Monthly Archives: January 2013

OMON against Latvian independence 1990-1991

omon

One of the most strongest and dangerous weapons used by breaking Soviet regime was OMON – Отряд Милиции Особого Назначения (Militsiya Special Purpose Unit). The so called “black berets” were heavily equipped and fanatical protector or the Soviet order. It was under command of Soviet Ministry of Interior, made to combat organized crime and support Soviet Police or Militsiya raids, however from 1990 its tasks became more political and toward against the restoration of the Latvian independence. The actions of this unit became violent and criminal and their actions took life’s both in Latvia and Lithuania. It was OMON who was responsible for attack against Latvian Ministry of Interior on January 20 1991 during the time of the Barricades in Riga. The attack on the night of 20 January still sheds in mystery because of the involvement in so-called “third force” and many details of the history of OMON in Latvia still is quite unclear. Here all the known aspects of this unit and the 20 January event is gathered, knowing that many questions still will be unanswered for some time.

The OMON Riga unit was made in 2 December 1988 under the orders of the Soviet Minister of Interior Vadim Bakatin. It was one first of 5 such units in the Soviet Union. The original unit consisted 148 men 20 of them were officers. The commander was Edgars Limmars while the real leadership was held by militsiya officer Česlvav Miljnik and his deputy Sergej  Parfijonov. The working style of the OMON was often brutal; the destruction of the illegal trade places, direct takeover of  the proceeds from crime without documentation and the torture of the suspects. However, in the unstable economic situation when crime level was critical the OMON was praised as a brave fighter of the organized crime.

OMON became involved in politics in May 15 1990 when after protest held by the Interfronte – movement against independent Latvia a large crowd of the Soviet Army officers and military cadets attempted to break in the Latvian Supreme Council building. The OMON used brutal force to disperse the crowd and saved the Latvian national government from trouble. Many saw them as heroes and good allies for independence movement.

However, after the 4 May 1990 when Latvian Soviet Supreme Council voted for Declaration of the Restoration of Latvian Independence the relations between new national Latvian Ministry of the Interior and the OMON begun to deteriorate. The members of OMON were mostly Russian, Ukrainian and Caucasian nationals from Soviet Union who had no sympathy for Latvian fight for independence as they viewed Moscow as their main command in charge.

The conflict begun in June 1990 when new Latvian Minister of Interior Aliozs Vaznis issued many orders that affected OMON. The members of OMON were forbidden to have a part-time job in private security company “Vikings” that caused resentment as it was good way to gain extra funds. Next order was the depolitization of the interior structure workers that OMON resisted. OMON raised a red Soviet flag at their base at Vecmīlgrvāvis in Riga and refused to follow the orders of the Latvian government. Many similarly minded members of the interior ministry joined OMON and its size raised up to 200 members. The Latvian government had no proper units to stand against such well-trained and heavily armed force and now the Latvian independence got itself a dangerous enemy.  And the rulers from Moscow knew about this and looked to use OMON for their efforts.

The situation got worsen when in November 14 OMON was officially disbanded. Minister Aliozs Vaznis ordered to halt payments and food delivery to OMON. The OMON now became stateless paramilitary unit that only subordinated to Soviet Ministry of Interior in Moscow formed of angry and heavily armed men.

OMON now switched to terrorism, attacks and provocations. OMON were responsible for many detonated explosions around Latvia to provoke the national violence so the Moscow can issue a state of emergency in Latvia. OMON attacked the memorial monuments to Latvian soldiers fighting in the German ranks. After that the OMON switched to political buildings in Riga.

In 27 September 1990 OMON invaded the Press House a mid size high-rise building. Press House was home to Latvian Communist Party Central Committee publishing and editorial stuff and printing equipment. Under the pretext of defending the property of the communist party, OMON made difficult for other national newspapers to publish. OMON attacked the Press House again in 2 November 1990 in 7 November during the official Soviet celebrations OMON raised the red banner on the Press House roof.

