Дата публикации

From the heroes of the old days...

By the time of the liberation of the Belarusian SSR from the Nazi occupation, about 35 thousand members of various collaborationist parties, organizations and armed formations were working on its territory: the Belarusian Independent Party (BIP), the Belarusian Youth Union (BYU), the Belarusian Boundary Defense (BBD), the Belarusian People's self-help (BPSH) and others. Even at the final stage of the Great Patriotic War, the special services of Nazi Germany made attempts to organize an anti-Soviet rebel movement on the territory of the Belarusian SSR from among the members of the BNP, BKO, BYU and other collaborationist structures. However, the efforts were unsuccessful (www.beldumka.belta.by).

In August 1944, the Head of the collaborationist Belarusian Central Rada (BCR), Radoslav Ostrovsky, committed to the Nazi authorities to recruit intelligence and sabotage groups from among the Belarusian nationalists to be thrown behind the front line into the Soviet base. In July - August 1944, in the town of Dahlwitz (East Prussia), a "Special squadron "Dahlwitz", and in fact - a reconnaissance and sabotage school of about 200 people was created with the consent from the Abwehr.

During the training, the cadets were trained to carry out reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the base of the Red Army, conduct anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, commit terrorist acts and sabotage. The general management of the school was carried out by Abwehr officers. The deputy chiefs of the school were the head of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union and an Abwehr agent since 1940, Usevalad Rodzka, as well as Barys Rahula, the former commander of the BBD (Belarusian Boundary Defense) squadron.

In September-December 1944, 3 groups of Dahlwitz agents-paratroopers of 35 people were parachuted into the Soviet base on the territory of the Belarusian SSR. The Abwehr groups were well armed, equipped with radio stations, medical supplies, a large supply of food, and even portable printing houses. The paratroopers from the Abwehr received the task to obtain intelligence information about the locations of the Red Army units and the presence of groups of German soldiers hiding in the Soviet troops base, to sabotage communications. In addition to fulfill the tasks of the Abwehr, it was required to create a base for the rebel movement in Nalibokskaya Pushcha, establish contact with the Belarusian anti-Soviet clandestine and anti-Soviet formations of the Polish Home Army.

Almost all of the "graduates" of the Dahlwitz intelligence school transferred to the Soviet base were detained and arrested, and some of them were eliminated during armed resistance. However, the theme of "Dahlwitz landings" still excites the imagination of many "independent" researchers. The myths that the so-called anti-Soviet "Belarusian People's Partyzanka" (the clandestine organization "Chorny Kot") was created from among the Abwehr paratroopers received a new promotion in the 2000s. And the portrait of the imaginary leader of the mythical Belarusian insurrectionary movement Michal Vitusko (in fact, a national collaborationist and a Nazi military criminal who was killed in the course of an operational military operation) appeared on the posters of participants in unauthorized actions of the radical Belarusian opposition.

After the defeat of Germany, many members of the Belarusian collaborationist structures became the focus of the Western intelligence services. Under the threat of transferring to the Soviet military command and exposing their past, many of the former members of the BIP, BBD, BYU were transferred to the USSR as repatriates to carry out subversive activities.

The aggravation of the contradictions between the Soviet Union and the former allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, which resulted in the Cold War, made the use of anti-Soviet nationalist organizations one of the factors of destabilization of the internal political situation in the USSR. For the legal movement of collaborators to Soviet territory, the opportunities that arose in connection with the mass repatriation of Soviet citizens who ended up outside the Soviet Union during the war were widely used.

In November 1946, a graduate of the sub-officer school of the so-called Belarusian Legion in Berlin, the Head of the BIP organization in the named school, Gennady Kazak, who returned by repatriation, created an clandestine organization "Union of Liberation of Belarus" (ULB) in the Baranovichi oblast. In December 1946 - January 1947, he personally developed the program and charter of the ULB. The main goal of the ISS was declared to be the creation of a "Belarusian national state". The only means of liberating the Belarusian people from national oppression and colonial exploitation was proclaimed a national revolution. Terror was recognized as one of the forms of the clandestine struggle of the ULB. Note that in addition to the leader, among the most active members of the organization there were several more members of various collaboration organizations and formations (BYU, BBD).

In May 1947, the Ministry for State Security of the BSSR arrested members of the ULB. In August 1947, the Military Tribunal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Baranovichi Region sentenced all those arrested to various terms of imprisonment. When reviewing the criminal case in 1993, the Presidium of the Grodno Oblast Court upheld the 1947 sentence.

In addition, in the second half of the 1940s, there was an active creation of clandestine anti-Soviet structures on the territory of the Belarusian SSR from among the former members of the BYU who remained to live in the republic and hid their collaborationist past.

