Concluding the conversation about the post-war repressions in the Red Army, we finally come to the topic around which there is, perhaps, a huge amount of rumors, gossip, reticence and, finally, outright and shameless lies. In 1950, according to court sentences, all ranks and awards were stripped, and later - 20 generals of the Soviet Army and even one marshal were shot. For what?! Why?! After all, they won the Great Patriotic War!
This is how gentlemen liberals usually cry on this occasion. And, of course, they instantly find their own "explanations" for those distant events - within the framework of their usual concepts. Well, with disgust, we will get acquainted with their versions ... However, after that we will try to unbiasedly understand - what actually happened in the USSR 70 years ago and why did the heads of high-ranking military men fly off the shoulders then?
"Decembrists" - hoarders
The most beloved by the liberal public are hypotheses such as that the “bloody tyrant and paranoid” Stalin could not slap a glass of Georgian wine or smoke his favorite pipe until he tortured someone to death, and therefore killed and executed “just like that”, in accordance with the main properties of our terrifying nature, we will not consider. Let the doctors deal with a complete clinic ... Let us turn to the theories, the authors of which are trying to portray at least some adherence to logic and, therefore, are desperately trying to bring some kind of "basis" under their own inventions. In their opinion, the Supreme Commander after the Great Patriotic War (in which he, of course, had nothing to do with the Victory!), The Red Army was downright hated. You see, he "envied" her brilliant marshals and generals. But, most importantly, I saw in them (evaluate the breadth of the flight of thought!) Some "new Decembrists of the XNUMXth century" who, "having been in a much freer and more prosperous Europe, might want changes in their own home." How! That is why Stalin tyrannized completely innocent generals, inventing completely absurd and absurd reasons for this ...
I really don't even know where to start. Yes, perhaps because the heroes erected on a pedestal and almost canonized first by the domestic liberal public of the XNUMXth century, and later by communist ideologists, the "heroes of the Senate" were in fact, speaking in modern terms, a bunch of putschists eager to stage a coup d'etat and establish the dictatorship of a military junta. And they got some buckshot, some noose, and some just deserving hard labor. They had very dubious intentions and plans, and their deeds fell directly under the concept of "high treason" ...
But back to our ... generals. The Decembrists (even taking into account all that has been said above) from this audience were, frankly, as you yourself know, which of you you know what. They were not bringing "free-thinking ideas" to their homeland, but junk that was raided in unmeasured quantities! What they had in common with the noble upstarts who were striving for power in 1825 was perhaps their incredible conceit and a sense of their own infringement. By the way, in both cases they were not involved in anything illegal, and, therefore, the true creators of the Victory did not fall under the "distribution". The real hero of 1812 was just General Miloradovich, whom the Decembrists killed on the Senatskaya. The same thing happened after the Great Patriotic War. For some reason, Stalin did not touch either Rokossovsky, or Konev, or Malinovsky, or Timoshenko, or Rybalko - truly legendary commanders. Was he jealous ?! What? Generalissimo to Marshal Stars ?! And in general, nothing more delusional can be said about the Supreme, who fought with his hands and feet both from the Hero's Star for Victory and from the highest military rank. He was Stalin - and that said it all ... Yes, and not the heroes were punished in 1950, but mostly a completely different audience.
"Terrible repressions" in the Soviet Army did not begin, if the whole truth is to be told, not with the return of captured generals to the USSR, in exactly half of whom a hair did not fall from their heads. "Promotion" began in 1946, with the so-called "trophy case". It was during the investigation into him that the first two of the generals who were shot in 1950 - Vasily Gordov and Philip Rybalchenko, and even the integral Marshal Grigory Kulik - came to the attention of SMERSH and the NKVD. True, already the former at that time. Using this trinity as an example, we will begin to understand the events of 1950 in more detail.
Marshal of Victory and Marshal of defeat
Honestly, I absolutely do not want to recall some facts from the biography of Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov in the year of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, but from the song, as they say, you cannot erase a word. The "trophy case" of 1946-1948, which shocked the highest generals of the Soviet Army, broke out precisely after Stalin received a report on the number of cars stuck at customs (!) With marshal's junk "privatized" in Germany liberated from Nazism and transported to the USSR. I will not go into his, shall we say, very unappetizing details - this is a topic for a completely separate conversation. I will confine myself to the fact that not just isolated facts of appropriation of trophies, but downright massive looting, which was carried out regularly and, speaking in legal terms, "on an especially large scale" by Comrade Zhukov, persons from his inner circle and some other top commanders of the Soviet Armies, confirmed many times and completely reinforced concrete.
