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We would like to open a brief parenthesis for Solzhenitsyn.  This man became the official voice for the fiver per cent of Tsarists, bourgeois, speculators, kulaks, pimps, maffiosi and Vlasovites,  all justifiably repressed by the socialist state.

Solzhenitsyn  the literary hack lived through a cruel dilemna during the Nazi occupation. Chauvinist, he hated the German invaders. But he hated socialism even more passionately. So he had a soft spot for General Vlasov,  the most famous of the Nazi collaborators. Although Solzhenitsyn  did not approve of Vlasov's  flirt with Hitler,  he was laudatory about his hatred of Bolshevism.

General Vlasov  collaborated with the Nazis after having being captured? Solzhenitsyn  found a way to explain and justify the treason. He wrote:

`Vlasov's  Second Shock Army ... was 46 miles (70 kilometres) deep inside the German lines! And from then on, the reckless Stalinist Supreme Command could find neither men nor ammunition to reinforce even those troops .... The army was without food and, at the same time, Vlasov  was refused permission to retreat ....

`Now this, of course, was treason to the Motherland! This, of course, was vicious, self-obsessed betrayal! But it was Stalin's .... It can include ignorance and carelessness in the preparations for war, confusion and cowardice at its very start, the meaningless sacrifice of armies and corps solely for the sake of saving one's own marshal's uniform. Indeed, what more bitter treason is there on the part of a Supreme Commander in Chief?'


Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn,  The Gulag Archipelago, 1918--1956. An Experiment in Literary Investigation I--II (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), p. 253, note.

So Solzhenitsyn  defended the traitor Vlasov  against Stalin. Let us look at what really happened in early 1942. Several armies had received the order to break the German blockade of Leningrad. But the offensive quickly got bogged down and the front commander, Khozin,  received the order from Stalin's headquarters to withdraw Vlasov's  army. Marshal Vasilevsky  writes:

`Vlasov,  who did not possess many gifts as a commander and, in fact, vacillating and cowardly by nature, was thoroughly inactive. The grave situation for the army demoralised him ever further and he made no attempt to withdraw his troops quickly and covertly ....

`I can with some authority confirm the extremely serious concern which Stalin displayed daily for the 2nd Shock Army and for rendering every possible assistance to them. This is evidenced by a whole series of GHQ directives that I personally wrote primarily to Stalin's dictation'.

Vlasov  joined the enemy while a considerable part of his army succeeded in breaching through the German trap and in escaping.


A. M. Vasilevsky,  A Lifelong Cause (Moscow: Progress, 1973), pp. 139--141.

Russians were hired in the Nazi army to combat the Soviet people? But, exclaimed Solzhenitsyn,  it was Stalin's criminal régime that pushed them to do it:

`(M)en could be induced to enter the Wehrmacht's Vlasov  detachments only in the last extremity, only at the limit of desperation, only out of inexhaustible hatred of the Soviet regime.'


Solzhenitsyn,  op. cit. , p. 255.

Besides, said Solzhenitsyn,  the Vlasovian  collaborators were more anti-Communist than pro-Nazi:

`(O)nly in the fall of 1944 did they begin to form Vlasov  divisions that were exclusively Russian .... their first and last independent action, dealt a blow --- to the Germans themselves .... Vlasov  ordered his divisions to the aid of the Czech rebels.'


Ibid. , pp. 258--259.

This is the fable that has been repeated by Nazi and other fascist criminals of all countries: when the German fascists were on the verge of defeat, they all discovered their `national and independent' vocation and remembered their `opposition' to Germany, looking for protection under the wings of U.S. imperialism!

Solzhenitsyn  did not object to the Germans being fascists, but to the fact that they were stupid and blind fascists. If they had been more intelligent, the German Nazis would have recognized the value of their Russian brothers-in-arms and they would have allowed them a certain level of autonomy:

`The Germans, in their shallow stupidity and self-importance, allowed them only to die for the German Reich, but denied them the right to plan an independent destiny for Russia.'


Ibid. , p. 261.

The war was still raging, Nazism was not clearly defeated, and Solzhenitsyn  was already crying for the `inhuman' lot reserved for the arrested Vlasovian  criminals! He described a scene after the cleaning-up of a Nazi pocket on Soviet territory:

`A prisoner on foot in German britches was crying out to me in pure Russian. He was naked from the waist up, and his face, chest, shoulders, and back were all bloody, while a sergeant osobist ... drove him forward with a whip .... I was afraid to defend the Vlasov  man against the osobist .... This picture will remain etched in my mind forever. This, after all, is almost a symbol of the Archipelago. It ought to be on the jacket of this book.'


Ibid. , pp. 256--257.

We should thank Solzhenitsyn  for his disconcerting candor: the man who best incarnated the `millions of victims of Stalinism' was a Nazi collaborator.

next up previous contents index
Next: A clandestine anti-Communist Up: The Tukhachevsky trial Previous: Vlasov

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995