In 12 December 1990 at 3:10 an explosion took place near the Latvian Communist Party Central Committee society political center at Kr. Valdemara street 5. Then at the night of 18 December someone threw an explosive above the fence and hit the yard of the War prosecutors office of Riga war garrison. Few minutes after that an explosion took place near Latvian communist party Riga regional committee building. A third explosion took place near the Latvian Council of Ministers just 13 meters away from then standing monument of Lenin. In 21 December explosion hit the political war school building territory.   More explosions followed in 26 and 27 December. All of them were specially intended not to make any causalities and to look like a work of Latvian national radicals. The terrorist acts were made to make way for further actions by Moscow to install presidential order in Latvia.

In January 2 1991 OMON took complete control over the Press House. Latvian Minister of Interior Aliozs Vaznis arrived at the site along with deputies of the chairman of the Latvian Council of Ministers Ilmārs Bišers and Dainis Īvāns, but were ignored by OMON. Later at that day the members from criminal militsiya came to document the criminal act and were attacked by OMON, their certificates destroyed and car damaged by bullets.  In January 8 Aloizs Vaznis wrote a letter to the Soviet Minister of Interior Boris Pugo where he informed him about the crimes done by OMON and advised full disbandment of it to escape further crisis caused by them.

In 13 January the Barricade movement begun as the answer to violent events in Vilnius, Lithuania and the actions of the OMON became more extreme. At 14 January OMON opened fire at the Barricade defenders driving by on the Vecmīlgrvāvis bridge. Later at that day OMON assaulted the barricades at Brasas bridge shooting cars and throwing the Molotov cocktails.  At the night of 15 January OMON invaded the Riga police school, abusing the students and vandalizing the school rooms and stealing the weapons.

In January 16 OMON took their first victim. Again attacking the barricades at Vecmīlgrāvja bridge the OMON shot a driver Roberts Mūrnieks who later died in hospital. Now murder was added to the list of the OMON’s crimes and they did not dare the enter the city center filled with crowds of Barricade defenders.

The shot and burned bus by OMON on Vecmīlgrāvja bridge January 1991

The shot and burned bus by OMON on Vecmīlgrāvja bridge January 1991

At the night of the 20 January OMON stopped a bus with five Latvian policeman, attacked them, abused them and took them to their base were they continued to abuse them.

On January 20 21:09 OMON arrived at the city center and assaulted the Latvian Ministry of Interior located then at Raiņa boulevard 6. Just at this time the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Ivars Godmanis on the live air was speaking that the situation has normalized and people may leave the streets. He was cut short just as the live TV reports moved to city center near Old Riga canal where gun fights had erupted all over.

OMON raided the ministry of Interior and killed the militsiya lieutenant Vladimir Gomorovich. The OMON faced an armed resistance from the militsiya unit from town of Bauska who were near the spot and opened fire. However, there was not only OMON there was unknown unit the so called “third force” that based on the rooftops of the ministry and the nearby buildings and first opened fire above OMON men to provoke them, and then at the building and park in front of the ministry. It’s still unknown who was the third force, either some special squad of army or KGB or some other Soviet unit.

OMON gunman at the night of 20 August 1991

OMON gunman at the night of 20 August 1991

The attack was intended to provoke various armed units in Riga on both sides to join the firefight. So that the bloody outcome will result the imposition of the presidential government in Latvia. The direct rule from Moscow would halt the move to full independence.

After a hour of chaotic fire exchange the first news of the causalities were confirmed. Two members of Militsiya on the Latvian side Sergey Kononenko and Vladimir Gomorovich were killed. One schoolboy Edijs Riekstiņš were killed. Two TV operators Andrejs Slapiņš and Gvido Zvaignze who were filming the fire exchange were shot dead.    4 Latvian militsiya members were wounded along with TV operators from Russia and Hungary. It is possible but not confirmed that at the time of the siege one OMON gunman was shot dead, as the video footage showing truck entering the ministry yard and taking away the unidentified body.

The provocation failed as the resistance was not too significant to cause a greater eruption of events. Also just as in Vilnius on 13 January the TV cameras and foreign journalists were all around causing great backlash against Soviet Union.

