, the Rostov State University and Pedagogical Institute were provided with only 18 classrooms in two schools in the city for classes in the second and third shifts, but by the winter they were given the building of the Osh Teachers’ Institute, which was closed at the beginning of the war. In its place, the Russian State University opens its own teacher’s institute in the city with four departments: physics and mathematics, natural geography, history and literature. Although belatedly, a new school year begins in Osh.

On October 9, 1942, the admissions committee opened its doors to recruit students — applications were accepted for the first courses of six faculties of the Russian State University and four departments of the Teachers’ Institute. It was possible to recruit 150 people for the first courses at the university, 100 people for the teachers’ institute, and 200 people for the correspondence department of the institute.

To educate such a number of students, RSU temporarily merges with the Rostov Pedagogical Institute — now they are both part of the Southern Federal University. During the war years, universities began to share everything — premises, students, Komsomol and trade union. The united university was provided with literature, equipment and reagents by the Tashkent and Almaty universities and other institutes of Central Asia.

A. Kozlovsky, director of the Osh Teachers’ Institute before the war A. Kozlovsky, director of the Osh Teachers’ Institute before the war

On November 15, 1942, the evacuated university began its main activities. The university managed to organize the work of 19 departments. In Physics and Mathematics — mathematical analysis, algebra and number theory, higher mathematics, geometry, mechanics and astronomy, as well as general physics. At the Faculty of Chemistry — general and physical chemistry, organic chemistry and analytical chemistry. At the Faculty of Geology and Soils — geology with mineralogy and soil science. At the Faculty of Biology — Botany and Zoology. In historical and philological studies — Russian literature, general literature, general and Russian linguistics and general history. Thus, RSU provided assistance to Kyrgyzstan in training national teaching staff.

“Schools in Kyrgyzstan, schools in the Osh region, are in dire need of Kyrgyz and Uzbek teachers. It is difficult for a teacher who does not know the native language of children to achieve conscious and lasting mastery of academic disciplines, to establish educational work with children, to come into close contact with students, to understand the peculiarities of their thinking, interests and the entire psychological make-up of the student’s personality. Therefore, it is necessary to take the most energetic measures in training national teaching staff in pedagogical schools and pedagogical institutes and attracting a large number of young people from the indigenous population who speak the local language to pedagogical educational institutions,” wrote university associate professor I. Kanaev .

In the absence of visual aids, the excursion method and direct study of the “book of life” have become widely used in the geological, soil, and biological faculties. Students not only observed objects and processes, but also collected collections of minerals and plants, and then wrote short reports. Due to the lack of textbooks, many faculties reduced the number of lectures and increased the number of colloquia and seminars.

Building of the Russian State University in Osh Building of the Russian State University in Osh

There was still an infirmary in the building of the Osh Teachers’ Institute — only on December 5, the Osh authorities finally found another room for it, and gave the two-story building with 34 rooms to the university. On December 6, a general building cleaning Sunday was held: teachers and students tidied up classrooms and laboratories, and on December 7, classes began in the new building.

“I was eight years old then, and my mother and sister and I lived in Osh, right next to the teachers’ institute. When the war began, there was no time for classes, and it was closed, but after a while carts and cars appeared in the yard. Some Russian men and women were unloading boxes. Then we learned that scientists from Russia had come here. I remember that for a long time I could not remember the words “professor” and “academician”. For some reason it seemed to me then that such important people should dress in white suits, but they were in ordinary canvas trousers and caps. I was even upset,” recalls local elder Yusupzhan Bakirdinov.

All possible assistance to the rear

From the first days in the new location, university staff actively became involved in the socio-political life of the city. On September 27, having just arrived in Osh, philologists from the Russian State University held a reading conference “The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet People against the Nazi Invaders in Modern Fiction” at a local club. Researchers from the Faculty of Biology gave popular science lectures on such topics as “Plants and Man”, “The Origin of Life on Earth”, “Darwin and His Teachings” in the military hospital and in the city lecture hall.

