Ph.D. Vladimir A. Litvinenko
Interview for the project
Fascism-XXI at your door
November 30, 2012.
Video part 1
To continue the discussion of the film “The Soviet Story” actively promoted in the West today, a few issues should be addressed. Well, first of all, why is it now, more precisely in the second half of 2011, an intensive promotion of the film has been initiated, it has been translated into 30 languages and pushed into the media circulation?
This question is easy and difficult at the same time. Because… Simply because this film is just another brick in the big wall of the anti-Russian propaganda, going on in all times and not only in the Soviet period.
If we put aside the seriousness of this issue and consider this anti-Russian hysteria in the West as a separate phenomenon we will see that it has a history of at least 200 years.
Moreover, if we look through the headlines of the French, American, English, Polish newspapers starting from, at least, the Crimean War1 we will see that their scope remains almost the same.
We may recall a very popular statement of the US President Woodrow Wilson, made in 1915 that America applauded to the efforts of Russians on the fronts of the World War; however the final victory of the Russian Empire was highly undesirable, as it would strongly destabilize Europe. He said that about an ally!
The Prime Minister of England Lloyd George, when he learnt about the Emperor's abdication, said: «Thank, God! One goal of the war is achieved! ». This speaks volumes.
The West has always been annoyed by the closed character of Russia, inaccessibility of its markets and natural resources, the impossibility of solving their own problems at Russia’s expense. It has been perceived as something wrong and unfair.
That is the origin for the criticism against the tsarism, the autocracy, the government system, the Russian Orthodox Church as the stronghold of the Russian statehood. So, this is an old story. However, let's leave the history alone and get back to our time.
The American newspaper «Digital metro United States» was very straightforward in the article on April 11, 2012 about the situation in Syria. They predicted that the UN resolution on Syria would be destroyed by Russian and Chinese vetoes and admitted that no matter how these two nations voted, the West would always hate Russia more. Finally they expressed distress over the situation when a huge country extending over many thousands kilometers makes problems everywhere - form China and North Korea to the Baltics and the Black Sea. Wherever you go you will find either Russian territory or its pipeline, which makes it more difficult to divide and rule.
Well, no comments. However, some comments are still needed. Not for the article itself, as it was discussed in sufficient detail by Sergei Kurginyan in the 19th issue of his cycle “The Meaning of the Game”―rather, it is hatred of the West towards Russia that needs to be commented.
In 2005, on the eve of the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory Konstantin von Eggert of BBC said that the war remained the only bright episode in the Soviet period of history for the majority of the Russian population, therefore it was declared to be beyond any critical research or discussion.
And, encouraging Russia to rethink its past, he suggested quite straightforwardly that today, only a deep nation-wide crisis could drive the Russians back to the situation of the late 80s when a hot discussion over the Soviet history was in full swing and interrupted later in the 90s.
Of course, that was not said about the Soviet history as such, although, among other things, about the Soviet history as well. That was said about the Great Patriotic War and its background. This is what this film is about.
So let us cover a few questions at once. Why is it now that this film has become so popular?
Well, the first reason is a deep nation-wide crisis which they tried to bring to us in late 2011―early 2012, before and during the presidential elections―the parliamentary elections and then the presidential ones. It was the aim of the community that gathered at Bolotnaya Street and Sakharov Square. Among other things, it was one of their objectives.
Simultaneously, the promotion of this film begins. The situation in Russia is heated up, there is a national crisis and a crisis of the authority―and again we discuss the dark chapters of our history, repent and acknowledge our mistakes. Not this time, gentlemen!
The situation had twisted dramatically. In Russia, this film went almost unnoticed. There was some reaction from the experts who once again rubbed the “Western historians’ ” noses in their own excretions.
Also, even in the article in «Digital metro United States» cited above it was clear that the Russians have learnt to overcome crises. The article dealt with an economic crisis though, but I can assure my Western colleagues that it is not only economic crises that we have learnt to overcome.
It is time to realize one simple thing: a blatant, clumsy falsification will not work. And this film is exactly this kind of falsification.
I do not remember who said this: “If you want to do dirt on somebody, do it professionally”. Please, be more sophisticated. First, it will be interesting to a researcher. Countering well-done ideological dirt is a serious intellectual work. And now we have to deal with blatant foolishness and baby talk.