The Barricades was later removed, but Latvia was not still fully free from Soviet Union and OMON continued to cause mayhem.  Their next target was Latvian customs posts at the borders. As Latvia had declared restoration of the independence, the own border guards and customs were needed. However, the Soviet Union still regarded Latvia as their territory and therefore viewed Latvian customs stations illegal. On the night of the 23 May OMON attacked four customs stations. On 29 May Latvian Supreme Council addressed a protest note to Soviet Supreme Council and Mikhail Gorbachev about the criminal actions of the OMON, demanding to remove them from Latvia. Soviet minister of the Interior Boris Pugo however called the OMON actions according to interests of the society and their actions were made without the consent of Moscow.

The last call for OMON was the August coup in Moscow in 1991. While Latvian government defied against the coup, Latvian communist leaders and members of army and KGB took active part in installing coup in Latvia. In 19. August at 19:15 OMON raided the Latvian TV building and halted the broadcast at 19:30. In 20:30 OMON raided the Riga Interior affairs office, at 20:45 OMON was back at the Latvian Ministry of the Interior. Then OMON seized the base of the First police battalion.   At 22:30 OMON invaded and vandalized the office of the Latvian People’s Front. At 22:15 near the Riga Interior affairs office OMON gunmen killed the driver of Jurmala House of Culture Jānis Salmiņš.

OMON in action in August 1991 at Dome Square Riga

OMON in action in August 1991 at Dome Square Riga

At 20 August OMON continued to take over the main Latvian objects. The Riga International phone and telegraph central and Latvian Radio building. The workers of the Latvian Radio installed a clandestine radio station in Salaspils. At evening together with Soviet Army troops OMON raided the Latvian police training center in Kauguri. Latvia seemed under complete grip under OMON at that time.

However the Latvian government was still working and the coup in Moscow itself faced an unsuspected resistance. On 21 August at 13:00 four armored OMON transporters entered the Dome Square and headed for the Supreme Council building where desperate Latvian government was looking to vote for complete  restoration of the independence. The vote was done in 13:10 and Latvia was now officially a fully independent from Soviet Union. The OMON left the scene at 14:10. At that day the August coup was defeated and officials of the Russian Soviet Federative Republic officially supported the independence of the Baltic states. The OMON retreated to its base at Vecmīlgrāvis an were commanded by deputy of the Soviet Minister of Interior not to leave their base. In August 31 OMON evacuated its base and went to its new location Tyumen, Russia. The one of the most greatest enemies of the free Latvia was ultimately defeated and exiled.

After the regain of the independence the Latvian authorities tried to find and sentence the criminals of the OMON. The main leader of the OMON Sergey Parfjonov was held and arrested at Tyumen airport by Latvian criminal police team. He was sentenced for many years, however he was asked back president of Russia Boris Yeltsin to face sentence at home. He was then amnestied and became local politician. He is still in the international search by Latvia. Two other OMON criminals escaped to separatist republic of Transistria and took important governmental posts. Other OMON men joined the armed conflicts in Georgia at early nighties and supported the movement against Yeltsin in 1993, however they may have been supported Yeltsin himself by making provocations to help Yeltsin issue a state of emergency. OMON men may also be responsible for killing of the St. Petersburg Duma deputy Galina Starovoitov because she stood against hiring the ex OMON members in government offices.

In Latvia Dmitry Mashkov sentenced for stealing jewelry while working at the police despite the fact that he was included in OMON’s criminal file. Later he was held suspicious for attack on Riga Synagogue on 1998 and for the murder of judge Jānis Laukroze. Also Konstantin Nikulin was involved in many criminal cases combined with murders of state officials.

The Riga OMON is just small part of giant list of unpunished crimes made by Soviet Authorities. The records of OMON men after their departure from Riga show that they have not abandoned their criminal lifestyle. Russia still has its own OMON that is tough guard of Vladimir Putin regime. OMON today can be seen at the streets of Moscow arresting opposition activists and dispersing demonstrations. The Russian interior system is just as brutal and criminal minded just as it was 20 years ago. Latvian politicians, security officials and the people must to do anything in their hands not to allow the return of the new OMON in Latvia.

