President Vladimir Putin on keeping the records of the pre-WWII time straight

“Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements.”
— Winston Chirchill

At the end of last year the heads of CIS (sans Ukraine) held a summit in St.Petersburg, during which President Vladimir Putin raised a very important of keeping the record of the pre-WWII years straight, especially in light of the EU and the collective West trying to reverse polarities and paint the victim – the USSR – as an aggressor. Like in the caricature below:

Quite a few documents were taken out of the archives and made available to the public for the first time, presenting unrefutable evidence of how Germany was armed by the West for an attack on the USSR, and how the USSR tried every thinkable peaceful venue to stop the war at the bud.

This initiative resulted in, among other things, a documentary film “The Great Unknown War”, which I newly translated. The President also published an article in The National Interest, called The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II with great insights of that not so distant past for the Western “amnesiaside” audience.

Here I want to draw everyone’s attention to Mr. Putin’s speech during that summit, with a few fragments quoted below.

CIS informal summit of December 20, 2019

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Parade in Moscow Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Nazism

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of victory over the Western-neutered Nazism in Germany. But more than that, it marks the full reawakening of Russia when it finally says, enough of the history rewriting, enough of painting white as black, enough of selective amnesia in the West, enough of trying to spare the feeling of the Eastern-European “brothers” when uncomfortable for them truths were swept under the rug.

No one’s forgotten. Nothing’s forgotten.

The suspiciously-timely COVID-19 pandemic was seemingly going to falter this reassertion and stop the Parade. But the events unfurled in an unfathomable way and allowed to push the day of the Parade further in time, to the 24th of June, the day, when the very first Victory Parade was held on the Red Square. The dark forces tried to demolish memory by demolishing the memorial, like it was done in Prague in May, but all they did was to awaken the sacred wrath.

And so it commenced…

This is a parade, where memories and history are reaffirmed with a detachment of the legendary T-34 tanks and soldiers in WWII uniforms


and the present-day Russias commitment to the defence of peace is reasserted

These images are from the following two RT reportages:

Moscow marks 75 years since victory over Nazis with traditional parade on Red Square (FULL VIDEO)
New additions & battle-proven hardware on display as Russia marks 75th anniversary of Nazi defeat with military parade (PHOTOS)

More at Lada Ray’s Futurist Trendcast: Full Red Square Parade Dedicated to 75th Anniversary of Great Victory in WWII, June 24, 2020, Moscow

Remembering the Start of the Great Patriotic War

On the 22nd of June,
at 4am sharp,
Kiev was bombed and we were informed,
That the War had begun.

The War started at dawn
so that more people were killed.
Parents slept, their children were sleeping
when on Kiev bombs fell.


Birds are not singing here,
Trees do not grow in these parts.
Only we, shoulder to shoulder,
Are sinking into the Earth.
The planet is burning and spinning,
Smoke is above Motherland.
And so we only need one Victory!
One for everyone, and we’ll pay any price.
One for everyone, and we’ll pay any price.


At this hour of remembrance, please read:

Vladimir Putin Shocks the West! The Munich Betrayal and The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II (Putin’s Article in The National Interest Magazine, USA)

with a direct link to President Putin’s article

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

and watch

The Great Unknown War. A must-see documentary about the WWII prelude. By Andrei Medvedev

The Great Unknown War. A must-see documentary about the WWII prelude. By Andrei Medvedev

UPDATE: Please read the very revelavt to this documentary, poignant, and important insights in President Vladimir Putin’s article The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II, published in The National Interest on the 18th of June 2020.

These days mark 71 year since the start of the Great Patriotic war of the USSR against the invading Nazi horde, and 75 years since this horde was defeated. And it is of utmost importance to understand how this horde came to be, who nurtured it. Andrei Medvedev’s documentary “The Great Unknown War” does just that.

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.

As promised a month ago, I have now translated the entire documentary to English. White writing this translation, a lot of background checks were done, and every date and name were verified. Most quotes of the Western politicians are re-translations from Russian, except for a few, where open original sources were available. The links to the sources are added both to the transacrips and the downloadable subtitles (as comments).

