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Museum of the hero of the Soviet Union, academician, writer, public figure.
Opened in 2005 by President Nazarbaev, this is rather an interesting museum to a man who combined wartime bravery with peacetime literary success. A model displays the small two-room building in which Malik Gabdullin was born in 1915, in a village 30km from Kokshetau. When he was made a Hero of the Soviet Union in 1943, the authorities constructed for his family a larger and nicer wooden house adjacent to this, but his pious father donated the wood from this building to efforts to reconstruct the Kokshetau mosque, when the latter was damaged by fire in 1956. While young Malik was studying in Almaty, his mother and nine siblings all died in the famine of the early 1930s. Malik studied at the Abai Teaching University in Almaty, but his dissertation on the Kazakh writer Beimbet Mailin resulted in trouble in the late 1930s, when Mailin fell victim to Stalin’s repression, and he was briefly deprived of his Komsomol membership. His research career recovered, and under the tutelage of Auezov he began a work on the Kazakh epic tale Batyr Koblandy.

The outbreak of war disrupted Gabdullin’s studies, and he joined Panfilov’s 316th Rifle Division. Various military items are on display, including Gabdullin’s shaving kit. A diorama depicts the action for which Gabdullin received his award of Hero of the Soviet Union: a group of entrenched Russian soldiers managing to fend off attacking German tanks with the use of their hand grenades. A uniform is on display, decorated with his many medals, including the five-pointed star and red ribbon of the Hero of the Soviet Union. When peace came, Gabdullin resumed his studies, finally getting his work on Batyr Koblandy published in 1947. He wrote popular books in both Russian and Kazakh about his wartime experiences, took up politics, becoming a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and enjoyed a successful academic career, becoming a professor of literature. He died in 1973, at the age of 58. His death mask is on display. His homely looking study is also mocked up, complete with dombra on the sofa.

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