26 August 2022
by Viktor Suvorov
Translated by David Loutit
I was once invited by the Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Ivan Tatarchev and the Chief Military Prosecutor Major General Nikolai Kolev to visit their sunny land to give a lecture to a gathering of interested people and also to have a look at archival materials.
My wife Tatyana came with me and we toured the country. A lovely country it is too. We travelled from the seaside to the mountains and back: Sofia, Stara Zagora, Varna, Plovdiv…
In Plovdiv, we saw a monstrous memorial in the form of a Stalinist soldier-liberator. A single word was carved on the pediment: Alyosha.
Naturally, I asked what Alyosha was doing there and why this one name.
I knew that Stalin had taken Bulgaria without any fighting whatsoever, that not one Soviet soldier had been killed in the liberation, in particular since serfs and slaves cannot be liberators. Any such who died, did so, not for freedom, but rather to keep their chains around their necks and to ensure that Hitler’s concentration camps were shut down and reopened as our proper native ones of the GULAG empire of terror. They shed their blood not just to maintain slavery in their own country but to implant it all across Europe and perhaps the world.
But anyway, here we were in Bulgaria looking at a monument to a Soviet soldier, even though no Soviet soldiers had died in battle in Bulgaria. I was certain of that, but decided to double-check.
I turned to the Military Prosecutor and posed my question.
His reply stunned me. On the contrary, many Red Army soldiers had been killed in Bulgaria—hundreds, if not thousands.
Where were the graves? I asked.
State secret, came the explanation. Not to be divulged.
The real story is as follows. The Red Army took Bulgaria without a shot being fired in September 1944. The battalions and regiments of the Bulgarian Army met the men of the Red Army with flying standards as the latter marched into towns and villages. The people greeted them with flowers.
The greater part of the Red Army moved on, leaving a few divisions in Bulgaria while the fighting war continued elsewhere.
For the soldiers left behind in Bulgaria, however, the war was over. The realisation came upon them that they were not fated to die. They were surrounded by beauty. The autumn was golden. Grapes hung ripe on their vines. There were pears and apples aplenty. Wine in every home. Grape and plum rakia, too.
This rakia is a strong and caloric beverage and it comes in barrels, in 30-litre demijohns, in standard half-litre bottles, and in anything in between.
The glorious distillate is usually presented as a 40-degree potion but can also be made in 50º and 66º versions.
The Red Army went wild as a result of its intake of these jolly juices and there were innumerable fights, shootings, rapes, murders, vehicle collisions, and even air crashes. Air-crew are human, too, and sometimes want a drink before servicing a warplane or flying it.
Meanwhile, Comrade Stalin was nursing the old plan Russia’s tsars had had before him: to liberate Bulgaria and use it as a bridgehead to the waters of the Black Sea, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Stalin therefore wanted Bulgaria desperately. Best of all would be to incorporate it into the Soviet Union—if the war ended well. Failing that, a Balkan federation of submissive satellite states was possibly just as desirable.
Everything was going fine with Stalin’s plan until a wail suddenly came from the Bulgarian comrades whom Stalin had been holding in reserve in Moscow throughout the war and whom he had just ordered be flown to Sofia to take seats in the organs of power there. There was no way they would be able to stay in power after taking up their places given the behaviour of the Soviet liberators in the country, they told Stalin.
Stalin’s reaction was instantaneous: Marshal F.I. Tolbukhin, commander of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, was ordered to restore order immediately.
And order was restored. That is something we are good at. At least, when we feel like it.
Battalions and regiments were paraded every evening and those deemed guilty of any offences were, as was the custom in the Red Army, ordered to march off to one side and form up in full view of the others to hear their sentence.
In some countries, the executioners wear masks. In ours, they don’t. Every division had a special SMERSH unit, a kind of secret military police. And it was the duty of everyone to hear and see the head of the SMERSH special unit, always a kindly-looking man with clever and slightly tired eyes, deliver the sentence.
There was a standard ritual. The executioner would approach the sentenced offender from behind, in order for the whole parade, except for the condemned, to see what was happening.
The executioner would fire just as the last words of the sentence were being spoken. A bullet in the back of the head. The condemned man would thus never actually hear to what that fairest of all courts, the Soviet tribunal, had condemned him.
Stalin’s orders were that besides marauders, rapists, and murderers, those guilty of drunkenness were also to be shot – without even sobering them up first. Drunken slobs were dragged by a leg or the shirt collar to face the parade and get their bullet in the head.
Order was re-established fairly rapidly.
The numbers are known: 977 soldiers of the Red Army were shot in this way over three years. That is one whole regiment, for an average of one man a day.
The bodies of the executed liberators were simply buried in undisclosed locations, since they were being shot, not to instil fear in the local population, but rather to call the Red Army’s occupation forces to order.
And so we have it that the concrete monument to Alyosha in the town of Plovdiv stands in honour of the soldiers who died in Bulgaria and is thus a grandiose monument to heroic drunkards, courageous curs, worthy looters, affectionate murderers, and well-meaning rapists of the old, the young, and the underage.
After the fall of communism, there was a move to take the monument down. But the fiend Alyosha had defenders, indeed he had many. How can you pull it down! He brought us slavery, and the terror of the secret police and concentration camps!
Innumerable similar monuments were erected all over Soviet-occupied Europe: tanks on pedestals, cannon (a favourite being the ML-20 152mm howitzer), and bronze warriors singly or in groups. In Berlin, the warrior-liberator holds a small girl in his arms; he is the saviour of future generations.
So what is wrong with having such monuments?
The problem lies in the fact that although they are monuments, they are not memorials. These monuments were erected for quite another purpose.
The Mafia places special marks and secret squiggles on walls and other places to mark territory: this space is mine and outsiders should beware because my word is law here. And it was for just the same reason and purpose that Comrade Stalin, having “liberated” half of Europe, ordained that monuments should be built all over the place and damn the cost.
All that these grotesque steel, bronze, and concrete idols placed atop various mounds represent is Comrade Stalin piss-marking his territories.
© Viktor Suvorov, 2022
English Translation © David Loutit, 2022
Stalin and his Monuments © 2022 by Viktor Suvorov is licensed under Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/