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On Stalin's order No. 227 "not one step back!"
Material posted: Publication date: 31-07-2013

Our homegrown forgers in all sorts of fabrications about the great Patriotic war is most often associated with this order of Stalin, who people and in the army the name of "not one step backward!" with the introduction of penal companies and battalions, detachments, which allegedly kept the entire defense: they drove the soldiers to the offensive. It seems that there is more sense to consider everything connected with it which became a legend, of extreme importance for the time document.


This order was not marked "Confidential", but only "Without publication", the first time the full text of his was published in 1958 in the textbook, published in Military Academy. Frunze ("history of the military art. A course of lectures in 6 volumes", vol. 5). Open in same print this order appeared only in 1988 — "Military-historical journal". In our time the entire document has already been published in books I. Pyhalov, Y. Rubtsova, V. Dinesa and the author of this article and other publications.

Detractors of our past, not pondering in depth the contents of this document, in the atmosphere of that time, when he was taken, really see him only as "Shtrafbat" and "protecting groups", only "Stalin's cruelty", "inhumanity" against the soldiers who allegedly only "the guns of detachments could keep from straying".

Its part of the great Patriotic war I was a commander of platoon and company in the 8-th Separate penal battalion officer, can therefore assert that the main purpose of order No. 227 was not the creation of penalty units and detachments, although this is an important component of this document. The main motivation and the main objective was to achieve moral crisis in the army, education high personal responsibility of each warrior for the fate of the socialist Motherland.

Listorti attributed to Stalin some "diabolical, inhuman cruelty" manifested, say, in their published order. But at all times, in all the armies provided for strict liability for performance of fighting tasks. Take, for example, are some excerpts from documents of the time of Peter the Great, concerning the Russian army:

From the order of Peter the great to his troops on the day of the battle of Poltava, 27 June 1709:

"Soldiers! Here the hour has come which will decide the fate of the Fatherland. So you shouldn't think, that you fight for Peter, but for the state, entrusted to Peter... should Not you also confuse the glory of the enemy, seemingly invincible..."

Isn't that very similar to this document, the treatment of Stalin in order "not one step back!": "Our Motherland is experiencing hard days. We have to stop, and then drop and crush the enemy, why would we worth. The Germans are not as strong as it seems the alarmists. They are straining their last forces. To withstand their impact now, in the next few months is to ensure us victory."

Here are some phrases from another document of Peter's time, called a hand-written Peter the Great for military battle rules:

"...None of the gentlemen generals from the battles of the first to give in not until it from his commander to the decree will not receive. Who place the decree without leave, or friend will give, or dishonourable run commit, it will be deprived of honour, and abdomen. And as generals and officers are commanded that the soldiers firmly instilled in them in the held, and although used and so it happened, that privates were to retain not possible, then the generals and officers to stay with the one which survives, although horse with infantry or infantry with the cavalry".

Added to this is another excerpt from the Article military of 1715, published together with the text of the military Charter of 1716:

"Article 97. Regiments or companies, with the enemy in the battle stupa, will run, have in General military court destined to be. And whether there will be that initial pritchina to, sword sword from the executioner onya broken and belittled, and then hanged."

Obviously, there is no need to translate the document into modern language, very clear. Compare these articles and the provisions of the Charter of the Petrine with the words of Stalin's order:

"Lack of order and discipline in companies, battalions, regiments and divisions, tank units, avioeskadrila. This is now our main drawback. We must establish in our army the strictest order and iron discipline, if we want to save the situation and defend their Homeland.

It is impossible to tolerate commanders, Commissars, political workers, parts and connections which unauthorized leaving combat positions. It is impossible to suffer further, the commanders, the Commissars, the political officers allow several of the panic-mongers determined the situation on the battlefield, so they were carried away in the retreat of other soldiers and opened the front to the enemy. The panic-mongers and cowards should be exterminated on the spot.

From now on the iron law of discipline for each commander, red army soldiers, political instructors should be a requirement — not a step back without orders of the high command".

So what is especially cruel, "inhumane", as they like to say the "truth seekers", was the order of the number 227?

