A Diver Sapper in the Cold War Soviet Navy

Valeriy was a Soviet Navy diver sapper and was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. I have used a human translator for this episode so the main voice you will hear is my translator Galina Ryabova who was kindly funded by one of my financial supporters.

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Valeriy opens up about his childhood, the impact of the Great Patriotic War on his family, and his mother’s resilience in raising him after his father’s untimely death. He shares insights into his schooling, where history and geography sparked his curiosity, and his early military training which set the stage for his specialized role in the Soviet Navy.

Valeriy offers a rare glimpse into the life of a Soviet Navy diver sapper, trained in both underwater firearms and explosives, tasked with clearing mines to pave the way for naval infantry. He provides revealing insights into underwater warfare during the 1980s.

His unit was stationed near Kaliningrad, where he describes his equipment and the day-to-day life that included guarding, surveillance, and rigorous half-yearly military exercises.

Reflecting on the broader scope of the Cold War, Valeri discusses his perceptions of the US and NATO, the political climate under Gorbachev, and his aftermath of the USSR’s dissolution.

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