Thursday, March 26, 2015

Profile: Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev 
Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев

Vasily was a Soviet Sniper and a Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II. Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev made an estimated 400 kills, some at distances of more than 1,000 metres

Vasily grew up in Siberia, where he spent his early days working as a humble shepherd.  For those of you unfamiliar with Siberia, let me take a moment to paint you a little mental image.  First, picture the most desolate, inhospitable, unforgiving hellhole of a wasteland you could possibly imagine.  Then times that by eleven, bury the entire terrain underneath about fifteen feet of solid ice, top that off with a foot-thick layer of wet snow, drop the temperature to a level so chillingly cold that your urine freezes mid-stream, and populate the entire landscape with man-eating bears.  Siberia is a place so remote and bitter that it makes up 80% of Russia's landmass but only houses about 30% of its population.  This vast disparity in size to population is generally because human beings aren't programmed to survive in an environment where the yearly average temperature is five degrees below zero and bears and tigers bite your appendages off every time you step foot outside of your fur hut.  While living in this region for any period longer than fifteen minutes might make the average person beg for the sweet release of death, it pretty much goes without saying that the indigenous people who hail from this region of the world are definitely not cowards.
Siberia in the midst of a July heat wave.

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