The funeral of the victims of the OMON attack at 20 January 1991

The funeral of the victims of the OMON attack at 20 January 1991

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The 13 January in Riga 1905, 1991,2009

The monument to events of 13 January 1905

The monument to events of 13 January 1905

There are many theories about the mystical power of the number 13. Some say that its simply a number and all bad associated it’s just  a superstition. Others however note the great power of this number the powerful events good or bad that brings significant change. Those who believe the power of number 13 can turn to pages of the Latvian history and see what happened in Riga in January 13 on year 1905, 1991 and 2009. It was a release of great energy that brought destruction and even deaths and made significant changes to whole nation. The 13 January is a mythical date in Latvia associated with revolution, violence and change. And since five years have passed since the last great 13 January lets take a look of what happened here in Riga at this date.

1905 01 13

In the end of November 1904 in largest Russian imperial oil production city Baku a one day general strike took place. Few days after that a general strike in largest metal production factory in Petersburg took place. Soon many common factories in the city joined them. In 9. January (22 January according to Modern Julian Calendar) 150 000 people joined in march to the Winter Palace to give petition to the Czar about improving their living conditions. At the first ranks the workers marched with pictures of the Czar Nicolai II and the Saints. The march was led by the Orthodox priest Gapon who later turned out to be agent of Czarist secret police. When  people approached the Winter Palace they were met by Izmaiolv guard corps. It’s not clear who gave the order to fire at the unarmed crowd, its doubtful that is was the Czar Nicolai II himself, but the guards opened the fire killing 130 people making the first Bloody Sunday in 20 century. It was beginning of the 1905 Russian revolution the movement against the Czarist autocracy. Russia was in deep economic crisis and in despair after the humiliating defeat against Japan.

Latvia was no stranger to troubles of Russian Empires. Riga was one of the largest industrial centers in Western Russian provinces with large workers class. The main political movement in Latvia at those times were the Latvian Socialdemocratic Workers Party. The living conditions for Latvian workers were slightly better than their compatriots in Russia, however the national factor was also eminent as the Latvian workers struggled against the autocracy by Russian Authority and local Baltic German elite.

The Socialdemocrats issued a general strike in 12 (26) January in protest of innocent victims in Petersburg. The strike moved to Liepaja, Venstspils, Jelgava, Daugavpils and went on for 12 days.

In 13 January some few ten thousand workers singing revolutionary songs with red flags marched from Moscow suburb on the Great Moscow street to the city center. On the present day Railroad bridge at the time the Iron bridge the protestors were stopped by Riga junior officer school soldier company. The signal of warning was given by the drummer and the order to crowd to fall out was issued. But crowd continued to move ahead. The pressure of last rank marchers to the first rank marchers were so great that the first line of soldiers were pushed back. They took away the drummers sword, one junior officer got hit in the head by a rock. The protestors climbed on the bridge on started to throw rocks at soldiers some even had pistols. In this moment from Kungu (Lords) street another junior officer company came. The protestors were now besieged. When the protestors started to take away guns from soldiers hands, the officer gave the order to fire. Three rounds of fire were held at the protestors as the snow turned in bright red. A panic and disorder came out as the some attempted to jump on the icy river Daugava to escape. But the ice was too thin and many drowned.

73 were killed , 200 wounded and the number of the drowned were unknown. Also the police pristav Bilev was fatally wounded. Seven soldiers were wounded. One of the wounded was the young poet Antons Austriņš. His fried the famous poet Jānis Akuraters who also was in the crowd was so worried about his friend that the idea of new revolutionary song was born. “Ar kaujas saucieniem uz lūpām! (With battle cries on the lips)” lyrics by Jānis Akuraters and music by Jūlijs Sproģis became the symbol for Latvian leftist revolutionists.

The 13 January ignited the revolution in Latvia that went on for two years. The revolution was present in the streets of Riga and other cities and the peasants also joined by uprising against the Baltic German landlords. Although the events in Latvia followed the spirit of the Russian socialdemocrats and communists the nature of them was more nationalistic as Latvians hoped to achieve national autonomy from Russia and break the local Baltic German tyranny. The revolution at the end was crushed by bloody punitive expeditions and repressions. Today some historians and philosophers say that the Latvian revolutionary spirit was killed in 1906 and resulted in Latvian passivity to resist foreign and internal injustice for years to come.

