The Great Patriotic War: memorial to workers of ball-bearing factory #1

To give readers more of a glimpse of how deeply the Great Patriotic War and the horrors of that period remain a part of the common man, I’ll take you to a monument at Metro Dubrovka. I like to shop at Dubrovka because it is a place where industry meets retail. The factories around this district are concentrated on auto parts and clothing. Items made here include shoes and luggage along with mufflers and brake pads.

Metro Dubrovka is close by Metro to the Mendeleyev Journal and we can go there by Metro, bus, Marshrutka, or trolleybus. Today we’ll go by Metro.

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Just prior to exiting the station at street level you’ll see the “Exit to City” sign and then under it the name of the street, Sharikopodshipnikovsku as in Шарикоподшипниковскую (Sharikopodshipnikovskaya ultiza).

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Upon exiting the Metro we look across the street and as you can see from the top of one of the buildings the words for clothing, shoes, etc. Inside are shop after shop of individual small stores, typically run by Caucasian or Chechen merchants selling everything from shoes to jackets to socks to luggage to the custom Russian Federation passport holder that I use for my US passport and which confounds American Customs officials every time I grace their booths.

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Here on street level is the Metro station on the photo immediately below.

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To our right and adjacent to the Metro station is a small area dedicated to the citizens who lost their lives at the Ball-bearing factory that was located where we’re standing. You see, that long and difficult to pronounce street name means “ball bearing” and on this site is a memorial to the workers of Ball Bearing factory #1 who perished in the Great Patriotic War.

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The names of each ball-bearing factory worker who died in the Great Patriotic War is listed on the wall behind this monument. Each day you can see fresh flowers placed at the base of the monument.

(Some of you may remember this Metro station and the Ball Bearing factory for a more modern tragedy–the Moscow Theatre site is nearby where on 23 October 2002 a group of  heavily armed Chechen rebels took stormed into the museum area of of the Ball-Bearing factory taking hostages who where put on a bus and driven to the Dubrovka theatre. With a total of 850 hostages from the factory and the theatre audience, the rebels demanded that Russia end the war on Chechnya. President Putin authorized a still undisclosed gas be pumped into the theatre on the third day of the siege. The gas killed all 41 Chechens and 130 of the hostages, including 9 foreigners.)

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