From the very first days of October, the university staff went out into the collective farm fields in an organized manner, providing all possible assistance to rural workers of the Osh region in picking cotton. Head of the Department of Mineralogy and Petrography Ivan Baranov , who after the war would become the dean of the Faculty of Geography of the Russian State University, in 1942 joined the commission for calculating mineral reserves of the Kyrgyz SSR and defended his doctoral dissertation at the Kyrgyz Geological Department.

On December 20, 1942, a scientific session on the results of the development of science in the USSR over the 25 years of the state’s existence was held at the university in a solemn atmosphere, and on December 28, a scientific session dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isaac Newton. Rector Semyon Belozerov made a report “On the tasks of the Komsomol”. He noted that Komsomol members should help and participate in solving economic issues of the university, improve culture, and also publish a wall newspaper.

In addition, university philologists paid great attention to the study of Kyrgyz language culture. The original folk art, the amazing poetry of the Kyrgyz people, the extraordinary ability of akyns-improvisers to compose poetry and their place in the education of youth and the working masses attracted university scientists. Long after the end of the war, Rostov philologists will write articles and give reports on the spiritual and cultural life of Kyrgyzstan.

Having settled into a new place, all scientists and teachers of RSU very quickly found how to use their knowledge and talents for the benefit of the city of Osh that sheltered them. There was more than a year left before returning to Rostov-on-Don.

1943 — Evacuation continues

By the beginning of 1943Rostov State University, while evacuated, was merged with the Rostov Pedagogical Institute. The United University occupied the building of the Osh Teachers’ Institute. 64 university employees were engaged in science and taught 390 students. The university budget for the entire 1943 was 1.5 million rubles.

The year 1943 began with severe frosts — down to -25 °C. The building in which the university was located was not heated. Fuel appeared only in February, so in January the rector of the university, Semyon Belozerov, reduced the working day to 4 hours.

In addition to classes and scientific activities, students and university staff helped organize self-defense and carried out social work. The university collects funds to help the front and takes patronage over the Osh home for the disabled: combat leaflets are issued for them once a week, in the evenings students read the latest newspapers and fiction aloud in the wards.

It must be said that during the Great Patriotic War, the initial link in the system of local air defense of populated areas were self-defense groups; they were engaged in maintaining order and communications, emergency restoration work, chemical, fire and health protection. Therefore, the university is creating such a group of 55 people in Osh.

Self-defense group Self-defense group

The student trade union committee of the Russian State University, which included 64 people, is involved in improving the lives of the students themselves. The trade union committee distributed coupons to students for the purchase of personal items and wrote reports on the state of affairs in the dormitories.

“Every dormitory has a prefect. Cleaning is carried out twice a day, floor washing — twice a week. Due to the lack of mattresses, bed linen, buckets, basins, and brooms, it is difficult to maintain the dormitory in sanitary terms. There are no light bulbs, radio speakers, buckets for drinking water, or barrels for boiled water. Students do not receive soap, there is no laundry, and the food in the cafeteria is not of good quality. It was decided to ask the administration, the economic part of the Russian State University, as well as the party organization of the city of Osh to help solve these problems,” write trade union members in one of these reports.

In order to improve the nutrition of students and staff and at least provide the university with food, a collective garden was planted on the land allocated to the university by the students. It grew potatoes, corn and fodder beets for pigs, which they planned to buy in the fall.

First session in evacuation

The test session based on the results of the first semester began in March. From March 1 to March 15, students passed all tests and exams. In order to hold a full session, the university party bureau asks the city party committee to assist the university in obtaining fuel for heating one or two rooms for the period of the test session and to improve food in the student canteen. At this time, Komsomol members are on duty at the university in shifts — monitoring the discipline and attendance of students, and the normal course of exams.

“The difficult conditions in which the examination session must take place this year require maximum organization of the entire team and, first of all, the communists. To assist the dean’s office in preparing and conducting the session, the party bureau sent communists to each faculty as its representatives,” is written in the decision of the RSU party meeting dated February 30, 1943.

