Stalin’s resolution on the letter of the Peoples’ Commissar of the USSR Governmental Security Merkulov and Stalin's telegram, indicating the friendly relations between the USSR with Nazi Germany at the end of 1939
How Stalin was saving his regime in June 1941 at the expense of territorial concessions
A few days after the outbreak of war in June 1941, Bulgaria's Ambassador to Moscow, Ivan Stamenov, was invited to the restaurant "Aragvi
" by a certain Pavel Pavlov, who introduced himself as the Secretary of the Berija. The words which Stamenov heard from his influential interlocutor, were amazing. It turned out that Stalin was going to send to the German Government a peace proposal - and was ready for the huge territorial concessions.
The role of the "Berija’s Secretary
" was successfully played by a senior security officer, the Head of the Special NKVD Group, Paul Sudoplatov. And the issues and proposals voiced to Stamenov to be transferred to Berlin, were received directly from Beria. Their list and meaning leaves no doubt as to the authorship. It is a well-recognizable Stalinist style with a double repeat: "What would suit Germany, under what conditions is Germany willing to end the war, what it is necessary to end the war.
Another detail is interesting. It seems, that at that time Stalin flatly denied a sense of reality. Like a drowning man, he was clinging at straws and believed that it was not too late to stop the aggression and to turn it in a limited border incident, in a kind of a visual demonstration of the German forces to support their territorial claims. And he - Stalin – just had to convince everyone of the need for a new Brest peace. Yes, the infamous one, but necessary in order to save the country.
What made in 1953 Sudoplatov write this document on his participation in such a shameful business? It is quite possible, that the event quickened his arrest as Berija’s trustee. For Sudoplatov, who understood how punishable could be the action, was very important to dissociate himself from Berija, and from this extremely dangerous fact. The assignment of the Soviet territory to Hitler – the "high treason
" in its purest form! The main thing was to steer clear and far away from it.
In hindsight Sudoplatov came up with an explanation of Stalin's infamous initiative. He is a cunning in his memoirs, relating this event to the 25th of July (a month later), fundamentally changing its meaning: as he says, it was just the misinformation in order to gain time to collect the necessary military forces.
While giving his testimony at the prosecutor's office on the 10th of August, 1953 Sudoplatov was skilful. He textually reproduced 4 points of the deal, dictated by Beria, remembering about ominous warnings of the Commissar to keep everything in the strictest confidence, otherwise Sudoplatov and his family "will be destroyed
". Being arrested on the 21st of August, 1953, at the first interrogation Sudoplatov explained that he met Stamenov as the agent and did not "negotiate with the ambassador
". Finally, he said, if I had not been sure that this was the task of the Soviet Government, he would not have performed it.Soviet Security officer Pavel Sudoplatov, who acted as a negotiator with Hitler (through an intermediary)
And Beria had to justified himself. During the interrogation, on August 11, 1953, he told how he was summoned by Stalin and asked: "Is Stamenov still in Moscow?
" When he heard the affirmative answer, Stalin wanted to find out through his connections in Berlin the answer to the key question: "What does Hitler want?
After the presentation of Sudoplatov’s explanatory documents, Berija said that the first two points were correct, but “he does not remember
” about the rest. Two days later, Beria was once again questioned about the episode. He was told that according to the decision of the Prosecutor's Office dated by the 12th of August 1953, he had to face the charge of "high treason.
" Berija constantly repeated that he was acting according to the direct assignment of Stalin. That day he remembered and confirmed the remaining items of the Stalinist proposal to Hitler, noting, however, that it was not about the consession of whole Ukraine and the Baltic States, but only about their part, and said nothing about Belarus, Bukovina and Karelian isthmus. The next day, on the 14th of August 1953, Beria added: "I believed Sudoplatov, relied on him, considered him a bold, and resourceful person. Also, I had an indication of Stalin not to introduce a new person to communicate with Stamenov
After the meeting with Stamenov, the cryptographic correspondence of the Bulgarian Embassy was strictly controlled in order to find out whether Stalin’s "peace proposals
" had been handed to Hitler. This was reported to Molotov by Berija. It is still unknown whether Molotov spoke about this event with the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Comunist party of the USSR in 1953. And the silent initiator of the potential infamous political deal with Hitler, the deceased dictator Stalin, was already dead.
Hitler spoke with Stalin
Why this firm confidence that, having received the compensation, Hitler would leave Stalin - and the country – in peace? On the eve of the war in the intelligence feed stream coming to the Kremlin, there was one very curious message from the source who went by the alias “Lyceum student". It fell on Stalin's desk on May 25, 1941:
"German war plan against the Soviet Union is developed in the most detailed manner. The maximum period of war is 6 weeks. During this time, Germany would have seized almost the entire European part of the USSR, but would not touch the government in Sverdlovsk. If Stalin want to save the socialist system in the rest of the Soviet Union, Hitler will not interfere with it."
This source was credible for the Kremlin, they really believed him. Only after the war it became clear that the mysterious agent had extensive connections at the top of the Reich (his real name was Orests Berlinks, Latvian correspondent in Berlin) - the double-agent, carrying out the direct orders of the German leadership. But his information was taken by Stalin at face value. And no wonder, because all his predictions came true, for example, about the upcoming seizure of Yugoslavia. “Lyceum student” was direct channel, used by Hitler and Ribbentrop to talk to Stalin. They were sending direct signals about what was waiting for the Soviet Union and its leaders.
