“THE LIBERATORS”. THE RED ARMY SOLDIERS’ AND THE SOVIET ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES’ IMAGE THROUGH THE PRISM OF REPORTING DOCUMENTS OF THE OUN UNDERGROUND (1944 – 1945)
The purpose of the research is to reconstruct the Red Army soldier’s and the Soviet administration employee’s image in the western Ukrainian regions, in 1944 – 1945, recorded in the reporting documents of the Ukrainian nationalist underground. The methodology of the research is based on the principles of historicism, systematicity, scientificity, as well as the use of general scientific (analysis, synthesis, generalization) and special historical (historical typological and historical systemic) methods. The Conclusions. Taking everything into consideration, it should be emphasized that the OUN underground reporting documentation of 1944 – 1945 provided quite rich material for the reconstruction of the image of the Soviet soldiers and administrators, who returned to the western region during the last years of World War II. First of all, it should be mentioned that the image of the Red Army soldier was quite colourful and controversial. The reporters always made a clear division concerning the front lines and the rear units. The front lines soldiers, as a rule, had better weapons and uniforms, but for the most part (except in Lviv) there was a shortage of food, which made them loot. The front lines soldiers were also characterized as fairly brave warriors with clear traits of fatalism (“careless attitude to death”) and war fatigue (the desire to end hostilities as soon as possible and return home). It should be emphasized that the level of discipline, appearance, moral degradation, demotivation, and behavior of the units and subdivisions of the “Second Front Echelon” terrified the local population, who was the main informants of the OUN reports. Due to this, the Red Army soldier appeared in the reports of the underground, mostly as a ragged, always hungry and drunk robber and rapist, who, apparently, was, in general, correlating with the general state of the affairs. Their nationality and criticism of the Bolshevik government were of great importance to the formation of the underground’s opinion of the Red Army. According to the OUN documents, which demonstrated a sympathetic attitude towards the Ukrainian soldiers and other “nationalists” and depicted a cooler attitude towards the Russian and the Jewish origin Red Army soldiers. The Ukrainian soldiers were seen as potential allies in the struggle against Bolshevism, the Russian and the Jewish soldiers were considered to be the mainstay of the regime. However, it is important to note that the role of “support” of the Soviet power was given to the Russians increasingly rather than the Jews, as it was still believed in the OUN in 1939 – 1941. At the same time, the image of the Soviet administration in the OUN reports was less differentiated. It was mostly negative. The authorities were characterized as uneducated and primitive people without critical thinking, densely indoctrinated by the official ideology, prone to abuse, corruption and profit, hated by the rest of society.
Key words: the Red Army, the Soviet administration, the OUN underground, reporting documents, front line.
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