Sometimes the driest of statistics throw a harsher light on reality than any longer discussion. According to official statistics, during World War II, Soviet tribunals convicted more than 2.5 million Soviet citizens, condemned 472,000 for “counter-revolutionary activity,” and executed 217,000.
“The death sentences, Radio Liberty’s Dmitry Volchek notes, were mostly carried out by the Special Department, later SMERSH, or by a group of the victim’s fellow Red Army soldiers.” Just how horrific these numbers are and what they say about the Soviet population’s much-ballyhooed enthusiastic support of Stalin is shown by comparisons with executions in other countries.
During World War II, British military tribunals sentenced to death 40 soldiers, French ones – 102, and American ones – 146. German military tribunals, Volchek reports, sentenced to death some 30,000 soldiers – and approximately the same number of German deserters at the end of the war.
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Edited by: A. N.
Tags: crimes of the communist regime, NKVD, NKVD (Soviet People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), SMERSH, Soviet history, Stalinist repression, World War II, World War II / WW2 / Second World War (1939-1945)