Wednesday 27 March 2019

Demobilization and Amnesty

"Encrypted message #909

From: Leningrad Front
Submitted: 2:10 July 15th, 1945
Received: 3:10 July 15th, 1945
Submitted for decryption: 3:20 July 15th, 1945
Decrypted: 4:00 July 15th, 1945
Decryptor's signature: Kuznetsov

To the Chief of Staff of the 10th Guards Army
To the Chief of Staff of the 41st Guards Rifle Corps

In compliance with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR decree issued on July 7th, 1945, on the amnesty in connection with victory over Hitler's Germany, the Front Commander orders that:
  1. All military personnel sentenced to penal companies by courts in execution of NKO order #413 dated August 21st, 1943, are freed from further punishment, and directed to:
    1. Privates and NCOs: to their unit for continued service.
    2. Officers: to the Army personnel department.
  2. Privates and NCOs freed from punishment and affected by the demobilization law passed on June 23rd, 1945, on the demobilization of personnel based on age, are demobilized from the Red Army upon their arrival at their respective units.
  3. Report on the number of penalized personnel that were assigned to each unit to the mobilization staffing department of the Front on July 18th, 1945. Directive #OMU/2/148 issued by Front Staff on July 7th, 1945, is cancelled.


  1. Replies
    1. Give them a break, they were literally starting to run out of men towards the end and needed to get the rebuilding started ASAP. Needs must etc. And it's not like Big Brother's card indexes forgot your wartime misdeeds anyway should they become relevant later...

    2. I wasn't being serious :)

      Well, not exactly. I am a little surprised, considering how harsh the wartime punishments could be. Getting captured is treason???

    3. I wasn't taking it seriously either, but figured the point could be elaborated upon ;)

      I think the logic was that you were supposed to "go down swinging" for the sake of the Motherland and the Revolution or somesuch. Radical-revolutionary regimes can be weird like that.

      More practically though from what I've read the Soviet paranoia about saboteurs among freed and escaped POWs was by no means groundless - the Germans really did recruit and employ those in fairly large numbers. A fair few unceremoniously turned themselves in the second the reached Soviet lines, presumably because they had a realistic idea about their odds otherwise, and the SMERSH filter caught most of the rest in short order, but the collateral damage to quite innocent men was predictable enough.
      Not that either the German spooks or the NKVD lost any sleep over that ofc...