By Ignacio Ortega
Moscow, May 10 (efe-epa).- At the age of 97, Russian World War II veteran Zinaida Korneva has taken to her blog to raise money for the families of medical staff who have died from coronavirus.
“Dear friends! I’m back with you like every day. Today I’m going to tell you a story about…,” the Red Army veteran tells her thousands of subscribers from around the world.
Sat on a wooden bench with her medals proudly displayed on her chest, Korneva doesn’t hear well but she stares straight into the camera with confidence and delivers her tales.
Born in the Urals in 1922, she took part in the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II at the age of 19 and even made it as far as Berlin.
From her country house on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, she insists she will not rest until she has reached the target of raising 3 million roubles ($43,881) to help the families of 10 medical staff who have died from Covid-19 in the city since the outbreak began. But the success has since gone onto far outstrip her expectations.
“The doctors are facing a war that’s even harder, given that the virus is an invisible enemy,” she told Efe in a video call.
Her daughter and granddaughter are doctors, for which reason she is acutely aware of the difficulties facing medics in Russia. At least 152 have died in the pandemic so far nationally, according to medical sources.
“Because of my age, I’ve had lots of operations and illnesses. The doctors have always treated me very well. It gives me a great deal of sadness to know that these doctors are fighting a virus that they can contract and die from.”
She was recently treated at a St. Petersburg veterans’ hospital and was deeply shocked when she later learned that two of the center’s doctors had gone on to die from coronavirus.
Korneva took inspiration from another famous veteren, Captain Tom Moore, the Englishman who raised tens of thousands of pounds for the National Health Service by walking circuits of his garden before his 100th birthday.
In fact, Korneva dedicated a video to Tom and promised to give him some hand-knitted socks for his birthday.
“Together we defeated fascism in 1945 and now we are fighting the citrus,” she said.
Since then, the babushka hasn’t missed a day’s blogging.
“I don’t invent anything, it’s just what I saw during the war,” she tells her viewers.