Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union may 9, 2020 will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the great Patriotic war. While in Stalin’s times, this festival was canceled in 1947, making the day of defeat of fascist troops re-work. However, other Soviet holidays, Stalin did not touch, they has been as well. Why the leader of the Soviet Union decided to abandon the Victory Day, and what he feared and what steps he was ready to go, not to lose during the war and after it — “the” said the historian, Vice-President of the Association of historians of world war II Konstantin Zalessky.

to Say that Stalin returned May 9, the status of a working day, because they were afraid of soldiers who were not old who watched as the lives they liberated Europe, and was able to ask tough questions of the Soviet government. It is close to the truth?

the Konstantin Zalesskiy: This explanation is close to truth, but not really related to the celebration of Victory Day. It was celebrated in 1945, 1946 and 1947, while in December 1947, not canceled. In this case it was not due to what I saw in Europe. In Europe, our veterans really saw how they live those same Germans, and they had a very unfavorable comparison with our country. Even if you take the same defeated East Prussia, still in the memoirs of our officers and soldiers (not generals), which are already published, we see that the people were surprised at what sort of home how to live there. And as to why in a country of victorious socialism, where everything belongs to the people, so people do not live. In this case, the termination of the celebration of Victory Day, these experiences cannot be “undone.”

Stalin said that it is time to stop wearing the medals received for military achievements, and begin to be proud of orders which are received for labor services. That is here for this and cancelled the Victory Day celebrations. To cease to extol the Victory and return to the business of rebuilding the country, because in this case the reconstruction of the country was on the agenda. After all, the situation was pretty bad: European Russia destroyed during the war, the population loss is very large, plus there was the post-war hunger. In General, the problems were very serious, and it was necessary to rebuild the country, it was necessary to move forward, because the USA has not been canceled, they existed, evolved, and there was no war. For example, in the creation of nuclear weapons, we caught up with the Americans, but it was worth huge money.


So proud of the Victory Day, Stalin considered it unnecessary. He decided that if to be proud of the Victory Day, it will take a number of measures. For example, right now, when we celebrate the Victory Day, we are proud of this victory. And therefore PRwill ideologem, the decree of the President that the Victory Day all veterans will give 75 or 50 thousand rubles. They say that the soldiers we give pensions more. They meet with the younger generation, they are invited to join and so on.

In Stalin’s times there was here what situation: the country is about 500 thousand people with disabilities three groups. They pay perfect penny — 180 or 160 rubles, because the people themselves are completely useless to socialism, that is, they are unable to work for the benefit of the socialist Fatherland. And the money they have to pay. Yes, they live from hand to mouth, they ask for alms on the streets. So if we are proud of the victory, then we must pay these people a decent pension, so they normally live. The country has no money for it. If we are proud of the people who’ve made a contribution (and they can be seen they are wearing the order), must respect, must take them into account. What, Stalin would be considered a very large number of marshals and generals? Then they need to be given good positions in the party apparatus, they need to consult. If we are proud of the victory.

Therefore, a victory to be proud of it. This can be done only in the international arena. There we have always been proud of, we always talk about the great Victory of the documents aimed at audiences outside the country. Here we are proud of because it was politically advantageous. But inside the country it was not profitable. In the country it was necessary to build the economy, it was necessary to raise it, had to revive her and move on. And if you need to move on the economy, then the military has no value.


Here there is not so much the party, how many party and economic apparatus. And here it is significant that Stalin himself remained Prime Minister. He began to switch to the basic levers of power.

When Stalin died and the party leadership shared power, it was thought that a larger portfolio received Malenkov because he became Chairman of the Council of Ministers. And the entire leadership of the country — the same Beria, Bulganin, Kaganovich, Molotov, they are in a power-sharing received the portfolios are not party, they received a portfolio of the first Deputy chairmen of the Council of Ministers. And Khrushchev gave the party apparatus, he became the first Secretary. How would have thought that he would be at rallies to wave cap, because Stalin moved the center of gravity in the economic machine.

The economic machine places the military was not. And what they have there may be the place? They used fronts to command. Why they are needed in peacetime? Only in the way. And not only marshals. All military way.