Another issue I would like to address is the allegation that the NKVD (The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) and Gestapo were planning joint actions against the “Jewish threat”, which was allegedly discussed at a meeting between the NKVD and Gestapo in 1940, and even some papers were said to be signed.
This issue has been researched in great detail in the book “The tissue of lies”2 about this film.
However, I would like to mention a few issues that are left aside in the book. First of all, why Gestapo? If the Latvian historians are willing to research this subject they should better understand the structure of the Third Reich state administration first.
Gestapo―Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police) ― was a homeland police that was only active in the Vaterland, that is, within Germany, and was responsible for specific issues.
Therefore, allegations that the NKVD could sign anything with Gestapo are just nonsense. Second, when a statement is made and it is supported by some documents that are crudely made up, people’s military ranks mismatch their positions, the people themselves fall out of the pattern as they were at different positions and at different times―these are still minor issues. Please adduce one single photograph or show a verbatim.
Perhaps something cannot be found in the Soviet archives. But they work in the West. In the Third Reich, no piece of paper was ever lost. They kept everything.
However, nothing like that has been presented. Well, this is such a poorly made fake that it is not worth talking about it, and still it is actively pushed into circulation and promoted.
Times have changed, and people have become much more demanding―not only in our country but in the West as well.
If the “historians” from the Baltic States and Western Europe disrespect Russian people so much, at least they should respect their own people.
Video part 2
Another interesting matter I would like to discuss is Stalin’s refusal to join the Anti-Hitler Coalition. This matter is researched in the film quite closely. So, what is it all about?
Well, first of all, let us sort out the terms. What is the “Anti-Hitler Coalition”? Here is a quotation: “A union of states and peoples formed during the World War II against the aggressive block of Germany, Italy, Japan and their satellites. The Anti-Hitler Coalition included the USSR, Great Britain, the United States of America, France and China, and also Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and some other countries that combatted against the Axis Powers or provided military help to the Allies. By the end of the War the Anti-Hitler Coalition included 56 states. So, they say Stalin refused to join the Anti-Hitler Coalition.―The formation of the Anti-Hitler Coalition is conventionally considered to begin with an agreement3 between the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics and Great Britain about joint actions in the war against the Nazi Germany signed on July 12 1941”. End of quotation.4
Thus, any discussion about the Anti-Hitler Coalition should start from 1941. In the film, they are talking about 1939.
To be more specific, they are talking about the efforts of the Soviet diplomacy and the Soviet government before the non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany was signed―the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact5.
The authors apparently meant the attempts to establish a collective security system. Such attempts were made only by the Soviet Union, but they completely failed because all the efforts by the Soviet diplomacy and the Soviet government faced an ambiguous, to put it nicely, policy of the Great Powers, first of all England and France… and Poland with huge ambitions to become a great power.
The measures suggested by the government of the Soviet Union could have become a real basis for such a system and put an end to the Nazi Germany claims.
But this would have clearly strengthened the role of the Soviet Union in the European affairs, which was contrary to the interests of England, France, and of course Poland which considered the Soviet Union its enemy number one those days.
There is more to it, Poland was basically the only European power, besides Nazi Germany, not only willing but also capable of waging war against the Soviet Union.
The myth that the Polish army was weak, a lamb against a wolf, meaning Nazi Germany, is a mere myth. The Polish army was quite powerful and capable of mounting a substantial resistance to Nazis, which they did.
It is a different story that it lacked command as Polish government simply abandoned their people and army. Nowadays Polish people are very frank about this fact neither was it a secret for Polish officers back in 1939. The evidence is abundant, we do not even need to cite them – so generally known they are. Some in the West might be unaware of this, yet it is a pretty well-known thing in our country.
So as not to be groundless, I will repeat the words of Arthur Neville Chamberlain, in September 1938, prior to his meeting with Adolf Hitler, he said that Germany and Great Britain were the two pillars of European peace and anti-communism and thus had to peacefully overcome their disagreements. He said explicitly that it would be possible to find a solution in European politics acceptable for all parties except for Russia.6
These words came from none other than the prime-minister of Britain, a high official of a great power we intended to sign a European security treaty with. Any treaty is out of the question if the prime-minister himself takes such a stand.
In May, 1939 Colin Kutt, a British journalist said that Chamberlain essentially desired the dominance of Nazi ideals within Europe, fueled by his disdain towards the Soviet Union.