While watching the documentary, I could not shake off the feeling of the stark parallel of how the Nazi Germany was propped up, and how, in much the same way, the Nazi Ukraine is being propped up now. One example: just replace the name of Henri Deterding of the British-Dutch “Shell” with that of Biden Jr. to see the present-day play of interests. Or replace “Bank for International Settlements” (BIS) with the International Monetary Fund. But there are big differences, too. While Germany was heavily invested into, to make it into a battering ram against Russia, Ukraine is being turned into an ideological battering ram, while at the same time being plundered of its last Soviet industrial legacy.

However, the target was always Russia, and WWII was just a fifth act in a war that lasted for several hundred years, dotted by a few armistices. Here is a list of those wars (with some documentaries in Russian):

  1. The Napoleonic Wars of 1812
  2. World War 0 of 1853-1856, mis-nomered as “The Crimean War”, when that was but one of many battles. Just think of one simple fact: if Russia lost the Crimean War, why did Russia retain Crimea?
  3. The war with Japan and the first attempt to conduct a coup d’etat in Russia in 1905
  4. World War I, which was a suicide for Europe, started in 1914, and culminated in the capitalistic coup d’etat in Russia in February of 1917.
  5. World War II and the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945…
  6. …immediately followed by the Cold War, which was planned to not be that cold. Even before it started Winston Churchill ordered development of the “Plan Unthinkable”, the goal of which was to strike the USSR in July of 1945. I am not quoting The Guardian often, if ever, but this article from 2002 is worth the read: The Soviet threat was a myth
  7. This “Cold War” lead to another coup d’etat in Russia and a forced instalment of the bloody Yeltsin regime in November of 1993, the Wild 90’s that took the lives of over 30 million Russian and Soviet people over the course of 7 years of oligarchic rule; and the destruction of the Yugoslavia by NATO in the process.

It is all intertwined. But now, let as zoom in on the developments between WWI and WWII.

One other parallel that sprung to mind is how the German Weimar Republic and its achievements were appropriated and privatised by the Anglo-Saxon (or, rather, “Naglo-Saxon” West), while the Republic itself became demonised once West-sponsored Hitler took power. The same happened to the great legacy of the Soviet Union now, after the West-sponsored Yeltsin took power in Russia. For example, IG Farben Industries, which gave to humanity fertilisers, magnetic tape and magnetophones and many other things during the Weimar Republic, but once it got taken over by the Nazi state and developed the murderous gas “Zyklon B”, that’s all that remained, while origins of the prior works were earased and ascribed to the “victors” after WWII. More about it in the article “IG Farben – the main weapon of the XX-th century“.


1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2Please note that translating a documentary film or an article takes a lot of time and emotional effort. I am doing it on a voluntary basis, but if someone feels like supporting my work, a Bitcoin donation to the following address is appreciated: 1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2

On several previous occasions YouTube removed my uploads of translations, so to avoid any problems, here are 5 easy steps that will allow you to watch it with subtitles on your desktop machine:

  1. Download the video, using BitDownloader
  2. Download the subtitles (Right-click the link and choose ‘Save As’)
  3. Download and install VLC for your operating system
  4. Make sure that the video and the subtitle files have the same name
  5. Play the video in VLC – subtitles will load automatically

The complete transcript of the subtitles, with occasional annotation links to external resources, is below the video frame.

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History comes full circle: 75th Victory Anniversary Parade in Moscow will be held on the 24th of June

And so it is official!

The Victory Day parade in Moscow, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Nazism will be held on the 24th of June. Exactly 75 years after the first such parade, when the defeated Nazi banners were thrown at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum.

Lada Ray has written an extended free article covering this announcement, and more: Turning Lemons Into Lemonade! Putin Announces New Victory Parade Dates… And So Much More! (and at Patreon)

Here are videos from that parade, reposted from my earlier translation article Victory Parade in Moscow on June 24, 1945. With English subtitles and in colour:

The Great Patriotic War in Ukraine. A historical retrospective by Rostislav Ischenko

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

German checkpoints
German checkpoint

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.

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Criminalisation and persecution of St.George Ribbon in Ukraine: why the Ukro-Nazis are after the centuries-old symbol of Russian heroism

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.

