In the Footsteps of Soviet ‘Lady Death’ – Decorated Female Sniper Hits Frontline Bull’s Eye

© Photo : Chernika

by Ekaterina Blinova, Sputnik [3-22-2024 published].

A sniper who goes by the code name Chernika (meaning "Blueberry") was awarded Russia's "For Courage" medal for her role in repelling the Ukrainian counteroffensive last summer. What may come as a surprise to some is that this war hero is a girl.

Chernika witnessed the initial days of Russia's special military operation as a civilian, which triggered her passion about enlisting.

"I've been interested in military service since my childhood. I went to military training classes at school. There we learned to take apart a machine gun and do some other things. That is, I have always been drawn to this, and when the opportunity arose I decided to enlist. My friends recommended a wonderful military unit to me. I went to the interview, listened to the commanders, and I really liked everything. And so, after the interview, I joined my squad," she revealed.

Why Chernika? Which means Blueberry in Russian. "I have no idea where it came from," the young girl responded when asked about her nom de guerre. "It just stuck with me," she claims.

Perhaps, it's because Chernika loves eating mulberries straight off the tree. She often indulges in this treat during the summer, leaving her hands stained dark violet. Chernika mentioned that removing this pigment is quite challenging, joking that her nickname may have stemmed from her love of these berries.

Female sniper callsign Chernika in the zone of the special military operation. © Photo : Chernika

Chernika's was inspired to become a sniper by the story of World War II heroine Lyudmila Pavlichenko, recognized as the most successful female sniper in history, with a total of 309 confirmed kills.

"When I was just starting to study what the military profession is, my role model was Lyudmila Pavlichenko, our Soviet sniper," said the female sharpshooter.

Pavlichenko fought on the front lines during the Siege of Odessa and Sevastopol against Hitler's Nazi forces, and was nicknamed "Lady Death" by the enemy.

In 1942, Pavlichenko traveled to the US as part of the Soviet delegation to muster up support for the opening of a second front in Europe. "Gentlemen, I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist occupants by now. Don’t you think that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?" the female sniper asked the crowd while delivering a speech in Chicago.

Like Pavlichenko, Chernika is trying to learn more and continuously polishes up her skills. Her weapon of choice is the Lobaev Arms DVL-10 "Urbana".

"I have a Lobaev Urbana rifle in 308 [Win] caliber. Roughly speaking, it’s like our [7.62mm Dragunov] SVD sniper rifle. The range is approximately the same - 800-900 meters. I'm fully satisfied with it. Some guys who have different caliber rifles have some shortcomings in their weapons, as they say. But my rifle has never let me down throughout my entire service," Chernika emphasized.

When asked whether it's hard for a girl to serve in a military squad, she answered in earnest that it's equally hard for both men and women. And no, her commander never makes allowances for her.

"It seems to me that we have a unit that even guys find it not so easy to serve in," the female sniper admitted.

"Sometimes guys, seemingly healthy athletes, leave the service because they are strained mentally or physically. However, our commander is very wise in this regard. If they were to make exceptions for me now, it could potentially hinder me when I am on a mission. If I receive special treatment now, there will be no one to assist me when I am on the front line. It doesn't matter whether I am a boy, girl, or my age at that point. Everyone needs to have the same level of confidence that my fellow soldiers can depend on me, just as I can depend on them," she explained.

Both men and women are scared when a battle breaks out, she added.

"Is it scary? It's scary for everyone, guys and girls alike. You can’t just waltz in, get caught under mortar fire, and then stroll out as if nothing had happened," the female sniper told Sputnik.

Female sniper callsign Chernika in the zone of the special military operation. © Photo : Chernika

Chernika was the first girl to be awarded the "For Courage" medal for repelling the Ukrainian counteroffensive attempt last summer. Lt. Gen. Vladimir Alekseev, the first deputy chief of the Main Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, personally presented her with the award.

"I actually had mixed emotions," she confessed when asked about the ceremony. "I don’t even know what they can be compared to. It was, first of all, unexpected for me, and, secondly, very exciting."

"Unfortunately, I am unable to reveal all the details right now for what I was awarded and how, because the special military operation is still in progress, and the fighting continues. [Disclosing] the story could have a negative impact on the guys who are currently operating there."

The female sharpshooter is presently focused on fighting until victory, but she shared her thoughts about what she would do when the conflict ends.

"I am very interested in working as a journalist, as a war correspondent," Chernika revealed. "I want to travel to hot spots. Wars are still raging across the world, unfortunately. This is a very interesting profession. And it is very useful. If it weren't for journalists, ordinary civilians would have no idea what is going on here, or what developments are unfolding in the world, how the fascists gun down and slaughter civilians here. Journalism is a very important profession."


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