"And the failure in many cases to hold perpetrators accountable and provide justice for the victims or their families, is also deeply regrettable and hard to. This article provides a definitive, in-depth case-study, using primarily Russian sources, of Russia's use of the informal “Wagner Group” private military. Find the perfect grenade strike stock photo, image, vector, illustration or 360 image. Available for both RF and RM licensing.
Oryol anti terror training - that
Moscow, October 06: As more and more local companies are expanding operations for rebuilding Iraq, a special group of Russian ex-commandos are undergoing intensive military training ahead of deployment in the war-torn state for security duties performed earlier by the infamous US Blackwater agency, according to a report.
“The ‘Oryol’ (Eagle) is made up of ex-military officers go through highly-specialised training, under very tough conditions at their anti-terror centre, which may seem like an intense action scene from a Hollywood blockbuster, but in fact it is to prepare Russian men to work in Iraq,” Russia Today TV reported.
These men from the anti-terror group ‘Oryol’ and, much like their infamous, American counterpart “Blackwater”; provide private security for Russian engineers and businessmen operating inside Iraq.
The company is entirely made up of ex-military officers who wanted an outlet to continue to use their skills and believe they can compete with their British and American counterparts by adopting a unique approach.
“Before we send people there, we put them through some serious training. This includes psychological training and an educational programme,” says Sergey Epishkin, head of Oryol anti-terror training centre told Russia TV.
“In our classes, we even speak the way they speak in this particular region. If you can’t master local slang, you can run into a serious trouble sometimes”
He said even though they have soldiers’ backgrounds
, one of their main strategies is a unique form of diplomacy.
“We establish a good relationship not only with the Americans and the British, but with the Iraqi police and National Guard as well. To be frank with you, even with opposition forces. In such a region, it is important to find a common language with people,” Epishkin said.
He said the Russian could do a lot in the Middle East, much more than American and British private security agencies.
Anti-Jewish Propaganda in the Orel Region of Great Russia, 1942-1943: The German Army and Its Russian Collaborators
by Robert Edwin Herzstein
The Germans launched their attack on the Soviet Union during the early morning hours of 22 June 1941. On 3 October, the Fourth Panzer Division, attached to the Second Panzer Army, entered the city of Orel. Situated at the confluence of the Oka and Orlik rivers, the Great Russian town of Orel was an important Soviet rail and manufacturing center. Train lines originating in Minsk and Smolensk converged in Orel. The town lay astride the main Moscow-Simferopol highway. A good, metal-inlaid road linked Orel to regions to its southwest. Prior to the war, over 100,000 people had lived in Orel, including several thousand Jews.
In 1942 and 1943, German army propagandists and their Russian employees waged a powerful propaganda campaign in and around Orel. Their propaganda contained a good deal of virulent anti-Jewish material. Thanks to the preservation of relevant Wehrmacht records, as well as the Russian- language newspaper Rech, historians can examine the nature, methods, and results of this campaign.
In early October 1941 the German army in this section was mainly interested in maintaining secure lines of supply and communication in and around Orel. By November 1941 the German offensive on the Orel front had clearly stalled. Several weeks later the great Soviet counteroffensive against Army Group Center shook the confidence of the German High Command. The Germans held Orel, however, and the Orel- Bqgen, or "Orel bend," became a forward outpost of Army Group Center. The Second Panzer Army, under General Rudolf Schmidt, prepared to use Orel as a possible launching site for a renewed assault on Moscow, perhaps in the spring or early summer. This was not to be. Instead of passing through Orel, the Germans had to administer the Orel region for almost two years. At the same time, Orel became home to SS Sonderkommando 7b, which hunted down Jews. The Jews of Orel either fled or were killed. A few survived by fleeing to wooded regions.
For almost two years, the Second Panzer Army found itself administering an area 40,000 square kilometers in size (twice the size of Wurttemberg). This region contained a million Russian inhabitants. The garrison in Orel, under the command of General Hamann, maintained field hospitals for the increasing number of German casualties. It controlled traffic to and from the nearby fronts. Russian civilians fleeing into Orel in order to escape the fighting created additional shortages of food and others essentials, thus stimulating a brisk black market trade.
Like the other armies in occupied Russia, Schmidt's force received directives ordering it to exploit its region on behalf of the German war effort. It thus expropriated the property of the civilian population, looted food supplies, conscripted labor, and deported workers to the Reich. The number of dairy cows and domestic animals in the Orel Rayon dropped from over 14,000 to 9,600, sheep from 34,000 to little more than 800.1 Townspeople lived in a state of constant tension. The Soviets frequently overflew Orel and sometimes bombed it. Most people feared the Germans, many the Soviets, some both.
The army confronted increasing numbers of Soviet partisans, who threatened the crucial rail links to Orel. The heavily forested areas around Briansk, southwest of Orel, harbored many partisans, who raided villages suspected of collaboration. The partisans destroyed dairies and grinding mills.
By the end of 1941 it was clear that the army could not perform its assigned tasks without the help of numerous Russian collaborators. The need for help increased as hopes of victory faded. Partisan attacks grew more dangerous in the winter of 1942. Propaganda was essential to the German recruitment of more and more Russian helpers (mainly police, auxiliaries, and militia). The Russians' once recruited, could not control the civilian population without recourse to propaganda. Collaborators were thus of special interest to German army propagandists. The main weapon in the Second Panzer Army's propaganda arsenal was Propaganda Company (PK) 693,2 which worked to manipulate the Russian population of the Orel region.
The PKs were "purely military units, consisting of officers, noncommissioned officers, and men, and were subordinate as army units to the commanders of the armies." The PK soldiers were professional photographers, sketch artists, broadcasters, and journalists.3 They had usually undergone basic training or had served in regular military units. PK men were responsible for maintaining the morale of German troops stationed in their sector. Materials assembled by the PK were used in the German propaganda effort on the home front. The PKs stationed near the battle front worked to undermine enemy morale. PK men spent much of their time working with Russian contacts. Translation was a major part of the effort, and interpreters and other educated Russians were in great demand-and in short supply. The haughty conqueror began to seek help where he could find it.
It was essential that qualified PK men be found. Goebbels was anxious to be a part of that process. The Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, headed by Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, played a major role in finding and vetting these men.
PK unit commanders received the "Confidential Information" distributed by the propaganda ministry, but they were in no sense under the control of Goebbels.4 PK materials sent to the Reich for use at home were subjected to both military and political censorship. However, the situation was different for material used by the army in the zones of operation; the army decided what to use and what to discard. The PK unit head worked closely with, but was not subordinate to, the Ic, or "third general staff officer" of the army Oberkommando. He was accountable in a disciplinary sense to the Wehrmacht Propaganda Branch (WPr) of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht (OKW).5 In the case of PK 693, this arrangement meant collaboration with the Ic of the Second Panzer Army and subordination to the Smolensk office "W" of the Wehrmacht Propaganda Branch. Much of the material used by PK 693 came from this office as well as from Goebbels's various propaganda outlets.6
Goebbels had taught for years that the masses were primitive. Presumably, this was even more the case when one dealt with Slavic hordes, barbarized Untermenschen like the Russians. "The rank and file," Goebbels argued, "are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious." He believed that "what matters is not that propaganda should have class, but rather, that it should lead to the goal," which was "the conquest of the masses." In this pragmatic sense, propaganda emerged "in a causal sense out of the daily struggle.7 For Goebbels and Hitler, that daily struggle now consisted of a life-or-death war against an enemy coalition crafted by the Jews, and held together at their behest.