The army was naturally reduced. We have in may 1945, the army was numbering 11 million people. An army the country would pull. It was reduced to 5 million, but that number is not pulled country. But if the army is dramatically reduced, you have somewhere to hide and generals.

Therefore, this policy really was. It was not without rhyme or reason. And the cancel output to the Victory Day took place in this way. Because if you proud of the victory and not take care of invalids of the war, there will be questions even the most loyal disciple of Lenin and Stalin.

This is quite logical. But look, after the Civil war the Soviet regime had to face the same problem. The country also had a lot of demobilized red army veterans. However, this circumstance appears to be, no one is Scarecrow the same anniversary of the revolution, it is widely celebrated throughout the Soviet era. Why?

You are absolutely right in saying that there were a lot of demobilized red army veterans. In the autumn of 1920 its population had reached 5.5 million people, and after five years (five years!) — ten times less, that is approximately 560 thousand. This is a very drastic reduction.

There is one more thing. We still don’t know when in our country ended the Civil war. We have historians scratching on this issue spears. I’m not getting into this because it’s pointless. When did this happen? In November 1920, when Wrangel evacuated from the Crimea? In 1922, when defeated in Primorye territorial army of Diterihs? When finished Basmachi? Options can be any number. That is, in General, we have a Civil war did not end. She goes, and we are at war with enemies of the Soviet power. Victory, it turns out, no. There is a revolution, and celebrate it as an event. And after it won the Soviet power defended. And moreover, continue to protect. That is a permanent situation: we are surrounded by enemies and defend the Soviet regime.

So the sort of “big” victory in the Civil war never happened. The Soviet government, the Red army defended, and defended it from invaders, and Denikin, Wrangel and Kolchak, and Yudenich and the white poles and the Finns. And it was assumed that in different periods of time was the victory over Denikin, over the Finns, over the poles and so on. That is, as if there were many small victories.

Accordingly, the heroes of the Civil war, those who distinguished himself on the party, the faithful Leninist, they all went to administrative work. In the country after the Civil war, the state apparatus was destroyed, it was simply demolished. And, accordingly, there someone had to put. Especially during the Soviet era compared to pre-revolutionary times the bureaucracy has grown tremendously, at times, if not on the order. These places had been occupied by Royal officials, and the officials were partly nobles as the most prepared��Winnie frames. Of these, some emigrated, someone could be appointed to certain positions as socially far under suspicion. And they were cleaned. Some specialists remained on the bureaucratic service, and even the General rank. But someone had to put that there.

Yeah. The Bolsheviks are few. Plus they are professional revolutionaries, they don’t care where to work. Who remains? Those who showed themselves on the party line during the Civil war. And this is just the political ones, red commanders and so on — those who remained in the army. They could be moving the party line, they have moved beyond that person has shown some commanding qualities and can lead.

If we look avslutade so-called career, you can find absolutely amazing things. Here people put forward for leadership positions, it becomes, say, the head of any Executive Committee. After a year he runs a weaving factory, a year later, he runs the station, and the year after he directs the trade network, and the year after it is administered, for example, the head of the political Department of the collective farm. That is, specialization is missing. After the Civil war, the issue of specialization were not. Consequently, the Soviet bureaucracy could absorb a tremendous amount of personnel. Especially that parallel to it, and still there was the party apparatus. Instead of one machine became two. And they both grew was a lot to absorb.

And enlisted personnel of the red army returned to the place where usually he returned home. Krasnokamenskiy same composition, with the exception of those who remained in the army, was absorbed in civil society. One of them was sent to study that after world war II, incidentally, was also. When I started working, I still found lieutenants who came from the front and had the opportunity to enter higher educational institutions on a preferential basis. And I learned a lot of people, including historians, who graduated from Moscow state University just after the war. After the Civil was the same, only in a much larger scale, because such experts had been simply tremendously necessary — there was no one. There are all sorts of institutions are “red professors” courses, endless and so on.


