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Kyra Petrovskaya: Soviet sniper girl and survivor the Siege of Leningrad, 1940-1980


Soviet sniper girl Kyra Petrovskaya Kyra was born in the Crimea in 1918 on the shores of the Black Sea. Some sources say that his original name was "Cyrus". His father was a decorated pilot in the Imperial Russian Air Force, receiving the Order (Cross) of St. George.

While loyal to the "whites", he was executed after the Russian Revolution by Bolshevik firing squad, when Kyra was 7 months old. His young mother never remarried, and they lived with their grandmother in poverty in Leningrad. He lost all the men of his family in the post-revolution Russian Civil War.

Although the family was poor as there was no male provider, Kyra showed talent. He studied music at the Leningrad Academic Cappella and performed with the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre.

During this time, Kyra performed compulsory duty in military training and earned the Voroshilov Marksman Badge. It could have been in the form of her military involvement, but events intervened in Kyra's life as in the lives of millions and millions of others.

Kyra was in school when the Germans attacked. She was drafted as a sniper and became a lieutenant. She later recalled what it was like to go to war: "It was difficult the first time to pull the trigger, knowing it would cost one's life, but I knew that if my father was alive, he would be at the fore. Protector. Now I have to protect my mother and grandmother, their motherland."

Both her mother and grandmother were killed in the Siege of Leningrad, which had broken out of starvation during the first year of the siege and was directly depopulated until January 1944.


It is not known how many German Kairas were killed. At some point, Kaira was wounded but returned to the front. She was wounded again, and this time her superiors decided she had done enough on the front line.

Kyra then became a nurse in a field hospital, which was still quite dangerous as German and Finnish shelling almost covered the whole of Leningrad.

During this service, Kyra rescues a homeless orphan boy, about whom she later wrote a book. Kyra served well, and received the Order of the Red Star and two other medals. Unlike Rosa Shanina, Kyra thankfully survived the battle.


In 1943, Kyra joined the Moscow Satire Theater. She learned several languages ​​fluently, as Moscow was the center of international activity at that time. While in Moscow, Kyra met an American diplomat, and they married and moved to Pennsylvania.

After divorcing nine years later, Kyra moved to Los Angeles. What does a divorced Soviet sniper girl do in 1950s Los Angeles? Why, if you're Kyra Petrovskaya, among other things, be a contestant on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" and other game shows. She wrote her first book "Kyra" in 1959 and remarried Dr. George Wayne in 1960. Kyra passed away in June 2018 at the age of 99.



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