The manifestation in Riga at the 13 January begining the Time of the Barricades

The manifestation in Riga at the 13 January beginning the Time of the Barricades

1991 01 13

The center of the main events in January 13 was not in Riga, but in Vilnius Lithuania. By that the revolution in three Baltic states had already started, but this time it was a national revolution to break away from the collapsing Soviet Union.

In 11 March 1900 Lithuania declared  full independence from the Soviet Union. This was met with great resistance from Moscow and the president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev who now started to revert his own reforms. All the attempts to stop Lithuanian breakaway failed and in the following months Latvia and Estonia also declared the restoration of independence. A conspiracy was born within the corners of Kremlin and the KGB building to initiate a provocations in all three Baltic countries to install direct presidential rule from Moscow to effectively halt the restoration of the independence.

The task was given to local Kremlin supporters (Interfront in Latvia, Yedvistvo in Lithuania), local KGB and Interior ministry units (OMON in Latvia) and the Soviet Army.  The deadline for it started in January 1991. In 2 January the Soviet Interior forces stormed the main building of the Lithuanian communist party central committee and the press center. Next day in Riga the OMON did the same with the Latvian press center. In 7 January a commando units were sent to three Baltic states “to aid the mobilization of the youth in the Soviet Army.” The commander of the Baltic War region Fjodors Kuzmins promised that no active actions will not take place until January 13.

Next day in 8 January the large crowds of Lithuanian Yedinstvo (Intefront) supporters took the streets to demand resignation of the Lithuanian nationalistic government. Mob attempted to storm the parliament building and were pushed back by land guards and police loyal to the national government. Next day the Lithuanian government lead by Kazimira Prunskiene resigned over issues of raising the prices for food products. Latvian government in mean time declared the entry of the Soviet special forces illegal and asked for people not to make any contacts with them.

As the fear of the Soviet reaction is the air in 12 January the Latvian People’s Front issues a All -Latvia manifestation in 13 January with goal to support the democratically elected Latvian government. In Moscow the Latvian prime minister Ivars Godmanis meets the Mikhail Gorbachev who promises to not allow violence in Riga, while secretly plotting one with his KGB colleges.

In the night of January 13 at Lithuanian capital Vilnius the attempt to stop the Baltic independence starts. Soviet tanks along with special forces team Alpha storm the Lithuanian parliament, TV and Radio building and telegraph. The time seemed right as it was night and the world’s attention was driven to Gulf War. But, the Soviet military was not expecting a resistance from unarmed crowd that gathered to defend the TV tower and TV studio and the Supreme Council building (parliament building). In the struggle between civilians and tanks 14 people were killed leaving Soviets to withdraw instead of attacking and making more casualties.

The reaction in Latvia was immediate, as in 04:45 the leader of the Latvian People’s Front Dainis Īvāns on the state radio called people to protect the states strategically important buildings from possible Soviet attack. In 14:00 500 000 people gathered to 11 Novembra Krastmala the same site where the events of the 1905 took place. A protest manifestation condemned to events in Vilnius  and called to the defend Riga. The Time of the Barricades had begun. It was one of the landmark moments in history of the Latvian national unity.

Riots in Riga 2009 January 13

Riots in Riga 2009 January 13

2009 01 13

In 2009 it was all different in Latvia. The economic crisis and the great dissatisfaction with the parliament that lead to crisis made many people to come out and protest. This time it was no longer foreign oppressor it was the own elected parliament Saeima.

In the beginning of the 2009 the opposition party Society for Different Policy and 25 other NGO’s signed a petition to the president of Latvia Valdis Zatlers to dissolve the parliament and to make a just, democratic and competent state order. The signers asked people to gather at the Dome Square at 13 January to hold the “peoples meeting”. Soon after that an unknown people on the internet called for violent uprising and gather near the parliament building. The call was investigated by the Security Police. The parliament building is just a street away from the Dome Square.

The gathering took place in 17:30 in 13 January. Ten thousand people came with posters and flags. On the stage many publicly known people held speeches and singers played songs. Many times the call for dissolving the parliament was heard.

