Even oppressed non-Russians made important contributions to war effort in WW2

WW2 monument to commemorate the Komi and Saami reindeer transportation battalions in Naryan-Mar, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia. (Image: nazaccent.ru)

WW2 monument to commemorate the Komi and Saami reindeer transportation battalions in Naryan-Mar, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia. (Image: nazaccent.ru) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

A casual consumer of Russian propaganda outlets in advance of Moscow’s commemoration of Victory Day this year could be excused for thinking that the USSR defeated Hitler all on its own and that the Russian people were the only component of the Soviet war effort. But, of course, neither of these memes is true.

The USSR played an enormous role in defeating Nazi Germany but it hardly fought alone or did so without massive aid from the West. And ethnic Russians, the largest ethnic group in the USSR then, did so as well, but they too did not fight alone; and both the contributions and sufferings of other nations must be remembered.

Numerous Russian opposition commentators have pointed out how much the allies, however despised they may be now, contributed to outcome of World War II, but the contribution of non-Russians in the USSR to the Soviet effort have received much less attention, especially in the Moscow media.

That should be corrected, and the Nazaccent portal makes a contribution to redressing the balance although its decision to focus on smaller nationalities rather than on larger ones like the Belarusians and Ukrainians who now have their own independent states understates just how large the non-Russian role was.

The portal carries an article that focuses on four groups, which significantly it identifies not so much in ethnic terms as in economic and regional ones: the reindeer herders of the Northern Peoples, the nomads, the mountaineers of the North Caucasus, and the hunters of the taiga regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East.

During the war, the Saami and Komi, two peoples of the Russian North, formed three reindeer transportation companies within the 14th Army of the Karelian Front. These units transported move than 10,000 wounded soldiers and 17 tons of matériel. Of the reindeer involved, only ten percent survived the war.

In 2012, the Komi succeeded in having a monument erected to these special forces in Naryan-Mar. At present, the Saami community of Murmansk is seeking government permission to erect a second one and is collecting money for this project.

Until 1944 when Moscow annexed it, Tyva (or Tuva) was nominally independent; but it supplied its gold reserve, 50,000 horses and a million head of livestock to feed the Soviet army. And it organized a cavalry squadron, which struck fear into the hearts of the Germans by its remarkable horsemanship and take-no-prisoners approach.

The role of the North Caucasus “mountaineers” was more complicated not only because German forces occupied part of that region, but also because Stalin deported more than a dozen of its peoples declaring them collectively guilty of collaboration with the enemy. In 1942, Moscow ended the draft in the region, but these things didn’t end North Caucasian participation.

By the end of that year, there were 11 national units fighting for the Soviet side on the North Caucasus and Transcaucasus fronts and Nazaccent notes that “after the deportation of the Caucasus people to Central Asia, many Caucasus fighters changed their names in documents and thus remained on the frontlines.”

And the taiga “hunters,” particularly a group from the Nanai nationality, gained fame for their marksmanship. One Nanai sniper was so good that the Germans put a price of 100,000 Reichsmarks on his head.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Alex George

    Good points about the contribution of the Nanai, Sami, Komi and other non-Russian people to victory in WWII

    Also the Belarusians and Ukrainians paid a higher price in blood per capita than the Russians did, to defeat Nazzi Germany.

    • Dirk Smith

      Ukrainian loss of life during WWII nearly equals Polish/Russian loss of life COMBINED as the Ukrainians fought both tyrannies. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e2b89a12035d5cad3794f9f25b0eef87088d2a7dcf46a06976e1b4d6e9d93756.jpg

      • Andrew Chmile

        DIRK !

        “Alex George” is a LYING Ruski **MOLE**
        who is AGAINST making
        Ukrainian the **SOLE** language of instruction. — Like it is in his
        beloved COMMIE RUSSIA! — the lying little faqqot!

        • Alex George

          Keep trying andrew.

          You aren’t Ukrainian, you don’t live in Ukraine and you don’t speak the language.

          You want to get the Russian language banned in Ukraine so that millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians will want to side with putin – or so you hope. And do hopes your master, the dwarf.

          You also hate English because its use will draw Ukraine closer to the West and out of the Kremlin orbit.

          • Andrew Chmile

            “You want to get the Russian language banned in Ukraine so that millions
            of Russian-speaking Ukrainians will want to side with putin – or so you
            hope. And do hopes your master, the dwarf”

            You SUPPORT the use of the FILTHY, UGLY Ruski language in Ukraine …..

            Has PUTIN caused a “revolt” BY “BANNING” ALL LANGUAGES IN THE “RUSSIAN FEDERATION” EXCEPT RUSSIAN???

            Has the above scenario happened in the BALTIC NATIONS with *THEIR* language laws & “banning” — as you call such — Ruski? :)))

            STICK “the language of communism” — as you Ruski termed such — RUSSIAN !!!
            UP YO’ MONHOL @SS!!! :)))

  • zorbatheturk

    The deaths of other people has never bothered the Kremlin.

    • Robert

      Nor do the death of their OWN people bother the Kriminal Kremlin Klan!

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    The Russians love their lies and often boast that they have the biggest and best of everything as well as the greatest knowledge about almost anything. However, there is one notable exception which never stops worrying Putin the Pompous Pederast. It isn’t water or wars or cabbage shortages or unemployment. Anyone (especially the unwary) who has ever experienced a brush with their bum paper would know why Russians continue to be great fans of Pravda where wipes trump words.

    • Andrew Chmile

      “Alex George” is a LYING Ruski **MOLE**
      who is AGAINST making
      Ukrainian the **SOLE** language of instruction. — Like it is in his
      beloved COMMIE RUSSIA! — the lying little faqqot! AND YOU “UP-VOTE” him …. hmm…

      • Alex George

        Andrew Chmile is a russki mole who uses the same arguments as Tass, Sputnik and RT.

        And his post here is a great example of the tactics he has tried on many pro-Ukrainian blogs, and got himself banned from most of them. Always trying to start supporters of Ukraine fighting each other – that’s our andrew,

        • Andrew Chmile

          ASHAMED TO ADMIT YOU ARE A RUSSO-MONGOLIAN? :)))

  • Andrew Chmile

    “Alex George” is a LYING Ruski **MOLE**
    who is AGAINST making
    Ukrainian the **SOLE** language of instruction. — Like it is in his
    beloved COMMIE RUSSIA! — the lying little faqqot!

    • Alex George

      Andrew Chmile is a russki mole who pushes the same arguments as Tass, Sputnik and RT.