Two years ago Lada Ray published an extensive article on the topic: The Importance of Victory Day, The Immortal Regiment, St. George Ribbon – AND GLOBALIST PLAN FIASCO!, and since then the situation in Ukraine has only gone from bad to worse.

And now, without further ado, the article:


Anton Drobovich against St.George

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”]

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USA and the West are continuing to impudently re-write the WWII history. Let’s remind the Naglosaxons: Soviet Soldier Saved the World! #Victory75 #IRemember #ImmortalRegimentOnline

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”.

I wrote a year ago how is History being rewritten in front of our eyes… when a memorial coin without the Soviet flag was issued in the West. And now it happens again, with even greater impudence!

Soviet banner over Reichstag
The iconic image of the Soviet soldiers raising the Red Banner over Reichstag in the defeated Berlin. The image, which Facebook is, incidentally, censoring in its colourised form!

Ironically, it is Germany that best keeps the memories of that war against Nazism…

From Lada Ray’s Futurist Terndcast: Autographs of Victory | THE DAY OF VICTORY AGAINST FASCISM – wartime graffiti left by Soviet soldiers in the Reichstag #Victory75 #ImmortalRegimentOnline #БессмертныйПолкОнлайн

…while the rest of the West is unifying in its enforced amnesia:

United States officially REWROTE history this V-day when it IGNORED Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazism

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Victory Parade in Moscow on June 24, 1945. With English subtitles and in colour

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 Khrushjov 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.

Related reading:

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

There is such a parade now in Russia, and its name is The Immortal Regiment! This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federative branch of the Regiment holds it march and commemoration on-line.

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The Red Square Parade of 1941 – Documentary Film (English subtitles and transcript)

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.

1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2Please note that translating a documentary film or an article takes a lot of time and emotional effort. I am doing it on a voluntary basis, but if someone feels like supporting my work, a Bitcoin donation to the following address is appreciated: 1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2

On several previous occasions YouTube removed my uploads of translations, so to avoid any problems, here are 5 easy steps that will allow you to watch it with subtitles on your desktop machine:

  1. Download the video above, using BitDownloader
  2. Download the subtitles (Right-click the link and choose ‘Save As’)
  3. Download and install VLC for your operating system
  4. Make sure that the video and the subtitle files have the same name
  5. Play the video in VLC – subtitles will load automatically

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Newsflash: “The Great Unknown War” documentary with Andrei Medvedev to be aired on the 7th of May

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.

From VGTRK:

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.

Stalin’s Speech at the November 7th 1941 Parade on the Red Square

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.

The complete text in Russian can be read here.



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.
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Dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory. Hero-City of Sevastopol. NTV video-tribute

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.

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Zavgaev’s Method. Why they don’t destroy memorials to our soldiers in Slovenia

Contrasting to what is happening in the Czech Republic – where they newly tore down the memorial to the saviour of Prague, Marshal Ivan Konev – and other Eastern-European countries, Slovenia appears to be an island of sanity. This article from “Argumenty i Fakty” from 11.09.2019 delves into how it was achieved.

A related and very important background reading, is the following Lada Ray report from 2016: Putin’s visit to Slovenia, Slavic Union and Russia! It describes events, to which the translation below makes a reference.


Zavgaev’s Method. Why they don’t destroy memorials to our soldiers in Slovenia?


Monument to the Sons of Russia and the Soviet Union who died on Slovenian soil during the First and Second world wars

Behold Slovenia. The Ambassador’s name is Doku Gapurovich Zavgaev. The very same who led Chechnya (or rather, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR), then was the Ambassador to Africa (Tanzania), Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry and its General Director. And since December 2009 is the Ambassador in Ljubljana.

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The Salvation of Prague in May 1945 by the Soviet Troops

The liberation of Prague from the Nazi German occupation was brought about 75 years ago by the Soviet troops under the command of Marshal Ivan Konev. Seeing as the Czechs have recently decided to erase that particular page of their history, we must do all in our power to counterbalance the destruction of memory, by remembering the events of 5th through 12th of May 1945 in all the unaltered detail.

