Fedor Kuz’mich Suskov was born in Russia in Novosoldatka, in the Voronezh region, on 11 March. He was Kuzma and Tatiana’s forth child and the only son. In his family he was lovingly called Fedja, diminutive of Fedor.
In spite of his father’s deportation to Siberia, where he disappeared, young Fedja grew up as a learned and well educated boy thanks to the teachings of his grandfather, who was a religious man, knew History and Maths, could speak many languages and possessed Arab, Greek and Latin books. In those times it was very rare to find people endowed with such a high level of education in villages. Thanks to the teachings received in his family, Fedor took a General Certificate of Education. But the next day after the Diploma Ball the war broke out: Soviet Union went to war against Nazi Germany.
The future Master became a soldier of the Red Army. In the first clashes he was wounded and taken to hospital. Afterwards, he attended the Officer School and went again to the front as a substitute commander of the Company of the Mortar. After five months, as a skilled and learned officer, he was sent to the course for Commanders, having graduated which he was given a new assignment as a vice commander of the officers of the Death Battalion in the eighth division of the Guard, known all over Russia as the Panfilovskij Division. Under Fedor Kuz’mich Suskov’ s command there were 470 men who had the task to attack the front enemy trenches, launching the most dangerous offensive to the Nazi troops: in one of these actions Suskov was seriously wounded. As he would remember afterwards at that moment he thought he was going to die. Then he fainted. As soon as he came round, still barely conscious, he pronounced some words; the day after the military doctor reported the words to the wounded man, words that he would remember for almost sixty years: “I will not die. I ought to build a temple.”
In 1946 Fedor Kuz’mich married his fellow-citizen Maria Aleksandrovna Kulakova, a medical student. His wife graduated in 1949 and in the same year Suskov entered the Institute of Art in Har’kov (nowadays in Ukraine). Just in those years the Soviet authorities assigned the department of Sculpture to the city of Voronezh. Suskov and his wife had two daughters: Alla (1947) and Tatiana (1956).
The conviction that he had escaped the death during the war thanks to the divine intervention, strengthened Suskov’s Christian faith, he began putting in practice the most important work of his life. The building of a temple is in reality the “Discovery of the holiness of the jubilation of the New Testament.” But, at the same time the Ministry proposed him to work out the monument to the founder and Rector of the Glink Agricultural Institute.
For some years the sculptor had been working at the embodiment of the New Testament, but that project was soon abandoned because it seemed to him that sculpture did not let him represent the depth of his emotions. Although he knew he was working illegally(in the Soviet Union it was strictly forbidden to represent images of Catholic faith) he confided his intentions to the Armenian Patriarch Vosghein I, who blessed him to begin his venture. It was his family, together with his faith, which gave him the courage and inspired him to use a new technique, painting. Fedor Kuz’mich set to work and painted everything he could, never stopped, and such an endless activity lasted more than forty years. In 1989 the fall of the Soviet regime allowed him to start doing this important work legally.
Fedor Kuz’mich started working as a sculptor of monumental-decorative art. He created the decoration of the circus in Rostov-on- the- Don (a big high-relief and two figures); the Monument to the Glory in Voronezh. After the fall of the Soviet Regime he created the war memorial of the Civil War in Rossosh ,a small town near Voronezh, which had been unthinkable some years before. Afterwards he projected and realized the monument “Hymn to Life”; in 1975, the Ministry of Culture in Moscow proposed him to direct the workshop of the sculptor academic Eugenij Vuchetich with all his staff, but he refused. He was too engaged with his secret pictorial mission.
Fedor, by then a well-known Master of the sculptural and architectural art, devoted himself to painting, that he was accomplishing with strength and energy. In his landscapes you can grasp the hand of Christ and his creative strength and, besides the works inspired by the sacred theme, he realized many others in which rivers, woods and mountains seemed an ode to the Creation and saved their mystery intact. The work, the artistic mission, as a great expression of faith, together with his love for his family were the leitmotivs of his life.
The activity of an architect and a sculptor engaged Suskov officially. He left proofs in several Russian regions. His activity was continuous, as his numerous outlines of unaccomplished monuments testify. He worked with famous collaborators, such as an architect Nicolai Federovich Gunenkov, who would remember him with esteem and regret in his publications and interviews. To his splendid town planning activity he added his pictorial production of the New Testament, which he accomplished openly only in the early 90s. His paintings were steeped with light and color. They imply his free and deeply devoted spirit. The holy theme, being realized during his life, was especially expressed in his four hundred works.
80s – 90s
During his life Master Suskov had an extremely engaged professional life, but alleviated and comforted by the constant presence of his family that enriched in the time with the presence of his grandchildren: Anna, Larissa and Alessandro.
His activity of an architect and a sculptor combined typical commemorative hints of Soviet realism with authentic intellectual reflections, which he revealed in a descriptive plasticity and carried out with interesting and original outcomes, as his sculptures of the Soviet poets Majakowsky and Koltsov demonstrate.
That year, in November, he fell seriously ill: he suffered from acute pains at the spinal column, so that he could not walk autonomously, and he could not hold any paintbrush in his hand either. So he decided to give all his works to his granddaughter Anna Aleksandrovna Nazarova, who later on devoted herself to the draft of a catalogue that collected a selection of works dedicated to the New Testament, a documentation of the complex idea that had guided her grandfather’s inspiration. When he died, on 12 July 2006, after atrocious sufferings, Russian newspapers dedicated to him commemorative articles that expounded the story of his life through his works.