Despite such difficult conditions: cold and poor food, half of the RSU students passed the session only with “excellent” marks, 27% — good, 14% — mediocre, only 2% had individual unsatisfactory grades, according to the university’s reporting documents of that period. 13 fifth-year students were admitted to state exams. Of these, 10 passed state exams, two graduated from the university with honors, and three were expelled.

During the evacuation, RSU noted February 23 and March 8. Defender of the Fatherland Day in 1943 is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. The university prepared and held a number of sports and cultural events, including a chess tournament, a literary evening and a grenade throwing competition. In their free time from studying and social work, students wrote letters to soldiers at the front, in which they talked about themselves and expressed words of gratitude and support to the soldiers of the Red Army. The university staff prepared an appeal to all RSU students on the fronts of the Patriotic War, and it went on the radio through Moscow.

Rostov-on-Don February 23, 1943 Rostov-on-Don February 23, 1943

“On the day of the international women’s holiday on March 8, I congratulate students, researchers and female employees of RSU on the achievements in their work as a result of hard work… I urge all women and girls of the RSU team to make every effort to improve the quality of work, remembering that the excellent work of each of helps you strengthen the rear, remembering that successes at the front depend on the strength of the rear,” rector Semyon Belozerov congratulated the team.

Meanwhile in Rostov

On February 14, 1943, all evacuated Rostovites, both in the city of Osh and in other cities where fate had thrown the mobilized and evacuated, clung to the radios.

Sovinformburo summary Sovinformburo summary

“The troops of the Southern Front under the command of Colonel General Rodion Malinovsky fought fierce battles for the city of Rostov-on-Don for several days. Today, having broken the stubborn resistance of the enemy, our troops captured the city,” the Sovinformburo reported.

On this occasion, on February 15, a rally of employees and students of the Russian State University was held in the city of Osh, dedicated to the liberation of Rostov, which turned into a real long-awaited holiday.

Since the Rostov State University itself, headed by the rector, worked in Kyrgyzstan, a branch of the Russian State University began to operate in Rostov-on-Don, headed by Vladimir Velmin , one of the former rectors. He was entrusted with the restoration of the Rostov university buildings and the organization of work.

Vladimir Velmin, rector of Rostov State University (1922-1924). Vladimir Velmin, rector of Rostov State University (1922-1924).

The first thing to return to work was the University Botanical Garden. All researchers, students and university employees remaining in Rostov-on-Don were asked to register at the university office at 100 Gorky Street. The faculties were temporarily combined into physics and mathematics, natural sciences and history and philology. By order of the acting rector Vladimir Vedmin, nine commissions were created — for each faculty, library, Botanical Garden, administrative and economic part — to carry out an inventory of university equipment and property preserved after the Nazi occupation.

It’s too early to go back

Rostov-on-Don was liberated, and the university faculty could return, but the Rostov campus could not yet accept all the students recruited in Kyrgyzstan, and scientific research on Osh soil had only just begun — it cannot be abandoned halfway. The leadership of the party and the university decided to postpone the re-evacuation and hold a full 1943/44 academic year in Osh.

If in 1942 the admissions campaign had to begin in October, now the university had time to prepare. On August 1, preparation courses for entering the university and the Teachers’ Institute were opened. By agreement with the regional department of public education, two sessions of external studies were held for grades 9–10, that is, yesterday’s Kyrgyz eighth-graders had the opportunity to become students of the state university.

Children in the city of Osh Children in the city of Osh

By the beginning of the 1943/44 academic year, the teaching staff of the Russian State University in the city of Osh grew to 94 people due to the invitation to work of Kyrgyz specialists and other higher education teachers evacuated to Central Asia.

One of the main goals set for the university, which RSU intended to achieve during its stay in Osh, was the training of teachers and mentors for the needs of the Kyrgyz SSR. To solve this problem, on the basis of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Party of the Kirghiz SSR, a national Kyrgyz-Uzbek branch of the Teachers’ Institute was opened at the Russian State University, where already working teachers could undergo retraining. The first specialty is language and literature, the second is mathematics and physics. The study groups were staffed by teachers from the Osh region without interrupting the latter from working at school. The lectures were given partly in the national language, for which three teachers in pedagogy, Uzbek language and mathematics were invited.