After the Civil war was the necessity of cleansing the armed forces for political reasons. Those who remained had to keep on a short leash, because the army is a very dangerous machine.

the Let political considerations and talk, only this time in relation to the great Patriotic war. What generally prevailed attitude to power in the ranks of the red army during world war II? Certainly the NKVD gathered such information? It is true that soldiers were getting much politicalfirst part?

To say goodbye was goodbye, but not very much. In General, in the army during the great Patriotic war were very strict party control. Formally, in the army we had unity of command. The commander was both the political head, as if combined this. In most cases, commanders were party members. But in parallel with the command post the whole army from top to bottom was riddled with political apparatus. The task of the commissioners of the Civil war was control of the commanders, which is not a priori trusted, as the latter in most cases were military specialists from among the officers of the tsarist army. He was the enemy and, most of all, socially it’s a long item. So needed a Commissioner who would watch this man do not hurt. Or not ran because there were cases when officers and generals ran to the side of the whites. In the Great Patriotic war was already considered that commanders like trusting because they are the flesh and blood of the workers and peasants of the people.

Accordingly, the workers were up to the battalion mandatory. In addition to these mandatory were the secretaries of party and Komsomol cells. They all, of course, helped the workers, entering into the pyramid. Of course, party members and Komsomol members were everywhere, and until the company were secretaries of cells. That is, the management pyramid was duplicated at all levels. Was also a member of the military Council of the army or front, in most cases, the worker. In uniform, but the worker. The same Khrushchev was a Lieutenant General and received these straps not being a Colonel informed. He was a member of the military Council of the front, and, accordingly, he obeyed the entire structure. This was still the head of the political front is a separate office that was under his command. All of this was the pyramid, which controlled the mindset of the personnel.

In addition there was another pyramid of SMERSH, it was originally a special departments. Later, during the war, was created by the Department of military counterintelligence of SMERSH, which was directly subordinate to Stalin. This structure is fully pervaded the entire army and controlled is not just the mood and hostile mood. If the party apparatus controlled the sentiment in principle — if the person is not very welcomed the Soviet power, it is necessary to hold a conversation and if necessary to report where it is necessary, here is seen, for example, the question “worship of foreign equipment.”

Naturally, parallel to this structure is another structure of military tribunals. It is necessary to keep in mind, all this was not people who sit, they have responsibilities. And if at the grassroots level political worker can indeed be the assistant to the commander and take on kaChia-its function (for example, lead soldiers into battle and the like), at a higher level, it has no functions of the commander to assume not. There there are other people. For example, the second-in-command of the division for political Affairs in case of his absence to take on the responsibilities, because there is a chief of staff.

The political officers at all levels (and below too) should work. They must prepare reports that are evaluated and go upstairs, until the General political Department, the Department of agitation and propaganda. They should bring the point of view of the party and government personnel. They should conduct political information, pumping, to explain the policy of the party and the government and control what he thinks the personnel. Accordingly, the punitive organs, that is, SMERSH, got to see that those sentiments did not come to doubt the Soviet government. No doubt the Soviet government can not be. Otherwise, people can be arrested.

But during the war, not always hands to reach all. On the one hand, the workers will constantly look for conspiracies in their parts. Once praised, and another can on the cap to give. The SMERSH was also their business. They had to take care of counterintelligence. However, we can say that the battalions of the people got not only for cowardice, but for other reasons. And arrested people, and were people, and the executions were. And executions was enough. Something on the order of consisting of ten infantry divisions had shot (for the state of 1941, the personnel of the infantry division was supposed to consist of about 14,500 people — approx. “Of the”). Of course, this is very approximate figures.

That is, in General, was controlled by the army rather well. At the household level, for example, soldiers in his platoon would not inform on their comrades in most cases. Here there is, of course, it was possible to talk, to Express some doubt as to Soviet power. But people have realized that nothing good is not over.

The army was very large, the controlling machine, and machine independent. When we talk about particular departments, the office of counterintelligence of SMERSH, we must remember that intelligence and counterintelligence, and so there is in the army. At the headquarters of the officers of counterintelligence, divisions and shelves are reconnaissance platoons. A Department of SMERSH, although they are wearing uniforms of the armed forces, most everything has a political component. Although they also do, in fact, counter-intelligence, that is, the struggle against the enemy influence and its direct manifestations — spies, saboteurs, and so on.

the “the People can not cheat”

the Let’s continue about the political component. It is widely believed that to win the war Stalin helped the ideological shift from proletarian internationalism to Russian the patriotism that aroused enthusiasm in the army and the people. Is that so?