The OKW worked with the propaganda ministry in crafting propaganda themes that could be useful to units in occupied territories and zones of operation. General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff of the OKW, approved propaganda pamphlets aimed at turning Red Army soldiers into deserters (Uberlaufer). The leaflets informed the Soviets that Stalin was in league with, and a tool of, the Jews. The army made massive use of the theme of "JewBolshevism," arguing that Hitler was liberating Europe from the Jews.8 The OKW propagandists believed that the Russians were particularly vulnerable to an anticapitalist, anti-Jewish line: the Jewish International had suffered a severe setback in 1933. Now, the Jews were attempting to maintain their control of Russia by prolonging the war; "Stalin and his Jewish collaborators" had much at stake; "the war will not end so long as Jewish bolshevism remains in control." In the view of the German military propagandists, the Russian peasant and small townsman would also respond well to their attacks on British, American, and Russian-Jewish rapacious capitalism. This line was a staple of the propaganda materials that reached Smolensk and Orel.9
PK 693 adapted these materials to the Russian context. It employed emigre and native speakers of Russian in its work. The Germans had the advantage of consistency, for in this area their teachings and their practices were in harmony. The army and the SS worked well together. Sonderkommando 7b, under SS Lieutenant-Colonel (Obersturmbannfuhrer) Adolf Ott, had killed 1,822 Jews by the middle of November 1941, mostly in the Briansk and Orel regions. In some cases army units selected the victims and later buried them. 10 In the autumn of 1942, General Hamann, reflecting on such experiences, bragged that the Germans had "destroyed the last breeding-grounds of the KikeBolshevik elements which, on the orders of the Bolshevik rulers, wanted to destroy the life and welfare of Orel."11
Some SS officials believed that there were still Jews in the Orel area, dangerous Bolshevik agents agitating among the primitive Russians, biding their time until the day came when they could once again stab the German army in the back.12 Many Germans officials also expressed concern about the lack of anti-Jewish "spontaneity" among the White Russian and Great Russian populations.13 By the time of Hamann's speech, the German military authorities had resolved to reeducate the Russian people, especially the collaborators among them. The Russians would need to learn that the Jew was the enemy. Otherwise, Bolshevism would insinuate itself back into power.
German propagandists had to work in a difficult and contradictory situation. The Germans oppressed and deported the people, and Hitler refused to outline the future shape of a German-liberated Russia. The native population was growing sullen and resentful. Given the reality of the German occupation, the army's propaganda could rarely be positive in tone; no one paid much attention to German promises by the autumn of 1942. The propaganda would blame Russian suffering upon the Jews. The Jew was the scapegoat. The Jews prolonged the war; hence they were to blame for the depredations inflicted upon the occupied populations by both Germans and partisans. The Germans expected that this anti-Jewish line would assist Russian collaborators in understanding their role in the German struggle against Stalin. German propagandists hoped that newly enlightened Russians would justify the German line to the noncollaborating majority.
German Wehrmacht propaganda and Ic officers now received fresh guidelines and materials from the Supreme Command of the Army, the Propaganda Ministry, the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and the Nazi Party's Reichspropagandaleitung. The Ic officers then discussed methodology and practice with PK leaders.14 The lieutenant representing PK 693, Dr. Paul Dierichs, conferred several times a month with the Second Panzer Army's Ic. The Ic supplied the PK with censorship guidelines and propaganda themes, and sometimes suggested specific media applications and techniques.
The PK applied the Ic's directions to its work in "political education" (politische Schulung), among other fields. Under strict German supervision, Russian employees of PK 693 offered lecture courses to select captive audiences, consisting of teachers, municipal workers, and village officials. The Germans needed these people in order to exploit the subject population more efficiently. Ideological indoctrination in antisemitism was a German tool in the quest for victory.
Hundreds of Russians attended the indoctrination courses. Political education often consisted of lectures on topics like "Jewry in Its Historical, Cultural, and Psychological Aspects," "The Racial Question," and "Fundamentals of Bolshevism in Connection with 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' " To the distress of the Germans, Russian audiences did not find the treatment of the Jewish question particularly interesting.15
Interpreters and translators were of particular interest to the propagandists in PK 693, for they were vital in transmitting the Nazi message to the Russian masses. The same thing was true of school teachers. The Germans sometimes selected the best graduates from political education and sent them on propaganda tours of the Reich. Upon their return they gave speeches extolling social justice, the will to victory, and living conditions in Greater Germany.16
Many of these Russians had been working as an unofficial unit since late 1941. Their status changed at the end of 1942. By early 1943 a Russian platoon ("R") was at work for PK 693. At full strength it was to consist of 121 men, including 33 officers; 105 of these men were to be "Hiwis" (Hilfswilligen), or auxiliary volunteers. Ic intelligence functionaries vetted all members of "R."17
The upgrading of the Russian contingent to platoon status reflected the grim nature of the challenge confronting the Second Panzer Army. The Reich's demand for more labor, the increased partisan menace, and the endless war of attrition mandated intensified security measures, as well as heavier doses of propaganda. The more the Germans recruited Russian helpers, the more they needed skilled propagandists. Thousands of Russians were now working for the army: mayors, special police (Ordnungsdienst), village home guards (Volkswehren), self-defense forces in rural areas (Schutzmannschaften), railroad guards (Wachmannschaften), and "east battalions" (OstBataillone), assigned to local security tasks. One needed to convey the German message to these men. They in turn had to become propagandists for the German cause.18 Propaganda had to be simple, yet powerful; the Jew would be the central figure in its political message.
Since literacy had made great strides in Russia since 1918, the PK could rely in part upon the written word. One publication played a crucial role in bringing the Nazi message to the people of the Orel rayon. The newspaper Rech (The Speech) became a major weapon in the arsenal of PK 693. In early 1942, Rech was still an unimpressive tabloid, with a circulation limited mainly to the city of Orel. It consisted of little more than translations of German army communiques. Even so, Rech was in demand, since people were starved for news, for something to read.
Starting in the spring of 1942, Lieutenant Dierich and an assistant, Sonderfuhrer Artur Bay, revamped the newspaper. In May, Bay traveled to Briansk and other towns in order to build up Rech's distribution network. He also hired local stringers, and the paper began to look more Russian. A special edition appeared in time for the May Day holiday.
By the end of July, circulation was on the rise; a month later Rech had 6,000 subscribers in Orel alone, about one for each household. German observers reported that the Russian populace was receptive.