Even the most ardent defenders of the Marshal and other "sufferers" in stripes are not trying to dispute this. But, of course, they were not shot for the services, furs and headsets that these "hamsters" pearled in the USSR. The generals-hoarders got off with prison terms, but those against whom charges of treason were brought forward were shot. It would seem - where is money-grubbing and where is treason? Well, don't tell me ... The whole point is that any investigation that is conducted by real professionals (and you do not doubt that it was they in SMERSH and the NKVD that were engaged in general affairs?) Can sometimes "give out on-the-mountain" unexpected results. They begin to thoughtfully and deeply develop a person on the subject of, say, embezzlement of state property - they organize wiretapping, outdoor surveillance, conduct searches, public and private, they start to "wool" his contacts and connections ... And then it suddenly turns out that this character is not only a thief, but also a spy. Or, say, a secret maniac. And that a couple of brick cars that he steal from the construction site is the least of his sins.
Regarding Marshal Kulik, to tell the truth, only one question arises: how did he even live up to 1947, while being with his epaulettes and free ?! "Marshal-disaster", "walking defeat", the most incompetent commander of the Soviet Army "- this is only a small part of the epithets that many Russian military historians award him with. Well, from the censors, of course. Received Marshal's stars for the Finnish War, Kulik managed during the Great Patriotic War to fail literally everything that was entrusted to him! With a bang, with shame, with maximum losses ... Mediocre actions on the Western and Leningrad fronts in 1941, the surrender of Kerch and Rostov-on-Don to the Germans in the same year. And what was history worth when on the Western Front in the summer of 1941 Kulik simply "disappeared" for three weeks, either surrounded or in the occupied territory, from which he got out without documents and awards, on a peasant cart and in peasant rags. Yes, others were put to the wall for much less! Kulik, in 1942, got off with the deprivation of all awards and demotion. In the same year, the stars were returned - however, generals (at the suggestion of Zhukov, by the way).
Then Kulik continued to "serve the Motherland" with about the same success - drunkenness, the collapse of everything that was entrusted to him, "immoral" (this figure was married countless times, the last one - to a school friend of his own daughter), well, money-grubbing together with looting at the same time. Little of! Awarded after all the above-described "arts" with the Orders of the Red Banner and Lenin, Kulik bitterly complained that he was "not appreciated" and "infringed" - out of the marshals flooded, in the generals scoff ... He talked about this (especially drunk ) constantly. Well, and agreed, of course, in the end. "Swept up" for the trophies, the appropriated dacha in the Crimea, and so on, and only then remembered many other things, which we will talk about in detail.
"Sufferers" in stripes
Colonel General Vasily Gordov and his deputy, Major General Philip Rybalchenko can be considered other typical representatives of "talkers" in general's shoulder straps, who have amassed grief for themselves with an excessively long tongue. "Burned out", having fallen into the field of vision of stern comrades in cornflower-blue caps, they, again, are on the "trophy case". But, as I said before, they pulled one "thread", and something completely different came out into the light of God. The saddens from "Memorial", who consider all the generals I have mentioned to be innocent lambs who have suffered absolutely for nothing, claim that they managed to get somewhere the materials of the operational wiretapping, which was conducted in relation to these figures. Alternatively, gifted gentlemen liberals are sure that the "kitchen" conversations of the defendants published by them completely justify them. Wouldn't you like to know what the comrades generals, who were kindly treated by the Soviet power, were chatting about in their kitchens, which were richly furnished with furniture natty in Germany? Gordov, for example, was killed about the fact that in the USSR "people eat rats and dogs", because "Stalin ruined Russia and it no longer exists." This, mind you, in 1946, when before the complete abolition of cards in the same Britain it was still like walking to the moon, and the Soviet Union had less than a year left. Yes, in 1946 there were difficulties with food ... However, Gordov saw the way out in “removing collective farms and establishing a market”! But this, good gentlemen, is called calls for a change in social formation, dismantling the existing system and, in fact, the destruction of the USSR! So the leaders of SMERSH, reporting to Stalin that the aforementioned generals are "obvious enemies of the Soviet regime," did not lie a bit! And they did not even exaggerate at all.
Wasn't it worth shooting for that, you say? Well, the ever-dry locksmith locksmith from the housing office might not be worth it. But the generals, who are subordinate to tens of thousands of armed people, do not have the slightest right to conduct such conversations (and even think in this way). A kind of chatter in the performance of military ranks of a general's level just ends with coups, civil wars, the death of millions and countries devastated to the ground. Why should they, who called the Soviet power "savagery" and "inquisition", be awarded regular orders? Or, perhaps, with tickets to Sochi to reward for the correction of the nervous system? Cheat and demote? Get rid of the resignation? So with Georgy Konstantinovich, Stalin did just that - and grossly miscalculated, as subsequent events showed. He made one of his few, but fatal mistakes for the whole country. Without Zhukov, who was offended by the whole world and considered himself a godly man, most likely, there would not have been a coup d'etat of 1953, which led to the power of the bald Maid who killed the Soviet Union. And certainly without the support of the Marshal of Victory, Khrushchev would not have sat in his chair in 1957, when Stalin's last associates, horrified by his criminal acts, tried to remove the crazy Nikita.