As for penal battalions established this historic command, who can not tell "horror", written by liars and valami different suits, and the real truth: the officers of the war veterans, who had been in their penalty box, or who commanded them, or the evil haters of all things Soviet, like the authors once again flashing on the TV screens of the infamous 11-a serial "Shtrafbat" Volodarsky—Dostala, or some of the actors who played certain roles? This maliciously-deceitful film was created based on the "novel" by E. Volodarsky his soul mate N. Dostalem, although they are not the only one who shamelessly encroaches on the truth about the great Patriotic war. Many will remember "art" film, "GU-GA" scenario Semashko. Then, in 1986, the Gorbachev time, it was a "pen test" on a lie about the order № 227 about penal battalions and companies, established by this order. Some censorship restrictions of articles about order No. 227 and the battalions in particular also played a role in spreading all sorts of rumors and speculations about them. Later, in 1989, released a "documentary" Lion of Daniel, "Penalized (Scenes from order No. 227)". The word "documentary" I took in quotation marks for good reason — there much put upside down. Suffice it to say that regular moment when the machine gun supported the infantry attack, was interpreted by the author of the film, as the "penalty box sends attack gun detachments". Then this false version of believe, remember, even a veteran writer Vyacheslav Kondratyev, published in the "Literary Gazette" his article "the Party of War."

Perhaps still the most "outstanding" by the concentration of distortions of truth and outright lies about the penal battalion, and the detachments became the "battalions" that have flooded television screens on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Victory, is still stubbornly and persistently on display. Unfortunately, this idea of the penal battalion to this day relentlessly hammered into the modern media in the minds of succeeding generations to us.

Among the falsifiers of the historical truth and "himself" Chairman of the Union of cinematographers of Russia Nikita Mikhalkov. Own "masterpiece" "Burnt by the sun-2", timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the Victory, he surpassed his no less scandalous predecessor in terms of falsifying the history of our great Patriotic war. The core content here is back to a penal battalion, and the main "consultant" and the writer (although it is understandably not advertised) was involved in all the same already well-known "specialist battalions" by E. Volodarsky. So they have a penal battalion, in the words of the Mikhalkov, is a "bottom" below nowhere!

In 2005 on the screens of Russian TV Director Fuad Shabanov showed a documentary film "the Feat of the sentence" with my and other past "game lacks anti aliasing in school" officers and generals. This film, describing the main provisions of the order "not one step backward!" basically true, since it is based on the true witnesses of the time, that's just, unfortunately, has not been so replicated by TV channels as "battalions".

In the movie "the Feat of the sentence" members of the war — former soldiers or their commanders testified that penal battalions were formed from the offending officers, and penalty company — soldiers and sergeants. And if penal companies (but not battalions) and is enriched at the expense of prisoners, their penal soldiers in the camp were taken, perhaps, stricter than today, some of the candidates.

One of the characters in this film, ex-soldier, retired Colonel Nikolai Chernov, in my opinion, very accurately expressed the thought, think of all the veterans:

"To judge about a penal battalion, we should go to war, be a military man... In the war talking about life and death, not only humans but also the entire country. Battalions were created in a timely manner and was of great benefit, strengthening discipline in the army and in General prevent many rash acts or decisions of military officials of different ranks. I was an officer-a soldier, and I think he is innocent and if there were, units. Officer, the commander is always responsible for the deeds and actions of their subordinates. I was punished for the subordinates, it was a lesson for others."

To the 65 anniversary of the Victory appeared on the Russian TV screens and other documentary films about the penal battalion. For example, the interstate broadcasting company "Mir" responded author Alexei Khokhlov "Free-kick" on the basis of a TV interview with the author of this article. In the film, with the participation of well-known military historian Igor Pyhalov, doctor of philosophical Sciences, candidate of historical Sciences, Professor Andrei Vassoevich and former front-line soldiers who fought in penalty groups, have been convincingly rebutted false fictions about the battalions and penal companies, gives a devastating assessment of many modern "seekers of truth" in our military history. But this film was seen only by viewers in some countries of the CIS, on the Russian channels it was not shown. They say Putin is a corresponding agreement with the Commonwealth was signed, but whether Chubais, Kudrin failed to get any money... Maybe it's just a rumor, go figure today who actually rules the country...

On "TV the Center" has released another documentary about the penalty box — "Penalty soul", is also based on interviews with us veterans. It was annotated in the following words of the authors of the film: "At the front of Stalin's order No. 227 of 28 July 1942 was called "not one step back!" Historians still give this controversial document. Some say that it has helped to improve discipline, to stop the retreat of the red Army and end the defeatist sentiment on the front and in the rear. Others believe that it was the first attempt at political rehabilitation "enemies of the people" — they were given an early release, however, with a condition of guilt before the Motherland was required to atone for the blood..."

The film was made with historically accurate review of the doctor of historical Sciences, Professor Yuri Zhukov and candidate of historical Sciences Yuri Rubtsov, who, by the way, in his books "Soldiers of the great Patriotic" and "New book about the penal battalion" quite often provides links to my books. And in this film convincingly shows the validity of the assessment of these historians, and not their antipodes.