News distorted by propaganda was nothing new to the people of Orel; the paper was in great demand. Reports soon came in about peasants exchanging bread and potatoes for copies of Rech. People craved news about the war, about crops, the weather, and human interest topics. The occasional use of the newspaper for more mundane purposes, such as covering a table, troubled the German authorities.19
PK 693 was also responsible for the publication of Das Neueste, a newspaper read by German soldiers. The PK turned out Russian pamphlets such as "What Is National Socialism?" in printings as large as 100,000 copies. A leaflet linking the Jews to Bolshevism accounted for another 50,000-copy printing. Problems stemming from the overworked printing press and a scarcity of paper plagued Rech. Toward the latter part of 1942, Rech found better quarters for its print shop, and this improvement, along with cutbacks in the printing of leaflets, allowed it to appear in editions of 90,000 to 100,000 copies.20 The paper's new importance was apparent in a managerial shake-up that occurred in January. Bay, a mere Sonderfuhrer, departed, and a Major Biberowicz assumed responsibility for the general direction of the newspaper.
Working with the army's Ic, PK 693 was now in a position to offer special favors to Russians employed by the newspaper. Qualified employees received the army's prized designation "indispensable." They were excused from local labor conscription and did not need to fear deportation to the Reich. Some Russian helpers obtained apartments, even garden plots. Relatives of valued employees received assistance in finding appropriate jobs. The army controlled the local economy and was in a position to bestow real favors. Money, salt, and alcohol were among the rewards promised for efficient work on behalf of the propaganda company.
The guiding Russian spirit at Rech was editor in chief Mikhail Ilinich, or "Oktan." Born about 1910, possibly in Odessa, Oktan claimed to have a degree in engineering. After the war people recalled him as a tall, heavyset man of some intelligence. Oktan was also a hard-drinking braggart, who loved to display his looted jewelry and German decorations. Constantly spouting Nazi rhetoric, Oktan owed some of his success to his antisemitism, which pleased his Nazi masters:
All that is still healthy in mankind is rising, arms in hand, for the struggle against the Jewish race and its hirelings, who betray the interests of mankind. This war must protect future generations from the self-destruction bred by the Jewish microbe.21
The army valued Ilinich's services. When the Propaganda Ministry wanted to bring him to the Reich as a worker in its Ostpropaganda department, the army intervened to prevent Oktan's departure.22 In February 1943 General Hamann bestowed upon Oktan the Decoration for Bravery for Members of the Eastern Peoples, Second Class, in Silver with Swords.23
PK 693 faced a double dilemma when searching for qualified Russians who might assist Oktan. Younger intellectuals were products of the Stalin system of education and propaganda. Older intellectuals and technicians had usually fled their towns and cities before the German army arrived. For these reasons Vladimir Sokolov, or "Samarin, ,24 was of interest to PK 693. Born in 1913, Sokolov was the son of a landlord and Tsarist courtier. He attended nine grades of school in Orel and later pursued literary studies.
Sokolov became a teacher of Russian literature, working in different cities. According to his own account he narrowly avoided arrest during the era of Stalin's purges. He went underground, used false names, and frequently changed residences. An intelligent, cultivated man, Sokolov possessed a wide-ranging knowledge of the Soviet system. This guaranteed that German propagandists would be interested in him.
Sokolov saw himself as a Russian patriot persecuted because of his anticommunism. In this way he could justify his collaboration with the invader. He apparently volunteered to work for Rech and soon became its deputy editor and chief editorial writer. Sokolov's frequent front-page editorials often set the tone for the newspaper. A Nazi agency described Sokolov in 1943 as an enthusiastic collaborator and an experienced propaganda speaker. Many years later Arthur Bay recalled Sokolov as a cooperative worker and a skilled writer.25
Many of the articles attributed to Sokolov reflect the anti-Jewish propaganda favored by the Ic of the Second Panzer Army, as well as by PK 693. The Russian contribution was important; the Germans wanted native expressions of hatred for the Jews. Rech thus combined Goebbels's propaganda with memories of the Black Hundreds and the Kishinev pogroms. Rech reminded readers of slogans from 1918, such as "Beat the Jews and save Russia." Articles by Samarin and others argued that Bolshevism was a criminal conspiracy foisted upon the Russians by the Jews. The Germans needed natives like Sokolov, who could supply them and their Russian readers with personal, subjective, and anecdotal material.
Much of this material was really a form of German counterpropaganda, intended to refute Soviet claims. When the Soviets described life in occupied Orel as hell on earth, Samarin exploded in reply:
I was so disgusted and repelled that I wanted to spit at the newspaper, to spit in a frenzy (will the reader please forgive these harsh words of mine), because an ugly face with a hooked Kike nose was staring at me from the page.26
In "The Former Masters of Orel," Sokolov seemed to be accusing people he had known. He named the Jews who had been the former masters and promised that "the day is not far off when the Kike will recognize the fact that when he instigated the current war he dug his own grave."27 Samarin seemed to relish the Holocaust: "And where they [the Jews] are still continuing to torment people, sooner or later the people will call out 'Thrash them!' " Samarin wrote that "in this struggle the Kikes will be destroyed thoroughly and decisively."28
A content analysis of the columns written by Samarin and his colleagues offers insights into the anti-Jewish propaganda pipeline of the Nazis. Materials originating in Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and Berlin found their way to OKW propaganda offices in Potsdam, Smolensk, Minsk, and other cities. The Ic of the Second Panzer army and PK 693 then referred some of them to the editors of Rech for appropriate use. We can thus trace the path of selected antisemitic and anti-American materials from their origins in the Reich to their appearance in Rech.
Allegations concerning the Jews surrounding President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been staples of Nazi propaganda since the mid-1930s...29 Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia of New York City was also a favorite target of Nazi propaganda. In a sense, the Nazis were counterattacking, since the mayor had called Hitler a "brown-shirted fanatic" and suggested that the New York World's Fair contain a figure of Hitler "in a chamber of horrors." LaGuardia brushed off Nazi abuse by referring it to his sewer commissioner. He made sure that Jewish policemen were assigned to guard the German consulate general.30
German propagandists responded by accusing LaGuardia of having a Jewish mother. The mayor promptly admitted having Jewish blood, "but not enough to boast about." To the German News Agency, LaGuardia was "a dirty Talmud Jew," mentally ill, a friend of Negroes, a "shameless lout [who] dared to doubt the Fuhrer's love of peace." The mayor was a "Jewish apostle of hatred." To the SS publication Das Schwarze Korps, Laguardia was the perfect symbol of America, with its "kidnappings, Negroes, [and] strikes." German headlines appeared, proclaiming "American Jew Leaders Insult the German Nation." Jewish Bolsheviks must be running the United States, argued the Berliner Nachtausgabe.
