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Soviet captain helped China fight against Japanese aggression

( Updated: 2015-08-17 17:45

Soviet captain helped China fight against Japanese aggression

Gregory Kulishenko. [Photo exclusively provided to]

A Soviet soldier died a martyr's death in southwestern China's Chongqing having devoted himself to the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

Born in Ukraine in 1903, Gregory Kulishenko became captain of the Soviet Union air squadron that volunteered to help China drive out invading Japanese troops during World War II. In 1939, the air squadron flew to aid China.

During his time in China, he was highly praised and greatly admired by Chinese pilots. Being extremely strict with his students, he selflessly taught Chinese pilots not only knowledge of the bomber aircraft, but also many advanced techniques and strategies in operation.

On the afternoon of Oct 14, 1939, Kulishenko received a combat order to attack a Japanese military base. During the operation the Soviet Air Force Volunteer Team pilot shot down six enemy aircraft but received significant damage to the left engine of his plane.

In order to protect the aircraft from crashing, Kulishenko persisted in flying, despite the risk to his own life, and managed to land on the Yangtze River. Two of his crewmates managed to get off the plane and swim to shore, however, being too exhausted to jump out of the plane after the dogfight both he and his plane were engulfed by the river.

In 2009, he was listed among the 100 heroes of great contribution to the founding of new China.

Although long a part of history, this hero has been connected to Chinese people in a particular way. Tan Zhonghui, who witnessed the attack in 1939 during which Kulishenko's plane landed in the river, volunteered to be his grave keeper in 1958. For more than 56 years, Tan and her son, Wei Yingxiang, never ceased to fulfill their pledge; their story has become a strong manifestation of the deep friendship between Chinese people and Soviet soldiers.

On Dec 24, 2014, the movie, In Company with Gregory Kulishenko, based on Tan and Wei's story, began filming in Xishan Park where the hero is buried. It will hit cinema screens later this month.

The photo is exclusively provided to by Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and cannot be used without permission.

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