Staunton, June 3 – Lev Lopukhovsky, a retired Russian officer and the co-author of a new book, June 1941. A Planned Defeat (in Russian; Moscow: ROSPEN, 2021), says that Russian officials now constantly lie about the country’s losses during World War II and that the Kremlin is now restricting access to the archives in order to prevent the exposure of these lies.
According to Lopukhovsky, “the Red Army was not prepared for war” and “unfortunately, there was no alternative to a defeat.” And even when Stalin was finally convinced that the war had begun, he refused to order all forces to increase their readiness to fight (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/06/03/malenkie-liudi-bolshoi-bedy).
The order Moscow later repeatedly cited was not sent to the forces and so was effectively not given, the officer-historian says. Thus, it is completely incorrect to say that Stalin brought the USSR’s forces to full military readiness. That didn’t happen, and lies about it both obscure the losses at the start of the war, a duplicitous failure that was extended throughout the conflict.
“My opinion” about Stalin is as follows, he continues. “His crimes vastly exceeded all the achievements ascribed to him. In the latest variant of the history of the Fatherland War, it is said of repressions that their harm has not yet been shown. But why hasn’t it? Were too few shot” to explain what happened?
Between 1941 and 1945, Lopukhovsky says, two and a half times fewer general-rank officers in the Soviet military died than during the two years of repressions that preceded them. In 1934, there were 85 members of the military council of the Soviet defense ministry. “At the start of the war there remained only nine.”
How much could these officers have done in the war if they had remained alive and in place in 1941? What could they have suggested? the officer-historian asks rhetorically.
Marshal Zhukov confessed in an interview that “one must honestly recognize the achievements of the German army and the Germany general staff. They worked better than we did, but we learned to fight. And we learned and we won, but at what cost?”
Moscow constantly lies about the losses that the Soviet army and the Soviet people suffered. That is obvious to anyone who has ever worked in the archives as Lopukhovsky himself did a decade ago. But now those archives are being closed and so the possibility of exposing the state’s lies on this and other things is reduced or even completely eliminated.
The dead and those who suffered deserve better.