The following article by a Ukrainian politolog and historian in exile Rostislav Ischenko provides a much-needed context for both the current proliferation of Nazism in Ukraine, and the Banderite phenomenon of WWII.
The Great Patriotic War in Ukraine
by Rostislav Ischenko, published 09.05.2020 on the portal Ukraina.ru and at the open blog platform Kont.
It is sometimes said that the war started earlier for Ukraine than for the rest of the USSR. Thinking of the fact that when Hitler attacked Poland, the Western Ukrainian and Western Belorussian lands were part of the latter and thus also came under attack
This, however, is not entirely true. By the way, this interpretation of events has almost got no traction in Belorussia. And this is logical. The fact is that the German troops attacking Poland did not advance further than the Brest-Lvov line. Serious fighting was only for Lvov over the course of 2 days. After defeating the Polish group that retreated to the city, the Germans abandoned the city, which the Red Army entered, and it, along with all the Western Ukrainian territories, was annexed to the Ukrainian SSR.
If anyone in Ukraine entered the war on September 1, 1939, it was Ukrainian nationalists who opposed the Polish state on the side of Nazi Germany, just as they sided with Hitler against the USSR on June 22, 1941.
This difference between the Western Ukrainian territories and the Ukrainian SSR, the Belorussian SSR, and even the territories of Western Belarus (which were part of Poland before 1939) was well understood by Hitler. The Nazi dictator clearly understood the mentality of the peoples who inhabited the UkSSR much better than his generals and party bonzes. Let’s see how he administratively divided the occupied territories of the USSR.
This post is a translation of an article by a Ukrainian politolog and historian in exile Rostislav Ischenko. The translation will be supplemented with commentary, references and images added by yours truly. This is an important reading to understand the symbolism and history of St.George ribbon – “Georgievskaja lentochka” in Russian.
by Rostislav Ischenko, published 05.05.2020 on the portal Ukraina.ru and at the open blog platform Kont.
On the eve of the Victory Day in Ukraine, as it happened before, there is an increased activity among the nationalists who indict how to “properly” celebrate the holiday. Naturally, leading them all is the Institute of National Memory, the head of which, Anton Drobovich, zealously continues the work of his predecessor Vladimir Vyatrovich to eradicate the memory of the great Victory from the citizens of Ukraine. [Translator note: the naming of the “institute” is the direct nod to Orwell’s “1984”]
It is not accidental the “Anglosaxons” are derisively called “Naglosaxons” by lots of Russian-speaking Internet users. By swapping the first two letters, the meaning of their name starts to reflect their deeds: “impudent saxons”.
Yesterday’s celebrations of the 57th Anniversary of the Victory over the Nazi Germany stated with President Putin laying flowers at the memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the memorial to hero-cities of the USSR – The Brest Fortress, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Sevastopol, Minsk, Odessa, Tula, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Smolensk…
proceeded with a grand air parade over Moscow (the main parade being postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic)…
On June 24, 1945, the first parade dedicated to the victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War was held in Moscow on the Red Square. The combined regiments of the fronts, the combined regiment of the people’s Commissariat of defence, the combined regiment of the Navy, military academies, military schools, and the troops of the Moscow garrison were brought to the Victory Parade. The parade was commanded by Marshal of the Soviet Union K. K. Rokossovsky, and the parade was taken by Marshal of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov. From the podium of the Lenin Mausoleum, Stalin watched the parade, as well as Molotov, Kalinin, Voroshilov, Budyonny and other members of the Politburo.
This film was the first colour film in the USSR. The Victory parade on June 24, 1945 was filmed on German trophy film from the warehouse of “Agfa”. After the film was shot, it turned out that most of the tape had colour defects. As the colour films were not made in the USSR, there was not enough experience in working on colour correction. Therefore, the entire film was transferred to B/W film, and a 19-minute film was edited from the material that was of suitable quality. And many years later, in 2004, the Central State Archive of Film and Photo Documents restored the colour version of the film. The film was restored, removing all mechanical damage to the film, restoring the colour and transferring the image to modern colour film.
I have translated both the full black-and-white version of the Parade, including Marshal Zhukov’s speech, and the shorter colour version. The subtitles can be downloaded separately for the black-and-while film, and for the colour film.
Below the video frames are the complete transcripts, kept here for the reference. I was translating Zhukov’s speech, based on the Russian transcript here. What I found disconcerting, is that the BW documentary was edited to remove any reference to Stalin’s contribution and guidance! It seems the editing was done during the time, when Hrushjov waged his personal vendetta against Stalin’s memory. The colour version, though it does not include Zhukov’s speech, has Stalin “rehabilitated” and properly referenced.
After the 24th of June 1945, the Victory Day parades were held in the USSR 3 more times – at the anniversary dates on the 9th of May 1965, 1985 and 1990. Next time it was conducted in already Russia on the 9th of May 1995, and then annually after that date. In the USSR military parades were customarily held annually on the 7th of November, commemorating the October Revolution.
