Viktor Suvorov (V. B. Rezun)

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Viktor Suvorov (V.B. Rezun)

Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun is a well-known writer under pen name Viktor Suvorov. He was born in the Far East region of the USSR in 1947. As a son of a major upon graduating from a military high-school he got accepted into military university. Since 1974 worked in the official headquarters of the Soviet military intelligence in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1978 escaped to the United Kingdom. According to his words he was smuggled into England because GRU (military intelligence) wanted to make him responsible for one of the failed operations in Europe. The other version says that he was working as a double agent for British military intelligence.

His writing career started in 1981 and since then he publishes regularly. Viktor Suvorov is a military historian and has a couple of books with new theses on how the Great Patriotic War started and what was USSR’s ambitions. He published a couple of military fiction books as well. The first book that talks about the Great Patriotic War is an “Icebreaker” (rus: “Ледокол”, “Ledokol”). He argues that the main reason of the war was I.V. Stalin’s policies towards European “Proletarian Revolution”. He states in the book that USSR was preparing its military for attacking Germany from the rear in July 1941 but as Germany attacked first military front was not ready for defensive actions and had a lot of casualties in the first period of the war. Relying on the open archives, military journals and memoirs Suvorov states that Red Army was more prepared for the war than German, both in numbers and technical aspect. He states that military industry in the Soviet Union was more developed and working in “ready-for-war” speed, while in Germany industry was not speeding up but working in peaceful time regime. This statement goes against accepted idea of USSR being not ready for the war, having underdeveloped industry and not being aware of the future military actions. He analyses and compares military systems of the USSR and Germany at the time and states that German system was less efficient. He also talks about repressions in RKKA in the 1930th and comes to a conclusion that numbers told are exaggerated and the main objective was not to get rid of potential competitors on political arena but to make military commanders more obliging through fear.

Suvorov argues that Stalin’s aim was world socialist revolution and the war in Europe was one of the steps to reach the goal. According to Suvorov Stalin wanted to weaken Europe by European war where Germany with revanchist attitude would be an icebreaker of future socialist revolution. After Germany defeating Europe, the Soviet Union would start a war against Germany to free Europe and as well put in place new governments that would answer to Moscow. And, relying on Suvorov’s research, Stalin was following his grand plan by:

  • Helping Hitler come to power (Stalin prohibited German Communist Party to form an alliance with social-democrats, as this would lead to the defeat of Hitler’s party in the elections and might even destroy the party because of hard financial situation);

  • Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Agreement not to attack one another.

  • Creating before non-existent USSR-German border after occupying Poland and Baltic countries.

  • Under his orders military industry started working on developing new weapons and vehicles that were more suitable for attacking purposes that defensive.

  • 1939 law obliging every 18-year old male to serve in military

  • Military forces were moved to the borders in 1941,that, according to strategy logics, is an action taken before an attack. 5000 tanks along with big numbers of weapons taken to the borders were all designed for an attacking, not defence purposes. Most probably the numbers of destroyed weapons given by the historians is exactly these forces.

  • Stalin also strengthens punishing apparatus in RKKA (if there is a war army has to be fully obliging).

Nowadays the theses and ideas Suvorov offered in his writings are accepted as part of revisionist school of thought in the Western Europe. However in Russia and former Soviet countries his books are highly criticized. “Icebreaker” could not be published until 1985 even though it was finished in 1981. It was partially published in 1985-86, and then fully published in Germany in 1989. In Russia it was published in 1992. Along with “Icebreaker” Suvorov talks about the same issues in “Day “M” (1993), “The Last Republic” (1995), “Suicide” (2000) and a couple of other books.

Structural criticism of “Icebreaker” is mainly based on the fact that Suvorov is not consistent with his sources and sometimes doesn’t tell where he got the information. Even though he is using publicly open sources and as a person with a military education he is capable of making conclusions, he does not have whole archives and 100% certain information about what were the orders from Stalin. In Russia scholars do not accept the book, and most probably never will, as the Great Patriotic War is a very sensitive part of nation’s history. According to Suvorov he is sentenced to highest measure of punishment for “Betrayal of Motherland” in Russian Federation, but there has never been an official statement of military court on this issue.

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