But whether because the film crew who worked with me, supervised by a young woman, if this task was predefined by the leaders of "TV Center", me all the time she was pushing to go to the topic "Women at the front", not characteristic for the penal battalion. But, when I told about how one soldier cheated Fritz, depicting himself as a "defector" and thereby creating the atmosphere that allowed the company to go on the attack and successfully complete it, this pretty woman even genuinely outraged: "How is it we allow the deceptive actions violate the rules of warfare". To have had her in not very polite manner to remind that to deceive the enemy is one of the virtues of a true warrior and that the Germans are near Moscow, and Stalingrad, after suffering defeat, is also accused Russians that they are fighting incorrectly, used in the battles of "inadequate" tactical or strategic decisions. It is certainly a curiosity, but it shows the competence of those who are sometimes made historical films about the war.

Memorable and epic documentary series "the Victory Altar". On the eve of the day of defender of the Fatherland went on television documentary "the penal battalion" directed by Alexei Smaglyuk and Vyacheslav Saki. The authors of this film presented it as "a documentary about the Second world war". "Contrary to stereotypes, they noted, penal battalions were badly managed gatherings, the criminals, the rabble of criminals, as they imagine outsiders. They were very well organised. German soldiers knew they were the soldiers of the battalions are not afraid of injury and pain. To differ in battle — it was the only way to become rehabilitated and to be released, the only thing besides death. The Germans knew the bombers from the battalion are not afraid of wounds and injuries. The wound was for them the conditions of release and rehabilitation. His guilt before the Motherland, regardless of whether the soldier was guilty or was convicted without guilt, he had to wash off the blood, and his enemy..."

Here, apparently, under the pressure of the testimonies of veterans, the authors were forced to admit that the battalions — not "a bunch of criminals, not a rabble of criminals", but the main line of the film they still remained the fact that the penalty box is a "suicide" but death, they say, was the only way to get injured. For this postulate, the founders of the film "removed" from the memoirs of veterans of numerous instances of early release from the penal battalion for heroic deeds, and other military services without wounds, without the "shedding of blood".

Oh, and I love our publishers and filmmakers to flaunt it supposedly inviolable rule in the penal battalion and separate shtrafbatah. However, they are based on a phrase from the order No. 227, which literally reads: " put them on more difficult sectors of the front to give them the opportunity to redeem by blood their crimes against the Motherland". However, fans cite that quote for some reason do not lead a special item of "Provisions for punitive battalions of the army", which reads: "For military honors a soldier could be paroled upon recommendation of command of the battalion, approved by the military Council of the front. For particularly outstanding military honors a soldier, besides, it is a government award".

It was officially the first condition of the sentence in a penal battalion. And only three paragraphs later in this document States: "the Penal battalions, who were wounded in combat, are considered to have already served their sentence, are restored to the title and all the rights and recovery are sent for further service..." In particular, the film is deliberately not included my testimony that in the Rogachev-Zhlobin operation of February 1944, when our 8th battalions in full 5 days boldly acted in the enemy rear, out of more than 800 penalty box nearly 600 were released from further stay in the penal battalion without "shedding of blood" that is being wounded. All of these 600 people were fully restored in the officers ' rights ahead of schedule, after the date the punishment (from 1 to 3 months), even if the fights many of them participated only these five days.

For example, our battalion say: rare combat mission, made the penalty box, without awarding orders and medals to distinguished as this heroic RAID by the rear Rogachev enemy. Of course, these decisions depended on the battalion commander and commanders in whose possession were the battalions. In this case, this decision was made by commander of 3rd army General A. V. Gorbatov and the front commander, then General of the army K. K. Rokossovsky on the recommendation of the battalion commander Lieutenant-Colonel A. A. Osipov.

Reasonable notice also that the word "atone blood" in the Stalin order no more than an emotional expression, designed to sharpen a sense of responsibility for their guilt in the war. And the fact that some military commanders were sent in penalty box and attack through uncleared minefields (it happens!), says more about their integrity than about the necessity or expediency of such decisions. Moreover, these decisions in no way stemmed from the meaning of the order "not one step back!".

So, it is obvious that the main condition of early release from punishment the penal battalion was not "shedding of blood", and the military services. In combat the history of our battalions there were episodes of very large losses: the war, Yes, "the more difficult parts of the front" — this is not "walking in the moonlight". Official statistics is based on these figures: the loss in penalty units were in 3, and sometimes 6 times higher than in conventional infantry units. However, in the scale of the front or army penal battalion was only battalion. And on every front, they had only one or two.

