In June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union with the intent to conquer and enslave its people. Over 2000 Russian women decided that wasn’t going to happen, and enlisted as snipers in the Soviet army. Digital artist Olga Shirnina is now telling their stories with vividly colourised photos.
The female sharpshooters who entered the brutal and sordid front lines of WWII became a terror to German soldiers. The most notorious of them all, however, was Lyudmila Pavlichenko – also known as Lady Death. She skillfully executed over 300 Nazis, and was only lightly wounded during her years of combat. “We mowed down Hitlerites like ripe grain,” she once famously said, undeniably also referring to her comrades who lodged impressive kill counts of their own.
The newly colourised photos are the work of Russian photo retoucher Olga Shirnina, who goes by the nickname Klimbim and also works as a German translator. Shirnina shows a clear captivation with Russian history, and has also colourised photos of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, and Nicholas II.
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Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, also known as Lady Death, famously killed over 300 Nazi soldiers in less than a year of combat
Roza Shanina, her comrade, killed a total of 59 Nazis at the tender age of 16, and was dubbed “the unseen terror of East Prussia”
These women, and over 2000 others, were snipers for the Russian army who enlisted after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941
“We mowed down Hitlerites like ripe grain,” Pavlichenko once said of the terror the female sharpshooters inflicted on the invading armies
Lady Death was later awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest distinction in the country at the time, and later visited the White House
Newly colourised photos by Russian digital artist Olga Shirnina are telling the stories of these brave women in vivid detail
Ziba Ganiyeva, of Azeri and Uzbek descent, joined the Russian army at the age of 18, and crossed the front line a total of 16 times
Yevgenia Makeeva, pictured here to the left of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, reportedly killed 68 Nazi German soldiers
Roza Shanina was mortally wounded in East Prussia in 1945 at the age of 20, and her well-kept war diary was later published
Nadezhda Kolesnikov and Lyuba Makarova defended the Eastern Front during the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War era, from 1941 to 1945