Something tells me the
Putinjugend Nashi web site isn’t going to feature, by popular demand, this newly released 1945 report by a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel who drove through Hwanghae and North and South Pyongyan provinces just after the war’s end. The officer’s detailed, 13-page report on the behavior of Russian soldiers in North Korea makes drunk G.I.’s in Itaewon look like Mormon missionaries by comparison:
The handwritten document in Russian was discovered by the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a U.S. think tank devoted to national security, and translated into English.
“The immoral behavior of our servicemen is horrible. Regardless of rank, they indulge in looting, violence and misconduct every day here and there. They continue to do so since few have been punished,” the document said. The lieutenant colonel described the atrocities of the Red Army, which described itself as “liberators” at the time. “The sound of gunfire never stops at night in areas where our troops are stationed,” he said.
“Drunk and disorderly soldiers commit immoral behavior and rape is prevalent.
It added, “Drunk soldiers are often spotted on the streets in broad daylight and drinking parties in more than 70 inns and public buildings take place every night. [Donga Ilbo]
Given the behavior of German soldiers on Russian soil, it’s possible to put the atrocious behavior of the Russians who invaded Germany in 1945 into some perspective, though it still doesn’t excuse the widespread mass rape of German women. It’s much harder to understand why the Russians could justify behaving like this toward Koreans, whom they themselves recognized as victims of fascism and colonialism:
A North Korean who tried to bring a drunk Soviet lieutenant to justice said, “I cannot forgive the Soviet soldier who raped my wife. Many such perpetrators went unpunished. Though another lieutenant colonel urged the Soviet military police to punish the perpetrators to maintain military discipline several times, his words went unheeded, the report said.
The 25th Primorsky Krai unit commander of the Soviet Far East Army arrived at Pyongyang Airport on Aug. 26, 1945, and described the Soviet army as liberators. “Remember fellow Koreans! Your happiness is up to you. You have achieved freedom and independence. Everything is up to you now,” he said. The report, however, quoted the commander as threatening to “hang half of the Koreans” if they rise up against the Soviet army in protest of their abuses.
The commander held a party with his subordinates for 22 hours in a row in downtown Haeju on Nov. 16, 1945. A fire broke out and burned houses, but he said the fire was an act of arson committed by dissidents and received 300,000 yen as compensation.
The report quoted another Soviet colonel as saying privately, “The Korean people were enslaved for the past 35 years. It’s okay for them be enslaved a little longer.
We all eagerly await the calls for an inquiry by some Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In fact, let me just put it out there that Charles J. Hanley, having recycled the No Gun Ri story at least three times now, might actually find some fresh material here.