Who was Khiuaz Dospanova ?

Khiuaz Dospanova is referred to as a “Heroine of Kazakhstan”, a prodigious female aviator having fought the fascists during the Second World War. She was born in 1922, in the village of Ganyushkino, located in the southwest of today’s Kazakhstan. Her only dream is to become a pilot. With her pilot’s license in her pocket, Khiuaz Dospanova intended to enroll at the Juvoski Academy of Air Force Engineers. Unfortunately her application was rejected since only men are accepted there. However, she was not discouraged.

In 1941, Khiuaz Dospanova learned about one of the aviation regiments founded by Marina Raskova, a female figure of the Soviet air force, and applied to the school in Saratov. Throughout her career, she risked her life several times. In 1943, when her plane collided with one of her colleagues, she was thought dead. Seeing that the colour of her body remains the same, the doctors spent day and night trying to save her life. Although she presented signs of gangrene on one of her legs, the doctors refused to amputate her. Since then, she has been walking with a cane. Her heroism has been rewarded with various distinctions including the Order of the Red Star, the Order of Patriotic War and Heroin of Kazakhstan.

Khiuaz Dospanova began her political career in the 1950s. In 1951, she was elected deputy of the Supreme Council of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. She was also secretary of the party committee of the city of Almaty. In 1959, for health reasons, she retired. She died in 2008.

She is being honoured throughout the country. The Air Astana line, for example, named a plane in her name in 2012 or in 2019 a monument was erected to her in Atyrau.

statue Khiuraz Dospanova
Statue of Khiuaz Dospanova in Atyrau, a coastal town in western Kazakhstan.

Khiuaz Dospanova will forever be remembered by Kazakhs for her dedication and bravery.

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