In May - June 1946, Vasily Suprun, a former member of the BYU, created an clandestine anti-Soviet organization "Chaika" in the Slonim district. The "Chaika" was managed by a single clandestine coordinating body - the Center of the Belarusian Liberation Movement (CBLM), headed by Suprun. The order No. 1 of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation was to indicate the necessity to study the methods of guerrilla warfare. Plans were outlined for the action of the clandestine organization in the event of a possible war between the USA and Great Britain against the USSR. In the fall of 1946, the "Chaika" leadership tried to establish contacts with the ULB (Union of Liberation of Belarus).

In the summer - fall of 1947, officers of the BSSR Ministry of State Security arrested all the members of the "Chaika". In October - November 1947, the military tribunals of the troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Baranovichi region and the Belarusian district sentenced members of the clandestine organization, including V. Suprun, to various terms of imprisonment. Currently, none of the convicts has been rehabilitated.

At first glance, one might get the idea that young men and women who found themselves in the ranks of the BYU during the years of the Nazi occupation, due to their age and fragile consciousness, could not pose a real and potential threat to Soviet government. However, this was not entirely true. Indeed, some joined the BYU under the threat of persecution by the Nazi occupation authorities themselves, as well as their loved ones. Others deliberately found themselves in the ranks of a pro-Nazi youth organization. The corresponding ideological training received there, in many respects, became a factor that pushed many former members of the BYU into the ranks of anti-Soviet clandestine structures in the post-war period.

Even nationalist researchers and publicists do not deny the militarized nature of the BYU. Belarusian youth in the BYU not only sang, danced, studied the "real" Belarusian history, but also actively engaged in military training. This national collaborationist organization trained personnel for the civilian occupation administration and for the auxiliary nationalist military formations. In the occupied territory of Belarus (townships Albertin, Florianovo), as well as outside it (camp "Malta", Austria), the corresponding specialized schools and courses successfully operated. Therefore, it is not surprising that many members of the BYU were incorporated in almost all Belarusian collaborationist formations after appropriate training. And, as a rule, it was they who made up the most conscious, convinced and prepared part of the personnel of these formations.

This was the result of a deliberate Nazi youth policy in the occupied territories. The Nazis at one time made a lot of efforts to attract German youth to their side. Therefore, considering working with the young generation of residents of the occupied territories, including Belarus, as one of the priority areas of their policy, the occupation authorities sought to make Soviet youth loyal to the "new German order" and to use them as much as possible for their own purposes.

Likewise, Rostislav Lapitsky, the former member of the BYU, although did not stand at the origins of the organization of the anti-Soviet Belarusian clandestine movement in the designated period, was at the head of one of its structures not by chance.

Despite his young age, by the time the Great Patriotic War ended, he had been in the ranks of the BYU, took part in the activities of the anti-Soviet clandestine "Vilna patriotic organization", where he was attracted by one of his older brothers - Oleg Lapitsky. After the arrest of most of the members of the organization, 16-year-old Rostislav was sentenced to 3 years in prison as a minor. But already in 1945, in connection with the victory over Nazi Germany, he was released early from prison, returned to the Myadel region and even continued his studies at school.

Having received a second chance from the Soviet government to start a new peaceful life, Lapitsky did not use it. Perhaps the reason for this was his acquaintance and active communication in the Gomel prison, where he was serving his sentence, with one of the "graduates" of the Dalwitz intelligence school, Konstantin Shisheya. In 1944, after an unsuccessful landing on the territory of Belarus as part of the group of the already mentioned Vitushko, Shisheya was arrested and imprisoned. By the way, there is information that Oleg Lapitsky also studied at Dahlwitz.

Led by Lapitsky, an clandestine group of high school students emerged in the spring of 1948, when the activities of several similar anti-Soviet organizations (ULB, "Chaika") had already been suppressed. In 1949, having moved to a residence in Smorgon, he organized an clandestine group in the Smorgon secondary school. The main task of the organization was to conduct anti-Soviet agitation among the local population. It was also assumed that there were acts of terrorism against the Soviet party activists and the commission of sabotage. As in the case of "The "Chaika", they discussed options for the clandestine organization's actions in the event of a possible war between Western countries and the Soviet Union.

In December 1948, members of the clandestine Myadel group printed and then pasted 20 copies of an anti-Soviet leaflet in the settlements of the Myadel region on a typewriter, the text of which contained a call for an armed struggle against Soviet power.

