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Here it is: Vladimir Putin: The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II

It is a translation from the Russian on Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Summary from Bryan MacDonald at RT.

It’s TL;DR for me.

But quick perusal, seems like a standard modern Russian attempt to reconcile the Soviet version of history, including battling the Eastern European promoted “politics of memory” in which Stalin was a co conspirator of Hitler, while also distancing from Stalin:

Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. In other words, there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them. They saw how attempts were made to leave the Soviet Union alone to deal with Germany and its allies. Bearing in mind this real threat, they sought to buy precious time needed to strengthen the country’s defenses.

But this is a hard balancing act and leads to understandable inconsistencies:

I would like to point out in this regard that, unlike many other European leaders of that time, Stalin did not disgrace himself by meeting with Hitler who was known among the Western nations as quite a reputable politician and was a welcome guest in the European capitals.

Hitler wasn’t viewed as a “normal” politician in Europe from the Night of the Long Knives. But yes, he was certainly less toxic than Bolsheviks who had already racked up body counts in the millions. Nothing surprising about that and not something that contemporary politicians could be reasonably blamed for.

It also repeats the standard spiel about Polish “complicity” with Hitler which are really comparing apples to oranges.

At the end of the day, the Russian state will do what it must to protect its reputation as the formal successor of the Soviet state (explicitly mentioned as such in the forthcoming Constitutional changes).

But as I noted on the 75th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it’s all very tiring at the end of the day:

There has been the usual whining and kvetching on a certain anniversary. There’s basically two versions of telling the lead up to WW2 centering on either Munich (pro-Russians) or the Non Aggression Pact (pro-Westerners), and the one you favor is ideologically, not historically, determined.

And I don’t see why ethnic Russians should be much invested in the project; as I noted, a Ctrl-F on “russkie” in that article only registers three hits, all of them from quotations.

I outlined a more promising and logically consistent approach to a Russian politics of memory, which by stressing the foreign nature of the Bolsheviks entirely foregoes the need to try to justify and rationalize Stalin’s pre-war diplomatic maneuvers with whataboutism acrobatics. Instead, it would have the opposite effect of forcing many Europeans nations that are hostile to Russia in addressing their culpability in crimes against Russians.

But it is also not surprising that the Russian state is too wedded to the Soviet legacy to adopt such an approach.

 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. This seems like a stopgap until a proper and cohesive state ideology and view on 20th Century history is formed

  3. inertial says:

    Ctrl-F on “russkie” in that article only registers three hits, all of them from quotations.

    Cringe. You really should’ve read it first.

    by stressing the foreign nature of the Bolsheviks entirely foregoes the need to try to justify and rationalize Stalin’s pre-war diplomatic maneuvers with whataboutism acrobatics.

    This may work inside Russia, although I suspect you’ll have few takers. Outside Russia, it will be similar to white people kneeling for BLM.

    it would have the opposite effect of forcing many Europeans nations that are hostile to Russia in addressing their culpability in crimes against Russians.

    LOL. Yes, this will definitely work.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  4. @inertial

    Outside Russia, it will be similar to white people kneeling for BLM.

    So, they’re successful.

    • Replies: @inertial
  5. songbird says:

    I would like to point out in this regard that, unlike many other European leaders of that time, Stalin did not disgrace himself by meeting with Hitler

    Silly. They may have simply not trusted each other enough to meet. And Stalin probably feared a coup, if he left Moscow.

    Anyway, it is not a disgrace to conduct diplomacy through front-end channels. Judged by Putin’s standards, the Allies never should have met at Yalta or Potsdam, which may be correct in FDR’s case at Yalta, since he was doddering, by that time.

    But a lot of misunderstandings have been caused by back-end channels.

  6. inertial says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    If by “they” you mean people who hate you, then sure.

    Outside of Russia, the Bolsheviks and anything Soviet are seen, and will forever be seen, as Russian as vodka and Putin. Your only option is to own it.

    “Stressing the foreign nature of the Bolsheviks” will be, at best, like saying that since only bad white people were mean to blacks, blacks shouldn’t be mean to good white people. More likely, it will be like trying to explain to a mob of BLM activists that it was really blacks who were responsible for slavery.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @Exile
  7. @Korenchkin

    I doubt this narrative will be supplanted in the next 10-40 years. It takes too much effort for grey bureaucrats to change national legend.

  8. I outlined a more promising and logically consistent approach to a Russian politics of memory, which by stressing the foreign nature of the Bolsheviks entirely foregoes the need to try to justify and rationalize Stalin’s pre-war diplomatic maneuvers with whataboutism acrobatics.

    This would entail throwing out the greatest victory in the greatest war in history, development of nuclear weapons, the first man in space and other genuine achievements of Soviet Union, and leave nothing than 70 years long black hole.

    Wouldn’t it be better to stop autistically caring about “historical truth”?

    History had been rewritten many times.
    Just rewrite it again in Christian patriotic way.
    Just declare that Soviet Union was Christian country based on true Orthodox faith and Stalin was true believer and Orthodox saint.
    Russian nation is already doing it spontaneously.
    True patriots shall follow the instincts of the people.

    Imagine gigantic and magnificent cathedral of Saint Joseph Stalin.
    Imagine how it will trigger liberals world wide.

    https://sputniknews.com/russia/201505311022778000/

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  9. songbird says:

    Russia is in the grip of a victimhood gap.

    It does not have the same number of museums, monuments, and films in this area, as a certain other power, and it has a lot of catching up to do. Naturally, it is getting trounced. Every time, they build a new museum, make it the law that you’ve got to build at least two, bigger ones, with double the schoolkids roped into them.

    That, or in order to avoid the ruinous costs of this adventure, insist on a new Treaty of Portsmouth, where Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian grievances combine to at least equal Jewish grievances. Limit their tonnage, I say.

  10. It also repeats the standard spiel about Polish “complicity” with Hitler which are really comparing apples to oranges.

    What ‘complicity’? Surely even the most fanatical (non-Jewish) Pole haters can’t believe this

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @rkka
  11. The only new thing in that article is that it’s by Putin. Everything else is new only to those hopelessly brainwashed or those who don’t give a hoot. In both cases the contents will be lost on them for the stated reasons.

    • Agree: Mikhail
  12. songbird says:
    @Kent Nationalist

    Maybe, the annexation of Bohumín? Poland made threats directly to the Czechoslovakian government, and fought small battles with the Slovaks.

  13. I outlined a more promising and logically consistent approach to a Russian politics of memory, which by stressing the foreign nature of the Bolsheviks entirely foregoes the need to try to justify and rationalize Stalin’s pre-war diplomatic maneuvers with whataboutism acrobatics. Instead, it would have the opposite effect of forcing many Europeans nations that are hostile to Russia in addressing their culpability in crimes against Russians.

    I read the whole thing, just because it was the first thing I’ve ever read by Putin (assuming he actually wrote it). The sense I got from it was that it wants to accuse the west of deviating from (abandoning?) the postwar settlement. Well, maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t, but the fact is it’s a new world now (or will be soon, if not yet), so whoever abandoned the old arrangement first is of no great relevance except as a way of fomenting righteousness domestically. So to that end, I’d actually have to agree with Karlin, that Russians would be better off stressing the foreignness of the Bolshies. That doesn’t require giving up WWII glory; Russians will remain both its greatest victims and its greatest heroes.

  14. mal says:

    According to this guys’ hat, Russia should double down on USSR stuff and highlight how it was BLM before it was cool (colonial liberation struggles etc).

    Guy says the hat is not intended to be ironic pic.twitter.com/mTxmU4Z0z5— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 20, 2020

  15. @inertial

    What is said inside of Russia (like Russian state television programs about how the 1956 revolution in Budapest was a CIA plot) or by Russians abroad (like this article) will be heard outside Russia and used in foreign policy debates, including comment sections. Now I don’t think these affect people with strong convictions, but it affects the strength of their respective arguments as well as their willingness to engage in debates, and this will in turn affect the fence sitters (in a country like Hungary, probably a majority).

    There’s a joke (I don’t know if it exists in other languages, hopefully it isn’t bad in my translation) about the bunny needing a lawnmower, and deciding to borrow it from the bear. As he is walking to the house of the bear, he is thinking “Ah, the bear is not a friendly guy, he wouldn’t lend me his lawnmower. He’s just not that kind of guy. He will say ‘You know, Bunny, it’s an expensive lawnmower.’ and shit like that. He doesn’t even like me much.” That’s what he is thinking as he is ringing the doorbell. The bear opens the door: “Hi, Bunny, what would you like?” “You know what, Bear? Fuck your lawnmower!”

    You are proposing to be the Bunny.

  16. The article is very much in line with Putin’s manners and statements over the years, however, it suffers from the domestic and foreign political limitations.

