Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was born on September, 13th, 1923 in Osino-Gai village of Gavrilovka district in Tambov region. On the 31st of October 1941 Zoya and 2000 other volunteering Komsomol members came to the collection site at the Colosseum cinema where they were taken to the raiding school from. She became a commando-type reconnaissance soldier of the Western Front.
By the Order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief No. 428 that directed “to destroy and burn to the ground all the populated areas in the rear of German troops…”, the commanders of all raiding groups received an instruction on November, 18th to burn 10 populated areas within 5-7 days including Petrishchevo village in Moscow region.
On November, 27th at 2 in the morning Boris Kraynov, Basily Klubkov and Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya set three houses on fire in Petrishchevo and Zoya managed to burn a German signal center that made the communication between several German units satnding by Moscow impossible. On November, 28th, while trying to burn a barn, Kosmodemyanskaya was caught. During questioning she said her name was Tanya. Having accepted her martyr-like death, she didn’t disclose any information about her friends.
Zoya’s story went viral after Pyotr Lidov’s article titled “Tanya” was published in Pravda newspaper on January 27th, 1942. The decree signed on February 16th, 1942 gave her the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously).
Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was the first woman awared with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously) during the Great Patriotic War in Russia. The fragile girl became a symbol of Soviet people’s heroism during the war years. One of Tambov streets was called in her honor. There is also a Zoya museum in her birthplace in Osino-Gai village in Gavrilovka district.
The monument designed by sculptor M.G. Manizer and architect I.G. Langbard captures the moment of Zoya leaving to join her partisan detachment. The bronze statue doesn’t just recreate Zoya’s looks. Her posture, the slight turn of her head and facial expression give a feeling of the spirit greatness and readiness for a heroic deed.