Osh Pedagogical Institute in the 1960s Osh Pedagogical Institute in the 1960s

On October 1, 633 freshmen were enrolled at the university — now less than a hundred RSU teachers taught almost a thousand students in Osh. All of them would then either move with the university to Rostov-on-Don, or graduate from the Osh Teachers’ Institute (now Osh State University), which was reopened in March 1944, over which RSU would then take patronage.

Cotton granary of the Soviet Union

The Osh region is an agricultural region specializing in livestock breeding and growing vegetables, but the basis of the economy of western Kyrgyzstan was cotton, the fields of which were periodically destroyed by the pest spider mite.

During the evacuation, RSU scientists conducted a number of vitally important studies that helped the development of agriculture and industry in the republic. Employees of the Faculty of Biology of the Russian State University, while in evacuation, studied all the insects that harm cultivated plants and farm animals, and dealt with the problems of increasing the yield of cotton and cotton plants, potatoes and kok-sasyk — long garlic, cabbage and walnuts. This had a positive impact on the economic life of Kyrgyzstan at that time.

For Osh agronomists and employees of the regional land department, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Biology Boris Dobrovolsky reads a series of lectures “Pests and diseases of soybeans and castor beans” and “Methods of monitoring harmful insects, counting them and signaling.” Professor Sergei Zakharov , one of the most famous Soviet soil scientists, made a report on Kyrgyz radio: “Tasks of soil cultivation and fertilization in the Osh region.” Biology faculty workers conducted experiments on spraying infected trees with alkalis from the Andijan plant. The report evaluates these drugs with dosage information.

Sergei Zakharov Sergei Zakharov

At the expense of the Kyrgyz Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Pastures, the head of the department of botany at the Rostov Pedagogical Institute, Alexander Balash , conducted serious geobotanical surveys of high-mountain pastures in the Altai Mountains, which was the reason to change his first botanical specialization — the taxonomy of lower plants — to the study of higher plants. The results of the work were submitted to the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture and the Regional Zoological Society in the form of a report, which was used in the distribution of pastures between collective farms. Then, in the mid-1950s, Alexander Pavlovich used the same method to conduct a survey of hayfields and pastures in the Rostov region. The data obtained will form the basis for drawing up a map of natural forage lands in the Rostov region. And from Kyrgyzstan, Balash brought to Rostov an extensive herbarium of leaves of Central Asian trees.

The soil and botanical survey of the state fund lands of the Chon-Alai region, which is directly related to the issue of improving the use of feed resources in the region, should also be considered important. The geological-soil and chemical departments investigated the reserves and composition of table salt in the deposits of the Osh region, the reserves of coal deposits and the suitability of these coals for coking.

University chemists provide assistance to the soap industry. Plaster used for plastering the wounded was found. Geologists discovered deposits of various building materials, which was very important due to the fact that Osh is largely built of clay.

“A group of geologists from Rostov State University in the Naukatsky district discovered large deposits of building materials, huge reserves of natural ferrous paints that have high coloring power, intensity and super-fastness,” noted P. N. Kovalenko, candidate of chemical sciences, associate professor at the university, in his article .

Surroundings of Osh Surroundings of Osh

Summer field practice for students of botanists and zoologists took place in the vicinity of the city of Osh — Naukat and Aravan districts. On the instructions of Oblzo, students also conducted a locust survey in these areas. Other students took part in a weeding campaign and in the work of a cotton factory, where they also worked as agitators. Some of the students who stayed on vacation in the Osh region worked on the Namuna collective farm, forming a student team, and the other part worked on the construction of a road in the historical part of Osh.

The activities of Rostov State University in Osh are one of the examples of the unity and cohesion of people of different nationalities during the Great Patriotic War. This story remains one of the most striking examples of international friendship today.