For those seeking to learn even more, I would highly recommend to also read Lada Ray’s in-depth article 75 Years Later, Nazism Won in Europe? Czechia Demolishes Monument to Russian Marshal Konev, Liberator of Auschwitz & Prague! (LADA RAY REPORT).

And now, let me present translations of two materials that shed light on the events, unfolding in Prague as the War was drawing to an end…

Liberation of Prague in May 1945 – The History Without Retouching

Written by Klim Podkova, 08.05.2018

Burning Prague

Who doesn’t know the history of the liberation of Prague? On May 5, 1945, Prague rose in revolt, Soviet troops came to the aid of the rebels, and on May 9, Prague was liberated.

But it happened not quite like that, or rather, it wasn’t like that at all. In May, parts of the German garrison were really conducting bloody battles in Prague. Only their main opponents were not the rebelling Czechs, but the fighters of the 1st division of the RLA (“Russian Liberation Army”, or Vlasovtsy [Translator note: The name Vlasov is synonymous to that of Quisling in Norway]).

Czech Republic – the reliable industrial rear of the Third Reich

Czechoslovakia as an independent state disappeared from the political map of Europe before the Second World War. First, in April 1938, under pressure from Britain, France and Italy, Czechoslovakia abandoned the Sudetenland in favour of Germany (the so-called Munich Conspiracy).

Then, less than a year later (March 14, 1939), Hitler summoned President Hácha to Berlin and offered to sign a document on Czechoslovakia’s voluntary acceptance of German “patronage”. Hácha signed. The country did not resist for a day.

Only in Mistek, captain Pavlik’s company met foreign soldiers with rifle fire. This single fight lasted 30 minutes. Czechoslovakia lost its independence at a cost of 6 wounded soldiers. The Czech Republic became a protectorate, and Slovakia became an independent state, a staunch ally of Hitler.

For 6 years, the Czech Republic was a reliable industrial rear of Nazi Germany. Wehrmacht soldiers fired carbines made in Czech factories, and Czech tanks disfigured the fields of Poland, France, and Ukraine with their tracks. Individual actions of the underground and partisans (such as the murder of Heydrich) did not change the overall picture: he Czech Republic had neither a strong underground as in Poland, nor a broad partisan movement as in Yugoslavia.

May 1945 – the perfect time to start an uprising

In April 1945, when the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt, Czech politicians began to think about the future of the country, as well as their own future. They did not want to be listed as German collaborators at the end of World War II. It was decided to start a fight.

There were several centres of resistance in Prague that operated completely independently. “Commandant Bartosz” focused on Britain and the United States, while the Czech National Council oriented itself on the USSR.

By the end of April 1945, both groups decided that the time for resistance had finally come. Both “Commandant Bartosz” and the CHNC planned to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of the West for some, and of the USSR for others, and end the war in the ranks of the fighters against fascism. There was only one problem: the German garrison stationed in Prague.

Balance of forces before the uprising

The garrison was not very large. The commandant (General Rudolf Toussaint) had about 10 thousand soldiers stationed directly in the city and about 5 thousand in the surrounding area. But these were military units with combat experience.

The Czechs could only oppose them with civilian rebels armed with revolvers and hunting rifles. In this scenario, the uprising was doomed to fail, unless someone came to help.

But the Americans (General Patton’s units) were 80 km from Prague in the Plzen region, and the nearest Russian units (the troops of the 1st Ukrainian front) were even further away – 150 km, in the area of Dresden.

Help came from where no one expected it. On April 29, the 1st RLA infantry division under the command of major General Bunyachenko (Vlasovites) appeared 50 km Northwest of Prague.

The defected division

The division, which was formed in November 1944, on the 15th April 1945 left the front without leave and marched South-West to surrender to the Americans. There were about 18 thousand soldiers in the division. Vlasov’s soldiers were armed – in addition to small arms and light weapons – with the machine guns, light and heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, mortars, antitank guns, self-propelled platforms and even 10 tanks.

The commander of army group Center, field Marshal Scherner, issued an order to stop and return the division to the front (or at least to disarm it), but for some reason there were no people willing to stop and disarm this horde of Russians armed to the teeth.