About this there are a few basic theories. Consensus does not exist. So I’m going to Express my opinion. I believe that this is so. If we look at what happened, we can say that the Red army itself was destroyed.

In its place came the people scored above all in the villages. And the people came in large number are older. They have families already were, that is, they were men of more or less conscious. And most of these people — whatever the Soviet government — they were Orthodox and faithful. But for the believer, the Soviet government was not very close, because it is the power of atheistic, now that would say our dear Communists. If she is a militant atheist that proclaims itself the enemy of religion. She says that religion is the opium of the people. When something is compared to opium, it is implied that it is bad. The Soviet government clearly hostile to Christianity, it is unique.

So when the army got a lot of faithful Christians (and Muslims, of course, because the Soviet government is the enemy not only of Christianity but also of Islam and Judaism, and any religion) is, of course, the top is realized. Nobody said that the Soviet government abandon its positions. In any case, the Soviet government has never abandoned its position. Just during the war, she decided not to exaggerate this issue.

Now there was a whole lot of myths about Stalin we have supposedly the icons venerated, and prayed for something — it’s all lies, of course. Stalin never changed his hostile attitude to Christianity. And the Soviet government never changed it. It is evident from what happened after the war. As soon as the war was over, immediately started to tighten the screws on religion. And during the war, the country was aware that it is necessary to make, say, goals of the people coincided with the goals of the Soviet government. Because the goal of the Soviet regime is to persist. A goal of the people — not to die by the state, the constituent peoples which is Russian. That is to protect their homeland. I emphasize homeland, not the Soviet government. For the Soviets the Christian not to shed blood.

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I had to make most of the population of the Soviet Union realized that for her Motherland and the Soviet government are one and the same. It is all the work of the propaganda machine. Hence, Stalin’s “brothers and sisters” and all the rest.

If we look at the contents of Newspapers and magazines of the time, you will see there are very big political SOS��alleyway — “Lenin — Stalin”, Soviet power, workers ‘and peasants’ state’s all gone. But at the same time the Soviet government began to position itself as a national power. It seems to me that there is a very large component to the fact that people began to perceive their goals coincide with the goals of the Soviet government. That is what is necessary to fight the invader, and that the leadership of the country fully meets these objectives.

The people can not cheat, it’s too big, it has its own trends and their beliefs. And Stalin was able to ensure that people and the Soviet power was on the way, they had one goal. The goal is to win the war. And as soon as it happened (of course, there affected and many other factors) began to win and go forward. And in the end won. If it was not, the army simply would not fight, she would have started to give up. Would be driven, as always detachments, but the army began to surrender. To protect the mausoleum of Lenin one will not do.

the Back to the beginning of our conversation. Is it true that the translation of the Victory Day, Stalin in the category of working days after 1947 can be linked with the growth of Russian patriotism in the army and among the soldiers and the people?

Including. This is associated, because the cancellation of the May 9th celebration is a political move aimed at the adoption of Communist ideals. Victory day — the ideal is not Communist, this is the ideal popular because won the war not the Soviet government.

Therefore, it was necessary to cancel. Stalin did just do: I want to cancel, want — not canceled. Of course, it was a conscious decision. Has not been canceled February 23, has not been canceled November 7 — under any circumstances. Nobody cancelled the Constitution Day of the USSR — never any problems. The birthday of Lenin — all the time cope. First of May — no. And then cancel, because it is not a socialist holiday.

How bad was the adjustment of the ideological course of the Soviet power in the postwar years compared with pre-war and war period?

She was very serious. I could tell she actually broke what had been built in the previous step. Before the war, was quite unique. It is, of course, fluctuated along with the party line, but the goal was what: we will build a new world, the old world — before the Foundation of the concept of war — on the enemy’s land the enemy, we will win a little blood, a mighty blow and so forth. During the war the course had to adjust tremendously. In 1941, all were in a sort of prostration, associated even with the defeats, because I realized that is not valid accepted ideological concept, you need to change it.

