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Video: Atrocious Baltic crimes in the North-West of Russia 1941-1944
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
In St. Petersburg, the TASS press center hosted a presentation of the report of the leading researcher of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Kovalev "The Baltic footprint in the North-West of Russia 1941-1944: crimes of military and paramilitary formations ", dedicated to the military terror of Nazi collaborators of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the occupied territories of the RSFSR.
About crimes Baltic accomplices of Hitlerin the Leningrad, Novgorod, Pskov regions, the analytical portal RuBaltic. Ru was told by the scientific editor of the report, President of the Russian Association for Baltic Studies (RAPI), Professor of St. Petersburg State University (SPbSU) Nikolai MEZHEVICH.
Mr. Mezhevich, together with the historian Vladimir Simindey, you presented a report by Boris Kovalev on the crimes of collaborators from among Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians on the territory of modern Russia during the Great Patriotic War
Why did you decide to present this report right now?
- There are several answers. Firstly, jubilee year - 75 years of Victory.
Secondly, there are things that simply do not lose their relevance. Another decade, two decades, three decades will pass - the relevance will remain.
Personally, to be honest, the political assessment of the Tatar-Mongol invasion is absolutely not important to me now: it was, it was not, my teacher Lev Nikolayevich Gumilyov was right or wrong, how relations developed there; it was still too long ago. Moreover, I am absolutely not interested in what they think about this in Mongolia or in the same Estonia.
But the events of the Second World War or the Great Patriotic War are important to me. This is a component of my consciousness, this is what I teach my students, what I write about. And assessing these events, accordingly, is part of my job.
Now, coming back to these events: I am like a Soviet man, who graduated from a school and an institute in the USSR, learned very well - thanks to the teachers - about what the Germans were doing, about the crimes of the Germans on the territory of the Soviet Union.
And after a certain time, I began to learn that Khatyn, for example, was not burned by the Germans, and Ukrainian punishers
Even later, it became clear that on the territory of the Leningrad region (today it is the Leningrad, Novgorod, Pskov regions) atrocities were committed not only by the Germans, but alsoEstonians, Latvians and even Lithuanians.
It is understandable why this was, shall we say, delicately concealed from us, kept silent - the Soviet Union seemed to be eternal, we were building a new historical community “the Soviet people”, building socialism together, flying into space together, and so on. But then it all somehow ended so unexpectedly.
The question is why?
Perhaps also because at one time we did not do the right thing and learned the wrong lessons from our common past.
Once students told me: “Nikolai Maratovich, it's somehow strange … Dovlatov writes (yes, this is his book“Compromise”) that, while working in Estonia, he was sent to interview, and he accidentally interviewed the director of the theater, who turned out to be an SS chief lieutenant. " My students said, “How is that? How could in the Soviet Union during the times of Dovlatov SS Oberleutenant work as a theater director?"
I had to explain to them: you know, I could. He sat, probably, "ten" and went out, if absolutely obvious crimes were not found behind him.
Today it is very important to speak, to give an objective assessment of the participation of the Baltic paramilitary and military formations in crimes on the territory of the Leningrad region, as well as on the territory of other regions and on the territory of Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Belarus.
When we are accused of unleashing the Second World War, of its atrocities, we must remember who, in fact, is accusing us. "Who are the judges?" And with these judges things turn out to be very bad.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania tell us: “Yes, our people a little, so, a little participated in the police formations.” And in Estonia and Latvia they add: “Even in the SS. But you know, they got there on the call …"
And when we start to understand and work, including with Estonian and Latvian documents, it turns out: what are you, what are you, what a call, people voluntarily went.
Then we are told: "Oh, they went to fight Stalin."
Excuse me, but they burned villages in the Pskov region together with Stalin? They buried the children alive - what was that, they buried Stalin?
Today we must honestly talk about the crimes committed by the Balts on the territory of Russia
But it is known that Nazi Germany did not plan to create sovereign countries in the Baltic States and did not hide it. What, after all, prompted the Balts to such close cooperation with the Germans?
- You know, the question is just great. Indeed, serious politicians in Estonia, Latvia, and even in Lithuania perfectly understood that if they were very lucky, they would have autonomy. If you're very lucky. But they were in a somewhat inadequate condition.
Because we remember what happened in the First World War. The mighty great Russian Empire once - and disappeared. In its place came the terrible, powerful German troops of the Second Reich, and then once - and disappeared. And when these two titans, Berlin and Petrograd, ate each other, independent Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania appeared.
And, naturally, these would-be politicians with their elbows in blood thought: “Why don't we repeat this again? Hitler will drive Stalin out, Stalin will drive Hitler out, we will proclaim independence and will continue to live happily ever after."
It is clear that nothing worked out, but this legend about the search for a third way was really broadcast to the rank and file and junior officers of the 20th Estonian SS division, the 15th and 19th Latvian SS divisions. Ordinary guys, in general, managed to instill this idea.
And they were sincerely convinced that, dying on the territory of the Soviet Union and after (which is most interesting, even up to Czechoslovakia), they were defending their Estonia. The last Estonian SS men were caught already in Czechoslovakia.
In fact, they only defended Hitler.
