In George Orwell's essay, The Prevention of Literature, he claims this:

When Germany collapsed, it was found that very large numbers of Soviet Russians — mostly, no doubt, from non-political motives — had changed sides and were fighting for the Germans. Also, a small but not negligible portion of the Russian prisoners and displaced persons refused to go back to the U.S.S.R., and some of them, at least, were repatriated against their will. These facts, known to many journalists on the spot, went almost unmentioned in the British press, while at the same time Russophile publicists in England continued to justify the purges and deportations of 1936-38 by claiming that the U.S.S.R. ‘had no quislings’.

  1. Did large numbers of Russians change sides?
  2. Did this go "almost unmentioned" by the British press?
  • "Large numbers" could be dozens or could be thousands. Which is implied? Likewise, British journalists covered the events many different ways. What do you mean by "was covered up"? Feb 7, 2021 at 1:15
  • @DanielRHicks "went almost unmentioned in the British press" Feb 7, 2021 at 10:55
  • 3
    It was hardly a secret if Orwell was writing about it in 1946
    – Henry
    Feb 8, 2021 at 1:28
  • 2
    "went almost unmentioned in the British press" is not at all the same as covered up. I don't believe it makes the claim you say it does. Feb 8, 2021 at 14:08
  • Do make a distinction between Soviet and Russia -- the Soviet Union did have quite a few nationalities distinct from Russian -- separate languages if nothing else.
    – ghellquist
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:53

1 Answer 1

  1. Is true. The Vlasov army, for example, had thousands of people, all (including the General Vlasov) former Soviet soldiers and officers.

  2. The existence of Russian army soldiers and officers who switched sides was well known during the war, so there was no reason to cover that up. What was covered up by the British press was that after the war, the British and US governments sent Russian prisoners (who switched sides and then surrendered to the allies) to the USSR, where most of them were killed immediately upon return.

From the Wikipedia article linked above:

"More than a thousand soldiers were initially taken into Allied custody by the 44th Infantry Division and other U.S. troops. In a move that Allied command kept secret for many years, they were then forcefully handed over to the Soviets by the Allies, due to a previous agreement between Churchill and Stalin that all ROA soldiers would be returned to the USSR."

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