All pictures shown in these pages have never
before been released to the public.
Russia went for a land grab with Hitler in 1939. After many victories
in the Winter War by the Finns, Viipuri (Vyborg) was finally captured by
the Soviets, but it cost them dearly. Viipuri was a good port that the
Russians had wanted for hundreds of years. The picture of Russian occupation
troops was found by Antti when he returned to Viipuri in 1941.
of Stalin's buddies, captured by the victorious Finnish Army from Antti's
kuori potatitkin" - Antti Joronen 1941
ei monikaan jäänyt henkeen kun heidät palaudettiin Venäjälle
"The Russians were even glad to peel the potatoes"
The Finns seem to be satisfied with that situation.
Stalin did not appreciate returning prisoners of war. A total of
some 5,5 million were recovered after the war. Thousands were massacred
on arrival, while the overwhelming majority of the remainder disappeared
and died in forced-labour camps. Stalin felt that anyone who had been outside
the Soviet Union was a potential counter-revolutionary. The NKVD collected
"enemies of the people" (including minorities) and sent them,
untrained and frequently unarmed, to the battlefield. General Ratov stated
that "in the Soviet Union we use people," and declined British
mine detectors. I wonder how many of these Russians were sent to Siberia
or shot when they were turned over to Stalin after the war. Antti said
some of them drowned themselves rather than go back, and conversations
with other old soldiers confirmed similar stories. Into such a society
did Churchill and Roosevelt condemn much of Eastern Europe, the Baltic
States and Karelia.
Antti said that the Russian soldiers hardly ever had any food when they
were taken prisoner. The Finns always had some hard black bread with them
in addition to whatever else food they were supplied with. It was so hard
that it was necessary to soak the bread in liquid, such as tea. Antti spoke
a little Russian and said that their captives were very nice people and
he treated them with respect.
Russians cutting hay.
Russians would rather do some work than be confined in some camp.
They were used alot on farms in Finland according to Antti. The Finns did
not have to confine the Russian prisoners either because they were happy
not to be fighting the Finnish people. They had been lied to by their government,
and now that they knew the truth, they were dangerous to Stalin, who sent
them away after the war to die in Siberia in most cases. Most did not want
to go back to Russia but were forced to do so by Stalin.
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