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"The road of life" Of Leonid Afanasyev

The name of Leonid Afanasyev is known to every teacher, student and graduate of MADI. As the favorite and respected mentor, he became the prototype of the monument to the Teacher in front of the main building of the university. He is warmly remembered by generations of MADI students.

A member of the USSR Automobile Club, candidate of sciences, lecturer of MADI, Leonid Leonidovich Afanasyev recently became a young father when the war began. Without any hesitation Leonid Leonidovich volunteered for the front. "I love you and I must protect you," he wrote in a postcard to his wife and young son Boris.

At first Afanasyev served on the North-Western Front, but then, in the fall of 1942, he transferred to the Leningrad Front. There Leonid Leonidovich commanded the military-road detachment, which served the "Road of Life" - the one on which people were evacuated from besieged Leningrad.

Few memoirs of Leonid Leonidovich remained about those terrible winter months. Even in letters to his wife he spoke little about the front, and he didn't have much time for letters. The road took all the energy of the people who served it.

At this relatively small section of only 30 kilometers, tens of thousands of people had to work in severe conditions in coordinated manner. There were truck drivers and wagon drivers, mechanics who repaired cars, traffic controllers who guided drivers along the safest routes and those who paved the way. And the road had to be paved all the time: the road was covered with snow and the ice was melting.

The road was constantly being repaired and strengthened, but sometimes entire vehicles with people were lost under the ice. It was terrible and painful to see this, but no one could grieve for a long time - they had to work and save the others.

The selfless work of the military road unit under the leadership of Leonid Leonidovich did not go unnoticed. Olga Alexandrovna, Afanasyev's wife, recalls:

"Lyonya came to us for a visit, and I saw he had a medal "For the Defense of Leningrad" on his chest, on his uniform. And it seemed to me at that time above all orders in the world. I just could not take my eyes away from him, and my little Boris clung to his father, and it was impossible to tear him away! I saw the first real front-line soldier in my life, and even with such a medal: "For the defense of Leningrad"!

After "The Road of Life" Leonid Leonidovich decided to devote his life to science. During the years of war, in unbelievably hard conditions at the front, he continued his scientific research. In 1944 magazines "The rear and the supply of the Red Army" and "Road Construction" published scientific articles by Afanasyev, dedicated to automobile transportation of board and nail trusses.

After returning from the front, Leonid Afanasyev returned not only to his family, but also, as his friends joked, to his first love - to MADI. In 1961 he became rector of the university and headed it for two decades.

During Afanasyev's rectorial period great changes took place at the university: classrooms were expanded, laboratories were equipped with new hardware, new departments appeared, and many scientific schools were formed. And during this period, MADI became a methodological center for training foreign students throughout the Soviet Union!

Leonid Leonidovich Afanasyev passed away in 1982. He chose his "way of life" and followed it to the end, strictly adhering to his principles. Perhaps that is why his colleagues dedicated so many poems and memoirs to him, and his students called him "Papa Leonia".