The meeting ended with people moving to parliament building. During the meeting some may notice suspicious young people masked in robes with backpacks and group of Russian youngsters waving flag of Russia. There was a aggressive sentiment along the crowd and possible a special unit of provocateurs who drove it even further.

And then the sudden  a fights erupted with police and the protesters and people started to throw cobblestones at the parliament building. Apparently someone had necessary equipment to get the cobblestones out of the ground and by that a fire of stones, eggs and bottles were thrown at the police and the parliament building. If that was not enough the crowd tried to break in the parliament building that was closed at that time.

After the hour of struggle the special forces came in and pushed the rioters from the parliament building. The riot was pushed back to Dome Square. However, now rioters turned to vandalizing state and private property in the streets of Old Riga. The windows of the National library were shattered, Finance and Economics ministry were vandalized. A special site for “revolutionaries” was the alcoholic drinks shop that was demolished and robbed. Some say that the crowd even had intention to attack the Monument of Freedom.

Riots were eventually stopped. 50 people were wounded, one schoolboy rioter lost an eye. 13 police members were wounded. The president of Latvia Valdis Zatlers reacted by issuing the three demands to the government to solve the imminent problems or to face resignation. In 16 January a riots broke out in Vilnius on the similar scenario when peaceful gathering turns in the attack on the parliament building.

Only in 2012 first 15 suspects were sentenced for taking part in a riots showing utter inability by law defenders to handle such situations. Although numerous footage showing signs that the outbreak of riots were planed in advance, the Security Police issued that the riots were spontaneous.

The rioters were mainly from the young generation both Latvian and Russian. Many of them jobless or studying for their own money may had violent resentment against the state. Many after the 13 January riots thought that Latvia is again on the revolutionary spirit as in 1905 or 1991. But, no great riots or uprising has not happened again in Latvia after that. While people of Greece constantly rebel the austerity policy set by foreign powers, Latvia peacefully and  almost reluctantly came trough the crisis. Many probably felt ashamed by the vandalism in 13 January and the notion that they did not achieve much.  Yet the 13 January 2009 is a symbol for many small rebel organizations such as antiglobalists and Russian nationalists. Their leader Vladimir Linderman formed a party called the “13 January Movement” that now is called “For native language!” showing the real nature of the 13 January 2009 riots.

These were the three most important 13 Januaries in the history of Latvia. Today in 2013 January 13 a rather peaceful meeting was held by Solidarity meeting to commemorate the 1905 13 January. Only one person was held by the police. The future will keep secret what will happen in future 13 January’s, but lets hope it will bring only good for Latvian people.

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Soviet Plans for Worldwide Socialist Revolution 1917-1939

Soviet propaganda poster showing the unification of the world under the Red Flag

Soviet propaganda poster showing the unification of the world under the Red Flag

Already after the Bolshevik coup in October 1917 the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin made clear that this is the only the beginning and the Soviet fight will only end when the World Soviet Socialist Republic will be established. Everything needed to be done to lighten up the proletarian revolution in other countries. The Bolsheviks hoped for postwar troubles in and revolutionary sentiments in western countries. Moscow supported the revolution attempts in Bavaria, Germany and in Hungary in 1919. These bloody revolutions were crushed and the one in Munich was witnessed by Adolf Hitler then a discharged soldier who saw the need for his own revolution. In March 1919 in Moscow the Communist Internationale (Comintern) was established with goal to weaken the social democratic movements in Europe and to take complete control over all communist movements outside Russia. The beginning of the Comintern was very prudent as only 34 delegates took part in the founding congress with only 4 of them from abroad. However, the organization became immensely powerful over the next two decades and Lenin was sure that soon the Worldwide Soviet Federate Republic will be established.

The Comintern was an international communist party that used its sections based on iron discipline to bring down the capitalist order in a violent way. The sections were financed mainly by Moscow. In the twenties Moscow gave large sums of money to Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, German, US, British, Sweden and Finland sections. The money was raised by selling the Czarist time valuables and robing the churches. Only French section of the Comintern was able to finance itself.

