Word before the fight
100 years ago, in February 1918, the 8-I German army marched victoriously on Petrograd. Confusion and chaos reigned in the country, the army was demoralized, the people fled. Even the government moved from Petrograd to Moscow. On February 21, the appeal of the Council of People’s Commissars “Socialist Fatherland in Danger” was published. And a handful of brave volunteers came out to meet the German hordes.
They silently walked toward death. None of them expected to go back. But in Russia it is customary to die in the name of some lofty ideals. And among the volunteers there was one who said some magic words to the fighters. These words raised them to those orbits where earthly concerns were not felt. They allowed a handful of fighters to demonstrate to the enemy their inhuman courage and brave contempt for death. Here we will talk about these magic words.
"Who does not know how to say - career will not make"
Many military leaders in Russia were part of history not only by their brilliant feats, but also by historical phrases that glorified them for centuries. “Whoever comes to us with a sword, will perish from the sword!” Said Alexander Nevsky, “ebbing out” thereby his victory in the granite of people's memory. But Svyatoslav, Yaroslav the Wise, and his ilk did not "frame" their victories, which are no less significant for Russia. And in the story somehow lost. Rather, they are present, of course, but somehow faded, dim, unconvincing - not like Nevsky.
But Napoleon thought round the clock how to make history. “Who does not know how to say, he will not make a career,” the commander considered. And he poured metaphors like a machine gun. Whatever the battle - then two or three "ebb in granite." They say he had a literary platoon of specially trained people for this. The phrase about "forty centuries from the height of the pyramids" he was told exactly. Aptly noted he (or his Lithuanian platoon) fighting qualities of his sworn enemies — the Russians: “It’s not enough to kill a Russian soldier — he must also be brought down.” Suvorov, who did not lose a single battle, with all his genius did not leave anything like that in the verbal genre - only the phrase about “miracle heroes”. Unfortunately, all the other commanders of Russia - both ingenious and not very - also did not sparkle with eloquence, either on the battlefield or after.
Paradox: in Russia, a country with the richest literary traditions and constantly at war with someone, the attitude of the military-political elite to the power of the printed word has always been somehow superficial, frivolous. Unlike French Napoleon and English Churchill, whom the British themselves called the “wizard of words and genius of rhetoric”, the country did not give the world the gift of domestic Chrysostom (if you do not take Chernomyrdin with his reference impediment) into account.
And in the Crimean War, and in the First World, ideological training of personnel, despite its obvious heroism, was below all criticism. In part, this can explain the humiliating defeats of the Russian army in these campaigns. The Bolsheviks understood this perfectly well by putting forward their “genius of rhetoric”, Leib Trotsky, as an alternative to the current government. He, as is well known, with his virtuoso eloquence, inflamed the imagination of the soldiers and sailors so that they, without deliberating, threw themselves into battle for a bright future. And swept away on their terrible, blood-stained path of all dissenters. But, as is well known, the point in Trotsky’s lush biography was not put down by a master of verbal intrigue, but by a poorly sharpened ice ax.
The author of the "ice pick" Stalin, despite his outstanding in every sense of the matter, an outstanding orator has never been. And, unlike Churchill, he could not become one, even in a time of terrible ordeals for his Motherland. But Goebbels and Hitler were. Together, the two eminent bastards of the era, during their public speeches, drove millions of Germans to a complete frenzy. As a result, they launched a huge wheel across the planet, full of blood bones. It was an endless feast of bloody violence, born, including the oratorical power of the "sweet couple."
"The word wizard, the genius of rhetoric"
After swallowing and digesting practically all continental Europe, Hitler, as is well known, wondered for a long time who to attack first — Russia or England. England was not at all ready to face such a formidable adversary. The crushing defeat of the Anglo-French expeditionary corps under Dunkirk spoke about this better than any words. "Generals are always preparing for the last war," Churchill summed up this humiliating defeat. The situation for England was critical - the country was in the balance from death. Had Hitler decided on a naval landing - and Britain would have gone, according to Churchill himself, "to the teeth of death, to the mouth of hell." On the island would begin the performance of terrible struggle and destruction. But Churchill, who did not recognize moral impotence, began to bluff. As a matter of fact, he had no other way out. According to compatriots, "he bridled English, mobilized it and threw it into battle." And I achieved the same result. His latest programmatic speech, “We will fight even on the beaches,” produced an imagination on Hitler. The last phrases were: “We will go to the end, we will fight. Fight the seas and oceans, with growing confidence and growing power. We will fight on the beaches, coasts, in the fields and on the streets, and never give up. We will protect our Island, no matter what it costs us ... ".
At that time, unfortunately, Russia did not have a similar “wizard of the word and genius of rhetoric”. There was no one to bluff, even in words.
Churchill's bluff was a success. Hitler flinch. And he turned his troops to the East ...
In the summer of 1941, the story made a fantastic turn. The population of Russia was no longer 170, but 110 million people. The population of Germany with loyal satellites was about two hundred million. No longer Russia, but Germany has become the most populated country in Europe, owning all the attributes of power. All Western and Central Europe worked for her. Russia rolled back to the northeast of Eurasia. From the north, the Germans also blocked the sea route from Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. It was necessary to cut off the southern thread linking Russia with the outside world. This thread was Stalingrad.