When it came to France, the road they took was no different from the others. In his memoirs Charles de Gaulle wrote: “It should be noted that Stalin rather than Hitler was deemed the enemy in some circles. Their primary concern was to rally up forces to defeat Russia. They would assist Finland or consider bombing Baku and invading Istanbul rather than defeating Reich”7 – end of quote.
The above suggests only one conclusion that for some reason the great powers had no need in a collective security system.
Let’s ponder over what the reason could be. Why would they need a stronger Reich? No doubt, the strong Reich could wage war against the powerful Soviet Union.
No other objectives are there. That is why Poland was abandoned to Germany. Precisely abandoned, as the defense treaty, signed by Poland and England on August 25, 19398 clearly obligated England not only to declare war on anyone, invading Poland, but also to engage in an active warfare in consequence of aggression against the country.
The course of the Polish campaign – this is how Germans called it, under this name it is referred to by numerous encyclopedias – reveals amazing fact: The German troops advanced through the Polish territory encountering absolutely no resistance while three major formations of the Polish army were still holding the positions at the border. The German army just outflanked them. There were just few sporadic skirmishes.
Reporting to the headquarters on advance through the Polish territory German generals wondered: “Is anyone going to fight here?” On the third day the Polish pulled themselves together as they had realized that no one was coming to their rescue.
Many put blame on the Soviet Union for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which supposedly opened the doors for the World War II. The Germans invaded Poland and then Nazi Germany and our country are considered equally responsible. It is far from the truth to say the least.
First of all, western borders of the Reich were open. Siegfried line9 was just a narrow line of trenches reinforced with two rows of barbed wire.
The line had neither considerable anti-tank traps, sizable artillery nor numerous troops positioned on it. 33 Landsturm divisions would be up against 76 fully equipped French divisions reinforced by English troops. As a matter of fact, there was no need to fight for real; it would have been enough to show the muscles. But the allies did not do even that.
As far as I know, the French forces moved 18 kilometers deep into the German territory towards Saarbrucken and then stopped on the order of their command. Some time later, never engaging with the German forces, they returned to their original positions on another order from their command.
In fact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did not secure Western borders of the Reich in any way. Therefore, England and France could easily solve the problem and fulfill their allied obligations to Poland. But they did not make a single move.
Let's go back to August, 25th. At this time the Reich forces closed in on Polish borders. When Hitler had learnt that Poland signed a defense treaty with England he went to extreme measures to halt the war machine.
It takes a considerable effort to stop forces once such an order was issued. Nevertheless, it was done.
On August 27, 193910, Ambassador of Great Britain to Germany, Nevile Henderson handed over to Hitler a Communication from His Majesty which expressly read that in case Germany invaded Poland – a war yet unseen in history would break out, though if Germany agreed to enter into direct discussions with Poland – England shall settle any differences.
On August 2811, in response to the aforementioned Reply of His Majesty's Government to the German Chancellor's Communications Hitler wrote: Germany is “prepared to accept the English proposal and to enter into direct discussions”. The only pre-requisite was a Polish negotiator with decision making authority to arrive in the Reich.
Colonel Beck was on everyone’s mind. On 29th of August – total silence. On 30th the news came from Poland: “total mobilization”. And what were they expecting?
Under any international law, total mobilization is a casus belli. As much as I hate to play the devil's advocate, yet in this particular case, no matter how strange it may seem, Hitler complied with every single clause of the International law.
The Polish counted on support of Britain, and had the support been provided, I'm sure, I'm positive that the three Polish attack formations positioned on the border would show how you fight these wars. There would be hell to pay.
Yet, Britain had no intention to defend Poland. The Polish military attaché in London never gained an audience either with the Secretary of War or with the Prime Minister. One was busy, the second one went fishing and the third one was away. Eventually the Polish realized no one was coming to help them.
An amazing fact - Poland developments had the British Parliament boiling with debates. Representatives from the Labour Party called for bombings, yet bombing the Schwarzwald rather than military facilities.
They argued it in a mind-boggling way: “so that Germans could smell the war on their territory”. And bombings were to start immediately so that autumn rains could not soak the forest. The Secretary of state for air responded: “Oh you can not do that, that’s private property. You’ll be asking me to bomb the Ruhr next”.
Therefore, the fate of Poland was sealed. With time to mount an offensive defense lost, the Polish army drew on the German motorized infantry units from the border. The Polish army had no chance being 3-4 days behind the German troops. Besides, there was no central command. The documents indicate that the Polish government fled the capital on the sixth day and the country on the seventeenth day of the campaign.