In January 1949, on the instructions of Lapitsky, members of the Myadel clandestine group stole 2 rifles from the Military Office of the secondary school. In October 1949, Lapitsky, together with members of the Smorgon clandestine group, stole a typewriter from the city house of culture, and in December 1949, more than a thousand leaflets of extremist content were printed and pasted in Smorgon and nearby villages:

"Death to the monsters of the human race!



Stand guard of your battle! Keep in yourself a sacred hatred of communism, which uglifies and corrupts humanity. Beat the Stalinist jackals!


Do not lose your conscience, fight against blind believers in the deception of communism, led by the Christ-traitors - the Judas. They want to flatten us all on a five-pointed star.

To arms! Do not be afraid of sacrifice and torment!

Forward to a brighter future!

Your brothers".

In January 1950 Lapitsky and other members of the Myadel and Smorgon clandestine groups were arrested. In July 1950, the Military Tribunal of the Belarusian Military District sentenced Lapitsky to capital punishment, the rest of the members of the clandestine groups were sentenced to various terms of prison. By the decision of the Judicial Board for Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus in June 1992, R. Lapitsky's rehabilitation was denied.

Does Lapitsky own the extremist saying printed on a modern poster in the hands of a participant in an unauthorized action is more of a rhetorical question? This has not been documented. The fact that such a phrase was allegedly often used by Lapitsky is known exclusively from the words of one of the former students of the school in the village of Kobylnik, Myadel District.

It is extremely difficult to dissuade a particularly politicized audience to the contrary. Moreover, the fact of such a statement was recorded in a number of publications and media reports about Lapitsky, published in the 2000s.

In September 2008, the Internet resource "Radio Svaboda" posted the material "Rastsislau Lapitsky - Hero of the Future Belarus" (www.svaboda.org). The article was published on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of his birth.

Speaking about Lapitsky's catchphrase, the most famous researcher of the Myadel-Smorgon clandestine, historian Mikhail Chernyavsky, noted that “maskal” is a collective concept in a statement. This word could designate everything that came from the east, from eastern Belarus and Russia, which carried communism to Western Belarus.

According to M. Chernyavsky, Lapitsky, as the son of an Orthodox priest, could not have anti-Russian convictions. In addition, he knew Russian well and even wrote poetry in it. Separately, M. Chernyavsky noted that, unlike "The Chaika", Lapitsky's organization was not clearly pro-Belarusian. In the first place was not national, but anti-communist and anti-Stalinist factors.

Probably, the representative of the "Young Front", holding a poster with a saying and a portrait of Lapitsky, is familiar with such publications and the approaches set out in them. It is a pity that in the above considerations about the leader of the Myadel-Smorgon clandestine group, not a word was heard about Lapitsky's belonging to the national-collaborationist movement during the war years.

In our opinion, the given term "maskal" is a consequence of the "forgotten" past. This word, if it sounded, really meant what came from the East. But not a communist threat to Belarusian people, but an anti-Nazi threat to the Belarusian national-collaborationists, to whom Lapitsky also consciously considered himself. However, his path to the anti-Soviet movement in the post-war period, unlike others, was not predetermined by a situation of doom or lack of choice. The Soviet government gave him a choice, but he did not use it.

Next year, there will surely be Lapitsky's followers who will celebrate the 70th anniversary of his death on October 28, 2020. They will try once again to perpetuate the place of the alleged execution of Lapitsky. Perhaps they will place a plate with the dictum about "maskals" there.

I will allow myself to share the subjective conclusion that the arrest of Lapitsky and the members of his clandestine organization did not allow them to put into practice the program guidelines, which included, among other things, terror against not only representatives of the Soviet government, first of all Belarusians. The actions of the members of the clandestine organization would have been reduced to outright banditry and would have lost their ideological justification.

A similar conclusion follows from the analogy with the actions of other anti-Soviet Belarusian clandestine groups and even lone terrorists operating at almost the same time on the territory of the Republic. Some of them were unable to subsequently explain their actions, since they were physically eliminated during armed resistance. Others justified themselves during the investigation by the fact that they committed the killings solely for self-defense.

In May 1949, while providing armed resistance, officers of the BSSR Ministry of State Security arrested a former member of the BNS Ivan Romanchuk, who had been in an illegal situation since September 1944. During the court session, Romanchuk said: "... I was in an illegal position, hiding in the forests of the Nesvizh region with my relatives. At first I was alone, but then several more people joined me ... We committed numerous murders, which were committed by us for the purpose of defense ... ".