To transfer the money Soviets used illegal means mainly supported by the Soviet intelligence agencies. The Baltic states were used as the window to Europe to transit these sums of money. Tallinn and Riga were used as the main gateways. In short time Soviets sent 451 million golden rubles trough Tallinn. In 1921 Soviets already spent 2/3 of their gold reserves to finance the worldwide socialist revolution.

In 1920 the Red Army started the offensive against Poland. It was clearly seen in the propaganda at that time that the Poland was not the sole enemy in this offensive. After the fall of Warsaw the Soviets would take Berlin and move to the west. However, at the river of Vistula the Red Army was crushed and the ideas for world takeover had to canceled. In next decades Soviets viewed Poland as a grave enemy and the defeat at 1920 made the next Soviet leader Stalin hate the Polish country. Also the independent Baltic States and Finland were seen as  a great dissatisfaction. The Russian Empire was fallen but its imperialism remained now in the clothes of idea of the world socialist revolution.

Despite the calls for revolutions, the Soviet Union made agreements with the Western powers that was seen as a temporary coexistence until the final fight and the victory of the communism. In 1922 the Soviet Union made Rapallo agreement with Germany that brought many means for two state cooperation especially the military. The Western powers had delusive assumptions that the Soviet Union is just as the other countries and can normally cooperate with them. By that from 1924 to 1933 the Soviet Union was recognized by most democratic countries in the world.

While western countries no longer viewed the Soviet Union as a bridgehead for revolution the idea of worldwide revolution was an integral part in the Soviet ideology. In first Soviet Constitution accepted in 1924 the Soviet Union was called as the Fatherland of the World proletariat from which the Worldwide Socialist Republic would arise. From 1918 to 1936 in Soviet calendars the anniversary of the October coup was not mentioned, instead the 7 – 8 November was celebrated as the beginning of the worldwide proletarian revolution. In the documents of the Comintern it was undoubtedly written that the proletarian revolution cannot rise in one state only it was possible only in the international level. The anthem of the Soviet Union was Internationale until it was changed by more nationalistic anthem in 1943. The first state radio program was called the Comintern Radio.

The ideas of worldwide socialist revolution was deeply affected by the Hitler’s rise to power. This was also partially “success” by the Comintern because Moscow ordered to weaken the German social democrats that made Nazis much easier to defeat them. The rise of national socialism was direct answer to the growing influence of communism in Europe caused by the Great Depression and the actions of the Comintern.

By that Moscow has got itself in unusual situation while the all plans of the world revolution backfired they caused the rise of Nazism and Fascism and rise of Authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe. All of them were hostile to communism. National socialism was common to communism in many ways – use of terms of revolution and socialism, single obligatory ideology, state wide terror, single party rule, the centralization of the economy and the cult of personality. The main difference  that the Soviets were internationalists while Nazis- nationalists.

Before Hitler Soviets had a few attempts of lighting up the communist revolutions in Europe the Hamburg Uprising in 1923 and the communist coup attempt in Estonia 1924. Now Stalin changed the state ideology from Soviet internationalism to the Soviet Nationalism or Patriotism as it was called. The Soviet Union was now called Motherland and the last Comintern congress in 1935 now forbid to scare the world about the worldwide socialist revolution and called to make peoples front in the fight against the fascism.

After 1933 the main goal to reach the worldwide socialist revolution trough military power of the Red Army.

After 1933 the main goal to reach the worldwide socialist revolution trough the military power of the Red Army.

The idea of exporting the worldwide socialist revolution  with arms was abandoned. Instead, Stalin now focused on Socialism in Sole State. That would be achieved by enforcing collectivization and industrialization. But, that would be achieved only by strengthening the state outer security by building the mighty Red army. The very goal of worldwide socialist revolution was not completely abandoned instead it was intended to be achieved by the Soviet military potential. Stalin was convinced that the World War II is imminent so his army should be ready to defend the Soviet Union and take offensive part in the world war when necessary.

By that a complete reorganization of Soviet military forces was underway.  The Great Purges in 1937 was made to get rid of all the military staff that Stalin distrusted and replace them with people that would carry his plan in every single way. The Red Army witnessed great modernization and in 1939 it was already one of the strongest armies in the wor by the means of the equipment and weapons. The military training and discipline however was much worse.

