Andrey Vlasov

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Andrey Vlasov bigraphy, stories - Russian Liberation Army leader and collaborator with Nazi Germany

Andrey Vlasov : biography

September 14, 1901 – August 2, 1946

Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov or Wlassow ( September 1 (September 14) 1901 – August 2, 1946) was a Russian Red Army general who collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

German prisoner

While in prison, Vlasov met Captain Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt, a Baltic German who was attempting to foster a Russian Liberation Movement. Strik-Strikfeldt had circulated memos to this effect in the Wehrmacht. Strik-Strikfeldt, who had been a participant in the White movement during the Russian civil war, persuaded Vlasov to become involved in aiding the German advance against the rule of Stalin and bolshevism. With Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Boyarsky, Vlasov wrote a memo shortly after his capture to the German military leaders suggesting cooperation between anti-Stalinist Russians and the German Army.

Vlasov was taken to Berlin under the protection of the Wehrmacht’s propaganda department. There he, together with other Soviet officers, began drafting plans for the creation of a Russian provisional government and the recruitment of a Russian army of liberation under Russian command.

Vlasov founded the Russian Liberation Committee, in hopes of creating the Russian Liberation Army—known as ROA (from Russkaya Osvoboditel’naya Armiya).

In the spring of 1943, Vlasov wrote known as the "Smolensk Proclamation", which was dropped from aircraft by the millions on Soviet forces and Soviet-controlled soil.

Even though no Russian Liberation Army yet existed, the Nazi propaganda department issued Russian Liberation Army patches to Russian volunteers and tried to use Vlasov’s name in order to encourage defections. Several hundred thousand former Soviet citizens served in the German army wearing this patch, but never under Vlasov’s own command.

Adolf Hitler was very wary of Vlasov and his intentions. On April 3, 1943, Hitler made clear in a speech to his high command that such an army would never be created, then issued directives to dismantle any such efforts and to sequester all of Vlasov’s supporters in the German army. He worried that Vlasov might succeed in overthrowing Stalin, which would halt Hitler’s dreams of expanding Greater Germany to the Urals. Hitler began taking measures against Eastern Volunteer units, especially Russian ones, arranging for their transfer to the west.

Vlasov was permitted to make several trips to Nazi-occupied Russia: most notably, to Pskov, where Russian pro-German volunteers paraded. The populace’s reception of Vlasov was mixed. While in Pskov, Vlasov dealt himself a nearly fatal political blow by referring to the Germans as mere "guests" during a speech, which Hitler found belittling. Vlasov was even put under house arrest and threatened with being handed over to the Gestapo. Despondent about his mission, Vlasov threatened to resign and return to the POW camp, but was dissuaded at the last minute by his confidants.

According to Shalamov,see his tale: The last battle of major Pugachov Vlasov emissaries lectured to the Russian prisoners of war, explaining to them that their government had declared them all traitors, and that escaping was pointless. As Vlasov proclaimed, even if the Soviets succeeded, Joseph Stalin would send them to Siberia. Only in September 1944 did Germany — at the urging of Heinrich Himmler, initially a virulent opponent of Vlasov — finally permit Vlasov to raise his Russian Liberation Army. Vlasov formed and chaired the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, proclaimed by the Prague Manifesto on 14 November 1944. Vlasov also hoped to create a Pan-Slavic liberation congress, but Nazi political officials, generally prejudiced against the Slavs, would not permit it.

Review of his case

In 2001, a Russian Federation-based social organization, "For Faith and Fatherland", applied to the Russian Federation’s military prosecutor for a review of Vlasov’s case,Valeria Korchagina and Andrei Zolotov Jr. The St. Petersburg Times. 6 Nov 2001. saying that "Vlasov was a patriot who spent much time re-evaluating his service in the Red Army and the essence of Stalin’s regime before agreeing to collaborate with the Germans". The military prosecutor concluded that the law of rehabilitation of victims of political repressions did not apply to Vlasov and refused to consider the case again. However, Vlasov’s Article 58 conviction for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda was vacated.