That’s when the Church began to involve actively, particularly militant atheists has threatened with a finger, said��Ishe behave. Some prospects, international Christian movement. Have already begun to change course. It was during the war.

As soon as the war ended, it broke everything. It was an adjustment the cardinal completely. Immediately began to put pressure on the Church to close the open temples. The plant began, as expected by tradition. And by and large, during the war, did not open the temples is a myth that in the Soviet Union began during the war, actively open — during the war did not close the temples, opened by the Germans. And due to this their number has increased.

We can say that in time of war, tactical considerations were taken a departure from the Soviet ideology. And then there was her return. Well, not a good life was this departure, it is absolutely not a good life.

the is the translation on May 9 in the category of working days that the Soviet government openly ideologically opposed itself to the historical Russian state?

Yes, including. I don’t think it was so consciously, I don’t think Victory Day was linked with the Russian state. But even if you didn’t, then secretly absolutely correctly understood the Victory Day. May 9 is among the victories of the people. It’s not Great October socialist revolution. It is, relatively speaking, the day of Borodino, the day of the battle of Kulikov in this series.

And during the war the Soviet government itself, the Communist party itself is not a good life, and what needs to be changed, this is now all accepted. For example, of the order. The order of Alexander Nevsky is also in a nightmare one cannot imagine Lenin is probably spinning in his grave. Order of Kutuzov, Prince of Smolensk, the Order of Suvorov, Prince of Italy. So from this point of view, there not all bad. Bohdan Khmelnytsky like anything else, but also a complicated man and an enemy of working people.

The introduction of the order of Alexander Nevsky, Suvorov, Kutuzov, Ushakov is an appeal to the national feelings of the Russian people, and building a chain of “Borodino — battle of Kulikovo — the battle of the Neva”. And so, our victory will be. No one recalled, for example, the victory of the red army at Tsaritsyno in Civil or something like that, no one appealed. Appealed to the fact, where he fought all the people, not where people fought with their own people. Civil war is not appealed because it was very indecent. If it is appealing, the question arises, why so many people worked for the Germans.

After the war, the whole story was driven for Mozhaev. Well, not exactly all, but to quite a large extent.

the Let’s try to make a comparison with the First world war. It is widely believed that, had it not been in the Russian revolution, the allies had overwhelming superiority in resources, in 1917 ode��sting would win. What do you think won the war Nicholas II would have behaved like Stalin on Victory Day, making it an ordinary working day?

The Russian Empire was a state, shall we say, Orthodox. That is, Christianity was positioned as a state religion. Accordingly, all weekends and holidays in the Russian Empire was the Church. No secular holiday was not a holiday. And so the day of the First world war could not be a festive day. Under any circumstances.

Could be events of celebration. For example, in 1912, a very widely celebrated Day of Borodino and all the events associated with the Patriotic war of 1812, which was the whole set. Or, for example, in 1913, passed the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Not specifically designated day — though he is known for, and it took place the principal event (the day when he was crowned the first Tsar of the Romanov dynasty — Mikhail Fedorovich). In Russia, the historical event was celebrated that way.

In case of victory in 1917, in 1927, was celebrated the tenth anniversary of the victory, and would have been a whole range of national celebrations. But a specific day would never have been installed holiday.

the “we had to convince their own people that does not exist”

the whether Different concepts for the celebration of victory Day under Stalin in 1945-1946, and under Brezhnev, after 1965, now?

I can’t tell you, because I don’t know how were the celebrations in 1946 and 1947. I saw was celebrated May 9 at the end of the Brezhnev era, because present at the same time. In my opinion, then the celebration took place less formalized than it is now. Although it is quite understandable that now the Victory Day people celebrate indirectly. That is, it is celebrated by people that have no relation to this victory not have. I, for one, nothing in that victory have not. It has the attitude of my father’s generation.