    For example this part about war crimes:

    This shameful phenomenon manifested itself in all European countries. Such figures as Pétain, Quisling, Vlasov, Bandera, their henchmen and followers – though they were disguised as fighters for national independence or freedom from communism – are traitors and slaughterers. In inhumanity, they often exceeded their masters. In their desire to serve, as part of special punitive groups they willingly executed the most inhuman orders. They were responsible for such bloody events as the shootings of Babi Yar, the Volhynia massacre, burnt Khatyn, acts of destruction of Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.

    How to avoid the mention of Katyn and the resulting obfuscation? Or the NKVD liquidations in the Baltics?

    In China, based on conversations and reading, I have gotten the impression that people consider Genghis Khan to be Chinese. This serves certain domestic aims, however, this ahistoricism means that events like Genghis Khan very nearly going ahead with the democide of the North China plains become incomprehensible.

    In China’s case the only foreign nation this may annoy is Mongolia, so basically harmless.

    In Russia’s case the Soviet legacy distorts the domestic political sphere and means that Russians get to own all the many bad optics of the pre-1953 era and the somewhat less bad optics of the post-1953 era while being unable to confront the malfeasance of the National Minorities who were present in the state apparatus.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  17. @another anon

    Just declare that Soviet Union was Christian country based on true Orthodox faith and Stalin was true believer and Orthodox saint.

    LOL, of course, but there is a grain of truth in what you say.

    WWII was an ethnogenesis moment in Russian history; before WWII Russians were a decaying, degenerated people like the Europeans. After WWII Russians became something else, a new thing.

    There are also practical fallouts: before WWII Russia had great religious diversity. (A fact that has been thoroughly memoryholed.) After WWII the equivalency of Russian = Orthodox Christian was established and a ‘religiously diverse’ Russia became unthinkable.

    So in modern Russia ‘Victory Day’ is thus just a way to celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy in a secularly-acceptable fashion. (Visit any church in Russia in the start of May and see for yourself.)

  18. have you seen t-34? thoughts?

  19. Svevlad says:

    Wait 10 more years as the last of the old people die out. Then we get into the real fun zone, because the single holy event of the modern world is now so far away that people don’t care. It becomes like WW1 – quite depoliticized.

    • Replies: @another anon
    , @reiner Tor
  20. @Svevlad

    Wait 10 more years as the last of the old people die out.

    It is not the elderly veterans who are pushing for the victory cult in Russia.
    When war was in living memory, the celebrations were rather subdued.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/no-victory/

    1. The Soviets themselves didn’t make a big deal of it.
    The main holiday under the Marxist-Leninist regime was always May 1, the internationalist labor holiday. This is hardly surprising – the Soviets thought they were boldly marching to the victory of the global proletarian revolution, and considering Victory Day as the apex of their history would have seemed insane to them. It’s worth stressing that May 9 only became a public holiday in 1965, which also marked the second ever Victory parade in Moscow. The third was in 1985.

    If fact, when the people who remember die off, you can now freely make up anything you want about the historical event and no one can contradict it (except historians, but who cares what some archive nerds have to say)

    Then we get into the real fun zone, because the single holy event of the modern world is now so far away that people don’t care. It becomes like WW1 – quite depoliticized.

    WW1 was never as politicized as WW2, and for good reason.
    In the East, it was eclipsed by the revolution and civil war, in the West it was seen as dismal failure, as millions of lives wasted for some shitty armistice.
    It was never seen as “glorious victory” to celebrate.

    Meanwhile, American Civil War is still strongly politicized after 160 years and getting more so every day. Soon, you will see great Hollywood movies how Union army made of LGBT women of color defeated filthy white racists.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
  21. @Svevlad

    As another anon has already mentioned, the politicization of the war is not related to it being close. Just as the Holocaust Cult is (or at least was until a few years ago) constantly getting stronger despite both its surviving victims and perpetrators slowly dying out, the Victory Cult in Russia can also be getting stronger despite all living survivors slowly dying and eventually no living witnesses being alive.

    • Replies: @utu
  22. utu says:
    @reiner Tor

    Putin with his “No to ‘Re-Writing History’” in 2020:

    No to ‘Re-Writing History’: UK Foreign Office Comments on Vladimir Putin’s WW2 Article
    https://sputniknews.com/world/202006201079670503-no-to-re-writing-history-uk-foreign-office-comments-on-vladimir-putins-ww2-article/

    is where Stalin was with his “Falsifiers of History” in 1948:

    Falsifiers of History
    Falsifiers of History was a book published by the Soviet Information Bureau, edited and partially re-written by Joseph Stalin, in response to documents made public in January 1948 regarding German–Soviet relations before and after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiers_of_History

    It did not work then and won’t work now except for the useful idiots like the ones in “Hail, Caesar! ”

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  23. szopen says:

    Distancing from Stalin is good. In all my discussion with Russians who are surprised why we dn’t like Soviet “liberatation” I repeat the same analogy about two thugs wanting to rape a women, when on thug after raping saved her from being killed by another thug.

    • Replies: @rkka
    , @another anon
  24. rkka says:
    @Kent Nationalist

    “What ‘complicity’? Surely even the most fanatical (non-Jewish) Pole haters can’t believe this”

    Complicity is the wrong word.

    In August 1939, an Anglo-French military delegation started staff talks in Moscow to figure out how to assist Poland against the German attack every serious politico-military authority knew was coming. Everyone in the room knew that the Poles would be quickly defeated by themselves. The head of the British military delegation, Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, estimated that effective Polish military resistance would last two weeks without immediate Soviet assistance. And considering that by 15 September the Polish army had suffered roughly 50% casualties (and the German Army ~2%), and had been cut into three pieces, incapable of operating in mutual support & subject to defeat in detail, with the Stukas roaming Polish skies unhindered, Drax’s estimate was spot on.

    Writing on 16 August, the British Deputy Chiefs of Staff came to the same conclusion, adding that if the Poles refused to accept Soviet assistance, agreed & coordinated prior to hostilities, Poland would be conquered, and could only be redeemed after a long war.

    The Deputy Chiefs of Staff also predicted that if the Anglo-French-Soviet staff talks then going failed because of a Polish refusal to accept Soviet assistance, the Soviets would most likely concert with Germany in a new division of the spoils.

    Of course, the Polish government refused to even consider it.

    So Stalin had a choice: either watch as the Germans conquered all of Poland & perhaps occupied the Baltic States, so Operation Barbarossa would get to start 60 miles from Leningrad & on the outskirts of Minsk,

    or barge into Poland with no prior planning or coordination with the Poles, and with no guarantee of Anglo-French support and while hostilities with Japan were still smoldering,

    or listen to what Herr Ribbentrop had to say.

    This last option hit the Japanese government like a ton of bricks, since with the M-R Pact Germany had torn up both the Anti-Comintern Pact & the Tripartite Pact. The Japanese government fell, and its replacement sought to improve Japanese-Soviet relations.

    It also bought 22 months of time (which saw the development of a range of new tanks, artillery systems, and combat aircraft), as well as samples of Bf-109s & FW-190s to test new MiGs & Yaks against, and ensured that the USSR would have fighting allies on 22 June 1941. It also got a good start on a new fortified line, which, in places like Rava Russa & Przymysl, was sufficiently complete to offer decent resistance to German forces.

    The fly in this ointment was the rapid collapse of Anglo-French resistance on the continent in 1940. But nobody, even German generals, foresaw that.

    So IMO, The Pact was about the best of the crappy options Stalin had by late August 1939.

  25. rkka says:
    @szopen

    “Distancing from Stalin is good.’

    He was the guy who endowed the USSR with the industrial sinews of war such as no Tsar ever dreamed, in a decade.

    “In all my discussion with Russians who are surprised why we dn’t like Soviet “liberatation” I repeat the same analogy about two thugs wanting to rape a women, when on thug after raping saved her from being killed by another thug.”

    Polish population after 6 years of German Genocide:24m.

    Polish population after 46 years of “Soviet genocide”: 38m.

    Someone had to stop Generalplan Ost, Germany’s organized, systematic, bureaucratized plan for exterminating Slavs, Poles & Ukrainians very much included. That Poles still live in Poland & Ukrainians in Ukraine, is due to Stalin & his prewar drive to industrialize.

    • Replies: @szopen
    , @AP
  26. szopen says:
    @rkka

    You reaction is also typical. Can’t you understand my analogy? Two thugs wanted to rape a women. They did that quite happily, but then one thug decided to attack another thug. Also, this first one wanted to kill women; the second thug defeated the first one, saved women and bought her flowers and now demands: you must be grateful! If not me, you would be dead! – exactly just like you did above. Yes, you did saved us by extermination. But are you really that surprised that we are not exactly grateful?

    EOT from me. I have no time to follow this discussion and this is only marginally relevant to the Putin’s history policy.

