Author’s Note: Russian-language records contained in the Soviet Archive (now available online) state that when the Soviet Red Army swept through the Ukraine in 1944, it soon defeated the regular Nazi German military formations – its rear echelons soon came under attack from Nazi-supporting Western Ukrainian guerrilla units commanded by non-surrender Nazi German Officers who had ‘volunteered’ to stay behind and attempt to harass and slow-up the advance of the Soviets toward Germany. Red Army soldiers found arms-dumps in the Ukrainian countryside piled full of weaponry originating from the US and UK. Joseph Stalin stated that as it was ‘unknown’ at the time how these Nazi-sympathisers had come into possession of these supplies, (as they could have been captured elsewhere by Nazi German forces and ‘diverted’ to the Ukraine), the USSR would continue to meet all its agreed obligations to its Western allies. As a consequence, the Red Army would push on to Berlin – whilst the ‘Special’ troops of the NKVD would move into the Ukraine behind the advance and take-over the fighting. NKVD soldiers were usually very well educated in Marxist-Leninist ideology and understood that their task was to ‘protect the Revolution’. They wore distinctive uniforms, carried better weaponry and were trained in a very different manner to regular Red Army troops. NKVD troops were tasked with inflicting the greatest damage upon the forces of reaction and the bourgeoisie in the quickest time possible! This was to ‘protect’ the Socialist Rights of the ordinary people who were not in a position to fight the forces of tyranny. The neo-Nazi insurgency war in the Ukraine lasted from 1945 to 1947 – with similar (defeated) insurgencies seen in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The US, UK and EU-backed ‘Maidan’ regime (which ‘illegally’ took power in 2014), is ‘neo-Nazi’ and perceives its existence as being an ideological extension of those Ukrainian Nazis defeated in 1947. In the meantime, modern Poland, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia, etc, now have far-right governments that eulogise the Nazi German invasion of the 1940s, and which packages the Soviet ‘liberation’ of their lands as tyrannical invasions! ACW (8.1.2021)
‘As regards collaborators sent to camps during and after the war, no reliable figures are available either. During the war, a number of “disloyal” nationalities – Volga Germans, Crimean Tartars, Kalmuks and several Caucasian Moslem nationalities – had been deported en masse to Siberia, including all the women, children and even communist and Komsomols. The operation was in the nature of a resettlement, and if some were sent to actual forced labour camps, they were in a small minority.
Regarding the other nationalities who were not deported en masse, those of which had the highest number of genuine and suspected collaborators were undoubtedly the Baltic Republics, which had been reannexed by the Soviet Union barely a year before the German invasion, and the Western Ukraine (acquired as a result of the “partition” of Poland between the Soviet Union and Germany in 1939). The Baltic Republics, which had become independent “bourgeois republics” in 1918-19, naturally would have greatly preferred the Germans to the Russians, had they been able to make a choice in 1939-40. The only pro-Russians in these countries were their numerically almost negligible working-class. The Latvian workers had, indeed, a powerful revolutionary tradition, and Latvians – having escaped from their “bourgeois” homeland – were extremely prominent in Russia in the early years of the Revolution – as soldiers, commissars (including many with “cabinet rank”), economic experts and above all perhaps, as Cheka officials and executioners. But the vast majority of the three Baltic States were bourgeois kulak and, therefore, pro-German and often pro-Nazi and savagely anti-Semitic. Probably least hostile to Russia of the three Baltic Republics was Estonia, though, oddly enough, in the 1946 “election results” – for what they are worth – there were slightly more abstention and “No” votes in Estonia than in either Latvia or Lithuania.
Since the great majority of the population (apart from the Jews) could be said to have “collaborated” in some measure with the Germans after having been re-incorporated by Russia for only a year, no particular loyalty to the latter could in fact have been expected, and the Baltic deportees, though numerous, did not apparently run into more than 10,000 or 20,000 – fewer than had been deported during the first Russian takeover in 1940. Moreover, the most violently anti-Soviet people had fled in very large numbers to Germany when, in the summer and autumn of 1944, Russians were about to overrun or had already overrun the Baltic States.
Proportionally to their numbers, very many more people were deported from the Western Ukraine than from the Baltic States. Cities like Lwow were hotbeds of the most extreme Ukrainian nationalism, fascism and antisemitism; and the Western Ukraine was by far the most pro-Nazi part of the Soviet Union to have been occupied by the Germans. For at least two years after the war a savage guerrilla war was waged by Ukrainian nationalists with Nazi officers, against the Russians. In 1947 I had a long talk with a young Russian I know who had been drafted into the NKVD troops who fought the Ukrainian guerrillas, as well as the Armija Krajowa Polish guerrillas on either side of the Polish Ukrainian border. It was a very fierce business, and both sides had to be completely ruthless.
“I was too young to be called up before the end of the war, and it was all quite new, and pretty horrible to me. We had to go on punitive expeditions, we lost a lot of people ourselves, and the most unpleasant thing of all, for me, was to stand some of these Poles and Ukrainians against a wall and shoot them. I know that if we didn’t shoot them, they would shoot us; but, all the same, it was beastly. I had never shot anybody in my life, and had even hated killing a chicken.”
Some years later I met the same boy. He had taken to drink, and his heavy drinking, he said, had started during that guerrilla war.
Although there were many points in common between Eastern and Western Ukraine, which had formed part of Poland between the two wars (until 1918 it had been about half-Russian, half-Austro-Hungarian), above all their anti-Semitism. Eastern Ukraine had been Russian for centuries and for over twenty-five years Soviet, and was still very different from the Western Ukraine. Soviet indoctrination of a whole generation had after all considerably weakened the traditional Ukrainian anti-Semitism. Moreover, to the vast majority of Eastern Ukrainians, Russia was the homeland, and their Soviet, or Russian, patriotism was as great as that of the Russians themselves. True, for a short-time after the invasion of 1941, the Germans behaved like “liberators” of the Ukraine, and were far less brutal there than in Russia proper. But this did not last long. By the beginning of 1942 Eastern Ukraine became the chief German reservoir for slave labour in the East. At least 2 or 3 million people – men and women – were deported to Germany. Alfred Rosenberg’s “theory” that the Ukrainians were real Aryans, while the Russians were “Untermenchen”, and that the former should, therefore, be given preferential treatment was dismissed by other top Nazis and Hitler himself as unrealistic; to Erich Koch, the Nazi Reichskommissar of the Ukraine, the Ukrainians had, indeed, been Untermenchen from the start.”
Alexander Werth: Russia – The Post-War Years, Taplinger, (1971), Pages 26-28