Julius Streicher, Gauleiter of Nuremberg and publisher of Der Sffurmer, contributed to the debate by describing America as an insane asylum. The official Nazi newspaper Der Vo1kische Beobachter told its readers that Jews controlled 97 percent of the American press, threequarters of the legal and medical professions, and 87 percent of heavy industry. Hack writers like Heinz Halter ground out books like the The Polyp of New York, which depicted Tammany Hall as a gangster operation run by the Jews. Writers turned Mafia figures like Lucky Luciano into Jewish pimps, forcing innocent Aryan girls into brothels. The Jews were to blame for the slave trade, and for the destruction of North American Indian cultures.31
These materials found their way into a world-distribution network. The National Socialist Correspondence and the Frankfurt-based Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question made excerpts available to the German press and to foreign publications. In the Propaganda Ministry, Dr. Eberhard Taubert collected vast amounts of anti-Jewish material. Taubert, founder in 1934 of the General Association of German Anticommunist Organizations, turned his files over to two organs of the ministry, the Antisernitic Action and the AntiComintern. Anti-American materials were prominent in Taubert's work. He received them from Baron von Rechenberg, who culled articles from the Yiddish press in New York and passed them on to Berlin. Taubert and his colleagues then made this material available to the armed forces propaganda network, and some of it appeared inRussianized form in newspapers like Rech.32
Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg's Weltdienst, or World Service, an organ of the Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP, published fortnightly editions in eighteen languages, including Russian. It specialized in anti-Jewish materials; and figures like Roosevelt, LaGuardia, Bernard Baruch, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., appeared frequently in its pages. Nazi officials often received similar materials from Reichsleiter Dr. Robert Ley's Central Education Office of the NSDAP. When they worked in or traveled to Russia, they sometimes brought these books, pamphlets, and leaflets to the attention of Ic officers and PK commanders.33
Editorial writers frequently used this material in Rech. One column argued ikes found their way to North America--that promised land for blood-sucking Kikes." Rech, along with other "Russian" newspapers such as Zarya, 34 offered heavy doses of antisemitism to the civilian population and to Russian collaborators. Articles using German-fabricated American themes included "Roosevelt Is Robbing Australia," "American Imperialism," "Jews in the United States," "American Security," and "Antisemitism in England and the USA."
One piece in Rech argued that the "Kikes" surrounding Roosevelt were fighting "for the sole purpose of extracting maximum gains from the war that they had unleashed, in order to establish Kike hegemony in the whole world."35 In this, as in so much else, Rech adapted German materials to its own violent language, often more vulgar than that of Joseph Goebbels. The German military authorities, of course, assumed that the readers of Rech were crude and uncultivated.
Two themes dominated Goebbel's ideological propaganda after 1942: Bolshevism was Jewish; and the Jews, who had started the war, had created the enemy coalition and held it together. Here too we can follow the propaganda pipeline from Berlin to Orel.
Goebbels used the concept of "plutocracy" in order to explain the inexplicable: How could capitalist America and Britain be in league with communist Russia? Goebbels told the German people that a few hundred families of plutocrats controlled the so-called democracies, but the Jews manipulated and owned these families. Since the Jews in Russia controlled Stalin, an alliance between Washington, London, and Moscow had its own logic. In the words of Goebbels:
Jews [were] behind Roosevelt as his Brain Trust, Jews [were] behind Churchill pumping him up, Jews [were the] agitators and trouble- makers in the entire Anglo-American-Soviet press, Jews [were] in the dark corners of the Kremlin as the real bearers of Bolshevism.
Goebbels concluded that "the international Jew is the glue that holds the enemy coalition together. Through his world-wide contacts he builds the bridges between Moscow, London, and Washington.36 As Alfred Rosenberg saw it, the "gangsters of America" had joined with the "police hangmen" of the USSR as equally fraudulent "apostles of freedom."37 Both Goebbels and Rosenberg took their cues from Adolf Hitler, who threatened the Jews with destruction if his foreign enemies dared to foment war against the German Reich.38 Rech sometimes followed Goebbels and Rosenberg to the letter; usually, it adapted the Nazi message to local prejudices and language.
Rech often employed the term zhid, meaning "Yid" or "Kike." Before the liberation of Orel by the Germans, wrote Rech, "the Kike was the master. The Kike was everywhere.... Stalin is not a Kike but he is not the real master of the USSR: the ubiquitous Kikes are." Samarin chortled as he recalled scenes of terrified Jews fleeing the German advance in 1941.39
Goebbels exercised a major influence upon Samarin's work. In 1943 Samarin explained that the "similarity between Bolshevism and plutocracy is derived to a significant extent from sources leading to Kikedom, the driving force behind both systems." He wrote that "the plutocratic 'Allies' of Kike- Bolshevism, the 'proud' Britons and Yanks, are not far behind [the Bolsheviks] in their crimes." The Germans, along with other European peoples, were "fighting against the Kikes of the world, who combine Bolshevism with plutocracy." Goebbels wrote in his diary that "the aim of our struggle must be to create a unified Europe."40 Samarin wrote that "the German army is fighting against Bolshevism for the life and future of Europe and particularly the Russian people." Moreover, Germany's allies were pure and good. Rech writers contrasted the Axis powers like Japan with the blood- sucking Allies:
Sniffing out every corner in their search for gold, the Kikes took over the Ganges, Tarai, and Goango, and the Sundra Islands. In short, they put the knife to the East's very throat. . . . It would seem that the knife did a little bit more; having flashed rapaciously, it enters the body of the victim, scarlet blood gushes out, and that will be the end for the East for all time.41
Like Goebbels, the newspaper Rech believed that the Jews were to blame for everything. If the Reds bombed Orel, it was the "Kikes" who were doing it. Vicious, simple, and "authentic"-these were the characteristics of the anti- Jewish propaganda created at the behest of the Wehrmacht.42 Borrowing from Goebbels, Rech argued that the Jews are to blame for everything (die Juden sind Schuld an allem).
Goebbels was disturbed by the reports of growing resistance to the German labor deportation measures in the occupied territories. In February 1943 he declared that the Germans would have to mobilize the Ostvolker in order to win the war. Talk about their subjugation would have to yield to promises (albeit vague) of social justice and liberation.43 Rech followed the new line. It often portrayed Germany as a country where social justice prevailed, an ideal place in which to work. PK 693 used this theme as a weapon against disquieting rumors concerning the Arbeitseinsatz (compulsory labor) program.44 At the same time, Rech began to speak more openly of the Russian Liberation Army of General Andrei Vlasov, a turncoat officer who was engaging in a unrequited affair with the German Reich. Because of Hitler's refusal to promise much of a future to the Russian people, however, Ic and PK 693 propagandists had to rely upon generalizations about the future of liberated Russia, or glorified pictures of the New Germany.45
Rech found itself compelled to offer its readers two visions: one was a picture of the enemy (Feindbild), who was the Jew, and the other depicted paradise, inhabited by Germans. Neither image bore any relation to reality. The Reich was invisible to the people of Orel, and sadly, so were the Jews. In Rech, however, the Jew appeared as the incarnation of evil, the source of present discomfort and suffering. Rech, for example, often combined painful news about livestock confiscation and other threats with editorials praising the Germans and denouncing the Jews.46 Since antisernitism was part of the Russian tradition, the Germans hoped that the negative image of the Jew would lend credibility to the positive one of Germany.