    • Replies: @rkka
  27. @utu

    But, you have missed the following paragraph, burried deep inside the article:

    The last attempt to persuade the USSR to act together was made by Hitler during Molotov’s visit to Berlin in November 1940. But Molotov accurately followed Stalin’s instructions and limited himself to a general discussion of the German idea of the Soviet Union joining the Tripartite Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan in September 1940 and directed against the UK and the USA. No wonder that already on November 17 Molotov gave the following instructions to Soviet plenipotentiary representative in London Ivan Maisky: “…Apparently, the Germans and the Japanese seem anxious to push us towards the Gulf and India. We declined the discussion of this matter as we consider such advice on the part of Germany to be inappropriate.”

    Had the Soviet Union considered starting a war along side Germany, they would have chosen to become a part of the alliance with Germany and Japan against Great Britain and USA. It did not, as is clearly stated in the above quote.

    It is obvious that the Soviet Union had no intentions in getting involved in the ongoing armed conflicts. But if it had to, or was forced to, it preffered to align with the Anglos.

    The mutual victory achieved in WW2 led to a creation of a world order that is still valid to this day. The proof is very simple: just look who, to this day, are the permanent, veto power wielding, countries of the UN Security Council.

    This article is not inteded to you, the “utus” of this world, but to Anglos elites, both as a reminder and warning.

    The reaction of the UK Foreign Office in your link, suggests that the elites in question have noted the message.

    • Replies: @utu
  28. @szopen

    Distancing from Stalin is good.

    Should the Mongolians distance from Genghis Khan?

    Should the Zulus distance from Shaka?
    Putin is actually distancing from Stalin as much as he can, nevertheless Western propaganda claims all the time that Putin is reviving Stalinism.
    You know well that Putin wishes to actually delete Stalin from history and replace him with some long forgotten tsar, but he couldn’t do it.
    It is not Putin, but Russian people on their own who revere Stalin as symbol of Russian greatness.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/tribal-stalinism/

    Was Stalin really great? Who cares.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/stalin-is-not-great/

    Stalin is now seen as symbol of Russia all over the world, what historical person Djugashvilli actually did and didn’t is completely irrelevant.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  29. rkka says:
    @szopen

    “You reaction is also typical. Can’t you understand my analogy?”

    It is nothing of the sort.

    ” Two thugs wanted to rape a women.”

    One thug wanted to conquer Poland & exterminate Poles. The British, French, & Soviet governments held military staff talks to figure out how to assist Poland in the war that all knew was coming. Since these senior military officers had excellent map reading skills, they could see at a glance that only the USSR could give Poland direct military assistance.

    “They did that quite happily,”

    That is a lie. The Soviet government preferred “The Grand Alliance” as suggested by Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain wanted, and I quote, “…Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against communism”
    And the Polish government preferred to face Nazi attack without Soviet assistance. That got them militarily defeated by 15 September 1939, before the Red Army budged an inch.

    “but then one thug decided to attack another thug.”

    I have Adolf’s book, the one where he writes “When we speak of land in Europe today, we can have in mind primarily only Russia and her vassal border states.” Adolf planned to exterminate the Slavs. Iosif planned to defeat Adolf.

    “Also, this first one wanted to “kill women; the second thug defeated the first one, saved women and bought her flowers and now demands: you must be grateful! If not me, you would be dead! – exactly just like you did above. Yes, you did saved us by extermination. But are you really that surprised that we are not exactly grateful?”

    In August 1939, the Polish government had the chance to be part of a victorious coalition in a short war, sitting at the conference table with an army in the field & a government in Warsaw.

    They decided against that.

    • Replies: @szopen
  30. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Hyperborean

    The lumping of Vlasov with the likes of Bandera and Pavelic is inaccurate as explained in this piece which first appeared at a Russian based venue which isn’t kreakl/liberast leaning:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/12/14/czech-russian-relations-and-the-roa-conflicting-historical-narratives/

    • Replies: @Wandering
  31. Mr. Hack says:
    @another anon

    You’re right, even in Las Vegas you can see Uncle Joe, although headless, greeting you at the Red Square restaurant. For all of you old school sovok types out there that read this blog (we know that you’re out there):

    • Replies: @another anon
  32. @Mr. Hack

    It was statue of Lenin, and, sadly, it is not there anymore.
    Was it victory or defeat for democracy and capitalism? Time will tell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Square_(restaurant)

    https://vegas.eater.com/2019/11/7/20953964/red-square-closes-mandalay-bay-november-2019

    Say dasvidaniya to Red Square at Mandalay Bay. The Russian-themed restaurant that opened in 1999 departs the resort on November 17, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

    That means one last chance to drink vodkas in the private vault, replete with Lenin’s head on ice, a chilly ice bar, and fur coats for warding off the chill.

    The restaurant features a replica of Vladimir Lenin at the entrance. After it opened 20 years ago, customers complained about the likeness of the communist Russian leader and founder of the former Soviet Union at the resort. Instead of removing the statue, the resort lopped off Lenin’s head, a nod to the Eastern European tradition of removing just the head from many Lenin statues.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  33. utu says:
    @Simpleguest

    “But if it had to, or was forced to, it preffered to align with the Anglos.” – Where did the preference come form? Stalin’s sentiments? Putin’s sentiments now? It was Germany that decided who the USSR would ally with. Germany did not want USSR as an ally. Stalin’s calculations had nothing to do with it.

    https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=7659
    “Hence Stalin pursued a policy of appeasement, hoping to pacify the Nazis, or at the very least trying to buy more time to prepare Red Army for an eventual conflict. Thus, Gorodetsky contends that Stalin negotiated the Soviet-Japanese non-aggression pact, signed in April 1941, not to protect his Asian flank, but rather as a means to draw closer to the Axis powers as a prelude to negotiations with Germany. Similarly, he argues that in the spring of 1941, Stalin considered dissolving the Comintern, and in fact, told its representatives to loosen their ties with Moscow, because the Soviet leader believed that these actions would increase the possibility of successful negotiations with Germany.”

    Soviet counterproposal agreement
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German–Soviet_Axis_talks
    “On November 25, the same day as the surprise statement of Soviet non-resistance to Bulgaria’s joining the Axis and a potential Soviet joining of the Pact,[85] the Soviets offered a counterproposal to Ribbentrop’s draft agreement.[79] It began with “The Soviet government is prepared to accept the draft of the Pact of Four Powers on political cooperation and economic mutual assistance.”

    “The proposals came concurrently with massively increased economic offers.[85] The Soviets promised, by May 11, 1941 the delivery of 2.5 million tons of grain—1 million tons above its current obligations.[4] They also promised full compensation for the Volksdeutsche property claims.”

    “On January 17, 1941, seven days after the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement, Molotov asked German officials whether the parties could then work out an agreement for entry into the Axis pact.[63][90] Molotov expressed astonishment at the absence of any answer to the Soviets’ November 25 offer to join the Pact.[90] They never received an answer.”

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  34. Wandering says:
    @Mikhail

    “ The lumping of Vlasov with the likes of Bandera and Pavelic is inaccurate“

    Vlasov just signed up with the side perpetrating Generalplan OST, Nazi Germany’s organized, systematic, bureaucratized plan for exterminating Slavs.

    So actually Mikey, Vlasov was a lot like Bandera.

    • Disagree: Mikhail
    • Replies: @Mikhail
    , @AP
  35. Mr. Hack says:
    @another anon

    I was led astray by this comment that I had read:

    Red Square is set up like a Russian bar with a headless statue of Stalin (?) outside the door (who knows, there’s no head!)
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g45963-d481438-r158802076-Red_Square-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html#

    Not being a sovok and never having been there, I can say that from photos, it’s indeed difficult to determine the exact identity of a headless statue. I like the idea that it was headless, and even more that it no longer exists.

  36. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Wandering

    “ The lumping of Vlasov with the likes of Bandera and Pavelic is inaccurate“

    Vlasov just signed up with the side perpetrating Generalplan OST, Nazi Germany’s organized, systematic, bureaucratized plan for exterminating Slavs.

    So actually Mikey, Vlasov was a lot like Bandera.

    Vlasov and his forces have nowhere near the murderous baggage as Bandera and the OUN/UPA. The latter were anti-Russian unlike Vlasov.

    Croatia, Slovakia and Bulgaria were Nazi allied predominately Slav countries. Bulgaria didn’t declare war on the USSR and shielded its Jews.

    There’s evidence showing that as the war progressed, the Nazis started to recruit young “Aryan” looking non-Germans in the east, out of the realization that lebensraun couldn’t be successfully achieved with only Germans and Austrians.

    In any event, Vlasov wasn’t a Nazi. Somewhat akin to Roosevelt and Churchill not being Communists, while being allies of Stalin. In Nazi Germany, there were some who were okay with the idea of a non-Communist Russia on good terms with Germany.

  37. szopen says:
    @rkka

    I got it. The thug raped the women, but it didn’t make him happy. Soviets cooperated with Nazis, they deported hundreds of thousands of Poles, but it was all our own fault and they did all that because they were forced by circumstances. Sending raw materials, sending intelligence data, everything was done unwillingly and unhappily. Moreover, Poles being more afraid of Soviets, who have just murdered thousands of Poles three years ago during so called “Polish action”, is just example of Polish irrationality. Got it. As I said, I saw all those arguments before.

