May 19th, 2014 Sections: Chui, Second World War, Who's Who
Duishenkul Shopokov - one of the 28 Panfilovetz - Hero of the Soviet Union

Duishenkul Shopokov – one of the 28 Panfilovetz – Hero of the Soviet Union

To the West of Bishkek there are a series of settlements that form a continuous ribbon development along the main road towards Kara Balta (and the turn off for the Too Ashu Pass and the main Bishkek-Osh road), the Kazakh border and on to Tashkent.  One of those settlements is the town of Shopokov.

It’s a small town, (with about 3000 households housing a population of just over 9000), and is actually quite a young town in that it was given city status only in 1985, based on the former Urban Type Settlement called Krasno Oktabraskiy – Red October – which was established in the 1930s to serve a local sugar factory and other plants … including a machine factory evacuated from the West at the start of the Second World War.

The city was renamed in 1985 as in honour of a local boy, Duishenkul Shopokov – a Hero of the Soviet Union and one of the Panfilovetz who died in the defence of Moscow on 16th November, 1941.  

Duishenkul Shopokov was born in the village of Shalta in the Sokuluk region of what is now Kyrgyzstan on May 19th, 1915, into a poor peasant family.  Apparently he didn’t get much schooling because he had to work to help the family finances.

He worked as an agricultural worker in a local kolhoz, collective farm, when it was established and became a member Komsomol – becoming a full member of the local Communist Party in 1938.

He was constantly reading and trying to educate himself … to make up for his lost schooling… memorizing books.  In the end his efforts were rewarded as he was appointed as a teacher in the newly opened school. He also took on the role of storekeeper for the farm.

He also took an interest in sports and having won one competition, was awarded the title of Sharpshooter.

He was called up for the army following the outbreak of hostilities in June 1941, when German forces attacked the Soviet Union.  At the end of August 1941, he became a Private in the 316th Infantry Division.

He took part in the action near the Volokolamsk highway outside Moscow, defending the approaches to the capital from the advancing German forces in November 1941.  One of the 28 Panfilovitz who lost their lives in an onslaught by 50 enemy tanks passing Dubosekovo – destroying 18 of them.  

For their valour, courage, heroism July 21, 1942 Duyshenkul Shopokov and his compatriots were posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Apparently, the collective farm where he and his wife had both worked prior to the war collected money to build a tank, which was then named Duishekul Shopokov.

Shopokov is just 20km from Bishkek, and 38km from the international Manas Airport, at an altitude of 740m above sea level with the Kyrgyz Krebet mountain range rising to the South of the city … The main railway passing through it with a station built in 1932 – at that time it was called Novo-Troitskaya.

Shopokov has the dubious honour of being the  industrial center of the district – the Sokoluk Rayon, with plants producing machinery,saucepans and kettles, bakery ovens, electrical goods, beverage tanks, sugar, beverages, confectionery, dairy products, detergents … and other consumer goods. … albeit small scale enterprises.

There are two schools, a family practitioner group provides health facilities, a variety of sports and entertainment facilities, two libraries, a couple of small markets … and a small museum of “Fighting Glory” in the city administration building.


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