This propaganda was Manichaean, crude, and brutal, but the German army believed that it was effective in raising the morale of collaborators. It offered no plan for the future, but in one sense it defined German war aims and suggested that the deathly alternative to German victory was the return of a vengeful Jewish Bolshevism. The German Sixth Army had fallen at Stalingrad, and Germany's European allies were looking for ways out of a losing war. Tunis had surrendered to the Allies; Germany's cities were succumbing to ever more frightening Allied air raids. In the spring and summer of 1943 the editorial writers of Rech brought a new measure of intensity to their anti- Jewish hatred.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery concocted for the Tsarist secret police by Sergei A. Nilus in 1905, was supposedly a blueprint of the Jewish conspiracy. The Jews, Nilus said, were plotting to destroy Christian societies and then take over the world. Alfred Rosenberg, then residing in Munich, had popularized the Protocols in Germany after World War 1. Hitler had stated in Mein Kampf that "once this book has become the common property of a people, the Jewish menace may be considered as broken."47
In the spring of 1943, Goebbels decided to launch a major campaign extolling the virtues of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The widely reported speech by Goebbels, delivered in Berlin, soon became available in occupied Russia. Samarin quickly wrote an essay on the subject. "[In] England and America," he declared, "Kikes are in power.... In this struggle the Kikes will be destroyed thoroughly and decisively."
We can thus trace the path of the Protocols over a 38-year period from Russia to Munich to Berlin to Orel. In Great Russia, the German army was promoting and endorsing propaganda that foreshadowed and helped to cause the Holocaust.48
Nor was this anti-Jewish propaganda an aberration, unique to the German Second Panzer Army. The adjoining Fourth Army contained an infantry division whose commander traveled from town to town, speaking to the people about the dangers of Jewish Bolshevism.49 Propaganda distributed by another battle group ("Weiss") informed people that
the whole world always knew that Bolshevism pursued international goals, and prepared the world revolution in order to secure world rule for the Jews. All of Bolshevism is a purely Jewish affair.
Weiss ascribed the Katyn Forest Massacre to Jewish-Bolshevik terror tactics.50 Propaganda put out by the Fifth Panzer Divisions's Ic combined appeals for European unity with virulent antisemitism.51
The failure of the Germans' "Operation Citadel" in the middle of July 1943 was a prelude to the massive Soviet offensive against the Orel salient. Even as the Red Army approached Orel, the Germans kept publishing Rech. During these last hectic weeks the citizens of the town could hear the roar of artillery coming closer. Long columns of German troops, Russian collaborators, and civilians streamed through Orel on their way west, to the safety of the new HagenStellung, a line of German fortifications. Hitler belatedly consented to the evacuation of Orel, and in early August the Soviets entered the town.
Rech had suspended publication, but Ic valued its work and quickly reassembled much of the newspaper's staff in nearby Briansk. Soon there were further moves to the west, to places like Bobruisk. However, men like Samarin no longer worked for PK 693. Hitler had ordered the transfer of the Second Panzer Army to the northern Balkan theater, and the PK moved with it.
Rech now appeared under the supervision of PK 612, which worked with the Ninth Army in White Russia. Rech was not new to this PK, for the company had distributed over 230,000 copies of the newspaper between late March and the middle of August. During the last months of 1943, PK 612 printed Rech twice a week, in editions of 60,000 copies each. The newspaper seems to have ceased publication in 1944, perhaps at the time of the disintegration of Army Group Center in the middle of the year.
How did German experts evaluate the efficacy of Rech? Personnel from the German army and the Reich Security Main Office were convinced that Rech was an effective weapon in the morale war against the Red Army. One report noted that
the newspaper Rech makes a great impression on the prisoners [of war] and is almost preferred to the leaflets. The [Seventeenth Panzerl division suggests that this Russian newspaper be dropped over advanced enemy lines when possible, since the Red Army soldiers deployed at the front receive no news at all, and have no opportunity to listen to German radio broadcasts.
The divisional Ic observed that one Rech article, "The Year 1937," had made a particularly good impression. This piece contained the following sentence:
Therefore, one of your brothers, whom the Germans liberated from the Jewish-Bolshevik yoke, wants to remind you what occurred in this year in your country, your "blessed" USSR.
What worked at the front might contribute to the German cause in the occupied territories. The Germans hoped that antisemitism would divert attention from suffering inflicted upon the population by the occupying power: "It must be the aim of all soldiers to get this newspaper [Rech] to the population, since it contributes to a not inconsiderable extent to the fight against Bolshevism." Village elders, or starosti, received the newspaper, often at the time of briefings by the local German garrison commander. The army ordered Russian militiamen to deliver the newspaper, but the Ic sourly observed that often "the newspapers are not sent to their destinations, but rather find use as wallpaper, tablecloths, etc., in offices, registries, and billets." Since the newspaper was so important to collaborating Rus5ians, it must not be wasted.52
The growing partisan menace, the privations inflicted upon the Russians by the occupying power, and the advance of the Red Army undermined even the slickest and most virulent propaganda. Yet according to one Dr. Richel, who worked for the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, the flight of the Rech staff from Orel led to "great unease in the population, and [was seen] as a failure of German propaganda activity."53 Since the muzhik had other things on his mind during these hard months, one has to assume that it was the collaborators (Hiwis, Volkswehrenf Schutzmannschaften, and others) who felt uneasy when the German propaganda machine ground to a halt. Did the Germans intend to retreat, leaving traitors to a gruesome fate?
How could one control the Russian population without some semblance of a viable propaganda and information apparatus?
During the years 1941-1943, the Germans assumed that their Russianized Jewish Feindbild was helpful in the task of recruiting and motivating Russian collaborators. These collaborators had agreed to serve the Germans, so they could accept, indeed partake, in German "hardness in dominating the occupied territories and exploiting the land."54 In this sense, the Jewish Feindbild provided collaborators with a heightened sense of self-esteem, since they could share the mighty conqueror's own racial phobia. The creation of a devil offered a justification to native collaborators, enabling them to accept and carry out more readily cruel measures that violated all Christian precepts.
Anti-Jewish propaganda aimed at the broader population faced different obstacles. Ordinary Russians could see in 1943 that there were no Jews around. Some of these people seemed to sense that the depiction of the Jews as criminal Untermenschen had something in common with the way the Germans and their Russian friends treated them.