On April 30, representatives of the “commandant’s office of Bartosz” came to Bunyachenko and asked him to support an armed uprising in Prague. The negotiations began, which lasted until May 4. In exchange for their support, the future rebels promised the Vlasovites the status of allies and political protection after the victory.

Prague in exchange for the political asylum

On the evening of May 4, Bunyachenko summoned the commanders of regiments and individual battalions to discuss the proposal. Bunyachenko expressed the idea not only to join an Alliance with the Czechs, but also to play his own game: capture the city, present it to the Americans on a blue-rimmed plate, and at the same time surrender to them. It was assumed that the Americans in gratitude would grant political asylum to all those who surrendered. Only the commander of the first regiment Arkhipov was against, all the others were “for”.

On the morning of May 5, representatives of the command of the 1st division of the RLA and representatives of the “commandant’s office of Bartosz” signed a document “on the joint struggle against fascism and Bolshevism”. Having bet both on the Czechs and the Americans, the Vlasovites hoped that at least one bet would be a winner.

We are starting an uprising, the Russians will help us!

Having received guarantees of support, the leaders of the “commandant’s office of Bartosz” began an uprising on May 5, around 11 am. Other Resistance groups had no choice but to join. By 14 o’clock, about 1,600 barricades were built in the city, and calls for help were broadcast.

The Soviet command planned the liberation of Prague on May 11. Because of the uprising, the plans urgently had to be adjusted. On May 6, the troops of the 1st Ukrainian front began moving towards Prague. But it was almost 150km away, while Bunyachenko’s division entered the village of Sukhomasty on May 4, from where it was stationed less than 20km to Prague.

On the morning of May 6, the advanced units of Bunyachenko’s division entered the city. With the arrival of the Russian division, the activity of the rebels went up sharply. While on the 5th their situation was regarded as disastrous, during May 6-7 Vlasovites occupied the entire Western part of Prague and cut the city into 2 parts. The surrender of the German garrison was just a matter of time.

All plans go to hell

And at this time, there were significant changes among the rebels and the situation for the Vlasovites became not just bad, but very bad. The Czech National Council stood at the head of the uprising, and it was oriented to the USSR.

The leaders of the CHNC did not want to “spoil” themselves by collaborating with the Vlasovites and stated that they do not intend to recognise the agreements with the “commandant’s office of Bartosz”, and advised the division soldiers to surrender to the Red Army.

After the Czechs, the Americans threw a spanner in as well. On the evening of May 7, a reconnaissance unit of the 16th American Armoured Division arrived in the city. When asked to take Prague, which was almost liberated, the American officer replied: “No!»

By May 1945, the winning countries had already divided Europe into zones of “responsibility”. Prague was to become Soviet. General Patton might not have minded being remembered as the liberator of Prague, but Eisenhower, the commander-in-chief of the combined Anglo-American forces in Europe, was already thinking not only as a military man, but also as a politician. He categorically forbade moving East of the Karlovy Vary – Plzen – Ceske Budejovice line. Patton could only watch from the sidelines.

For the Vlasov’s men it was a blow. Participation in the uprising lost all meaning for them. On the evening of May 7, Bunyachenko gave the order to stop fighting and leave Prague. On the morning of the next day, the 1st division of the RLA left the city.

The pendulum swung in the opposite direction. The Hitlerites went on the offensive, the territory controlled by the rebels began to shrink rapidly, and it was not Germans, but the Czechs, who should have started to think about the terms of surrender.

The so-called “surrender”

The commandant of Prague, General Toussaint, was neither a fanatic nor a fool. Germany is defeated, Berlin has fallen. Either Russians or Americans (and most likely Russians) would still take the city. In this situation, the General decided not to bother with pointless defence, but to save the lives of the last remaining soldiers under his command.

An envoy was sent to the rebel-controlled island, and the CHNC leaders were surprised to learn that they had won and the Germans were ready to surrender Prague to them. On May 8, at 16:00, General Toussaint signed the act of surrender. The capitulation was more like a peace agreement: leaving heavy weapons in the city, the German troops went to the West to surrender to the Americans, the Czechs pledged not to hinder them.

