35 Facts About Soviet partisans


The first detachments commanded by Red Army officers and local Communist Party activists were formed in the first days of the war between former allies Germany and the Soviet partisans Union, including the Starasyel'ski detachment of Major Dorodnykh in the Zhabinka district and the Pinsk detachment of Vasily Korzh on June 26,1941.

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Some formations calling themselves Soviet partisans operated a long way outside Soviet territory – usually organized by former Soviet citizens who had escaped from Nazi camps.

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In 1944 Soviet partisans provided "proletarian internationalist" help to the people of German-occupied Central Europe, with seven united formations and 26 larger detachments operating in Poland, and 20 united formations and detachments operating in Czechoslovakia.

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The Soviet partisans controlled more than 20 regional centers and thousands of villages.

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Soviet partisans strategists started taking the partisan units into account after that.

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Some Jews and lower-rank Soviet partisans activists felt more secure in the partisan ranks than in civilian life under Soviet partisans rule.

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Soviet partisans avoided to some extent attacking people of Polish nationality during the terror campaigns in 1942.

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Desertions from the ranks of the German-controlled police and military formations strengthened units, with sometimes whole detachments coming over to the Soviet partisans camp, including the Volga Tatar battalion, and Gil-Rodionov's 1st Russian People's Brigade of the SS.

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The Soviet partisans settled in catacombs, the extensive network of which at 100 kilometers had no equal in Europe.

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The political work of the Soviet partisans and underground forces was a powerful force in the struggle against occupation.

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In 1943, after the Red Army started to liberate western Russia and north-east Ukraine, many Soviet partisans, including units led by Fedorov, Medvedev and Saburov, were ordered to re-locate their operations into central and western Ukraine still occupied by Nazis.

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In Latvia, the Soviet partisans were first under Russian and Belarusian command, and from January 1943, directly subordinated to the central Headquarters in Moscow, under the leadership of Arturs Sprogis.

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In East Karelia, most Soviet partisans attacked Finnish military supply and communication targets, but inside Finland proper, and Finnish sources claim that almost two-thirds of the attacks targeted civilians, killing 200 and injuring 50, mostly women, children and elderly.

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Finnish sources claim that on one occasion in the small village the Soviet partisans murdered all civilians, leaving no witnesses to the atrocities.

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The Soviet partisans did not have sufficient strength to attack military targets, and would often falsely report their raids to higher command, claiming attacks on German or Finnish military targets even if the victims were civilians.

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Additionally, Soviet partisans were instructed to opportunistically use the Nazis against Polish non-communist resistance by feeding the German forces information on Poles.

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The Soviet partisans were involved in several massacres of Polish civilians, including at Naliboki, on May 8,1943 and at Koniuchy on 29 January 1944.

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Soviet partisans attacked Polish partisans, villages and small towns in order to weaken the Polish structures in the areas which Soviet Union claimed for itself.

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Frequent requisitions of food in local villages and brutal reprisal actions against villages considered disloyal to the Soviet partisans Union sparked the creation of numerous self-defence units, often joining the ranks of the Armia Krajowa.

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The Soviet partisans units were authorized to “shoot the [Polish] leaders” and “discredit, disarm, and dissolve” their units.

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Chodakiewicz reported that a high ranking Soviet partisans commander said, “Most partisan units feed, clothe, and arm themselves at the expense of the local population and not by capturing booty in the struggle against fascism.

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Large numbers of Soviet citizens fleeing destruction from German-occupied areas were provided relief by partisans.

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Besides, the wide scale deployment and high efficiency of the German security services limited the Soviet partisans' gathering capabilities in the military field to the rural areas, almost completely preventing their access to the Wehrmacht's bases and decision making centers.

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Significant number of Soviet partisans citizens were outside Soviet partisans borders during the war and many took part in numerous partisan formations and saboteur groups in France, Poland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and other countries.

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Soviet Ukrainian partisans achieved some success only in Slovakia, a nominally independent country under German tutelage.

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Soviet partisans are therefore a controversial issue in those countries.

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However, by mid-1943, as the Soviets gained the upper hand and started to push German forces westwards, and following the breakdown of diplomatic relationship between Polish government in exile and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the revelations about the Katyn massacre on June 22,1943, Soviet partisans received orders to engage non-communist Polish partisans of Armia Krajowa, and the hostilities between the two groups escalated.

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The Soviet partisans government annexed these territories in June 1940 and faced increasing resistance after repressive actions against the Baltic populations.

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Latvian headquarters of the partisan movement reported that in the summer of 1944, partisans of eastern and central Latvia directly rescued more than 3,220 from being transferred to western Latvia, and 278 Soviet soldiers were liberated from captivity, and they immediately joined partisan detachments.

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In eastern and south-eastern Lithuania, Soviet partisans constantly clashed with Polish Armia Krajowa partisans; AK did not recognise any territorial changes after 1939 and considered this region as a legal part of Poland, while the Soviets planned to annex it into the Soviet Union after the war.

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Only in April 1944 did Polish and Soviet partisans start coordinating their actions against the Germans.

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Soviet partisans partisan activity was a strategic factor in the defeat of the German forces on the Soviet partisans-German front.

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Partisan activities combined with the Soviet partisans Army's increasing offensive success helped to inspire the local population in occupied territories to join or support the struggle against the German occupation.

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The Soviet partisans were representatives of the Soviet regime and evidence that neither it nor ideology was defeated.

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Soviet partisans argues that they "lacked popular support" and claims that such allegations have been "eliminated from the standard Soviet narrative about them".

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