In the bad years of “perestroika” and the “troubled times” that followed in Russia, as it is not surprising, attempts were made not only to moral bleaching, but also to legal rehabilitation of both the general himself and those structures and formations that he headed. Fortunately, they did not succeed. And yet, some still see the subject for discussion in this figure, stubbornly trying to present it as "ambiguous." Is there room for doubt in the history of Vlasov and Vlasov?
Born of a revolution
One of the biggest mysteries of Andrei Vlasov, around which the most heated debates are held, is the motive for his transition to the side of the Nazis. The clumsy agitation prepared by specialists from Goebbels’s department, signed under the title “Why I took the road to fighting Bolshevism,” of course, cannot give a true answer. However, even in it there is one valuable point, namely the phrase:
I was not offended by the Soviet regime in anything.
Verily, this is still poorly said! The future traitor general was just the perfect embodiment of the words from the International: "Who was nothing, that will become everything!" The thirteenth child in a poor peasant family from the Nizhny Novgorod district - in tsarist Russia, he could not count on anything. Therefore, he tried to escape from the plow, to receive a spiritual education. However, a revolution broke out. In 1919, Vlasov was in the Red Army, and, almost immediately - in command posts and began his journey along the fronts of the Civil War.
I must say that from that moment on, Vlasov’s personality manifested one of the main features that determined, perhaps, his entire future life - the ability to take the “right”, strong side in time. Well, suppose a seminarian who has fallen into revolutionaries is, so to speak, a classic of the genre. However, the whole thing is that young Andryusha was not a revolutionary — to fight “for the national happiness”, like Gaidar’s heroes, barely saying goodbye to the school bench, he didn’t break and entered the army upon conscription, reaching the appropriate age. And the Bolshevik, by and large, in spite of the fact that there is no great origin, doesn’t somehow call Vlasov the language either, even if he later wrote in his autobiography that “he always stood firmly on the positions of the general line party ", for which" fought ", sparing no strength. Nevertheless, Andrei Vlasov became a member of the CPSU (b) already in 1930 - when everything in the country was finally “settled down” and it became clear that without the treasured “red book” with Ilyich’s profile on the cover, the path to the heights of a military career was closed.
There is no doubt that this ambitious, far from stupid man, and we must pay tribute to the peasant boy who is not untalented in the military field at all, is worthless. He "moved" up the career ladder rather quickly, without disdaining any diligent studies (traditional courses "Shot", Frunze Academy), or hard work. He was able to prove himself in any sector - in staff and teaching, in command positions and even as a military adviser in distant China under the government of Chiang Kai-shek, who awarded Vlasov the Order of the Golden Dragon. By the way, they are trying to imagine exactly his stay in the Celestial Empire of Vlasov as a kind of “saving harbor”, in which he “stayed” the “purges” that raged in 1937 in the Red Army. This does not correspond to reality at all. Vlasov was sent to China only towards the end of 1938, and before that, according to reliable data, he was a member of the tribunal of the Kiev and Leningrad military districts. During this time, these judicial authorities did not issue any acquittals. So Vlasov did not “stay out” anywhere in any way — he participated in them in the most active way.
Another pre-war story that does not paint this man, to put it mildly, has circulation. Allegedly, having arrived after completing the advisory mission with an inspection in the 99th Rifle Division, Vlasov “laid eyes on her”. Finding real flaws in the unit was quite problematic, but the cunning inspector was not at a loss - the real denunciation lay on the command table, in which the divisive officer 99 was blamed for “intensified study of the tactics of warfare by the Wehrmacht”. Interestingly, what was he supposed to study in 1939? The history of the war with Napoleon ?! The reaction to a well-composed “signal” followed more than predicted - the unlucky wise guy left in an unknown direction on the “funnel”, and Andrei Vlasov, who received the general rank, somehow became the commander of the division. I can not vouch for the absolute certainty of this episode, but it really fits into the desire of the future head of the ROA to make a career at all costs.