True, Goebbels called for better treatment of the Ostvolker; and one German officer, certainly not the only one, observed that it was "disastrous to treat the Russian as an animalistic, primitive being, for whom it suffices that his bodily needs are attended to."55 A German post-mortem on the occupation in the central sector even admitted that exploitation, broken promises, and outright plunder had undermined the German administration of Great Russia.56
By way of contrast, the most useful Nazi collaborator in this region of Great Russia was Bronislav Kaminsky, in Lokot.57 Kaminsky, who may have been part Polish and Jewish himself, did not seek to exterminate suspected Jews. He ran his own little empire and made grain deliveries to the Germans. The absence of a German occupying division seemed to obviate the need for the Jewish Feindbild. (Kaminsky was practical, rather than tolerant; his unit later butchered Jews and Poles with great abandon.)
Few German propagandists understood at the time that their Jewish Feindbild offered a warning to the Russian masses that their turn was next, albeit in the form of enslavement rather than immediate annihilation. A conqueror who embraces extermination of one people cannot be trusted with the fate of another "inferior" nation.
The retreat of the German garrison and its Russian collaborators from Orel exposed the shallow and treasonous nature of Ic's antiJewish propaganda. Oktan followed the German army west, organizing one last collaboration effort, the League of Struggle against Bolshevism. Members had to swear an oath to Hitler and state that they had no Jewish blood. The end was near, and soon Oktan, Samarin, and other collaborators tried to escape the consequences of their deeds by disappearing into the chaos of postwar Germany.
One form of antisemitism, closely tied to Hitler and the theory of Jewish Bolshevism, had been discredited. Others would emerge in the 1960s and the 1970s, in the Soviet Bloc, in the Third World, and also in the West.
This article represents a revised version of a paper read at the 1986 annual meeting of the American Historical Association. I wish to acknowledge the kind assistance of the staff of the Modern Military Branch of the National Archives, Washington, DC. I am also grateful to Dr. David Marwell of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, who introduced me to the Ic-Dienst of the Second Panzer Army, and to Dr. Sybil Milton, Dr. Jay W. Baird, and Dr. Charles Burdick for their helpful comments. During 1983-1985, 1 served as a consultant and expert witness for OSI in the case United States v. Sokolov, No. CVN 82-56, slip op. (D. Conn. 4 June 1986), affd in part and rev'd in part, 814 F.2d 864 (2d Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 56 U.S.L.W. 3789 (U.S. 16 May 1988) (No. 87-323).
1. On shortages, see Washington, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group (RG) 238, Records of the United States War Crimes Trials, United States of America v. Otto Ohlendorf et al. (Case 9), 15 Sept. 1947-10 Apr. 1948, film series M-895 [hereafter cited as Case 9], roll 10, frames 408-10, 419: Meldungen aus den besetzten Ostgebieten [hereafter cited as Meldungen], No. 6.
2. NARA, RG 242, World War 11 Collection of Seized Enemy Records, Records of the Headquarters of the German Armed Forces High Command (OKW), film series T-77 [hereafter cited as OKWI, roll 964, frames 7447ff.: OKW memoraridurn on organization of propaganda in the Wehrmacht, addressed to the Supreme Command of the Army (OKH), attach6 group, 19 Oct. 1938.
3. On the PK companies and their training and supervision, see Robert E. Herzstein, The War That Hitler Won: Goebbels and the Nazi Media Campaign (New York, 1987), pp. 228-29.
4. Willi A. Boelcke, ed., Kriegspropaganda 1939-1941 (Stuttgart, 1966), pp. 286, 292.
5. For an excellent analysis of the structure of Wehrmacht propaganda, see David G. Marwell, "Wehrmacht Propaganda Organization," paper read at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago 1986.
6. NARA, RG 242, Records of German Field Commands, Divisions, film series T- 315 [hereafter cited as Divisions], roll 1884, frames 722-24: Zusammenfassung of 27 Dec. 1941.
7. Louis P. Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries, 1942-1943 (Garden City, NY, 1948), p. 56; Helmut Heiber, Goebbels (New York, 1972), p. 74; and Joseph Goebbels, Kampf um Berlin (Munich, 1937), p. 18.
8. NARA, RG 242, OKW, roll 1425, frames 008-010.
9. Ibid., frames 008-010, 029-047, 076ff.: and ibid., roll 1038: Richtlinien fur Aktiv- Propagandisten, No. 2 (OKW/WFSt/WPr/l/IV), 27 Jan. 1944,
10. Helmut Krausnick and Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm, Die Truppe des Weltanscliauungskrieges: Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, 1938-1942 (Stuttgart, 1981), pp. 145-47; and NARA, RG 238, Case 9, roll 2, frames 048-049.
11. Rech, No. 118 (148) [9 Oct. 19421, p. 3. The newspaper Rech, which will be discussed in detail below, was a propaganda organ for the Germans in the Orel region. Soviet archivists in Orel have collected and preserved a substantial number of such newspapers.
12. NARA, RG 242, Records of the Reich Leader of the SS (RFSS) and of the Chief of the German Police, series T-175 [hereafter cited as RFSS], roll 234, frame 440: Ereignismeldung, No. 148 (19 Dec. 1941); NARA, RG 238, Case 9, roll 23, frame 759: Ereignismeldung, No. 184 (23 Mar. 1942); and NARA, RG 242, RFSS, roll 235, frame 385: Meldungen, No. 3 (15 May 1942). A few Jews survived in the Orel region, though one search, conducted by an SD commando unit in Nov. 1942, turned up no evidence to confirm reports of a Jewish presence in the important town of Shizdra. See NARA, RG 242, Records of German Field Commands, Panzer Armies, series T-313 [hereafter cited as Panzer Armies], roll 126, frame 2925: Second Panzer Army, Ic/AO, Tatigkeitsbericht, 2 Dec. 1942.
13. NARA, RG 238, Case 9, roll 9, frame 894: Ereignismeldung, No. 43 (5 Aug. 1941); and ibid., roll 8, frame 1056: Ereignismeldung, No. 67 (29 Aug. 1941).
14. NARA, RG 242, Panzer Armies, roll 126, frames 2925ff.: Second Panzer Army, Ic [Tatigkeitsberichtel, 2 Dec. 1942 (covering the period 15--30 Nov. 1942).
15. This material refers to the period 15-30 Sept. 1942.
16. NARA, RG 242, Records of German Field Commands, Rear Areas, Occupied Territories, and Others, series T-501, roll 347, frames 256-87: Korfick 532, Tafigkeitsberichte for Sept. 1942.
17. NARA, RG 242, OKW, roll 1020, frames 9362ff.: correspondence covering the period 27 Nov. 1942 through 28 Dec. 1942.
18. NARA, RG 238, Case 9, roll 9, frames 758-65: Ereignismeldung, No. 183 (20 Mar. 1942).
19. Relevant documentation can be found in NARA, RG 242, RFSS, roll 234, frames 840ff.: Ereignismeldung, No. 169 (16 Feb. 1942); ibid., roll 235, frames 4417-29, 4488: Meldungen, No. 5 (29 May 1942), and Meldungen, No. 8 (19 June 1942).
