Behind the propaganda screen
The new generation of historians, relying on facts only known to them, united the traitors of the ROA with collaborators of all stripes, including units formed by Germans from Russian emigrants, and made their nasty conclusion about a certain Second Civil War.
Under this army, about 1200 thousand people from Russia and the USSR are now written down and on the basis of "new" numbers they are trying to give out the theory of a kind of civil confrontation with Stalin, which made people stand under the Nazi banners and fight the Red Army.
One combines official historiography and the new "carriers" stories". Both groups call about the same share of Russians in Vlasov’s ROA - 35-45%. That is, in the Goebbels-advertised Russian Liberation Army, the Russians themselves were in the minority. Yes, it was no longer required for the propaganda screen of the guardians of the “liberation of Russia from communism” warring with Stalin.
In fact, they didn’t really fight with the Red Army. The main goal pursued by the Nazis in the formation of the ROA was propaganda. Like, look - the Russians are ready to fight on our side against Bolshevism.
The ROA received its “baptism of fire” only in February 1945, when its strike group, consisting of three platoons, together with the Hitler troops took part in battles with the 230th RKKA Rifle Division, which took up defense in the Oder area.
Meanwhile, the history of the ROA has been going on since December 1942. It was then that the traitor generals Vlasov and Baersky (he rose to the rank of colonel in the Red Army. The Germans gave him a new rank) asked the leadership of the Third Reich to form an army to “liberate Russia from communism”. In fact, that’s how the Germans themselves arranged it, who decided to create a propaganda campaign from the surrendered Soviet general. And the general vividly picked up the idea.
The so-called Smolensk Declaration was even prepared. It contained the appeal of the “Russian Liberation Committee” located in Smolensk to the Soviet people. The stated goal of the committee was the fight against communism.
The proposal did not impress Hitler himself at all. He had other plans for Russia. Hitler did not see her free, independent and independent, as was shown in the appeal of the Smolensk committee.
Nevertheless, after the Smolensk declaration, all immigrants from Russia who fought in the Hitlerite ranks (mainly representatives of the white emigration) began to be called military personnel of the Russian Liberation Army.
From the paper army to the “third force” against the USSR
This army was listed only on paper. The first division of the ROA appeared in the late spring of 1943. Loudly called the First Guards ROA Brigade, it brought together 650 volunteers from Soviet prisoners of war and emigrants.
The task of the brigade included security functions (therefore, it was dressed in the form of an SS) and the fight against partisans in the Pskov region. The Germans did not fully trust the Vlasov army. After the defeat of the Nazis near Kursk, fermentation began in it.
And then another unit formed from prisoners of war (the 1st Russian national brigade of the SS "Druzhina") was almost in full force, taking with it 10 artillery pieces, 23 mortars, 77 machine guns, a small-arms weapon, 12 radio stations and other equipment, went over to the partisans and began to fight against soldiers of the Wehrmacht.
After that, the Vlasov brigade was disarmed and disbanded. Officers were even placed under house arrest. Then they changed their minds and sent everyone to France, away from the Eastern Front and contact with the partisans.
Only by the end of 1944, Vlasov managed to form (of those who already had nothing to lose) the first full-fledged ROA division of 18000 military personnel with heavy artillery weapons, armored vehicles (ten self-propelled guns and nine tanks T-34). This included units of various kinds of collaborators who had retreated with the Nazis from the USSR, emigrants, volunteers from prisoners of war.
The goals of the "liberators" have also changed. In November 1944, they established the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (KONR) in Prague, which claims to be an exiled government. General Vlasov simultaneously became the Chairman of the Committee and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who formed as an independent Russian national army, connected with Nazi Germany only by allied relations.
The Allies, through the Third Reich Ministry of Finance, allocated a credit line to the ROA, reimbursed “as much as possible”. With these funds, several more compounds were formed, which had grown to 1945 thousand people by April 120.
This growth was driven by new political goals. Vlasov planned to use the ROA as a "third force" in the anticipated confrontation of the United States and Britain with the Soviet Union at the end of the war.
In January, the ROA even declared neutrality towards the United States and Great Britain. By March, she acquired her own sleeve insignia and cockade. External attributes distanced itself from the Nazi soldiers. Although it was precisely during this period that Vlasov’s army became involved in active hostilities against the Red Army.
For example, the already mentioned 1st ROA Infantry Division fought on the Erlengof bridgehead as part of the 9th German army. So, if any of the fashionable historians saw the Second Civil War in the Patriotic War, let him know: it was fought on the western bank of the Oder River, in alliance with completely different “citizens”.
The result of the Vlasov betrayal is known. After the war, two-thirds of the composition of the ROA were transferred by the Western Allies to the USSR, where they were sent to camps. Six leaders of the Vlasov army and the self-proclaimed Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, by a court decision, were hanged in the courtyard of Butyrka prison.
The betrayal of General Vlasov and his accomplices has become a dark spot in the history of our Great War. Therefore, the attempts of unscrupulous historians to imagine black as white in the eyes of people who know the real history of the war and its heavy price are countless and futile.