Early in the morning of May 9, the 1st Ukrainian front troops entered Prague left by the Germans, losing 30 soldiers killed and wounded in skirmishes with SS fanatics holed up in the city.

So who freed Prague?

437 Soviet soldiers and officers are buried in the Olshansky cemetery in Prague. The dates of death range between May 9th, May 10th, and 12th, and up to July and August. These are the Red Army soldiers who died after the Victory from wounds in the Prague military hospital. They are the true liberators of Prague. If there were no Stalingrad and Kursk, if Leningrad did not persevere and Berlin had not fallen, if on May 1945 the victorious Red Army had not stood 150km away from Prague, the Czechs would not have thought of raising an insurrection, and the Germans would not have “capitulated” to them. Isn’t that right?


And the second article, appearing in “Argumenty i Facty” 05.05.2014


An uprising that no one expected. How Prague saw the end of the Second World War

Liberation of Prague
Prague residents welcome participants of the uprising, 1945.

The last protectorate

One of the widespread stereotypes concerning the Great Patriotic War is that the war ended with the capture of the Reichstag and the fall of Berlin.

Indeed, this event was of historical significance, but the fighting in Europe was by no means over.

Some territories in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic – which was renamed to “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” – remained under the control of the Nazis.

On the territory of the Czech Republic, the units of Army group “Center” under the command of field Marshal Scherner continued their fight, as well as part of the units of Army group “Austria” under the command of General Lothar Rendulich. The total number of these groups was about 900 thousand soldiers and officers.

Scherner and Rendulich had no illusions about the outcome of the war and were fighting not so much for greater Germany as for their own future. The Nazi commanders expected to retreat to the West in order to surrender to the American army while fighting defensively against the Red Army. Scherner and Rendulich rightly believed that they might be treated more warmly by the Western allies than in Soviet captivity. [Translator note: not so rightly, after all, as will be revealed in an upcoming article.]

The capital of Czechoslovakia, Prague, also remained under control of the Nazis. The city had an important strategic significance for the Hitlerites — it was through it that the German troops intended to retreat to the West.

Internal strife

In Prague itself, the situation was quite complicated. Scouts sent to contact the Prague underground reported that there were conflicts within it between various forces oriented to the West or East, and the Communists could not find a common language with the nationalists. In addition, the uprising in Prague is not prepared in military sense and may end in defeat with great loss of life.

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Captain Karel Pavlik.
Alone against Hitler. How Captain Pavlik saved the honour of Czechoslovakia

The collaborationist government in Prague, led by Emil Hácha, played its political game. Realizing that the days of the Hitlerites were numbered, the collaborators hoped that they would be able to negotiate with the allied forces.

However, in the city of Kosice, which was liberated by the Soviet troops in April 1945, the government of Czechoslovakia was already operational, formed of Communists and representatives of the Czechoslovak government in exile. This structure, known as the National Front government, was represented in Prague by the Czech National Council, with which the collaborator President Hácha had been negotiating the transfer of power since the end of April 1945.

The Hitlerites, concentrated on the matter of self-preservation, had no time for these internal Czechoslovak disputes.

Many Czechoslovak politicians believed that the Prague uprising, no matter how much it meant to the national consciousness, did not make much sense. The entry of American or Soviet troops into the city was expected within the next few days, and many considered it madness to make sacrifices in these conditions.

Street element

However, the uprising began almost spontaneously. The government of Emil Hácha, hoping to earn additional sympathy of the population, allowed to hang national flags on the streets of Prague. But the citizens did not stop there and began to destroy the Nazi symbols. This did not please the Hitlerites who were in the city, which caused skirmishes that turned into an armed confrontation.

On the night of May 5, the news of the fall of Berlin reached Prague, which caused a new strong emotional outburst among the city’s residents. That night, Richard Binert, the Prime Minister of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, announced on the radio that the Protectorate was being liquidated and that a general uprising against the invaders had begun.

Fierce fighting broke out in the streets of the city. The insurgents captured the central telegraph office, the post office, the electric power station, the bridges over the Vltava river, and the railway stations with echelons there, including German armoured trains. They also managed to disarm several small German units.