20. NARA, RG 242, Panzer Armies, roll 148, frames 393-486; and ibid., roll 149, frame 1670. The following works are helpful in understanding Rech and German propaganda in Russia: Vladimir D. Samarin, Civilian Life Under the German Occupation, 1942-1944 (New York, 1954), pp. 34-36; Erich Hesse, Der sowjetrussische Partisanenkrieg 1941 bis 1944 im Spiegel deutscher Kampfanweisungen und Befehle (G6ttigen, 1969), pp. 97 ff. On the PKs in Russia, see Ortwin Buchbender, Das t6nende Erz: Deutsche Propaganda gegen die Rote Armee im zweiten Weltkrieg (Stuttgart, 1978). Buchbender seriously underestimates the extent of anti-Jewish propaganda in the work of some PKs.
21. Alexander Dallin, "Portrait of a Collaborator: Oktan," Survey 35 (1961). See also Alexander Werth, Russia at War, 1941-1945 (New York, 1965), pp. 637- 38, esp. chapter 9.
22. Oktan was a leader of the Kampfbund gegen den Bolschewismus. Founded by the Ninth Army in 1944, this important front organization worked mainly in White Russia.
23. NARA, RG 242, Panzer Armies, roll 185, frame 4771: 17 Feb. 1943.
24. Yury Fyorodovich Samarin (1819-1876) was a Russian writer and reformer. He was a fervent Slavophile and Russian nationalist, working on behalf of emancipated serfdom. Samarin, a well-known author, fought for the preservation of Russian culture and folkways in border areas of the empire. Though influenced by German idealist thinkers, such as Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, Samarin was no friend of Prussia, nor of the German Reich. See Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union, ed. Michael T. Florinsky (New York, 1961), p. 495.
25. Some of this information can be found in New York, Yivo Institute Archives, files "Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg."
26. Rech, No. 33 (216), 24 Mar. 1943, p. 2.
27. Rech, No. 61 (244), p. 2.
28. Rech, No. 70 (253), 20 June 1943, p. 2.
29. See, for example, the citations in Robert Stausz-Hupe, Axis America (New York, 1941), pp. 78-157.
30. New York Post, 4, 16, 17, and 31 Mar. 1937; New York Times, 4-7 Mar., 21 May 1937. For Nazi allegations, see Frdnkische Tageszeitung, 14 Jan. 1939; and W. Arntz, Zwanzig Profile Scharf Geschnitten (Berlin_ n.d.), pp. 24758.
31. Der Sturmer, 26 June 1936; Der Vo1kische Beobachter, 19 May 1936; Der Angriff, 7 Mar. 1937; Heinz Halter, Der Polyp von New York (Dresden, 1942); Mitteilungen iiber die Judenfrage, 2, no. 1; Karl-Heinz Rildiger, "Die Enkel der Sklavenhandler," Nationalsozialistiche Korrespondenz, Folge 303 (28 Dec. 1938).
32. Some of the relevant records can be found in Stanford, CA, Hoover Institution, files "Gesamtverband deutscher antikommunistischen Vereinigungen."
33. On the Weltdienst and Ley's propaganda, see Herzstein, The War That Hitler Won, pp. 157-62.
34. Zarya, written and distributed by General Andrei Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army (ROA), commenced publication in the spring of 1943. It came out twice a week, in large printings intended for an audience of Russian workers in the Reich, Soviet prisoners of war, and volunteers in Vlasov's army. Some of Zarya's materials appeared in Rech as well. See Sven Steenberg, Vlasov (New York, 1970), pp. 86, 101-2. Steenberg omits discussion of antisernitism in the ROA's ranks or in Zarya.
35. Rech, No. 73 (256), 27 June 1943, p. 2.
36. Helmut Heiber, ed., Goebbels-Reden, 2 vols. (Dusseldorf, 1972), 2:235.
37. See Alfred Rosenberg, Deutsche und europaische Geistesfreiheit (Munich, 1944), pp. 3-15; idem, "Deutschlands europaische Sendung," in National- Zeitung (Essen), 18 Jan. 1944; SS-Informationsdienst 2, no. 2 (also reproduced in NARA, RG 238, War Crimes Records, Nuremberg doc. NO-3486).
38. Max Domarus, comp., Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1945, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden, 1973), 2:i, 1058, and 2:ii, 1937 (speeches of 30 Jan. 1939 and 8 Nov. 1942).
39. Rech, No. 61 (244), p. 2.
40. See Lochner, Goebbels Diaries, pp. 325, 357.
41. Rech, No. 73 (256), 27 June 1943, p. 1. Propaganda on behalf -of a new, socially just Europe was a staple product of the Nazi propaganda mills, especially after 1942. See Robert E. Herzstein, When Nazi Dreams Come True (London, 1982).
42. Rech, No. 70 (244).
43. Inaugurated in the early part of 1942 under Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel (then Reichsbevollmachtigter fur den Arbeitseinsatz), the new labor program made use of compulsory quotes and forced deportations on a massive scale. Ostarbeiter and Ostarbeiterinnen played an important role in this program. Sauckel was tried at Nuremberg as a major war criminal, sentenced to death, and hanged.
44. NARA, RG 242, Captured German Records Filmed at Berlin (American Historical Association), series T-580, roll 484: Goebbels' statement of 15 Feb. 1943. The Propaganda Minister was offering propaganda guidelines for the treatment of the Eastern people. Goebbels was of course speaking to the party's propaganda bureaucracy within the Reich, but his influence soon made itself felt as far away as Rech and Orel.
45. NARA, RG 242, Panzer Armies, roll 181, frames 9185-97. See also Rech, No. 26 (209), 3 Mar. 1943 on "The Language of Facts," and No. 27 (210), on "The European Economy."
46. Rech, No. 70 (253). The newspaper consisted of a combination of Wehrmacht military communiques, agricultural information, notices of forthcoming radio broadcasts, new documentation requirements, and antisemitism.
47. Mein Kampf, trans. from the German (Boston, 1962), p. 308.
48. Rech, No 70 (253). On the "Protocols," see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York, 1967), especially pp. 122-25, 195-225. Cohn (p. 208) quotes one unidentified German military commander as saying, "The Jew must be destroyed wherever we find him" (italics in original).
49. NARA, RG 242, Records of German Field Commands, Corps, series T-314, roll 508, frames 522-27: Generalkommando XII, Ic/AO (Propaganda), to 4 AOK [Army High Command], 4 July 1943.
50. NARA, RG 242, Divisions, roll 2310, frames 585-90, 669: Gruppe Weiss, Ic (Betreuungsoffizier), 15 June 1943.
51. NARA, RG 242, Divisions, roll 2311, frames 204, 537-39. In the spring of 1943 this division was operating on the central sector of the Eastern front.
52. NARA, RG 242, RFSS, roll 234, frames 840ff.: Ereignismelclung, No. 169 (16 Feb. 1942). Communications between Second Panzer Army Ic and Army Group Center, as well as between 17th Panzer Division Ic and XXIV Panzer Corps Ic, indicate that the main purpose of the early printings of Rech was to induce Soviet soldiers to desert. The paper also served as a propaganda sheet in POW camps. It was Rech's presumed success in these functions that led to its expansion as an instrument of Aktivpropaganda.