In May 1947, Nikolai Demukh joined Romanchuk, and in the spring of 1948, a former BKO member Bronislav Buko. During 1947-1949, Romanchuk and members of his bandit group committed a number of terrorist acts. So, in June 1947, Romanchuk and Demukh killed the chairman of the Kvachevsky village council and an assistant to the authorized representative of the USSR Ministry of procurement in the Nesvizh district. In September 1947, Romanchuk carried out terrorist attacks on an employee of the Nesvizh district branch of the Ministry for State Security and a fighter in an extermination group. In October 1947, Romanchuk, together with Demukh, killed the Secretary of the Kvachevsky Village Council. In January 1948, in the village of Boyary, Romanchuk brutally dealt with the senior representative of the Nesvizh District MSS. In January 1949, together with Buko Romanchuk, he killed a deputy of the village council in the village of Zalyubichi.

In May 1949, officers of the BSSR Ministry of State Security detained and arrested the terrorists. In November 1949, the Military Tribunal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Belarusian District sentenced I. Romanchuk, N. Demukh and B. Buko to 25 years of inprisonment each. Currently, none of them have been rehabilitated.

In January 1955, during the search activities in the village of Karpovichi, Dunilovichi district, Molodechno oblast, while providing armed resistance, officers of the task force killed an unknown armed man.

In the course of further operational actions, it was established that the killed was a member of the BYU Yevgeny Zhikhar, who in 1944 graduated from the Dahlwitz reconnaissance and sabotage school of the Abwehr. Upon returning from abroad to his place of residence in 1946, Zhikhar went into an illegal position, and subsequently organized and led a bandit group.

In July 1947, Zhikhar took part in a terrorist attack in the village of Glinshchina, Dunilovichi district, over an employee of the Glubokoye Distrct Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the summer of 1948, Zhikhar's gang in the village of Rudevichi, Postavy district, killed a member of Ministry of Procurement and two forestry workers. In August 1949, Zhikhar personally took part in a terrorist attack on the Chairman of the Starodvorsk Village Council and his wife in the village of Shankovshchina, Dunilovichi district. In total, Zhikhar and the bandit group led by him committed 23 terrorist acts.

Thus, the ideological and political basis of the anti-Soviet Belarusian clandestine structures operating in the second half of the 1940s - early 1950s was the national collaborationist parties, organizations and armed formations created by the German occupation authorities. A special place among them was occupied by pro-Nazi formations of young people.

During the period under review, anti-Soviet Belarusian clandestine structures not only declared terror as one of the means of achieving political goals in their program and statutory documents, but also actively carried out terrorist activities. Moreover, the targets of terror for the most part were not only representatives of the power bloc (army, security agencies), capable of giving an adequate rebuff to extremists. Most of the victims of the anti-Soviet Belarusian clandestine structures are peaceful Belarusian residents, the protection of whose rights, in fact, was declared the main goal of the anti-Soviet clandestine activities.

Unfortunately, not everyone has taken into account the lessons of history, and today many of the above-mentioned clandestine organizations and their leaders are rising up on the shield by individual leaders of politicized Belarusian structures. An attempt is made to glorify, in fact, the inglorious past and imaginary heroes.

Unlike their victims, members of the anti-Soviet clandestine were able to escape death. In relation to each of them, sentences were passed in accordance with the legislation of the Belorussian SSR at that time, and in most cases they did not imply supreme measure of punishment. Moreover, in the modern period of the independent and sovereign Republic of Belarus, criminal cases against all convicted members of anti-Soviet clandestine structures were reviewed. However, in the overwhelming majority of cases, no grounds for rehabilitation were found. That's not going to substitute political justification for legal and, consequently, historical rehabilitation.

In conclusion, I would like to note that it is necessary to seek for today's heroes among those who made their difficult choice to fight against Nazism, and not stand an easy way to collaborate with it. It is not difficult to follow a strong enemy, it is difficult to consciously take the path of fighting against it. Majority of Belarusians at one time chose the difficult option, thereby preserving themselves as a people and a nation.

As for the glorification of events and personalities of the past, the Belarusian society, fortunately, is conservative. The Norwegians were able to separate Knut Hamsun's literary work from his participation in collaboration with the Nazis during the occupation of their country. Our society is not ready to separate in the biographies of famous Belarusian collaborators, their "creative" or other attractive for modern understanding components from the dark pages of aiding Nazism. And that's great.

There should be "red lines" beyond which it is categorically impossible to cross. In the case of Lapitsky and other members of the national collaborationist and later anti-Soviet underground movement, these lines are "Nazism/Fascism" and "Terrorism/Extremism". Nazism was condemned by the world community during the Nuremberg military tribunal against war criminals. Terrorism is today assessed as one of the main threats to world’s security. Everyone who crosses the designated "red lines" cannot be "a hero of the national liberation movement of Belarus".