They were his faithful servants. And no biological constructs of the post-war period cancel out the fact of direct collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Is there any data on the social origin of those Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians who supported the Nazis during the war?
- There is such data. Moreover, there is also data on social groups, by surnames, leading politicians, who supported Hitler and his civil and military administration, there is also data on punishers who burned villages in the Leningrad region, killed Jews, gypsies, priests, just communists and Russians …
All these data are there, and we do not even exclude the possibility that someone is still alive today and lives not only in Canada, Australia, but also in Estonia and Latvia.
In the Baltics, they say about this that they had reasons not to like the Soviet regime and to fight against it. Mass repressions, deportations
- Of course, they did not like Soviet power, and none of us today idealize this power. Although I personally cannot acknowledge the fact of mass repressions in the Baltics, since the Soviet repressions were targeted in nature. Yes, they arrested the officers, yes, they expelled representatives, as they said, of the ruling classes.
But these were not massive repressions.
It was not like the behavior of the same Estonians and Latvians in the Leningrad region. How did they behave? They simply surrounded the village and burned the entire population in all houses.
There were lists of the deported, and from them it is clear how many criminals were taken out, how many criminals were taken out by category and from which county, how many priests, how many politicians, how many officers of the Estonian and Latvian army, and so on and so on.
This does not justify the Soviet repressions, but it suggests that there was at least some logic in those repressions, and the Estonian and Latvian repressions, the activities of the Estonian and Latvian police forces on the territory of the Leningrad region were the total destruction of the civilian population.
And this is the book of Professor Kovalev with my preface and edited by Vladimir Shamakhov, Director of the North-West Institute of Management, RANEPA.
SS legions were not formed on the territory of Lithuania, but you noted that the Lithuanians also took part in punitive actions. How did it come about?
- The racial theory of Germany excluded the possibility of the formation of SS units from Lithuanians. They were not given such a privilege.
But, faced with the ever-increasing resistance of the Red Army, in Germany by the joint decisions of a number of departments, including the Gestapo, it was decided to involve Lithuanians in the so-called police battalions that performed auxiliary functions (mainly in the rear).
But the Lithuanian case does not get any kinder from this, because this is also, in fact, a punitive police fad, plus participation in the looting of material values.
Why did the Lithuanians, who are a kindred people for the Latvians, find themselves in the rank of races or nations at a lower level in comparison with the same Latvians and Estonians?
- This is a simple question. The fact is that the Letto-Lithuanian group is really Latvians plus Lithuanians. But the territory of modern Latvia was practically all in the zone of German, German-Swedish, Eastsee influence. The Germans there from the time of the XII-XV centuries and up to 1914 were the defining political force, and this, by and large, suited the Russian emperors.
The chivalry of Riga wrote letters to Emperor Nicholas II in German until 1914, since our emperor was strong in what in what, but in languages.
And only in 1914, when the war began, was it prompted from St. Petersburg: let's stop all the same in German correspondence, gentlemen, because, well, we are slightly at war with Germany, this annoys. Well, until 1914, the correspondence was conducted in German.
It is no coincidence that Professor Kovalev's book contains a photograph of a gilded plate that a Lithuanian soldier from a police battalion tore from the dome of St. Sophia Cathedral.
Were there any cases recorded when Latvians and Estonians fought against each other, being on opposite sides of the front? After all, it is known that in Red
the army was units consisting of Estonians
- Of course, such cases have been recorded. The fact is that Estonians and Latvians in military and SS formations fought in the North-West, and the Latvian Soviet division and the Estonian rifle corps fought here.
Yes, there were definitely cases when they came face to face during the liberation of the Baltic states. But this is a story for our colleagues, military historians, who are not directly involved in the repression and police repression of paramilitary formations.
You noted that some of the leaders of the punishers may still live somewhere to this day. How many managed to escape retribution?
- To many. Firstly, the Soviet government treated the officers who took part in these punitive actions rather harshly, and much, let's say, more liberal towards ordinary people.
Relatively speaking, if a person beat himself in the chest and said that he was a simple Estonian peasant and did not kill people, but only stood with a rifle along the railways, then, most likely, after the verification procedure (if in 1945-1946 it was not found out that he is a bloody killer) he was released.
He received a civilian profession, got behind the wheel of a comfortable car, and so on and so on.
How can one generally assess the role of the Baltic henchmen of Nazism during the war years? Did their actions influence the course of the war?
- Considering what forces were involved in this war on both sides, in my opinion, the contribution of the police and even the SS military formations of Estonia and Latvia is minimal, but it is there.
It is difficult to quantify it - this is not mathematics, it is some more complex dimension, another art.
Therefore, it is difficult to estimate the volume, and the fact cannot be disputed.
And how do the actions of the punishers assess the current authorities of the Baltic republics and are they assessed by the parties representing the ultra-right political spectrum in these countries?
- The fact is that all political parties give an assessment to the legionnaires, and all these political parties agree that they are heroes, they are the leaders and symbols of the nation, these are the best people of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian peoples.
Therefore, it is very difficult to speak with any Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian politicians.
Imagine, for comparison, what would happen if in today's Germany at least some party directly considered the SS units to be the heroes of the nation? The department for the protection of the Constitution would immediately come to them.
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