That sense of gratitude. But in the Brezhnev era was primarily celebrated by the people who survived it all, for which the Victory is not book smart, and not movies. They remember it, they talk to their fellow soldiers, remember those days. Yes, of course, were present and gratitude of the next generation. But the important thing is that these people took part in the war. The head of state in the war was a Colonel, then major-General. He fought the Minister of defence fought. It was really a holiday with tears in his eyes. Now we celebrate that historic day. And for them it was very real, and this, I think, the difference is fundamental.

the And how the state took into circulation and used in the ideological propaganda war heroes?

During any war the propaganda machine. Also��exists a whole block of people who are professionally engaged in propaganda and counter-propaganda. When I was a student, just received a military specialty “officer counter-propaganda” in the Soviet period I is assigned. It was specially trained people. They always have two tasks: the decomposition of the enemy and strengthen the spirit of their own army and people. Moreover, the second — is primarily a work of military journalists. They strive to set an example of heroism that existed or did not exist in reality (it does not play any role). They should provide the lift the morale, confidence in victory, confidence in their own abilities. This requires examples.

In most cases these examples are taken from life. But I write this people who have no time, that should do it always on time and always have them at hand is of such a feat. They get some information from the political departments, as it was in WWII. Or before that, in the First world, for example, became famous Cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov, with a portrait of the candy produced. When he made his first exploit, for which he “unwound”, that was there first, not one, and secondly, got St. George’s medal, despite the fact that the one who was with him, he received the George cross, that is, the higher the reward. But “hyped” Kuzma Kryuchkov.

And during the great Patriotic war, war correspondents, photographers received information, went to the front is not sitting on his pants, and very serious work. They receive data on a particular feat was described in the newspaper as an example to follow. Here’s what is important: Newspapers have to go out in the papers should be exploits, the Newspapers have at all, even the divisions of their Newspapers there. The number of exploits must be absolutely enormous. Accordingly, it is not always a feat, so to speak, deserves to be called heroic. Hence, it is necessary to embellish. It is necessary, because its purpose is not to inform the society, like the media, the aim of propaganda.

It is necessary not just to tell you that Vasily Vasilyev made a feat, you need to show that it should be, as it accomplished the feat of Patriotic impulses and so on. Here important is not the feat, and his motivation. If necessary, the journalist should embellish: platoon knocked out two tanks? Is any platoon can. Hence, it is necessary to write that not two, but ten. Well, what do have — and all. It is a necessity of propaganda.

During the First world war happened exactly the same in Newspapers and magazines, and not only our, but also in English, French, German. And the same pattern was observed during the Second world war. All the media were doing. The question arose only one. When it is done during the war — this is done based on the need of propaganda. You cannot condemn the same Krivitsky that he described the feat of 28 Panfilov in the way he described, because he needed to show his readers (he wrote in the “red Star”, that is, to show the whole country), the feat of the people. Heroic feat of the people who selflessly gave their lives. He needs it to write? Required. It would be not the 28 Panfilov heroes, and 30 sappers — plays no role. We condemn him for that.

But then arises: if this is justified by the purpose of propaganda, it at the end of the war, these goals no longer work. That is, after the war, historians must consider all military myths and quietly from a historical point of view to write what was really going on. The power to hold have to take it completely normal and not to defend the myths. We have not, because after the war all these images are fully preserved. The Soviet government war propaganda still remained, and needed to convince their own people that does not exist.

the I have heard the opinion that in Soviet times, these veterans did not like those who on May 9 went to the orders and otherwise demonstrated his veteran status. They themselves chose this day to silently remember fallen comrades. This actually took place?

It all depends on the specific person. Some people didn’t like to go anywhere, I even met. But I at the same time, knew many people, always on May 9 went to the Bolshoi theatre. In most cases it is the people alone who want to meet comrades, to talk.

Or, for example, when I was in school, was invited to veteran-grandfather of a student in our class. He gladly came and told. He’s not a public person, he’s just the grandfather of our classmate. We asked him questions, and I’ve seen what he’s like when he talks like youth. We he asked, as he fought, for which he received their awards. Man was it good. Why it should not be this nice? We should be indignant when a man is proud of what he did? No. I think that it depends entirely on the specific person. And don’t think that there is some tendency, when it could be said that the majority thought this way. No, absolutely not.