Irkutsk (Russian: Иркутск; IPA: [ɪrˈkutsk]) is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: 587,891 (2010 Census); 593,604 (2002 Census); 622,301 (1989 Census).
After World War II ended in 1944, Sgt. Ivan Kuchkov's regiment was pulled from Ukraine to fight the Japanese in a new conflict. They traveled east until reaching Irkutsk. There they were informed that their company had been reassigned to a Guards regiment, a great honor. Just after they got out of the rail car, they were surrounded by NKVD men armed with PPDs who shouted "Hands up!" and that they were traitors to the Rodina. This was payback for Vitya Ryakhovsky accidentally killing the company political officer. After being robbed and beaten, Kuchkov was told he was being sent to Kolyma.