53. See Yivo Institute Archives, records of Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, "Hauptarbeitsgruppe Mitte, Einsatzkommando Orel-Briansk" (covering the period 20 July-4 Aug. 1943). The Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg went to great lengths to commission Ausarbcitungen, or essays, from staff members of Rech; he viewed these men as Russian experts on Jewish Bolshevism and the perfidy of the Soviet state.
54. NARA, RG 242, Divisions, roll 2313, frames 286ff.: Sixth Division, Ic, "Richtlinien ffir die Behandlung der einheimischen Bevolkerung im Osten," 2 May 1942; and ibid., roll 2310, frames 563ff.: Fourth Panzer Division, Ic, "Aktivpropaganda ffir die Bev6lkerung," 22 Dec. 1942.
55. NARA, RG 242, Divisions, roll 2311, frames 509-15: Fifth Panzer Division.
56. NARA, RG 242, Records of German Field Commands, Army Groups, series T- 311, roll 233, frames 439-53: "Erfahrungsbericht der Militarverwaltung beirn Oberkommando der Heeresgruppe Mitte fur die Zeit vorn 22.6.41 bis August 1944."
57. Alexander Dallin, The Kaminsky Brigade, 1941-1944: A Case Study of the German Military Exploitation of Soviet Disaffection (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, Dec. 1952).
The lack of a sound legislative framework in Russia has not posed an obstacle to the development of private military companies (PMCs), which have enjoyed a de facto presence in key conflict areas in the world for almost a decade.
For example, Antiterror-Orel (Anti-Terror Eagle, in English), which was set up by former Vnukovo Airlines employee Sergei Isakov under the auspices of Suleyman Kerimov, has been undertaking non-military operations in Iraq to protect facilities and escort cargo since 2003.
Moreover, the low competitiveness of Russian PMCs registered offshore is evidence of their narrow set of functions and, by international standards, minimal employee wages. Russian companies offer standard security services, while the largest players in the market of private military services have long since switched to multi-specialization, in which consulting and specialized training occupy key niches.
For instance, U.S.-based Academi (formerly Blackwater) focuses on training programs for U.S. military personnel, offering courses in shooting, fighting, and extreme driving at its own training base. Its main customer is the U.S. government.
PMCs in Israel, meanwhile, have secured a strong foothold in the consulting industry and, in particular, the alignment of security and intelligence systems. British PMCs specialize in risk management, logistics, and protection of financial infrastructure.
Thus, the focus of "military services" has now shifted to the developing word. It is common practice to subcontract security and escort services to smaller companies in high-risk areas, usually in unstable countries.
Even if they acquire legal status, Russian PMCs are unlikely to be successful in the market, which is currently monopolized by the U.K. and the United States. At present, Russian PMCs are simply unable to compete in the hi-tech industries, reducing their role to that of mere mercenary.
Moreover, Russia is not currently engaged in military operations abroad and does not need "rearguard" reinforcements in the form of private paramilitary structures.
The government's decision to farm out PMCs to existing businesses clearly shows that it is more interested in two other types of commercial military structures: corporate and ethnic quasi-armies.
The former are represented by the security services of industrial companies that operate in hot spots. They already count more "security" employees than the FSB, and, in countries where Russian corporations own facilities, they essentially function in extraterritorial mode.
The legalization of military security enterprises would allow such corporations to use outsourcing in situations that require personnel with specific skills: for example, to counter attacks by pirates.
Whereas special training of corporate security services may not be commercially justified in this instance, PMCs with a niche profile could cope with the task quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, PMCs would be authorized to build up existing security capacity.
However, in addition to corporate security services that enjoy broad autonomy in overseas operations, a commercial quasi-army could also be deployed inside Russia itself. Its scope could include security in border areas in remote regions experiencing pressure from immigration; Russia's Far East is a prime example of such a region.
Still, the commercial and tactical benefits of setting up PMCs do not alter the fact that the gradual privatization and transformation of security into an "external" service – even inside the country – is a kind of ticking time bomb. In essence, it blurs the right to commit violence, over which the state has a monopoly.
The legalization of PMCs will go hand-in-hand with an increase in illicit arms trafficking. In the future, PMCs could become independent domestic players, free to side with any of the "centers of power" in existence at the time. In fact, the situation may even stimulate another stage of neo-feudalism in Russia.
Nadezhda Sokolva is an expert at the Governance and Problem Analysis Center.
First published in Russian in Gazeta.ru
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Former Russian soldiers ready to take on Blackwater in Iraq
A group of former Russian soldiers is involved in an intense military training program in preparation for Iraq. They believe they can compete with their British and American counterparts by adopting a unique approach.
The training of the Oryol anti-terror centre may seem like an intense action scene from a Hollywood blockbuster movie, but in fact it is to prepare Russian men to work in Iraq…
“Before we send people there, we put them through some serious training. This includes psychological training and an educational program,” says Sergey Epishkin, head of Oryol anti-terror training centre. “In our classes, we even speak the way they speak in this particular region. If you can’t master local slang, you can run into a serious trouble sometimes.”
And to avoid such trouble is the chief responsibility of this group. These men are from the anti-terror group Oryol and, much like their infamous, American counterpart “Blackwater”, they provide private security for Russian engineers and businessmen operating inside Iraq.
“I firmly believe Russians can do a lot in the Middle East, much more than our American and British colleagues. Local people treat us much better – both police and the opposition. We are there with a peaceful mission. We help rebuild power plants,” says Sergey Epishkin.
The guys from Oryol go through highly-specialized training, under very tough conditions. They are true professionals, but to understand why these guys do what they do, one has to take a look at the individual men who do the job.
The company is entirely made up of ex-military officers who wanted an outlet to continue to use their skills.
“The potential of Russian special units is really unlimited. The reform [of the Russian military], with all its mistakes, left a good number of skilled professionals without a job,” Sergey Epishkin says.
And even though they have soldiers’ backgrounds, one of their main strategies is a unique form of diplomacy.
“We establish a good relationship not only with the Americans and the British, but with the Iraqi police and National Guard as well. To be frank with you, even with opposition forces. In such a region, it is important to find a common language with people,” explains Sergey.
The Oryol team considers their mission a peaceful one, making every attempt to restrain from using force, even under stressful conditions.
“It’s hard when you are driving, and you’re tense, and all of a sudden you see a boy running across the street ahead of you with a plastic bag. You can’t help it, you get scared. You don’t know if it’s just a boy or a terrorist,” says Oleg Maslov, a trainer from the Oryol Anti-Terror Training Centre.
“We don’t know what’s in his bag. That too is hard. The most important thing is not to panic, not to pull the trigger,” Maslov continued.
And though it is an emotionally taxing job, in many ways these guys are pioneers, paving the way for more Russian companies to help rebuild Iraq.
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