    IIRC until 1941 or so Nazis and Soviets murdered ethnic, non-Jewish Poles in about the same rates.

    • Replies: @rkka
  38. Wandering says:

    You’re correct that Vlasov’s force didn’t perpetrate massacres like Bandera’s did. But Vlasov still signed up with the perpetrators of Generalplan Ost.

    “In any event, Vlasov wasn’t a Nazi.”

    Never said he was.

    “Somewhat akin to Roosevelt and Churchill not being Communists, while being allies of Stalin.”

    Both fought the side perpetrating Generalplan OST.

    Vlasov signed up with the side perpetrating Generalplan OST.

    “ there were some who were okay with the idea of a non-Communist Russia on good terms with Germany.”

    They weren’t in charge of Nazi Germany. The would-be exterminator of the Slavs was.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  39. rkka says:
    @szopen

    “I got it.”

    Would you prefer it if USSR had stood by as Nazis conquered all of Poland, gone on to occupy the Baltics, given all of Poland the Generaplan OST treatment, and allowed Nazis to have started Op. Barbarossa on the outskirts of Minsk and 100km from Leningrad?

    • Replies: @szopen
  40. @utu

    But if it had to, or was forced to, it preffered to align with the Anglos.” – Where did the preference come form? Stalin’s sentiments?

    Very simple. Nazi Germany and, not to be left out, Japan both had huge armies stationed at Soviet borders. Anglos did not.

    Trade between Germany and Soviet Union was just that, business, nothing personal. There were no international sanctions in place against Nazi Germany. USA was trading with Germany as late as 1941. Today, it is officially described as “some small amount of trade” but it was, nontheless, present. Anyway, the bulk of the business relationship between Germany and the US, that still existed in 1941, was partnership with German firms either through its own business entities or American-owned subsidiaries.

    Wikipedia links that you post are sufficiently one sided and skilfully tweaked:

    For example, one paragraph states:

    “On January 17, 1941, seven days after the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement, Molotov asked German officials whether the parties could then work out an agreement for entry into the Axis pact.[63][90] Molotov expressed astonishment at the absence of any answer to the Soviets’ November 25 offer to join the Pact.[90] They never received an answer.”

    The goal here, obviosly, is to create a perception that Soviet Union was eager and pushing for alliance.

    While Putin’s article states the following:

    No wonder that already on November 17 Molotov gave the following instructions to Soviet plenipotentiary representative in London Ivan Maisky: “…Apparently, the Germans and the Japanese seem anxious to push us towards the Gulf and India. We declined the discussion of this matter as we consider such advice on the part of Germany to be inappropriate.”

    Put together, these two paragraphs provide a very different picture of the same event.

    So, again, where is Soviet culpability in starting WW2? Or better put, if SU is found culpable, than to the same extent are UK, France, USA and others.

  41. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Wandering

    The likes of Rosenberg, Himmler and Hitler wouldn’t necessarily be around in a hypothetical extended Nazi existence. The USSR changed after Stalin. Perhaps if Nazi Germany somehow survived, it might’ve gradually changed to something along the lines of apartheid South Africa and thereafter perhaps something less racially motivated.

    Vlasov’s forces didn’t do much fighting against the Soviets and ended up fighting the Nazis to help liberate Prague.

    As for killing Slavs and others, Stalin was considerably more involved in that than Vlasov.

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  42. @Mikhail

    I am not sure why you persivere in trying to rationalise Vlasov. I admit I don’t know much about him, and I don’t intend to, but he joined hands with a mortal enemy who attacked your country and that should be the end of discussion.
    Did you expect the Russian Orthodox Church to be equally calculating and side with the invading Nazi armies in hope of getting rid of the bolsheviks?

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  43. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Simpleguest

    You acknowledge not knowing much about him, nor wanting to improve on your limited knowledge.

    Excuse me for seeking as complete an accounting as possible – a mindset that includes a willingness to engage with others having a different view.

    Regarding the ROC and Vlasov, this venue isn’t anti-Russian:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novo-Diveevo

    As earlier noted, this article on Vlasov and the ROA (POA) first appeared at a Russian based venue which isn’t anti-Russian:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/12/14/czech-russian-relations-and-the-roa-conflicting-historical-narratives/

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  44. szopen says:
    @rkka

    If USSR would stood by it’s not clear Nazis would attack.

    • Replies: @rkka
  45. @Korenchkin

    It is 80 years old history. Russia does not need to own the faults of the USSR.

    In the name of national interest, many, many horrible things have been done by many countries.

    • Replies: @Korenchkin
  46. Mikhail says: • Website

    If USSR would stood by it’s not clear Nazis would attack.

    You mean Nazi Germany wouldn’t have advanced further without M-R? Not likely. M-R was negotiated with the Nazis having a stronger hand. The Nazis took Warsaw which had been part of the Russian Empire. It has been said that the Georgian Soviet dictator Stalin had some Russian nationalist attributes. What kind of a Russian nationalist would willingly agree to let Germany have Warsaw? Stalin knew the USSR had limits at the time.

    That the Nazis eventually attacked the USSR is proof positive that Stalin had a basis to buy time with Hitler.

  47. rkka would appear to be a living example of why the official Russian historiographical approach isn’t going to get far outside Russia itself, so quite useful demonstration in this respect.

    • Replies: @rkka
  48. @Astuteobservor II

    Yes but you can’t put “shit happens” on a propaganda poster

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  49. rkka says:
    @szopen

    “ If USSR would stood by it’s not clear Nazis would attack”

    What Adolf feared in August 1939 was Western military intervention. The April 1939 initial planning documents for the invasion of Poland established as the fundamental planning assumption that the Western powers would stay out of it. Adolf himself, at the 23 May 1939 conference with his generals said that the plan would only work if the West stayed out of it. And there was a strong reason for this. It was because the German land & air forces would be overwhelmingly concentrated in the East, with scant forces in the West.
    On Pg 2 of his memoirs, Field Marshal Manstein attributed the rapid conquest of Poland to two facts:

    1) The German high command took grave risks in the West in order to mass forces against Poland.

    2) The Western allies took no action to exploit that risk.

    And even after the M-R Pact, this fear governed German action. On the evening of 25 August, the British government ratified the Anglo-Polish alliance. When he got this news, Adolf cancelled the attack on Poland, scheduled for the next day, 26 August. But when German intelligence found no indication of Western military intervention, Adolf rescheduled the attack for 1 September.

    The only thing Adolf feared in August 1939 was Western military intervention. The M-R Pact actually increased the chance of that. Absent the M-R Pact, the invasion of Poland would have gone on as scheduled.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @AP
  50. @Mikhail

    You acknowledge not knowing much about him, nor wanting to improve on your limited knowledge.
    Excuse me for seeking as complete an accounting as possible – a mindset that includes a willingness to engage with others having a different view.

    I think “betryal” is acceptable in one case only: if “my side” harms others. Many Germans decided, in the beginning of the war, to fight the Vermacht. They believed it is the right thing to do and I admire their courage and integrity.

    I looked into the link as you suggested. It’s a lovely Russian orthodox convent that features a cemetary with a humble memorial to the Russian Liberation Army. It’s humane to mark and remember all that perished in war, innocent of any crime.
    For common people one can be confident that their hearts were, perhaps misled or perhaps naive, but sincere.
    But for the members of the imperial aristocracy, on the other hand, one can’t be absolutelly sure if they longed and fought for the country that perished or for the priviliges that they enjoyed in it.

    Anyway, I apologize if I appeared rude to you.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  51. @Korenchkin

    Hell, that would be better than most propaganda posters.

  52. rkka says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    “ rkka would appear to be a living example of why the official Russian historiographical approach isn’t going to get far outside Russia itself, so quite useful demonstration in this respect.”

    I agree. People are totally unconvinced by factual information drawn from official German, British, and French sources.

    People are tribal, and love their myths & narratives.

  53. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Simpleguest

    I think “betryal” is acceptable in one case only: if “my side” harms others. Many Germans decided, in the beginning of the war, to fight the Vermacht. They believed it is the right thing to do and I admire their courage and integrity.

    I looked into the link as you suggested. It’s a lovely Russian orthodox convent that features a cemetary with a humble memorial to the Russian Liberation Army. It’s humane to mark and remember all that perished in war, innocent of any crime.
    For common people one can be confident that their hearts were, perhaps misled or perhaps naive, but sincere.
    But for the members of the imperial aristocracy, on the other hand, one can’t be absolutelly sure if they longed and fought for the country that perished or for the priviliges that they enjoyed in it.

    Anyway, I apologize if I appeared rude to you.

    These forums can make or break someone. If one wants to healthfully continue on, it’s best to try to not take things too personal. Someone providing comments should be able to take it and dish it out.

