Soviet Hero Pavlik Morozov Still Mysterious

The twelve-year-old boy reported his father to KGB

American financier George Soros assigned $7,000 for the restoration of the demolished museum in honor of Soviet "pioneer-hero" Pavlik Morozov. There are still a lot of legends about the events that happened in the remote settlement of Gerasimovka in the beginning of the 1930s.

Forty Belarussian families were searching for new homes. Looking for happiness, they reached Russia's Ural region. Wandering about the woods, the people finally stopped not far from two lakes. They built a village and named it in honor of the oldest man in the community - Gerasim. Years later, all village residents became relatives. The huge family was living on very strict rules.

Trofim Morozov, the father of the future hero, took part in the civil war. He could read and write, he was a bolshevik, the chairman of the village council. Trofim met Pavlik Morozov's mother, Tatiana, in the neighboring village of Kulokhovka. Soon they became husband and wife. Tatiana did not receive a hearty welcome in the new family - she was very poor. In addition, the young woman had a tough tempter. In the very beginning of her family life she protested against living with Trofim's parents. Tatiana gave birth to five children, although one little boy died when an infant. Trofim's village council united five villages. He could not spend enough time in his house, he started drinking. At the age of 40 Trofim refused to chair the council, he started developing love affairs with younger women. Needless to mention that Tatiana could not forgive her husband for that. Several years later, she wrote a letter to Stalin, she even met Nadezhda Krupskaya and Lavrenty Beria.

The Morozovs family was not doing very well - the children did not have anything to eat. On November 25th 1931, Pavlik Morozov wrote a report to special services. He wrote that his father, Trofim Morozov, the chairman of the local village council, was maintaining close contacts with local wealthy families. Pavlik wrote that his father was forging documents, selling them to rich peasants.

When Pavlik was writing his infamous report, he was 12 years old. However, it was a well-written paper - someone simply dictated everything to the boy. Pavlik's father Trofim rejected the accusations. The trial took place three months after the investigation. Pavlik stood up in a court room and said that he had abandoned his father, the little boy asked judges to sentence his father to most severe punishment. Trofim Morozov was eventually sentenced to ten years in exile.

After Trofim was arrested, the hostility in the village started growing very fast. Pavlik took part in almost all conflicts – he was showing police officers the places where his uncles were hiding crops and weapons. The little boy has written a lot of reports. Pavlik's teacher Larisa Isakova said: "We did not have radio or television at that time, we did not even lit candles at night, trying to save kerosene. There was no ink at school and children had to write with beet juice. It was terrible poverty. A lot of children did not have any clothes at all. When people think of Pavlik Morozov, they imagine a neat boy wearing clean uniform of a pioneer. He has never seen that uniform because of the poverty. He did not even know who Stalin was."

Pavlik's brother Aleksey Morozov said: "The story about Pavlik Morozov is the tragic story of the family that was destroyed and betrayed by the father." One should not look for a hidden political motive in a family drama. However, the drama in the village of Gerasimovka had a bloody ending. Pavlik was found killed not far from the settlement. The dead body of his four-year-old brother was found nearby. The investigation was rather hasty. Village people were not educated at all - they could only "sign" statements with their fingerprints. As a result of brutal interrogations, four men were found guilty of the crime: Arseny Kulukanov was the "initiator," 82-year-old Sergey Morozov and 80-year-old Ksenia Morozov were the "accomplices," young man Danil Morozov was the actual "murderer." All of them were Pavlik's relatives. Arseny Kulukanov and Danil Morozov were shot. Two elderly "criminals" died in jail.

Someone set Morozov' house on fire, the grave of the two killed brothers was desecrated – their remains were carried over to the center of the village. Tatiana Morozov left the village and moved to the town of Alupka on the Black Sea (Lenin's wife Nadezhda Krupskaya helped her with a house there). Tatiana did not work, she was living on her lifetime pension. Her child's death made her a famous woman. Soviet people were admiring Pavlik, they were writing books and poems about him. Stalin ordered to build a monument to the boy in Moscow. A lot of sculptors and artists rushed to fulfil the leader's wish.

A few people knew that Pavlik Morozov's mother was left absolutely alone. Her third child Roman died of cancer during the war. Her fourth son, Aleksey, had a tragic fate. He was sentenced to ten years in a Vorkuta-based camp. Soviet special services were questioning and torturing him for six months, trying to find out if Aleksey wanted to fly over the front line and yield to Germans. He was forced to plead guilty. When Aleksey was sentenced to ten years, Tatiana managed to have a personal meeting with Lavrenty Beria. The crying woman did not touch the KGB chief's heart and Aleksey had to serve his sentence entirely. He was released only in 1955.

Tatiana Morozov was in her seventies, when she came to the city of Tyumen to visit her nephew - Pavlik's cousin Kuzma Silin. Kuzma was hoping that Tatiana would finally make a statement for the local press and tell the real story that had happened in Gerasimovka. The story with Pavlik blemished Kuzma's life too - everyone was thinking that he was the murderer. Tatiana knew that Pavlik and Kuzma used to be great friends. However, she did not make any statement for the press. The elderly woman was living with her legend. Tatiana Morozov strongly refused to visit Gerasimovka (150 kilometers far from Tyumen) to see her children's graves. Probably, she was afraid of meeting someone there.

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Author`s name Olga Savka