Video part 3
The government retreated in an orderly fashion all archives were packed and shipped out: military, intelligence, Foreign Ministry and others. What does it suggest? It simply means that the government was preparing to flee rather than organize defense. Any defense is out of question under such conditions.
I do not mean in any way to question heroism of Polish soldiers and officers who held out to the last resort. In Kutno region Germans faced a fierce resistance, Warsaw fought to the bitter end, they covered themselves with glory and did not deserve any reproach, this does not apply to the Polish government, who betrayed their people and the army.
The following diplomatic note was delivered to the ambassador of Poland: “Given that Poland has practically ceased to exist, the Soviet Government holds it its duty to take protection over territories that previously constituted a part of the Soviet Union – Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia”12.
Only after that the Soviet troops crossed the former border of Poland, by that time already former, as the government fled the country and the country had basically ceased to exit.
No Soviet soldier treaded on the Polish, actual Polish soil.
Besides that, while the great powers declared war on Germany, the same was not done to the Soviet Union. A reasonable question arises then: “Why?” if now the West is all about proving that the Soviet Union is equally responsible for the hostilities and the outbreak of the World War II, why did not Britain and France declare war on the USSR in 1939, as they did to Germany. Obviously, the international community did not consider the Soviet Union as an aggressor.
As far as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is concerned, an appropriate committee in the League of Nations registered it because it was perfectly legal and legitimate.
Not to mention similar agreements with Germany signed earlier by France, England and Poland.
Whatever might be said about Adolf Hitler today, in 1938-1939 he was a perfectly respectable politician recognized by the world community. In 1936 Germany hosted the Olympic Games. Athletes from 49 countries greeted the Nazi flag and anthem at the Olympics opening ceremony.
Why could not the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact with such a country? By the way, the Soviet athletes did not attend those Olympic Games.
Hence a simple conclusion: the collective security system would have hampered the fascist Germany in coming close to the Soviet borders.
The first barrier was Poland – that is why Poland was given away to Hitler. Hitler obtained the common border with the Soviet Union, thus, he got the real opportunity to go to war with us.
One might object: “At first there was war in the West!” Indeed, there was war in the West first – the Western world declared war on Nazi Germany, and till May 10th they led the so-called “Phoney War”13 – no bombing, no raids, nothing.
After May 10th the active phase of the war in the West began, and in 44 days it ended in crushing defeat of the allies: the surrender of France, the Dunkirk evacuation of British, and partly French, troops, declaring Paris an open city, and so on with all other consequences.
This begs the question: was the Third Reich’s army of that time so strong, that the best armies of Europe could oppose nothing to it? – This statement gives rise to serious doubts.
The Wehrmacht of the year 1939 was not the Wehrmacht we had fought against
It was the force that the allies could really defeat, but they did not.
If we look at the casualty statistics that the parties suffered in this conflict we’ll be surprised: Germany lost 21 thousand killed; the allies lost 87 thousand killed – providing that over million-strong armies had clashed.
These numbers indicate that there were no military operations at all, it was rather a decent imitation of the military operations.
Nevertheless, I do not want to cast a shadow on the French soldiers and officers who really tried to do something and defend themselves, their motherland up to the last ditch, but they were in the minority.
Video part 4
Thereby, Western Europe was completely thrown down in 44 days. Should we call it a military catastrophe? A military catastrophe occurs when an army fights to the last, when a nation suffers enormous losses and ravages, nevertheless the enemy is strong and achieves a triumph.
In this case, Europe gave up itself to Hitler right as rain. No town, no plant was destroyed, everything worked perfectly. True, Germans managed to setup production with difficulty, because the economy of Germany and Western Europe rather varied. By the year of 1943 they, however, had coped with the problem.
If the goal was to establish a huge corporation to be controlled by the Third Reich for some time (and today all evidence supports this version), then it is clear there was no need in the collective security system. It explains why all the attempts of the Soviet Union were blocked.
At any rate, it is at the very least indecent, to accuse the country that lost 27 million killed in a struggle with fascism of being its accomplice.
Video part 5
Another one rather interesting question to be taken up concerning this film is that in Ukraine, in Eastern Europe after the war there were lots of underground groups planted by the Third Reich.