Which commander was Vlasov? Perhaps that’s good. He headed the 99th Infantry Division very quickly became the best in the Kiev Special Military District (in the opinion of the same Tymoshenko - almost the best in the entire Red Army), for which he was awarded the first Order of the Red Banner and a gold watch in addition. He met the war as a commander and gentleman of the Order of Lenin - he was led by the 4th mechanized corps, which was located on June 22, 1941 in one of the most difficult areas - Lviv. I must admit, I fought bravely and professionally - I didn’t get surrounded by the first terrible days and weeks, eventually leading the 37th Army, which defended Kiev. After the terrible collapse of the defense of the capital of Ukraine, Vlasov, again, survived. Moreover, he was awarded a personal reception by Stalin, by whose order he formed the 20th Army, which covered itself with deserved fame. Vlasov becomes a lieutenant general and receives another Red Banner.
So Vlasov from the category of simply worthy commanders smoothly moves to the cohort of the first heroes of the Great Patriotic War. He is being interviewed, filmed in a newsreel, they are even getting ready to write books about him, in a word - they are beginning to actively “untwist and promote”. It is how the extremely promising commander Andrei Vlasov is entrusted with participation in a matter of utmost importance - the operation to break through the blockade of Leningrad. In the spring of 1942 he became deputy commander of the Volkhov Front - and it was from this appointment that General Vlasov's path to the fall and betrayal began. He is at the head of the ill-fated 2nd strike army, in fact, by chance, having arrived there with an inspection and staying at the forefront “for control and assistance”. After a short time, the army commander Nikolai Klykov was evacuated to the rear due to a serious illness, and Vlasov, continuing to remain the deputy commander of the front, in addition to his own will, takes over as its full leader officially. At this time, from the connection, in fact, there was already one name left: according to the reports of Vlasov himself (which corresponded unambiguously to the truth), several dozen people were counted not only in the battalions - in brigades and regiments. Ammunition and food are almost over. The soldiers ate the wagon horses and moldy crackers, there were cases of deaths from starvation ...
However, the version that the Loban offensive operation was “the crazy whim of the Soviet command”, which subsequently “threw the 2nd army to the mercy of fate”, put into circulation by Vlasov himself and his associates, and then picked up by the “rehabilitators”, does not hold water . What does “whim” mean ?! Yes, the Red Army men died in battle, under enemy fire, but in the surrounded Leningrad at that time hunger, enemy shelling and bombardments mowed down children, women, old people! The operation to release the city was aimed primarily at their rescue. As for the “abandoned” army, the blame for the command, or rather, for specifically heading the combined Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts, Colonel General Mikhail Khozin, can only be attributed to delaying the withdrawal of hopelessly bogged down troops. The Bet order on this score just existed, and it was precisely for its non-fulfillment that Khozin subsequently flew off the post ... 52 and 59 armies, sparing no strength, tried to strike back, to help the soldiers of the 2nd shock to break through the encirclement. However, the overwhelming superiority of the Nazis in aviation and artillery reduced these desperate attempts to nothing. In the best case, narrow corridors were shot through, firing along and across. A few fortunate ones were lucky to escape through them from captivity or death. General Vlasov was not among them ...
The choice is always
The most interesting thing is that Vlasov had a very real opportunity to avoid both captivity and death. According to the recollections left by the participants in those events, the opinions regarding the further plan of action in the detachment of staff officers who were surrounded were divided. The chief of communications of the army, Major General Afanasyev, proposed moving to the places where the local partisans were supposedly located, but all the satellites, except four, rejected his idea. As a result, Afanasyev reached the partisans and was evacuated by plane, being the only senior commander of the 2nd Army who left the encirclement. He was not subjected to any reprisals; he finished the service with the main communications of artillery throughout the Soviet army. Vlasov, according to the memoirs, by that time was completely demoralized and suppressed, had lost all initiative and desire to fight. After wandering for several days in the surrounding forests, the general, accompanied by a woman who served in the headquarters as a cook, went into one of the villages in search of food. The meeting with the locals turned out to be marvelously “successful” - Vlasov and his companion asked for help from the local headman, as a result of which they were almost instantly locked up either in the barn or in the bathhouse until the Germans arrived.