    Some related threads where the subject of Vlasov came up:

    https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/wishful-democratic-thinking/#comment-32596

    https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2020/06/06/reminiscences-of-soviet-history/#comment-32807

    Within reason, some would day that Stalin betrayed the revolution. Prior to getting captured by the Nazis, Vlasov was a highly regarded general. It’s incorrect to believe that there wasn’t a valid pro-Russian and anti-Stalin component (anti-Communist/anti-Soviet or otherwise) during that period.

    Regarding the Russian aristocracy, both your points can be valid. Russian or otherwise, many wouldn’t be so agreeable to see their lifestyle dramatically changed with less privileges. Many of these same people can nonetheless have a love for their country of origin.

    These folks don’t come across as ever developing a hatred towards Russia:

    http://russiannobility.org/

    I’ll also note that in Nazi captivity, Vlasov never said the kind of anti-Russian leaning things that are evident with some of the current kreakls/liberasts living with much greater freedom than what Vlasov had upon his capture.

  54. Naturally, this all is understandable. Yet, it somehow resembles Maxican peoples’ collaboration with Hernan Cortes. They wanted, naturally, to get rid of Aztec yoke. And succeeded. No Aztecs any more; no Mixtecs, Mayas,.. in any significant portion.

    So, the result of this squabble, if not checked, would be- not white race in the future (whichever the intentions of the participants).

    History aside, virtually no Russian bears any animus towards Germans- as I write.

  55. Exile says:
    @inertial

    There are a lot of us in the West who are well aware of the Jewish nature of the Bolsheviks and the promotion of the Soviets by Western capital and the German state, conservatives and Left alike, also led by our Fellowest Whites.

    Solzhenitsyn’s “200 Years Together” is a good resource for those yet to Notice.

    AK’s approach would be the most honest way to reconcile the unfortunate history of 20th century Russia and also the best approach for Russia in the long run.

    Putin’s taking the easy way out politically in pushing a fairly standard narrative that red-pilled Europeans, Americans and Russians alike know to be fan-fiction. Disappointing, but as AK says, entirely predictable.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  56. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Exile

    Keeping in mind that there was an economically conservative leaning Jewish community in the Russian Empire which wasn’t so enthusiastic about the Bolshes.

    • Replies: @utu
  57. utu says:
    @Mikhail

    And we also keep in mind that not all Averkos are cocksuckers.

    • Troll: Mikhail
  58. firstly: mr. putin elided the real meat of molotov-ribbentrop as well as the winter war. needless to say, stalin’s USSR was not exactly a force for world peace in the pre-war years. he also neglected consideration of just how catastrophically stalin failed to prepare for the german invasion.

    …and there is a reason, nobody wants to address, why the invasion forces were met with open arms… until their genocidal intentions became clear. (side note: how do the holocaust deniers deal with the fact the nazis wholeheartedly embraced the extermination of homosexuals, politically ‘unreliable’ GERMAN individuals, the whole of the SA, the slavs, the gypsies AND the poles… but somehow think european jewry was hitler’s prime target AND yet not actually killed?!?)

    secondly: what a gosh-darned treat to read an essay of real significance from a world leader! it really is clarifying to see the world from anothers perspective. i hate to say it but im envious. russia had its awful interregnum earlier than most, which seemed like a curse but in actuality seems to be a cliodynamic asset now. the lord works in mysterious ways.

  59. rkka says:

    “ e also neglected consideration of just how catastrophically stalin failed to prepare for the german invasion.”

    Name a leader lacking miles of deep salt water between him & Nazis who prepared better.

    • Replies: @AP
  60. @rkka

    ” There’s basically two versions of telling the lead up to WW2 centering on either Munich (pro-Russians) or the Non Aggression Pact (pro-Westerners), and the one you favor is ideologically, not historically, determined.”

    Don’t see any reason why it can’t be both. Munich emboldened Hitler and demoralised the anti-Hitler forces inside the German Army, as well as giving them Skoda’s arms production. The NAP made war almost certain, but Munich was a necessary precursor.

    (Of course those who thought Munich a disaster would have preferred WW2 to start then!)

  61. rkka says:

    “The NAP made war almost certain, but Munich was a necessary precursor. ”

    War was already certain, absent clear preparations for Western military intervention, which was the only thing Adolf actually feared in August 1939.

    “(Of course those who thought Munich a disaster would have preferred WW2 to start then!)”

    The Czech armed forces had a chance of prolonged resistance to German attack on their own. And there was an alliance structure in place to support them.

    The Polish armed forces had neither.

  62. AP says:
    @rkka

    Name one who had longer to prepare.

  63. AP says:
    @rkka

    None of this disproves szopen’s claim.

    Without USSR’s intervention, Poland has more strategic depth and the invasion of Poland would necessarily lasts longer, requiring more German forces (further exposing Germany to the West) and giving Western allies longer to mount their own attack. This reality might have made Hitler more cautious.

    • Disagree: Mikhail
    • Replies: @rkka
    , @Mikhail
  64. AP says:
    @Wandering

    Vlasov just signed up with the side perpetrating Generalplan OST, Nazi Germany’s organized, systematic, bureaucratized plan for exterminating Slavs.

    Even worse, he had been an active participant on the Red side during the Russian Civil War, bringing to power the murderous Bolsheviks. So had had a role not only in Nazi brutality towards the Russian people but also Bolshevik brutality towards the Russian people. He served both of the worst killers of Russians in history. In doing so, he committed two betrayals.
    Eventually his constant treason caught up with him. The third betrayal didn’t help him.

    So actually Mikey, Vlasov was a lot like Bandera.

    In that they both fought on the side of the Nazis, yes. OTOH, Bandera was both more murderous (against Poles and to a lesser extent Jews, especially) but also more principled. And the Germans were far kinder to Bandera’s Galicians than they were to Vlasov’s Russians.

    • Disagree: Mikhail
    • Replies: @Mikhail
  65. rkka says:
    @AP

    “Without USSR’s intervention, Poland has more strategic depth and the invasion of Poland would necessarily lasts longer, requiring more German forces (further exposing Germany to the West) and giving Western allies longer to mount their own attack. This reality might have made Hitler more cautious.”

    Please direct me to German military sources on the planning of Case White that mention these considerations.

    “This reality might have made Hitler more cautious.”

    Then again, it might not have. But what I do see in both German military planning and Adolf’s own politico-military considerations, is fear of Western military intervention, because German ground and air forces were so overwhelmingly concentrated in the East, thus running huge military risks in the West.

  66. AP says:

    “Without USSR’s intervention, Poland has more strategic depth and the invasion of Poland would necessarily lasts longer, requiring more German forces (further exposing Germany to the West) and giving Western allies longer to mount their own attack. This reality might have made Hitler more cautious.”

    Please direct me to German military sources on the planning of Case White that mention these considerations.

    Irrelevant. By presenting Poland with an attack from the East M-R made the German plans much easier and increased the likelihood of very quick success. M-R also provided Germany with some security during the war with the West, following the invasion.

    You are suggesting that it was a coincidence that Germany invaded Poland within days of M-R.

    “This reality might have made Hitler more cautious.”

    Then again, it might not have. But what I do see in both German military planning and Adolf’s own politico-military considerations, is fear of Western military intervention, because German ground and air forces were so overwhelmingly concentrated in the East, thus running huge military risks in the West.

    And somehow you believe that neutralizing the threat from the massive Eastern power, and guaranteeing a much smoother and quicker annihilation of Poland (thus enabling a quicker pivot to the West, if need be), would not have significantly ameliorated the fear of the West by reducing the risk from the West and enabling Germany to more quickly deal with that risk.

    • Replies: @rkka
  67. AP says:
    @rkka

    He was the guy who endowed the USSR with the industrial sinews of war such as no Tsar ever dreamed, in a decade.

    If there had been no Revolution and Civil War Russia would probably not have been much less industrialized by 1941 than it was in the real timeline. But it wouldn’t have lost millions of people and elicited worldwide disgust (with critical diplomatic consequences) along the way.

    According to you Russians are unique in that unlike in the case of Germans, French, British and Americans, one could only industrialize Russia by killing millions of Russians.

    Stalin was also the guy whose incompetence (in terms of war, not in terms of achieving personal control and power – he was brilliant at that) enabled a far smaller and less populous country, fighting an another front and tied down by occupying most of a sullen continent, to march deep into his country and kill millions and millions of its citizens. Even Nicholas didn’t let the Germans get past the Baltics and Poland. He may not have been capable of eventually reaching Berlin, but he didn’t lose 27 million of his people either.

    • Agree: Mikhail
    • Replies: @rkka
  68. rkka says:
    @AP

    “ Irrelevant. By presenting Poland with an attack from the East M-R made the German plans much easier and increased the likelihood of very quick success.”

    Which the Germans were completely confident of, expecting effective Polish resistance to be broken in 2-3 weeks. Halder & his staff approached planning for Case White with glee. “It was as if a heavy stone had fallen from our hearts.” They rejoiced at no longer having to maintain their false pose of friendship with Poland.