All of them were under the patronage of the Central Intelligence Agency, and were called the “deterrence”, the push back strategy towards the Soviet Union, and the “liberation strategy” - the liberation of Eastern Europe from us, of course.
In 1956 general Reinhard Gehlen was appointed chief of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). He was a very good fit for the post, and as far as I know, general Gehlen worked in Abwehr and knew this business. Moreover, it was he who was in control of establishing these underground groups on the territories which the German forces had left.
After the war this network moved under the aegis of British and American intelligence. Naturally, they started to utilize it, especially in the Soviet Union.
I think, till the year of 1958, in Ukraine and in the Baltic States we had to deal with the Forest Brothers and different armed bands which still had not surrendered.
This struggle caused death of hundreds and thousands people.
Question: “Could it be that the same scenario with the Baltic fascists is taking place today for weakening Russian position in these countries?”
Of course, it is. It is natural that the standing of Russia today is not as strong as the one of the Soviet Union, but also is not as weak as our Western partners would like it to be. The article I have quoted previously shows it very well.
The Russian position is irritating because we defend our interests. Of course, the West defends its interests too, it has a right to it, but they must not get out of line.
What happens in the Baltic States is their headache, but the SS legionary marches are a bit too much, in my opinion. The Western society takes it too easy and displays loyalty, to say the least.
After all, the activity of the Central Intelligence Agency is their duty. They had the probable enemy, the Soviet Union after the World War II and after the Iron Curtain was dropped, remember when Churchill in Fulton delivered his famous speech: “an iron curtain has descended across the Continent”.
After the Iron Curtain went down we became the probable enemy No 1 for the West. It is no secret that the USA was the enemy No 1 for us. We prepared operations against them; they did the same against us. They used the material they had.
The Third Reich provided them with more than enough material. Their intelligence service would have lost face if it had not taken advantage of this material, and of course they seized the opportunity. They certainly took advantage of the available personnel, and the striking evidence of it was the appointment of general Gehlen to the post of chief of the Federal Intelligence Service.
Naturally, general Gehlen mobilized his agents, probably even the agents unknown to the Americans and the British.
He was a professional. Yes, he was an enemy, a powerful enemy, but he was a professional. He was doing his job. For a long time we struggled rather successfully, judging by the fact that we had managed to cope with the problem by the mid-50s. Not without problems, not without efforts, not without losses, but we succeeded in the Baltic States and in Western Ukraine.
And about the today’s efforts to revive the old powers… Greek philosophers have said “You can’t step into the same river twice”. Of course, our partners will try to weaken our positions in the post-Soviet space and to strengthen their line, but the problem is that the situation in the West, including economy, took a turn for the worse. And the worse the situation in the West, including those who sworn to the West, becomes, the stronger the position of Russia in the post-Soviet space will be.
As far as I know, the situation in the Baltic States is really bleak, many of them start recollecting good memories about the Soviet Union.
Not only there: recently, literally this week in Czechoslovakia there was a march of one hundred thousand working people under red banners, the banners of the USSR and under the slogan “The Prague Spring was a mistake”15.
Instead of accusing the Soviet Union of those sins that we did not commit, the West should better deal with its own problems which are piling up.
And if these problems are not solved, they should at least appeal to the recent history, because fascist accession to power was the result of the same problems in Germany. Now the situation is very similar.
And if Nazism is put on a pedestal in the context of these problems, the West will get what it deserves.
I do not want the situation to be brought to this point, because it could become so bad you'd wish it had never happened.
This is Pandora’s Box and in my opinion it should not be open. We had a rough time closing it in 1945 and there's no need to open it again.
1 The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia.
5 signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939
"Ourselves and Germany" Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.
7 Charles DeGaulle War Memoirs Vol 1. The Call to Honor 1940-1942
9 The Siegfried Line was a defense system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. It went from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands; along the western border of the old German Empire as far as the town of Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland. More with Nazi propaganda in mind than for any strategic reason, Adolf Hitler planned the line from 1936 and had it built between 1938 and 1940. On 24 August 1944, Hitler gave a directive for renewed construction on the Siegfried Line.
13 The Phoney War was a phase early in World War II that was marked by a lack of major military operations by the Western Allies (the United Kingdom and France) against the German Reich. The phase covered the months following Britain and France's declaration of war on Germany (shortly after the invasion of Poland) in September 1939 and preceding the Battle of France in May 1940.