Mgr. Anastazie Kopřivová, roz. Vukolová

* 1936

  • “Grandad was 72 and they took him in May, there was a trial in July for participation in anti-Soviet organisations and he was sentenced for his volunteer activities. So he got five years of staying in rehabilitation lagers plus eight years of losing civic rights, that means he was ordered to stay in a certain place of residence.“ Interviewer: „Was he in Siberia or where?“ – „Oh no. He died in a month. I believe that was a blessing for him. But the worst thing is, that we only learnt forty years later. We got no official news. The ones who were taken, usually had no contact with their families. The worst thing was uncertainty; for your own feeling but also materially. As the wives, who were left behind here, were widows-no widows. They had no allowances, as it was not clear, whether he is alive or dead. So they had a social minimum, which was the case of my grandma. She has been waiting until her death, what she learns, and she never did, as she died earlier, without any official announcement.”

  • “The truth is, I didn’t even realize any difference between Czech and Russian. I don’t recall having any problem, when I began attending the first class, but there had to be some. As I grew up in a Russian environment, we spoke Russian at home and I went to Russian kindergarten, but never felt it was a foreign language. I found out only in 1945, when the Russian soldiers came and lived around Hanspaulka, that I don’t speak like them. What kind of a meeting was it? Pardon my language, but they stank… I have a very strong smell impression from that period; it was a combination of spam and bad petrol. They came from Šárka, where there is a little memory plate until today, and we were the first on the way, where there is Červeňák today, there were meadows and fields, so biplanes were landing there and we went to look at them and my father was so thrilled, as there were cherry trees in bloom on those hills and amongst them horses feeding and he went there to find his countrymen. So there was much excitement.”

  • “In Hanspaulka we lived near the school in Sušická street, Červený vrch, where formerly biplanes were landing and horses were feeding, it was all built upon, so there were free spaces in the park and on meadows under the school and under that there was a cliff to the former brick factory and they were living there. And moral obligation of those, who spoke Russian, was to go there and begin explaining: they are in Prague, there is a socialism, there is no contra revolution and why on earth are they actually there. I did all that. I explained it was a mistake. That they are daft and what contra revolution and what American soldiers in Prague or invasion… Those soldiers had mixed feelings: Poor soldiers, who didn´t have a clue, what was going on. Totally confused. They didn’t know where they are, why they are there, at the beginning they were madly cautious and scared of an imperialist coming to get them from some little garden in Hanspaulka. So those were listening. They were actually scare of each other. And then some kind of a person with an ideology supervision marched in there, who ordered: ‚ Comrade, you should leave, you don’t understand anything. What are you telling those poor boys, I´ve just spoken to the representatives of the working class and they explained everything to me.‘ And a relation to Czech citizens, the Pragers, towards them, was quite united and radical at the beginning. They didn’t give them even water, nor let them use a toilet. The whole Hanspaulka was covered in shits, as they would make it anywhere they liked.”

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    Praha 4, 28.06.2016

    duration: 03:30:29
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After war thousands of Czechoslovak Russians disappeared in Soviet lagers

Anastazie Koprivová in 1960s
Anastazie Koprivová in 1960s
photo: archiv Anastazie Kopřivová

Anastazie Kopřivová, née Vukolová, was born in 1936 in Prague. Her mother, Sofie Vladimirovna, née Marakujeva, and her father, Vasilij Andrejevič Vukolov, came from the South of Russia and belonged amongst the first ten thousand Russians, who were sent to Czechoslovakia by the new Soviet communist regime at the beginning of the 20th century. She had a six years younger sister Sophia, an artist, later married to the director Václav Vorlíček. In May 1945 her grandad, Vladimir Sergejevič Marakujev, was arrested by Russian organisation Smerš and violently taken to the Soviet Union. The family only learnt what happened to him at the beginning of 1990s due to the association They were first, of which Anastazie Kopřivová became the chairperson. After the association terminated its activities, she continued searching herself and owns probably the largest database of Russian emigrants in the Czech republic. She cooperated with the Slavic Institute and the Slavic library at the National Library. She brought up two daughters and in 2016 lives with her husband in Prague.