J31. The First Major Ukrainian City Captured by Russia
A densely filled and illustrated album of a Soviet soldier’s military service in Kherson, Ukraine with the Red Flag Military District of Odessa. The album is chock full of drawings and photos depicting everything from ships in the Black Sea to fighter jets and paratroopers. What makes this album special is that the Soviet soldier was stationed in Kherson, Ukraine, as part of the Soviet Air Force.
The Kherson Governorate has a complex history. Until 1803 it was a province of the Russian Empire. In 1920 it became quasi-independent and in 1932 it became part of the administrative control of Ukraine. However, the Odessa Military District (of which Kerson is part of) was under continuous Russian control from 1862 until 1992, when following the break apart of the Soviet Union the military district was split between Ukraine and Russia. Interestingly, Kherson (population 280,000) was the first major city captured by Russia (on March 2, 2022) during its invasion of Ukraine. On November 11, 2022 Ukraine re-captured Kherson. The status of Kherson remains hotly contested.
The album provides an insight into Russia’s current interest in Kherson. The album is both historically interesting and highly relevant to current events.