Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Movement: Soviet Reality and Emigre Theories

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Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Movement deals with the attempt by Soviet citizens to create a Russian anti-Stalinist liberation movement during the Second World War. These Soviet citizens were mainly prisoners-of-war, forced labourers or part of the population of the occupied territories of the USSR. The Liberation Movement was encouraged by German officers who disagreed with Nazi policy towards the USSR, as their experience showed that treating the population as 'subhumans' (Untermensch) merely increased resistance to Nazi occupation. Throughout the development of the Liberation Movement there existed a divergence of aims between the Russian members who wished to form an army and a political movement which would effect change within the USSR, and its German supporters who merely wished to alter the type of propaganda directed towards the population of the USSR. Catherine Andreyev provides an account of the evolution of the Russian Liberation Movement and examines the motivation of the titular leader of the movement, Lieutenant-General Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov. The main focus of the book is the ideology of the Liberation Movement, the importance of which lies in the fact that it represented the first grass-roots opposition movement within the Soviet Union since the end of the Civil War in 1922. The programme of the Movement reflects issues which would have been raised by citizens in the 1930s had they been free to do so. Catherine Andreyev examines influences on the programme, and the ideas expressed are placed within the context of the pre-war Soviet and Russian emigre society.