In order to be re-uploaded with the subtitles, the footage of the B/W film was downloaded from the Classics of the Soviet Cinema YouTube channel. There was one quote in a viewer comment there, which I found especially poignant (note that 9 million is the number of combatant losses according to the early estimates after the war, the total number of the Soviet citizens who lost their lives during the Great Patriotic War is 27 million people):
Once my father expressed a piercing and terrible thought: “Ten thousand soldiers and officers of the armies and fronts participated at the principal Parade in honour of the Victory Day on June 24, 1945. The passage of the parade “boxes” of troops lasted thirty minutes. And you know what I thought? During the four years of the war, the losses of our army amounted to almost nine million dead. And each one of them, who gave the most precious thing to Victory – their lives! – is worthy to walk in that parade on the Red Square. So, if all the dead were put in parade formation, then these “boxes” would go through Red Square for nineteen days… ” and I suddenly, as if in reality, imagined this parade. Parade “boxes” of twenty by ten. One hundred and twenty steps a minute. In windings and boots, overcoats, and jackets, in caps, earflaps, “budenovki”, helmets, caps. And for nineteen days and nights this continuous stream of fallen battalions, regiments, and divisions would have passed through the Red Square. Parade of the heroes, parade of the winners. Think about it! Nineteen days!
— V. Shurygin
The watershed moment of The Great Patriotic War, and of WWII, when it became clear that the Soviet Union would not fall, when the German Fascists can be defeated. The Battle of Moscow. But preceding it was an event of the utmost importance for the morale of the whole country – the Parade on the Red Square on the 7th of November 1941, as Stalin’s unifying and encouraging speech at the parade.
The documentary that I just translated tells the story of filming of the Oscar-winning documentary “Rout of the German Troops Near Moscow” from 1941. But it is much more. It de-crowns several myths – some benign, and some used by the present-day rewriters of WWII history. It tells about the heroism of the front-line cameramen, who filmed and died so that this history would not be forgotten. And it delves into a little-known side of the American-Soviet relations during the war.
The unknown and erased side of WWII brought to light in all its ugly detail in this upcoming documentary by Andrei Medvedev. I have previously translated his eye-opening investigative documentary about the history of Ukainisation, Project ‘Ukraine’. Documentary by Andrei Medvedev (with English subtitles), and I am intending to translate this WWII documentary some time after its release.
In the meantime, here is a translated summary and the complete untranslated film, as well as a fragment of the film at the official youTube channel of Vesti.
It is assumed in our historiography that the USSR and its allies – the United States, Britain and France – fought with Nazi Germany, which was supported by its allies – Hungary, Romania, Italy, and Japan. And the Soviet Union won this unbearably difficult war.
But it is very important to understand whether our allies were really sincere, on whose side were the so-called neutral countries, and why the war on the Eastern front was so violent with mass destruction of the population.
Without understanding who brought Hitler to power, who financed him, who earned money from the war, we will never realize the greatness of the feat of the Soviet people.
Without a deep understanding of the causes of the war and an analysis of diplomatic agreements, we will not see that the attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 was the result of a serious geopolitical process.
An important question is: who was behind Hitler, who in Europe needed such a Germany and why? Aggressive, militarized, anti-Bolshevik and anti-Russian.
What would Germany be without American loans? Without investment from American companies? Germany could not have fought in the East without receiving for free the top-notch factories of Czechoslovakia, which it gained by the Munich Conspiracy of 1938, when England and France gave up the whole country to Hitler. What for? What were the Western politicians planning?
Why did the allies take so long to open a Second front and what is the Bank for International Settlements? Why did its participants meet every month throughout the Second World War?
How many foreigners fought in the SS, and who defended the Reich Chancellery in May 1945? For whom in Europe were Hitler’s ideas so dear: nationalism, anti-Semitism and living space in the East.
The film “The Great Unknown War” is a story about what the Soviet Union actually faced. And the terrible cost at which we won a war that we were not supposed to win.
This historic speech was given by Iosif Stalin at the darkest hour, when the enemy was at the gates of Moscow. The speech and the parade marked the turning point of the war. In many ways it is prophetic, but it also has references to the immediate past, which are important to understand.
Knowing this text will be important for the context of two translations that I intend to publish on and after the Victory day.
Comrade fighters of the Red Army and the Red Navy, commanders and political instructors, labourers, collective farmers, workers of intellectual work, brothers and sisters in the rear of our enemy, temporarily fallen under the yoke of the German brigands, our glorious partisans, destroying the rear of the German invaders!
On behalf of the Soviet government and our Bolshevik party I greet and congratulate you on the 24th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Comrades! It is in difficult conditions that we have to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the October revolution today. The treacherous attack of the German brigands and the war imposed on us have created a threat to our country. We temporarily lost a number of regions, and the enemy found themselves at the gates of Leningrad and Moscow. The enemy counted on the fact that after the first blow our army would be scattered, our country would be brought to its knees. But the enemy cruelly miscalculated. Despite temporary setbacks, our Army and our Navy are heroically repelling the enemy’s attacks throughout the entire front, inflicting heavy damage on them, and our country – our entire country – has organized itself into a single military camp in order to carry out the defeat of the German invaders together with our Army and our Navy. Continue reading →
Sevastopol. The Crimean city that the locals say survived three sieges, the longest one ending in 2014. The second siege was between 1941 and 1944, when the city ultimately fell under the German control yet retained it fighting spirit until its liberation.
Below is an NTV tribute to the Hero-City of Sevastopol with my translation of the transcript
By the start of WWII, Sevastopol was the largest port of the Black Sea, and the main maritime military base of the USSR. Thus it was among the first Soviet cities bombed by the German aviation on the 22nd of June 1941.