Here are the consequences of the mercy shown by the Supreme and unwillingness to spoil the canonical face of the Victory Marshal in front of all the people. By the way, Lieutenant General Pavel Ponedelin, whom I mentioned in the first article of this cycle, returned from German captivity quite safely, but he was shot all in the same 1950, together with Gordov and Rybalchenko, such an impression was not over the years spent in the other side of the front, but just for the "surfaced" personal diary, in which this commander, for no reason, wrote the most terry anti-Sovietism.
In conclusion, I will try to give a more or less logical and well-grounded answer to the main, perhaps, question regarding the events we are talking about. Why did the Supreme Commander's wrath fall on many of the top commanders of the Red Army in that very same year, 1950, and not sooner or later? Why was it then that Stalin, who had previously insisted on the abolition of the death penalty in the USSR as such, again began to act with maximum harshness, to punish with severity inherent more in wartime than in peacetime? I'll start with the simplest assumptions and versions, then move on to more complex and global ones. First of all, there is not the slightest doubt that all these years that have passed since the Victory, the secret services of the USSR, both intelligence and counterintelligence, continued to work, without at all reducing the intensity and effectiveness of their actions. This means that as a result, more and more facts of actions directed against our country, including those carried out within it, became known. There was an incessant "hunt" for seemingly vanished archives and card indexes, as well as for individuals to whom SMERSH and the NKVD had a lot of questions. And this hunt was by no means futile!
From time to time, from deep adits and other hiding places, documents “floated up” containing completely lethal dirt, and comrades and gentlemen who found themselves face to face with unsmiling investigators and operatives, who vainly believed that their past was safely “buried”, were attacked by fits of eloquence ... The same Marshal Kulik before the Great Patriotic War was none other than the head of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Soviet Army, and then the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR - for armaments. Oh, he worked on these posts! And he was eager to transfer all the artillery exclusively to horse traction, and the mass adoption of submachine guns was slowed down, and the production of the famous "forty-five" was curtailed. For stupidity and ignorance? Or ... weren't there by 1950 absolutely irrefutable evidence regarding the connection of the marshal with the conspirators-Trotskyists and the Tukhachevsky group?
It is quite possible that the same evidence, testifying not to mistakes, miscalculations, and bungling, but to deliberate sabotage, betrayal and treason, was obtained with respect to many of the high army ranks who were shot in 1950. Here's your first explanation. The main thing, however, in my opinion, was not this. In order to understand why it was in that year that Stalin again began to "cut to pieces", carrying out a merciless "cleansing" in the ranks of the senior command personnel of the Red Army, you just need to take a closer look at what Joseph Vissarionovich was doing in 1950. What orders he gave, set tasks, what he planned. Construction of a tunnel passage to Sakhalin island ... A meeting with the "chief saboteur of the USSR" Pavel Sudoplatov, during which it was decided to create a special forces, "sharpened" for the destruction of American military facilities, first of all - foreign bases ... was done on the development of long-range bomber aviation, the Airborne Forces, the creation of new tank armada ... Yes, the Supreme Commander was preparing for war, there is no doubt about it! By the last battle to the death with the "allies" who betrayed him in 1945, with the West, which by that time was already in full swing preparing plans for nuclear bombing of the Soviet Union, its dismemberment and occupation. The terrible first months of the Great Patriotic War, the catastrophic defeat of 1941, many of which are difficult to explain by anything other than the betrayal of the generals, Stalin remembered firmly. And before an even more brutal and large-scale battle, he cleared the country and the army from everyone on whom there was a stain of treason or reasonable suspicion of such. From everyone who, in the terrible hour of testing, could take the side of the enemy, become the new Vlasov or something like that.
Is it cruel? I agree. However, let's turn back to the dispassionate and emotionless numbers. How many generals were repressed in 1950? Two dozen. And how many soldiers and officers in June-July 1941 perished in the fire of the catastrophe of the Western Military District alone, in Belarus, which, in fact, was "surrendered" to the Nazis? 300 thousand? 400? Or all half a million? Stalin simply could not allow a repetition of something like this. He never executed "everyone in a row", but he also did not show mercy indiscriminately - the responsibility lying on him was too great. It is then that each of the repressed at that time will be declared innocent and rehabilitated without any investigation. We will never know the absolute truth (if it exists at all).