Stalin not just waited for the world war to begin he took an active part to instigate it. Lenin already stated that the main goal for the Soviet foreign policy is to use the disagreements of the capitalist states to drive them into war. Stalin too in 1925 said that Soviet Union must be the last one to join the conflict to say the conclusive word.

And Stalin put his words into actions in 1938 when he allowed Hitler to occupy Czechoslovakia and allow the Munich Agreement. The goal of Adolf Hitler was to unite all territories inhabited by ethnic Germans under Germany and so his next target was Danzig and Polish corridor. When at first Hitler intended to gain these lands by the means of talks with the Polish government he was turned down and by his disappointment he issued a plan for war with Poland. Allies this time choose to support Poland in case of war.

That put the Soviet Union in an important role to decide the fate of Poland. Stalin could do nothing and allow Hitler to attack that would bring German troops to Soviet borders and witness the war in the west. Or Stalin had a chance to unite with allies against Germany. Poland would be spared as Hitler would not fight a two front war and Germany would become isolated between two powers. But that was not according to expansionist plans of the Soviet Union. So Stalin had the third possibility to make an agreement with Germany. By that Soviet Union could take important parts in war affairs and make means for unexpected attack at the same time. So the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed on 1939 August 23. Stalin was convinced that the war between the west will be for a long time that will make the German hands tied until Soviet Union have a chance to join the war as the main force and take over the world.

The Comintern was no longer needed for this. Stalin did not bother to inform the leaders of the Comintern about his plans for changes in relations between the Soviet Union and Germany. The Comintern was confused and made statements that despite the Molotov – Ribbentrop pact Soviet Union is still able to cooperate with Great Britain and France. The main goal in an international communists scene was proclaimed as the fight against fascism.

Stalin was dissatisfied with this Comintern approach. It was also understood by the leader of Comintern Georgi Dimitrov who on 5 September sent a letter to secretary of the communist party Andrey Zdanov where he state that the formulation of the new goals of the communist movement has become extremely difficult within the new international situation. In 7 September 1939 he met Stalin together with Andrey Zdanov and Vyacheslav Molotov. Stalin described the new war as the fight between two groups of the capitalist states. He demanded to turn down for calls for people’s fronts and called the possible destruction of Poland as just disappearance of another capitalist country from the map. Moreover Stalin was convinced that the downfall of Poland must be used to conquer new territories and peoples.

At the end of the conversation Stalin proposed Dimitrov to make a short thesis with the new goals of the communist movement in the light of the new international situation. These theses were published in the September 9 and they made a complete change in the Comintern tactics. The document stated that the working class must never support the war, but must ready to fight against social democrats. The Comintern and its sections had to postpone all the anti-fascist propaganda and the classification of the capitalist states. The word fascism was gone from Comintern propaganda instead the fight was forwarded to France and Great Britain. The Comintern had to support new friendship with Germany.

The Comintern was now used for Stalin’s offensive plans towards the Baltic States and Finland. Comintern made an agreement of cooperation with the puppet government of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Finland. The leader of Finnish communists Avro Tuominen declined the offer the lead the government and resisted the orders of the new Comintern. Confusion was high in all Comintern sections and Georgi Dimitrov published a theoretical writing to promote the new policy. It was called “The War and the working class of the capitalist countries” that was completely based on a Stalinist view of the world events.

At the end of the 1939, Comintern became unnecessary for Stalin. Stalin was ready to please Hitler by firing the Comintern already in 1941. The German invasion changed this for a short time until Comintern was liquidated in 1943.

The Stalin’s plan of worldwide revolution by joining the World War II with an unexpected attack backfired. In 1940 Germany quickly defeated France and isolated Great Britain. Stalin was able to seize the Baltic States and steal land from Finland and Romania, but was unable to attack Germany when it was caught up with the allies. But still Stalin planned to attack Germany and was nearly ready for it before 22 June 1941. The victory over Germany in 1945 the  sovietization of the Eastern Europe was still a small success to Stalin, comparing to what he wished to achieve in 1939.

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