    “ M-R also provided Germany with some security during the war with the West, following the invasion.”

    It actually hardened Chamberlain’s position against Hitler. After Adolf had done a deal with Stalin, proving Adolf was not a fellow anti communist, he would have no further dealings with Adolf.

    “ And somehow you believe that neutralizing the threat from the massive Eastern power, and guaranteeing a much smoother and quicker annihilation of Poland (thus enabling a quicker pivot to the West, if need be), would not have significantly ameliorated the fear of the West by reducing the risk from the West and enabling Germany to more quickly deal with that risk.”

    I’m not the one believing that. My opinion is irrelevant to German Politico-military decisionmaking in 1939.

    The opinions of Adolf & the German General staff is what was relevant, and I’ve found no trace of what you mention in their thinking.

    • Replies: @AP
  69. rkka says:
    @AP

    “ Even Nicholas didn’t let the Germans get past the Baltics and Poland. ”

    In WWI, the Germans were stopped at the Marne.

    In WWII they crushed Western allied armies of 3.5 million & got to the Spanish border in 6 weeks, losing only 27,000 troops killed in the process.

    And after 22 June 1940, France is where the Germans trained new recruits on captured Czech/Polish/Belgian/Dutch/French/British equipment & fed them off the French economy before sending them to the actual war in the East.

    • Replies: @AP
  70. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    Prior to M-R, Poland and the West clearly indicated that they didn’t seek a defensive arrangement with the USSR to thwart Nazi efforts.

    Munich gave the Nazis confidence, while increasing Soviet security concerns.

    The Nazis were going to thrash Poland with or without the USSR. The Poles did little fighting against the USSR. The non-Poles on Polish (between two world wars) territory where the Soviets entered weren’t inclined to fight for Poland.

  71. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    Even worse, he had been an active participant on the Red side during the Russian Civil War, bringing to power the murderous Bolsheviks. So had had a role not only in Nazi brutality towards the Russian people but also Bolshevik brutality towards the Russian people. He served both of the worst killers of Russians in history. In doing so, he committed two betrayals.
    Eventually his constant treason caught up with him. The third betrayal didn’t help him.

    He was a young man at the time of the revolution. People are allowed to change their views. Vlasov wasn’t known as some kind of a murdering henchman when in the Red Army. He was a highly regarded general upon his getting captured by the Nazis, in a very untenable situation for him and his forces.

    In that they both fought on the side of the Nazis, yes. OTOH, Bandera was both more murderous (against Poles and to a lesser extent Jews, especially) but also more principled. And the Germans were far kinder to Bandera’s Galicians than they were to Vlasov’s Russians.

    Bandera influenced a rise in anti-Russian bigotry, as evidenced by the anti-Russian manner of the pro-Bandera Captive Nations Committee which influenced the creation of Captive Nations Week, recognizing every Communist country (some Nazi creations included) as Communist except Russia.

    Related:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20050205051751/http://russian-americans.org/CRA_Art_Captive.htm

    For accuracy sake, your use of “more principled” should not be confused with being more ethical.

  72. AP says:
    @rkka

    “ Even Nicholas didn’t let the Germans get past the Baltics and Poland. ”

    In WWI, the Germans were stopped at the Marne.

    In WWII they crushed Western allied armies of 3.5 million & got to the Spanish border in 6 weeks, losing only 27,000 troops killed in the process.

    And in 1905 Russia lost to the Japanese. In 1914-1917 Russia simultaneously crushed Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, while also holding the Germans at the Baltics/Poland.

    You cannot assume that in 1941 Russia would have not improved immensely compared to 1914, just as it had been improving its capabilities in the decades preceding the first world war. And it goes without saying that a tsarist Russia in 1941 would be in a much better position diplomatically than was Stalin’s genocidal USSR. So your speculations don’t mean much.

    But we can compare how each Russia did under the historical circumstances they faced. Nicholas’ Russia prevented the Germans from entering ethnic Russian territory. Stalin’s USSR let the Germans get to the outskirts of Moscow and kill 27 million Soviet citizens. An embarrassing debacle.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  73. AP says:
    @rkka

    “ Irrelevant. By presenting Poland with an attack from the East M-R made the German plans much easier and increased the likelihood of very quick success.”

    Which the Germans were completely confident of, expecting effective Polish resistance to be broken in 2-3 weeks

    Wiki says Hitler was demanding 6 weeks but the military was expecting 3 months:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Poland#German_plan

    However the source for this fact may not be the best. What is yours?

    “ M-R also provided Germany with some security during the war with the West, following the invasion.”

    It actually hardened Chamberlain’s position against Hitler. After Adolf had done a deal with Stalin, proving Adolf was not a fellow anti communist, he would have no further dealings with Adolf.

    Which is irrelevant to the point that M-R both guaranteed no troubles with the East after the invasion, and would have made the invasion even easier and quicker because Poland would be invaded by its massive eastern neighbor. Both of these factors would significantly improve Germany’s chances in the war with the West.

    • Replies: @rkka
  74. In an earlier post on this thread, I stated that I think the National Interest article should be seen as Putin’s reminder and warning to, primarily, the Anglo-Saxon elites, Soviet Union’s former WW2 allies.

    In his article written for the Sacker’s blog, “A Meditation on President Putin’s warning from history” the author, Ken Lesley, calls the National Interest article “Putin’s last warning to his former allies”.

    Here are a couple of paragraphs that illustrate this point.

    It is this giant geopolitical déjà vu combined with an exponentially increasing risk of a global war that must have compelled president Putin to address the Western audiences—perhaps for the last time. As recently as 50 years ago, it would have been unthinkable for Western politicians and media to equate the USSR and Germany with regard to the culpability for the war. Yet, a concerted campaign in the Western media and chancelleries that accompanied the fall the of the USSR and the ramping up of a Russophobic campaign in the intervening years have led to the current dangerous impasse which leaves no room for diplomacy and negotiation. Largely unnoticed by the commenters, in his inimitable subtle and statesmanlike style, president Putin delivered to the western public what I believe to be the last appeal for peaceful co-existence. As I stated above, the appeal was directed primarily at the Anglo-Saxon powers which are currently at the forefront of the undeclared war against Russia.

    He reminded his former allies of the dangers of using “running dogs” such as Poland or the Ukraine in order to destabilise Russia. He also informed them in no uncertain terms of Russia’s determination not to allow any further besmirching of its historic sacrifice. No more mollycoddling of petty fascist fiefdoms in the name of class or ethnic/racial solidarity. It was also a warning to the Poles that their state policy of siding with any country as long as it is inimical to Russia can only lead to ruin and renewed partition. I’ll paraphrase the notorious Russophobe Josef Beck, one of the chief architects of Poland’s pre-WWII foreign policy, who admitted after the war that Poland was destroyed because it had been acting in the interests of the Vatican and not the Polish people.

    In other words, president Putin drew a line—if you wish to avoid a potential nuclear war, stop demonising and destabilising Russia and join us in creating a more equitable world. Russia will never abandon its unique civilisational path and any attempts at thwarting its legitimate claim to life and development will be punished harshly. Russian insistence on peaceful conflict resolution should not be confused for weakness. Having experienced one of the greatest genocides in history, Russia will never advocate war. But if war becomes inevitable, it will fight to the death. This stern warning was couched in the language of reconciliation. President Putin harks back to the war-time alliance with the USA and Great Britain to remind the modern audiences that confrontation is not the only way but that if attacked, Russia would defend itself to the last Russian and inflict terrible and (this time) unsustainable damage.

    The whole article can be found at:
    http://thesaker.is/a-meditation-on-president-putins-warning-from-history/

  75. rkka says:
    @AP

    “However the source for this fact may not be the best. What is yours?”

    Geoffrey P. Megargee “Inside Hitler’s High Command” University Press of Kansas, 2000, pg 68, citing Christian Hartmann & Sergei Slutsch “Franz Halder und die Kriegsvorbereitungen im Fruhjar 1939: Eine Anspracche des Generstabschefs des Herres” in Vierteljahrshefte fur Zietgeschichte 2 (1997) pgs 467-495. The Halder quote is on pg. 483.

    “Which is irrelevant to the point that M-R both guaranteed no troubles with the East after the invasion, and would have made the invasion even easier and quicker because Poland would be invaded by its massive eastern neighbor. ”

    By 15 September 1939, the Polish armed forces had suffered 50% casualties & had been cut up into three pieces, incapable of operating in mutual support & subject to defeat in detail, as the Stukas roamed Polish skies at will. The German armed forces had met the condition specified in Hitler’s Directive #3 of 9 September 1939 for beginning transfer of ground and air forces to the West, namely:

    “…until it is safe to assume that the Poles are no longer capable of establishing a continuous front which can tie down German forces.”

    This was two days before Soviet forces moved an inch.

    And if the Poles had wanted Soviet assistance in the event of German attack, they had been invited to discuss the matter at the Anglo-French-Soviet staff talks in Moscow. They had refused to even consider it.

