In this next series of posts, we return to post-war Czechoslovakia to follow the fate of General Andrei Vlasov, one of history’s great traitors. The author is Dmitry Zubarev.
The arrest of General Vlasov in 1945 was the result of a successful operation carried out by the Soviet SMERSH organization, well known to James Bond fans. Humorously named “Death to Spies”, it was the main Soviet counter-intelligence organization, and, even without the skills of a Lotte Lenya, was every bit as ruthless and effective as the reputation that preceded it!
To get the inside scoop on the Vlasov operation, reporter Zubarev spoke to a man named Alexander Zdanovich, retired Lieutenant-General of the Russian FSB, and a Doctor of History. Zdanovich is affiliated with the Scientific Research Insitute (НИИ), a Russian government institution; and more specifically with the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. In other words, this guy knows his stuff!
Zdanovich was born in 1952 in the city of Krasnoyarsk. In 1976 he graduated from KGB School with outstanding grades. In the 1990’s he worked in various government and military posts for the Russian Federation. In 2003 he successfully defended his Candidate Dissertation in Russian History. His thesis topic was: “The Organizational Structure of National Military Counter-Intelligence In the Years 1914-1920.” And went on to defend his Doctoral Dissertation, his thesis topic this time being: “Activity of the Organs of the Cheka and OGPU In Defending the Red Army (1921-1934).” Although semi-retired, Zdanovich continues to be active in many historical/military organizations and projects.
The Search For Vlasov
Zdanovich: “After it was fully confirmed, in 1942, that Vlasov had gone over to the side of the Hitlerites, a series of extended operations was worked out in the various regions where Vlasov was operating. At first the primary player was Operational Group #4 of the NKVD-OGPU of the USSR.”
Frustratingly, not one of the operational groups was able to carry out the task assigned to it, namely to capture or liquidate Vlasov. The latter was a wiley customer, constantly changed his routes and plans, never showed up in the place he was expected to be.
“However, when the Red Army, in 1944, started to enter the territories of Eastern European countries, liberating them one by one from the Hitlerite occupiers, the job of finding Vlasov and his helpers — all of them traitors to the Motherland — was primarily assigned to SMERSH. (….) This is because the search for Vlasov and those with him, this was considered primarily a search-type job, and not a special operation.”
In the next paragraph, Zdanovich talks about the feat of the First Ukrainian Front in liberating Prague, so a word of explanation is due here, for those not familiar with this story. This is silly but necessary because Ukrainian Nationalists recently made fools of themselves (once again) by claiming they liberated Prague. Due to the name, “First Ukrainian Front”, see. So, by a sleight of hand, it wasn’t Soviet Red Army soldiers who liberated Prague, but precisely Ukrainians! But fact is, Soviet armies, like all armies throughout history, name their FRONTS on their next target to be conquered. And not on the ethnic composition of those aspiring to reach that target. The job of the Ukrainian Front was to re-take the Ukraine from the Nazis. This Front was led by Soviet Marshal Konev, whose troops included every Soviet nationality under the sun, including a lot of Ukrainians, to be sure. But the Ukrainian nation, as it exists today, cannot take credit for this operation, except by admitting they were a component of the victorious USSR entity and its Red Army. Instead, alas, they continue to identify themselves with the losing side, the Hitlerites. So, in essence, instead of conquering Prague, they lost Prague to the Russians – hahaha!
Of course, in this new cartoon-comic version of Ukrainian history: Ukrainians led by their glorious leader, Stepan Bandera, simultaneously fought against the Nazis and the Red Army while quickly liberating Prague on their day off, helped of course by the noble Russian General Vlasov… Konev then came in later, a day late and a dollar short, to make sure more Czechs were killed, while unleashing his own reign of terror…
To get back to the real history, and turning the mic back over to Zdanovich: “So when the troops of the First Ukrainian Front, under the Command of Marshal Konev, liberated Prague, counter-intel had established precisely, that just 40 kilometers from the city of Plzeň, could be found the First Division of the Armed Forces of the Committee Of Liberation of the Peoples of Russia; in other words, a 600-man infantry division of the Wehrmacht headed by one of Vlasov’s so-called Generals, Sergei Bunyachenko. The reason I am putting the word General in air quotes is because in the Red Army he was only a Colonel. In any case, it became known that this division was striving to join up with the American forces.”
[to be continued]