Even today, the Southern Federal University carefully preserves all the surviving information about those days when Rostov scientists and students worked side by side with the residents of the city of Osh, with whom they were connected for a long time, although not from the front, but still through friendship during the war years. During these years, the scientific and personnel foundation of the modern Osh State University of Kyrgyzstan was laid.

Osh State University of Kyrgyzstan today Osh State University of Kyrgyzstan today

RSU (now Southern Federal University) was and remains the main scientific and educational center of the South of Russia. In 1944, Rostovites sought to return the university from evacuation as soon as possible so that it could provide assistance in solving the difficult problems of restoring the national economy.

Preparing for re-evacuation

The regional authorities of liberated Rostov made the decision to commission a university and a pedagogical institute on October 11, 1943. The Bureau of the Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks decided to resume the work of the Russian State University and the Pedagogical Institute, taking into account that some of the buildings and some equipment of these educational institutions were preserved. The duties of the rector of the university at this time were performed by assistant professor of the Faculty of Biology Faina Kucherova . It was she who organized the work of the supply department at the Russian State University and supervised the preparatory work for the return of colleagues, students and university property from the Kyrgyz city of Osh. The university in Rostov-on-Don enrolls first-year students in all five faculties.

The first to return are the teaching staff who temporarily worked in other institutes, in particular in the city of Tashkent, but the teaching staff located in the Kyrgyz SSR need to complete the academic year, since the evacuated university there was working at full capacity.

On November 7, 1943, the rector of the Russian State University, Semyon Belozerov, left for Moscow to resolve the issue of returning the university to Rostov. On November 29, a work plan for the re-evacuation of the university was drawn up, a special commission was created in Osh to organize timely and systematic preparations for the re-evacuation of the RSU under the leadership of Assistant Rector Tovmasyan. The commission resolved numerous issues, including transport and food — no one wanted the return to Rostov to be as difficult as an urgent evacuation from it.

“University rector Semyon Belozerov, pending the re-evacuation of the university, will begin training classes in Rostov on January 1, 1944 with all newly admitted students for the first and senior years of the university. The re-evacuation of the university from the city of Osh was carried out in the first quarter of 1944, immediately after the end of the semester. The Planning and Financial Directorate of the People’s Commissariat of the RSFSR shall provide for the first quarter of 1944 the necessary allocations to cover the costs associated with the re-evacuation of the RSU,” read the order of the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR dated December 20, 1943.

Rector Belozerov arrived in Rostov-on-Don on December 30 and immediately began to fulfill his duties. By this time, the equipment of classrooms, laboratories and offices in the surviving buildings of the university had already been completed, and some academic classes resumed on December 6. At the same time, work continued to restore the destroyed university buildings.

New Year 1944 — semester in Rostov

Classes with students in Rostov-on-Don began on January 1, 1944. At first, lectures were held mainly in the former dormitory, where most of the students and teachers lived. The university’s budget for the year was three times larger than last year’s — 4.8 million rubles — looking ahead: in 1945 it will already be 18 million.

On January 10, 1944, the Rostov regional committee of the Komsomol announced preparations for amateur art shows of students of institutes and technical schools — universities were returning to social and cultural life. On January 16 and 23, Sundays were held in the physics and mathematics department building (Gorky, 100), students, researchers and university staff were putting the dilapidated building in order. Following the results of the Sunday work, the rector announced gratitude to the most active participants — the team of the Faculty of Biology under the leadership of Faina Kucherova.

In February, the Botanical Garden and the Azov-Don Biological Station, operating at the Russian State University, were declared scientific, educational and auxiliary institutions of the university. The initiator of its creation, professor of botany Vitaly Vershkovsky, was approved as the director of the Botanical Garden.

Vitaly Nikolaevich Vereshkovsky, initiator of the creation of the Botanical Garden of SFU Vitaly Nikolaevich Vereshkovsky, initiator of the creation of the Botanical Garden of SFU

During the Great Patriotic War, the collection fund of the garden decreased by almost half, many species were lost. The scientific center was almost completely destroyed during the occupation of Rostov. But in the first post-war years, the destroyed buildings were reconstructed, and the collection fund was gradually restored. For this purpose, a large tree and ornamental nursery was founded, which played an important role in the preparation of planting material and the introduction of valuable species of trees and shrubs into green construction in the South of Russia.