Typically, the general had a personal weapon with him. However, he didn’t even think about using it - he stepped towards the Nazis, who had stuck in the door, with the words: “I am General Vlasov! Do not shoot!" Thus ended the first life and the first death of Andrei Vlasov, a Soviet man, commander and order bearer, happened. Ahead lay a road that could be followed in only one direction ... From the very first minutes, he expressed his most ardent desire to cooperate with representatives of the “valiant Wehrmacht”, and very quickly reached this desire in the vile “Smolensk Memorandum” in which he suggested that Hitler create "The Russian army to fight Bolshevism." Subsequently, Vlasov, who loved to dissemble and play with words, tried to compare himself with General Samsonov, who during the First World War also found himself in a German environment and shot himself. Like, he didn’t do the same, because he "didn’t have what it was worth dying for." I’m sure that the matter is completely different - what he, unlike other people of his rank who lost their lives, but did not become enemy lackeys, did not have, is the concept of officer honor, putting at the forefront a primitive desire to survive at all costs and his own careerism . By the way, the Nazis at the head of the Russian military collaborators for a very long time did not want to see Vlasov (who looked a bit wild in this role), but Dmitry Karbyshev. Here he was for the role of a “living banner of the fighters against Bolshevism” was much better - a nobleman, a tsarist officer, military engineer, who enjoyed great prestige in the same Germany. However, Karbyshev threw the Nazis in the face: “I am a soldier and faithful to my duty!”, Preferring the martyrdom at Mauthausen to betrayal.
Captured by them at the same time as Vlasov, Major General Ivan Antyufeev, who commanded the 327th Infantry Division of the 2nd Shock Army, did not cooperate with the invaders. The hell of concentration camps passed, survived, instead of the “mandatory” in our liberals' opinion repressions of all Soviet prisoners of war in 1946, he was awarded the Order of Lenin for courage. Vlasov, by the way, already in captivity, who had begun to persuade the former subordinate to betrayal, Antyufeev spat splendidly on his face. As you can see, everyone had a choice. Yes, a terrible choice, intolerable, such that not everyone can handle it ... However, do not forget that when entering the military system, every soldier, not to mention officers, vows, among other things, to die for his homeland, if necessary . All talk of “circumstances” and “objective reasons” is but pathetic attempts at self-indulgence for cowards and Jude. Vlasov, incidentally, belonged to the second rather than the first. In the opinion of the same Ilya Ehrenburg, personally familiar with this character, the general went into the service of the Germans by virtue of the fact that "instead of beliefs, he had only ambition." It was important for him to remain a general - no matter in which army and in which state. Disgusting, in my opinion, nothing can be.
The activities of the infamous “Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia” (KONR) and the “Russian Liberation Army” (ROA), of which Vlasov became the “father,” I will not touch on in this article. This is a topic for a separate very voluminous conversation. I only note that these bastard Nazi puppets did not play any significant role in the Great Patriotic War - neither military, nor political. But forever left a terrible stain on our people, giving some spiteful critics the opportunity to declare that "among the Russians there were also traitors." What is characteristic, the shameful stigma of “Vlasovites” somehow fixed itself for all Nazi minions, even if they did not have the slightest relation to the ROA, like the policemen and other bastards operating in the occupied territories. Any talk about the fact that Andrei Vlasov and his gang even for hair, even for microns can be considered “fighters for the freedom of Russia” should, in my deepest conviction, be stopped in the bud. Doubters are invited to look at the “historical” photograph, which captures the friendly handshake of the head of the ROA and Heinrich Himmler, one of the main authors of detailed plans for the physical extermination of the Russian people. What the hell are “liberators" ?! The miserable henchmen of the executioners ...
Former General Vlasov and his accomplices, deprived of all ranks and awards, were hanged on August 1, 1946, without being awarded either an honest soldier's death from a bullet or a human burial. So ended his second life - a traitor to the Motherland and the enemy henchman. The final death of Andrei Vlasov can be considered the fact that this name itself forever became in his former Fatherland a symbol of betrayal and shame.