  76. AP says:

    “However the source for this fact may not be the best. What is yours?”

    Geoffrey P. Megargee “Inside Hitler’s High Command” University Press of Kansas, 2000, pg 68, citing Christian Hartmann & Sergei Slutsch “Franz Halder und die Kriegsvorbereitungen im Fruhjar 1939: Eine Anspracche des Generstabschefs des Herres” in Vierteljahrshefte fur Zietgeschichte 2 (1997) pgs 467-495. The Halder quote is on pg. 483.

    Thank you.

    “Which is irrelevant to the point that M-R both guaranteed no troubles with the East after the invasion, and would have made the invasion even easier and quicker because Poland would be invaded by its massive eastern neighbor. ”

    By 15 September 1939, the Polish armed forces had suffered 50% casualties & had been cut up into three pieces, incapable of operating in mutual support & subject to defeat in detail, as the Stukas roamed Polish skies at will. The German armed forces had met the condition specified in Hitler’s Directive #3 of 9 September 1939 for beginning transfer of ground and air forces to the West, namely:

    “…until it is safe to assume that the Poles are no longer capable of establishing a continuous front which can tie down German forces.”

    This was two days before Soviet forces moved an inch.

    Not quite. While Poland was thoroughly routed west of the Vistula (other than Warsaw) large numbers of Polish forces were reassembling along the Romanian bridgehead.

    Moreover, we were discussing how the agreed-upon Soviet participation in the partition of Poland made fears of the West less salient. The fact that the German invasion was so successful is irrelevant here. M-R certainly guaranteed that Germany would more swiftly be able to send its forces to the West.

    And if the Poles had wanted Soviet assistance in the event of German attack, they had been invited to discuss the matter at the Anglo-French-Soviet staff talks in Moscow. They had refused to even consider it.

    You do realize that immediately prior to such an invitation the Soviet government had slaughtered about 110,000 ethnic Poles – this was the largest slaughter of Poles in history at that point.

  77. rkka says:

    “ Not quite. While Poland was thoroughly routed west of the Vistula (other than Warsaw) large numbers of Polish forces were reassembling along the Romanian bridgehead.”

    And with the Germans possessing total air & ground superiority, that’s not going to last long.

    “Moreover, we were discussing how the agreed-upon Soviet participation in the partition of Poland made fears of the West less salient.”

    That’s your fantasy. I see no factual basis for it. You see, Chamberlain & Daladier had done nothing to prepare forces to intervene. German intelligence could find no indication of significant Anglo-French forces preparing to intervene.

    “The fact that the German invasion was so successful is irrelevant here. M-R certainly guaranteed that Germany would more swiftly be able to send its forces to the West.“

    The German armed forces met Hitler’s condition to begin transferring forces West two days before the Red Army moved an inch. And the Germans had no indication of significant Anglo-French preparation to intervene, because Chamberlain & Daladier didn’t order any.

    • Replies: @AP
  78. AP says:
    @rkka

    “The fact that the German invasion was so successful is irrelevant here. M-R certainly guaranteed that Germany would more swiftly be able to send its forces to the West.“

    The German armed forces met Hitler’s condition to begin transferring forces West two days before the Red Army moved an inch.

    But they did not know this would have been the case, prior to M-R.

    • Replies: @rkka
  79. @AP

    Very true, and the German army in WWI was a far better fighting force than the motley assemblage of second rate German divisions, Italians, Romanians and Hungarians that invaded Russia in 1941. Better trained, better led and more cohesive. Russian performance in WWI was much better than remembered (they also beat the crap out of the same Turks who were able to keep ANZAC troops on the beach for months). If it wasn’t for Lenin the Russians would have come out of that war clear victors, probably with troops sitting in Königsberg by the summer of 1918. And maybe in Konstantingrad as well.

    • Replies: @rkka
    , @AP
    , @Mikhail
  80. Putin also feels it necessary to repeat the same old story about Munich being a debacle and appeasement. In reality conceding to Hitler at that point arguably made strategic sense. The industrial capacity of the British Empire and France was far superior to Germany. Once the second arms race started in the late ‘30s every year delay meant more time for the Allies to catch up with the German head start and overtake them. By 1941, at those trends, the Allies would have had overwhelming air and tank superiority, to say nothing of the tremendous naval edge they already had. Hitler understood this, which was why he was desperate to start a war as quickly as possible while Germany still had the edge in a ground war. By most accounts Hitler actually came out of Munich pretty unhappy and felt he had been played. Of course, in retrospect had the Allies declared war on Hitler then and there, there is a decent chance his own Generals would have overthrown him and sued for peace, and of course Munich made Hitler far more popular among ordinary Germans who hadn’t trusted him to keep them out of war, which had some nasty immediate side effects (Kristallnacht) and gave Germany more leverage over small countries like Hungary and Romania. Still the Allies relative unpreparedness even in September 1939 and the massive imbalance in favor of Allied industrial production vs. Germany for the rest of the war, even after losing France, shows Chamberlain may have been correct in his thinking. The “peace in our time” bit was kind of dumb though.

    • Replies: @rkka
  81. rkka says:
    @AP

    “ But they did not know this would have been the case, prior to M-R.”

    They assumed it, eagerly, back when the initial broad planning for Case White was completed back in April 1939. Gleefully. It was self-evident to them. It was also self-evident to Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, head of the British delegation to the August 1939 military staff talks in Moscow, and to the Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the British armed forces. And the course & outcome of the Polish campaign showed that their professional military judgements were correct. The only thing the German high command feared was large scale & determined Western military intervention, which the German intelligence services could find no indication of.

    Did you know that while Chamberlain was PM, British bombers raiding German naval bases were not authorized to release bombs if there was any risk of damaging German land facilities?

    https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/3642/Airraid-on-the-German-Navy-at-Wilhelmshaven-18-December-1939.htm

    The Anglo-French hit the Nazis with nothing but propaganda leaflets in 1939.

    The suspicion grows that you’re just upset that the Nazis didn’t have the advantage of getting to conquer all of Poland before launching Barbarossa.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Papi Gilito
  82. rkka says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    “ If it wasn’t for Lenin the Russians would have come out of that war clear victors, probably with troops sitting in Königsberg by the summer of 1918. And maybe in Konstantingrad as well.”

    When the shops of your capital city have nothing in them but “No Bread” signs, it means you have lost the war.

    As predicted in February 1914 by former Interior Minister Durnovo.

    https://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/durnovo.html

    • Replies: @AP
  83. rkka says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    “ Once the second arms race started in the late ‘30s every year delay meant more time for the Allies to catch up with the German head start and overtake them.”

    After Adolf started rearming, British policy focused on homeland air defense, maritime defense, Imperial policing, and pretty much nothing else.

    https://www.mearsheimer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/A0003.pdf

    And once Chamberlain guaranteed Poland & the British Army started to get a trickle of money, the British still lacked the financial strength to build a large army, while the French lacked the demographic strength.

    And none of this would develop in time to save Poland with a substantial Western military intervention against the German forces in the West. So from 1939 on, the Anglo-French were in no position to do anything but sit behind the Maginot Line.

  84. AP says:
    @rkka

    They assumed it, eagerly, back when the initial broad planning for Case White was completed back in April 1939. Gleefully. It was self-evident to them. It was also self-evident to Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, head of the British delegation to the August 1939 military staff talks in Moscow, and to the Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the British armed forces. And the course & outcome of the Polish campaign showed that their professional military judgements were correct. The only thing the German high command feared was large scale & determined Western military intervention, which the German intelligence services could find no indication of.

    In that case, why hand over so much territory to the Soviets, that Germany otherwise expected to quickly capture?

    The suspicion grows that you’re just upset that the Nazis didn’t have the advantage of getting to conquer all of Poland before launching Barbarossa.

    It looks like you’ve achieved Godwin’s Law.

    No, I am not a Nazi fan.

    • Replies: @rkka
  85. AP says:
    @rkka

    “ If it wasn’t for Lenin the Russians would have come out of that war clear victors, probably with troops sitting in Königsberg by the summer of 1918. And maybe in Konstantingrad as well.”

    When the shops of your capital city have nothing in them but “No Bread” signs, it means you have lost the war.

    Everyone had food shortages:

    https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/rationing-and-food-shortages-during-the-first-world-war

    https://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/firstworldwar/brit-breadline.htm

    Bolsheviks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and caused Russia to lose what Russia was owed from German defeat.

    • Replies: @rkka
  86. Mikhail says: • Website

    Western revisionism on the start of WW II includes downplaying the fact that Britain, France and Poland didn’t declare war on Nazi Germany and not the USSR.

    An overall worthwhile thread in understanding this matter along with Vlasov and the ROA (POA).

  87. AP says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Russian performance in WWI was much better than remembered (they also beat the crap out of the same Turks who were able to keep ANZAC troops on the beach for months)

    Exactly. The Tsar’s military defeated both the Ottomans and the Austrians and held the Germans at bay. The Soviets barely defeated Finland and allowed the Germans to kill 27 million Soviet citizens.