Not a single phrase of the Soviet wizards of the time from the Kremlin propaganda machine remained in the people's memory.
An exception was the previously unknown political politician Klochkov, who said before the battle to his fighters: “Russia is great, but there is nowhere to retreat. Behind - Moscow. They did not retreat.
The German ideological machine “pumped” its soldiers around the clock before the general battle on the Volga. Why are the headlines of German newspapers being distributed in the army: “Even the Roman soldiers did not reach here from the West!”, “If Germany masters this edge, no one in the world will stop it”, “After the victory in Stalingrad, nothing is impossible for Germany”, “ The German people are the new suppressor of the Scythians ”,“ We are the descendants of Alexander the Great ”,“ We will push the eastern borders of the European Oikumena! ”And so on.
But even here, before the general battle on the Volga, where the fate of humanity was decided, the Kremlin ideologues did not sparkle with eloquence. There was neither Churchill nor Napoleon among them. All that was enough for their creativity is the ordinary slogan “Not one step back!”, Stated in the infamous 227 order. The evacuated vacuum was able to be filled by the unknown Stalingrad Klochkovs. Memo of one of them somehow caught my eye. This is a real masterpiece of creative military thought, not surpassed, I believe, until now:
“Fight as long as you can. If the pressure is deadly, get out. Give the enemy a part of our vast territory. But with the first rays of the sun, start a new battle. Act like that forever. Bringing the enemy to exhaustion. Let him understand that he temporarily owns your land. As long as you live yourself, the enemy will not own it for a long time. His exhaustion. Let his hundredth victory in the fight for a dozen meters of territory end in his favor. But for the hundred and first time you will get it, even if there is a thought, skill, calculation, high skill on his side. You are stronger than him by not doubting and changing debt and oath. After all, they perished both before us and on our great unprotected plain, on our open spaces from Brest to Vladivostok there was everything. But our perseverance, our faith, our sons love did not run out. We are born in this faith and love for a country where life is hard, but where our home, our graves, our sky. And we, too, will die, without defiling the memory of our ancestors, without deceiving the expectations of the whole country, suddenly calmed down at the word Stalingrad. ”
These were the words in that memo, on that ragged, smoked leaf. But it was they, and not the 227 order, who led the defenders of Stalingrad to their immortal sacrificial feat. Inflamed by this appeal, they demonstrated superhuman resilience to the whole world. They stood to death so that the name of Russia would not fade. And their courage was marked by the same Churchill with its high syllable. On the sword, which he handed to Stalin, his phrase was engraved: "Citizens of Stalingrad, strong as steel, as a sign of the deep admiration of the British people."
During the military campaign in Afghanistan, the information-ideological war was completely lost by the country's military-political establishment. Kremlin elders could not come up with hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting and dying in a distant and foreign country any intelligible justification for their mission. Their more than controversial slogan “international duty” did not cause the personnel of the 40 army anything but uncensored comments. Unfortunately, there were no Klochkovs, who could inflame the soldiers on the “last and decisive”. Therefore, the attitude to the political commanders and advisers in the troops was extremely ambiguous. But for this there were objective reasons - this war was too alien for us.
And then, due to the deep crisis of the official ideology and the lack of the right words, the Soviet Union collapsed like a drunk in a puddle. To save and rescue the army, no one could find the words either - it began to fall apart before our eyes.
And then there was a war in Chechnya, which, unlike the Afghan war, was not a stranger. But since the time of Afghanistan, the official ideological machine has not come out of a coma. But here they found their Klochkovs. With one of them - a lieutenant of the Northern Marines fleet - fate brought me together in January 1995 in Grozny.
He showed me a memo that he had invented for his sailors. She was each in a breast pocket. The Marines studied it before the battle: “When you see the enemy, do not be afraid: it is not a fact that he sees you. If he sees - not the fact that he has weapon. If there is - not the fact that it is charged. If charged - not the fact that it does not stand on the fuse. If all the same in alertness - not the fact that he will have time to shoot you. If you shoot - not the fact that it will fall. If you fall - not the fact that he will kill, can only hurt. So go to the enemy and do not be afraid. "
The only pity is that I did not remember the name of this “Chechen Klochkov”. The acquaintance was short, like a shot - his battalion went to storm the Council of Ministers building. Not all returned from there. But all (including the militants themselves) admit that the marines fought as their fathers did when defending Stalingrad. I think that the memorandum of that “Chechen Klochkov” in the black sea jacket played a significant role in this.
Now Russia is fighting again. Our guys are fighting in Syria, in the Donbas, I do not exclude that somewhere else. The official ideological machine of the Kremlin is no longer in a coma - it breaks through one bottom after another. Unfortunately, neither Cicero, nor Napoleon, nor Churchill is visible in the modern Russian army. One hope for the local "Klochkovykh" - Syrian, Donbass, some more, with which it is easy for a Russian soldier to go into the fire, into the water, to hell with horns, into the teeth of death, in the mouth of hell. And they must be found. They can not be found. That was standing, standing and standing will be our Russian army.