However, the rebels could not resist the powerful 40-thousand-strong group of Hitler forces located near Prague.

The news of the Prague uprising infuriated the commander of army group “Center”, field Marshal Scherner, who was cut off from the West by the loss of control over the Czech capital. He gave the order to throw tanks against the rebels.

The Hitlerites, who had nothing to lose, committed atrocities on the streets of the city, sparing neither women nor children, with mass-executions of those who fell into their hands.

RLA comes and goes

It became clear that without outside help, the Prague uprising risked turning into a bloody disaster. Different political forces expected help from different sides — the nationalists hoped for the Americans, who were located 80 kilometers from Prague, the Communists — for the Soviet troops.

Related article:
A great betrayal. European democracies “surrendered” Czechoslovakia to Hitler

Troops of the 1st Ukrainian front under the command of Marshal Ivan Konev moved to the aid of the insurgent Prague on May 5. However, it took them several days to reach the city. The American command decided not to advance on Prague, leaving the task of its liberation to the Soviet troops.

Prague radio broadcast an appeal to residents: “Citizens of Prague, we call on you to fight for Prague, for the honour and freedom of the people! Build barricades! Let’s fight! The allied armies are coming! We must endure, there are only a few hours left. We will stand! Onward to battle!”

But by the end of May 6, German troops, using armoured vehicles, aircraft and artillery, managed to occupy most of the city.

Here the “Vlasovtsy” — units of the 1st division of the Russian Liberation Army under the command of General Bunyachenko — came to the aid of the rebels.

The RLA units pursued their own goal — they expected to receive guarantees from the Czechoslovak government that they would not fall into the hands of Soviet justice. General Bunyachenko expected that American troops would enter Prague and help given to the Prague uprising would be credited to him.

Vlasovites fought in Prague for two days. They managed to liberate the Western part of the city, causing serious damage to the Nazis. But on May 7, the Czech National Council refused to help the RLA units, because the participation of Vlasov’s units in the uprising threatened to seriously damage relations with the Soviet Union. In addition, it became known that American troops would not enter Prague for sure, and General Bunyachenko decided to withdraw his division to the West, hoping to surrender to the Americans. Only a part of the RLA fighters who left Bunyachenko’s subordination remained together with the rebels.


Barricades on the streets of the revolted Prague, 1945. Photo: RIA Novosti

Thirst for revenge

By the evening of May 7, it became clear that the rebels would not be able to contain the German group of field Marshal Scherner’s that was retreating to the West. The Czech National Council entered into negotiations with the Hitlerites, agreeing not to hinder the German advance to the West.

Scherner had no time to take revenge on the Czechs for the uprising — the clang of the Soviet tank tracks could already be heard behind him.

Not all of the Hitlerites left Prague: the withdrawal of the main group was covered by SS formations consisting of the 2nd Panzer division “Reich”, the 5th Panzer division “Viking” and the 44th motorized infantry division “Wallenstein”.

On the morning of May 9, 1945, tanks of the 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies of the 1st Ukrainian front broke into Prague, suppressing the last pockets of enemy resistance in the city. The destruction of the most fanatical Hitlerites in the vicinity of the capital of Czechoslovakia continued for several more days.


Participants of the Prague uprising on the streets of the capital liberated by the red Army, may 1945. Reproduction of a photo from the book “History of the Great Patriotic War”, volume 5, page 321. Photo: RIA Novosti

About one and a half thousand insurgents, about 300 RLA fighters, more than a thousand Hitlerites, and a large number of civilians were killed during the Prague uprising.

In May 1945, peaceful Germans who lived in Prague also paid for the sins of Nazism. Despite calls from the Soviet command and the new Czechoslovak authorities to respect the rule of law, there were cases of Czechs beating and even lynching ethnic Germans on the streets of the city. The desire for revenge overshadowed the minds of many: the Germans were driven from their homes, stripped of their property, maimed, humiliated…

The prologue to World War II was the “Munich Conspiracy”, according to which the German-populated Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia passed to the Third Reich. The epilogue of World War II was the expulsion of more than 3 million Germans from Czechoslovakia.