But of course, everyone was looking forward to reuniting with their colleagues in Kyrgyzstan. In connection with the upcoming return to Rostov from evacuation of a fairly large group of RSU researchers and students, the executive committee of the regional party council ordered the city executive committee to take decisive measures to vacate the apartments of RSU researchers, regardless of when and by whom they are occupied, and also to provide RSU 40-50 apartments to accommodate scientists who have lost their living space.

“We must take into account the importance of restoring Rostov State University in Rostov-on-Don both as a scientific and cultural center of the region, and as a scientific and educational institution that trains not only high school teachers, but also workers for universities, research and other institutions , for which there is currently a particularly acute need,” the regional executive committee justifies its decision .

Rostov-on-Don in 1944 Rostov-on-Don in 1944

Last semester in Osh

Meanwhile, employees and students of the Russian State University in Osh were worried about the simplest everyday issues. In the winter of 1944, the building where Rostov State University was located was only partially heated due to lack of fuel — the dormitories, some laboratories, the library and the office — the students themselves insulated the classrooms and dormitories. Despite this, they also collected books for the front line and held fundraisers for the children of Stalingrad, making their contribution to the Victory.

In connection with the prospect of RSU returning to Rostov, many locals began to transfer to other universities in advance or were expelled altogether. At the beginning of the second semester, 400 students started studying, half of them passed the winter session with “excellent” marks, 21% — “good”. Scholarships for excellent students were increased to 200 rubles per month.

But not only students received a worthy reward for their work — the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR (today the Ministry of Education and Science) issues an order on bonuses for university employees who have distinguished themselves the most in carrying out research work. At the Osh campus of the Russian State University, professors Zakharov and Serdyuchenko receive bonuses of 1,500 rubles, associate professors Dobrovolsky and Khagyanov — 1,000 rubles each.

Teachers, too, will continue to find their heroes for their wartime services during the evacuation for a long time to come. Summing up the results of socialist competition, the RSU administration notes the serious achievements of the entire team during their work in Osh. At the end of 1943, the wall newspaper “The Best People” was published at RSU, which collected the names of university employees who were particularly successful in research work and the development of the national economy of the Osh region. Later, the same people, even a wider list of them, will be thanked by the rectorate of the Russian State University, then by specialized bodies like the Osh Regional Land Department, then by the party leadership of the Osh region.

Thus, professors Dionisyev, Sheinker and associate professor Kovalenko were awarded for extensive research work on the use of local raw materials as building materials, as well as the production of a drug from the local plant ayu-chach for the treatment of scabies in animals, professor Novopokrovsky, associate professors Dobrovolsky and Balash for the fight with agricultural pests, inventory of vegetation in the Osh region, survey of distant pastures in the Chon-Altai Valley, Professor Zakharov — for studying soils in the Osh region, Associate Professors Shamray, Miroshnikov and Baranov — for studying the Naukat mineral resource complex. Gradually, this list reaches ordinary teachers, military commanders, librarians and even cleaners who worked at the Russian State University during this difficult time. No one’s contribution was forgotten. All of them are “The Best People of the Country,” as the motto of the Southern Federal University still says today.

On February 20, a delegation of RSU scientists travels from Osh to Frunze, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to report on the work of the university during its stay in the republic and make presentations at the Kyrgyz branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Rector Semyon Belozerov arrives from Rostov-on-Don in Frunze and personally heads the delegation. The scientists included in it are awarded by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Kirghiz SSR.

University teachers learned about awards and thanks, as well as the People’s Commissar’s order to re-evacuate RSU and RPI from Osh to Rostov-on-Don in the first quarter of 1944 at the end of the semester at party meetings in January-March 1944.