Well, what about those "historians-know-it-all" who claim that it is mostly battalions, born to Stalin's orders, won the Great Patriotic war? So they fantasize. For example, Volodarsky with Dostalem to the end of his dlinnozernogo "penal Battalion" turned it into a "box brigade", not knowing, perhaps, that the brigade as an army connection consists of a larger number of battalions than the regiment. By the way, our 8th battalions from the battle of Kursk until the end of the battle for Brest, that is, less than a year, fought in full force, with a staff of 7 mouth and several separate platoons, and before and after he fought exclusively portno: not enough penalty box for a full-time staff. Of course, formed full-the penal battalion is unlike any other rifle battalions, rather it was, to some extent conventionally, compared to a rifle regiment, but certainly not with a team. But the battalion not regiment, and even brigade, and especially not the army.

However, the forgers continued to talk about "thousands" of battalions, that from the penalty box collected not only penal battalions, and punitive regiments, divisions and even entire armies. There were even allegations that "punitive army" was Rokossovsky. Not otherwise as an idea in the minds of the authors of these delusional falsifications could be born only because, according to them, created in their imagination "free army" who and command, not as a former "Zek"-the General.

People is called the ravings of a gray Mare. I want to bring to the reader a statement on this occasion, the President of the Academy of military Sciences, a highly regarded military historian General of the army of Mahmut Gareeva:

"In one of television programs devoted to the discussion of the film (referring to "the penal battalion"), the Blues famously refers to the memoirs of Marshal Rokossovsky, who allegedly wrote that the composition of the Bryansk front, before signing the order № 227, arrived "punitive brigade". But Rokossovsky it is a different story. He writes (quoting the memoirs of the commander "Soldier's duty"): "In August to us for replenishment arrived rifle brigade, formed from people convicted of various criminal offences. Yesterday the prisoners volunteered to go to war, to war, to atone". Marshal is talking about conventional infantry brigade staffed by former convicts, and the author of the script of "Battalions" turns it into a "box brigade", which is not the same thing. I was under the impression that the organizers of the televised debates generally have not been interested at least in relative objectivity. The main "historian" and "military expert" was made by... philologist Boris Sokolov. At the same time, the Studio didn't invite a single participant of the great domestic, who throughout the war served in penal units. Could at least call the writer Vladimir Karpov, post free company, in which he fought, the Hero of the Soviet Union, or the author of these lines, who was the chief of staff of battalions and wrote the book "Free-kick".

Apparently, when you publish this testimony of a prominent military historian, the editors made a small inaccuracy: Vladimir Karpov became the Hero of the Soviet Union after serving his sentence in straface, and the author of this article was not the chief of staff of the battalions, but only the platoon commander and then company of the 8th OSB. However, I am flattered that General Gareev called me in among the people, worthy to be experts. But most importantly, his very accurate observation that the filmmakers and their backers deliberately distort the truth about the war, by falsifying historical events.

Unfortunately, neither the opinions of eminent military historians operate with irrefutable documents, nor the opinions of veterans that have passed harsh "struffsky school", such lineariser do not need. The same author of "the penal Battalion" spoke one, frankly, even an affront to war veterans. They say, the truth about the war we will tell you when there will be participants who are still bothering to do it. Don't flatter yourself with hope, spiteful critics. First, despite your "prayers" and the efforts of your backers, some of us, God willing, many more of you will survive, and some already experienced. Secondly, there is movement of young, honest researchers of our history, followers of truth and not of fiction.

As for the value of the order № 227, can think or a parable, or a legend about how the indecision or failure to take the right, sometimes tough measures in a critical situation can lead to irreparable. This parable is the legend of how during the train crash between two cars stuck under the foot of a young man, and he could not free himself from its grip, and the car was on fire, and the flames approached. The audience moaned, gasped, but to help the poor nobody could. Suddenly there was war with the sword, he drew it from its sheath and wanted to cut off already sandwiched and crushed foot. Present violently protested and did not give the military "hurt" person. And he burned alive in the car.

Isn't that what they would have been without the harsh measures at the right time, are so reviled today "lovers of truth", would burn and our homeland in the fire of the imposed war?

I believe that our books, publications help new generations to better navigate the many events of the great Patriotic war, especially the role of the Supreme Commander Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin and that is very necessary and very timely in July 1942 the order "not one step back!"


Alexander PYLTSYN


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