    If it wasn’t for Lenin the Russians would have come out of that war clear victors, probably with troops sitting in Königsberg by the summer of 1918. And maybe in Konstantingrad as well.

    Russia would have had a seat at Versailles. It would have at least retained all of the territory the Soviets gained with M-R. Plus it would have retained Finland and Armenian-inhabited parts of Turkey it had seized during the war. Poland would probably not be given back but might be a puppet state of some sort. This Russia would not have lost millions of its people to Communist genocide. And because this Russia would not have been a genocidal monstrosity, it would not have been a pariah state whom no decent country would want to ally with. Expect alliances with Greece (now including Constantinople) and Yugoslavia, at least. Probably also France. Interesting if there would be an emergent rivalry with Britain in the Middle East.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    , @Mikhail
  88. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Peter Akuleyev

    If Russia didn’t strike early in the war into Germany, that would’ve helped as well. Russia at the time wasn’t well prepared to launch such a campaign. That experience explains why Stalin was cautious in not wanting to upset Nazi Germany just prior to when Operation Barbarossa occurred. He knew that the USSR had limits at the time of M-R.

    In WW II, the Nazis were ideologically idiotic in not utilizing Vlasov in somewhat the same manner as Lenin was used by the Germans in WW I. One key difference being that Vlasov was motivated by a Russian patriotism, unlike Lenin’s left internationalist stance.

    Related:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/12/14/czech-russian-relations-and-the-roa-conflicting-historical-narratives/

    • Replies: @AP
  89. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    The Soviets barely defeated Finland and allowed the Germans to kill 27 million Soviet citizens.

    Had a good deal to do with underestimating the Finns. Around the same time, the Soviets walloped the Japanese. The Soviets respected Japan’s ability on account of the Russo-Japanese War.

  90. AP says:
    @Mikhail

    In WW II, the Nazis were ideologically idiotic in not utilizing Vlasov in somewhat the same manner as Lenin was used by the Germans in WW I.

    You are correct here. All it would do for the Germans to easily and quickly wipe out the Soviets would have been to follow Germany’s first world war approach. But of course this would have been antithetical to Nazism, the Germans got wiser only when it was already to late, and too little.

  91. rkka says:
    @AP

    “In that case, why hand over so much territory to the Soviets, that Germany otherwise expected to quickly capture?”

    Because they thought it would reduce the chance of a Western military intervention. That’s why Adolf was surprised by the Anglo-French declarations of war on 3 September. Now, they were wrong about that, but that’s why they did it. And they were perfectly willing to run the risk anyway, because they were so confident of conquering Poland quickly.

    “No, I am not a Nazi fan.”

    That’s good to know.

  92. rkka says:
    @AP

    “ Everyone had food shortages:”

    Bad enough that the supreme national leader felt he had to quit his job?

    • Replies: @AP
  93. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    Plus it would have retained Finland and Armenian-inhabited parts of Turkey it had seized during the war. Poland would probably not be given back but might be a puppet state of some sort.

    In this scenario, it’s quite possible that Poland and Finland would be independent. Regarding these two entities, the Russian mindset of that period was pretty much on par with English attitudes towards Ireland.

    • Replies: @AP
  94. AP says:
    @rkka

    He made many mistakes; his abdication and the way it was done was one of them. It was not forced.

  95. AP says:
    @Mikhail

    Poland yes, and it would be done on terms acceptable to Russia. Either as a puppet (like Poland during the Cold War) or like as a harmless friendly/neutral buffer (like Finland during the Cold War).

    Finland, doubtful.

    So in addition to having much more territory, a Bolshevik-less Russia would have been much stronger diplomatically.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  96. @rkka

    On the debate of @rkka @AP and @Peter Akuleyev I would like to contribute a few things.

    1- There was no chance that the French would hit the Germans hard while Poland was defeated (2 weeks). The French were still mobilizing, and the few divisions they could command Saar quickly smashed into German defenses. After the defeat of Poland, starting an offensive against a much superior enemy was crazy, in the same way, the worsening weather led Hitler to postpone the invasion of France, hence the phony war.

    2- This was also what happened in 1938, with Czechoslovakia having a life expectancy of a few weeks, and a much weaker French army than in 1940, Hitler could easily defeat Czechoslovakia and then defeat France which led to Chamberlain and Daladier to sign the Munich agreement.

    3- Regarding an alleged alliance with the Soviets, considering that the USSR had no border with Germany, its value was close to 0. Either because the Soviets were able to evade the war while France was massacred or because the Soviets did not have ability to carry out any offensive against Germany even if Poland and Romania allowed the passage of troops (impossible).

    4- In my opinion it does not make much sense to compare the performance of Russia in 1913 and 1940. Considering that industrialization is a cumulative period and that industrialization was already underway at a good pace in the late nineteenth century it is completely normal that the USSR was stronger than the Russian Empire. Russia in 1913 had a huge underutilized peasant reserve that as it moves into industry will simply bury Germans whose reserve is 4-5 times less. Therefore Russia’s strength will increase much more rapidly than that of Germany in the 20th century regardless of government.

  97. On the debate of @rkka and @Peter Akuleyev I would like to contribute a few things.

    1- There was no chance that the French would hit the Germans hard while Poland was defeated (2 weeks). The French were still mobilizing, and the few divisions they could command Saar quickly smashed into German defenses. After the defeat of Poland, starting an offensive against a much superior enemy was crazy, in the same way, the worsening weather led Hitler to postpone the invasion of France, hence the phony war.

    2- This was also what happened in 1938, with Czechoslovakia having a life expectancy of a few weeks, and a much weaker French army than in 1940, Hitler could easily defeat Czechoslovakia and then defeat France which led to Chamberlain and Daladier to sign the Munich agreement.

    3- Regarding an alleged alliance with the Soviets, considering that the USSR had no border with Germany, its value was close to 0. Either because the Soviets were able to evade the war while France was massacred or because the Soviets did not have ability to carry out any offensive against Germany even if Poland and Romania allowed the passage of troops (impossible).

    4- In my opinion it does not make much sense to compare the performance of Russia in 1913 and 1940. Considering that industrialization is a cumulative period and that industrialization was already underway at a good pace in the late nineteenth century it is completely normal that the USSR was stronger than the Russian Empire. Russia in 1913 had a huge underutilized peasant reserve that as it moves into industry will simply bury Germans whose reserve is 4-5 times less. Therefore Russia’s strength will increase much more rapidly than that of Germany in the 20th century regardless of government.

  98. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    Poland yes, and it would be done on terms acceptable to Russia. Either as a puppet (like Poland during the Cold War) or like as a harmless friendly/neutral buffer (like Finland during the Cold War).

    Finland, doubtful.

    So in addition to having much more territory, a Bolshevik-less Russia would have been much stronger diplomatically.

    Prior to WW I, Finland was closer to being an independent entity than Poland.

    Miliukov favored a very broad autonomy for Finland within Russian borders. Kolchak and Denikin are on record for not opposing an independent Finnish state. Wrangel didn’t have the reputation for being more hard-line on former Russian Empire independence movements than Denikin and Kolchak. Before WW I, Wrangel commanded a Finnish military unit. On the latter point:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=VTGyn4swQ6oC&pg=RA3-PA23&lpg=RA3-PA23&dq=peter+wrangel+on+finland&source=bl&ots=3TxM4fWA9h&sig=ACfU3U1_Cab-WeUuTtdTfHcaTE6PbgIXgA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiLm9nPuZnqAhUKVd8KHeieDQ4Q6AEwA3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=peter%20wrangel%20on%20finland&f=false

    Regarding the hypothetical circumstance under discussion, something could’ve very well worked out along the lines of a post-WW I non-Communist Russia, formally recognizing an independent Finnish state, albeit with a Russian military presence – something that (in more modern times) was arranged by the US and USSR with some other countries.

  99. rkka says:

    “ 2- This was also what happened in 1938, with Czechoslovakia having a life expectancy of a few weeks, and a much weaker French army than in 1940, Hitler could easily defeat Czechoslovakia and then defeat France which led to Chamberlain and Daladier to sign the Munich agreement.”

    Czechoslovakia, due to her world class arms industry, had more tanks equivalent to the German PzIII than Germany did in 1938. Czechoslovakia also had much better defensive terrain than Poland did. Plus, the German plan for invading Czechoslovakia, Case Green, split the German armored force into 3 parts, so Czech armor, in a central reserve, could mass on each in turn.

    “3- Regarding an alleged alliance with the Soviets, considering that the USSR had no border with Germany, its value was close to 0. Either because the Soviets were able to evade the war while France was massacred or because the Soviets did not have ability to carry out any offensive against Germany even if Poland and Romania allowed the passage of troops (impossible).“

    The Anglo-French-Soviet military staff talks in Moscow in August ‘39 was assisting the defense of Poland if the Germans attacked, not invading Germany.

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