In the meantime, organizational difficulties arise with the re-evacuation. People’s Commissar of Education of the RSFSR Vladimir Potemkin personally writes a letter to the head of the passenger traffic service Dubensky about the provision of cars for the re-evacuation of the RSU from the Kyrgyz SSR to Rostov-on-Don, but there are no free cars and the provision of railway transport is delayed. The People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR decides to allocate 200,000 rubles for the re-evacuation of the RSU and submits an application to the Tashkent Railway Administration for cars for March, but they will still arrive only in May.

Vladimir Petrovich Potemkin, People’s Commissar of Education of the RSFSR 1940 — 1946. Vladimir Petrovich Potemkin, People’s Commissar of Education of the RSFSR 1940 — 1946.

During this time, the university had to solve another important problem
— a large dropout of students who were not traveling with the university to Rostov-on-Don. The youth of Osh were glad to receive higher education while the Russian State University was in their hometown, but none of them wanted to leave Kyrgyzstan for the unfamiliar and distant Rostov-on-Don.

Teachers and deans of faculties carry out extensive political and educational work to secure students at the university, explaining to each student the current situation, the political meaning of the upcoming re-evacuation and the advantages of staying with the university and at the university. As a result, we managed to convince and take 200 students with us to Rostov.

In April, the Russian State University held a spring session and completed classes — all that remained was to wait for the railway train. Within the walls to which Rostov residents had become accustomed during a year and a half of evacuation, the Osh Teachers’ Institute began to operate.

Finally, on May 2, 1944, a railway train with the university staff — 191 students and 60 researchers — left the city of Osh, Kyrgyz SSR, for the city of Rostov-on-Don. During the train’s journey — two weeks — a cultural program was developed for all its passengers.

The departments drew up roadmaps for their future work in Rostov, immediately distributing the load between the students assigned to each department, professors of the Faculty of History and Philology gave lectures on literature and the international situation in the dining car, a mobile library worked, daily political information, chess games and checkers, amateur performance evenings, a general newspaper, combat leaflets and a calendar of significant dates were published. So the university did not have to be bored on the road.

On May 16, the train arrived at the Nakhichevan-Donskaya railway station, where the Rostov part of the RSU team warmly welcomed comrades from the evacuation. The merger of both parts of the university took place and the accommodation of arriving students, researchers and employees began.

“The main task that faced the administration, and which was resolved on the very first day, was to accommodate all those who arrived under a roof. The second is the reception and transportation of equipment,” RSU Rector Semyon Belozerov will report.

Victory Day

By the beginning of 1945, the educational process, despite the significant difficulties and problems that persisted, was practically restored through the efforts of university workers and returned to a normal working track.

The building of the Zonal Library of SFU after the war The building of the Zonal Library of SFU after the war

In the post-war years, the state constantly increased aid to the university. In addition to monetary allocations, the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR obliged a number of people’s commissariats to supply the university with household equipment, materials, clothing, and shoes. Materials were allocated for restoration work and housing construction.

In less than five years, the main building, the buildings of the physics and chemistry faculties, part of the premises of the botanical garden, the Azov-Don and Novorossiysk biological stations were put into operation. In 1946, a soil station began to operate, and since 1948, an astronomical observatory and an ionospheric station.

Taking into account the need for specialists, the university reorganized its leading science faculties. The Faculty of Geography was merged with the Faculty of Geology, and the training of soil scientists was concentrated at the Faculty of Biology and Soil Science. Since December 1948, the Department of History of Physical and Mathematical Sciences has been opened at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. The cycle of humanities faculties has expanded. The training of legal scholars began at the newly created Faculty of Law. At the Faculty of History and Philology, departments of Romance-Germanic languages ​​and literature, as well as logic and psychology were opened. The first of them, in 1955, became an independent faculty of the Rostov State Pedagogical Institute.

With great joy, the university staff greeted the news of the victorious end of the Great Patriotic War. He withstood the harsh trials of difficult wartime with honor. Dozens of university teachers and staff, hundreds of its students and thousands of graduates heroically fought the enemy at the front and worked selflessly in the rear. Many of them gave their lives defending the freedom and independence of their homeland.

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