The history of the acquisition of “Lyceum student" as a source of information by the resident of the Soviet foreign intelligence in Berlin Amayak Kobulov (alias “Zakhar
”) was fully opened in 1947, when the arrested German intelligence officer Siegfried Müller was interrogated in Lubyanka. Since 1940, Muller served in the unit "D-4
" of Gestapo (surveillance of the foreigners accredited in Berlin), and in the spring of 1941, he was the referent Russian sector "Abvershtelle Berlin
". According to his story, in August 1940 the Head of the TASS Department in Berlin - Ivan Filippov-Yudin – made to Berlinks the offer to cooperate with the Soviet intelligence, but Berlinks immediately reported the information to Gestapo. They quickly assessed the situation and Standartenfiihrer SS Rudolf Lycus recruited Berlinks (in Gestapo, he received the alias “Peter
”), and then was used as a channel of misinformation.
A few days later Filippov linked Berlinks with the resident Kobulov. Kobulov was delighted with the new acquisition. He believed that Berlinks was a valuable and promising source with extensive connections at the top of the Reich. The agent was assigned the alias “Lycée Student
” and was paid monthly from 300 to 500 Reichsmark. A considerable amount of money! According to Mueller, Berlinks’ reports were reported to Hitler and Ribbentrop and the German disinformation transmitted through him to Kobulov, was reviewed and approved of Hitler.
Berlinks entered in such a credibility to Kobulov that - whether showing off, or in a fit of candor – the latter stated that he was sending his reports directly to Stalin and Molotov.
Of course, everything heard from the resident Kobulov, was immediately passed by Berlinks to the Standartenfuehrer SS Lykus. The last information from Berlinks’ stating that the Soviet government did not want the war with Germany, angered the Fuhrer. At that document Hitler wrote his report "a liar
" and ordered to arrest Berlinks. However, he was not arrested, but somehow the matter was hushed up and he was sent to Sweden to continue the secret service.
But the Kremlin trusted Berlinks completely. The signals that the military preparations of the Wehrmacht on the Soviet border were just a way to pressure in order to gain concessions were particularly clear to Stalin. And so he was waiting for the German ultimatum on this subject coming soon. He waited so intensely, that he was losing patience.
It is no accident that the week before the outbreak of the war in the infamous TASS message from the 14th of June, a surprise was expressed at the lack of a German ultimatum and a regret that Germany "does not offer some new closer agreement
". By this message Stalin tried to camouflage the concentration of Soviet troops on the border and their aggressive configuration. This message was clear: where is the ultimatum? After all, before Hitler always acted according to the same pattern – requirement came first, followed by a refusal – and then the military attack. In the opinion of Stalin’s, the war could well be delayed by weaving and double-playing...
And if not - then after having received an ultimatum, Stalin was ready to start war campaign, himself, but without looking at the same as aggressor.
The Germans did not answer on Stalin's overtures (TASS, June 14), and did not even told about it in their press. They just pretended not to notice it at all. The degree of Stalin’s irritation and nervousness could be easily evaluated by his famous resolution on the report of the Commissar of State Security, Vsevolod Merkulov ¹2279 / m from the 17th of June 1941, in which, citing the sources in the headquarters of the German Air Force and the Ministry of Economy it was stated that "all military activities on Germany's preparations for armed action against the USSR have been completely finished, and the impact can be expected at any time
". The report said that Hungary will take part in the hostilities on the side of Germany and the source in the Ministry of Economy had given the list of the Reich functionaries, appointed Heads of the military-economic management of "the future districts
" of the occupied territories of the USSR in Kiev, Moscow and the Caucasus.
On this post Stalin, with the bright green pencil, inscribed:
"To Merkulov. Maybe you should send your "source" from the headquarters of German Aviation ... to the devil’s mother. This is not the source, this is disinformation. Stalin." You can guess what caused his anger. The point number two of the information was extremely unpleasant and angered Stalin: "In aviation circles the TASS message on June the 6th, was perceived rather ironically. They emphasize that this statement is of no importance." Not only had they confused the date of such an important for Stalin TASS message, but also dared to sneer! They were laughing at what seemed to Stalin the peak of his State wisdom and diplomatic skills, they were joking over his last hope ... By the way, the German antifascists Harro Schulze-Boysen - Lieutenant Luftwaffe (alias “Sergeant”) and Arvid Harnack - Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Economy (alias “Corsican”) paid with their lives for working for the Soviet intelligence. Both were executed in 1942.
Stalin could not know the content of the note Goebbels made in his diary. It was dated June 16 - just days before the outbreak of the war. The Minister of Propaganda put on paper the words of Hitler – the explanation of the impending denouement: "This time we will do things differently – we are not arguing in the press, everyting is closed in silence, on the day "X" we just give a hit".
The events unfolded rapidly, the panic was growing in Kremlin. On June 21 Goebbels wrote in his diary: "The question about Russia is exacerbated by every passing hour. Molotov asked to be on a visit to Berlin, but received a resolute refusal. The naive assumption. They should have been engaged in this six months ago... In Finland there is mobilization. Now Moscow must have noticed what threatens Bolshevism ... ".
Yes, Hitler broke the usual scenario. There was no ultimatum. Hitler hit the first and hit powerfully. To say that Stalin was confused is to say nothing. He was crushed and morally broken. He could not speak at the first day of the war to the population, so he instructed Molotov to do it. Hence the rhetoric of the offended - "they treacherously attacked
". So, what to do? Concede and preserve the power at least in one part of the country! And the sooner, the better. Maybe the government will not have to go to Sverdlovsk, but, by sacrificing the western regions and the Baltic states, it will be able to stay in Moscow.
Hitler offered Stalin to get out, behind the Ural Mountains, and Stalin was ready to sacrifice mainly his territorial acquisitions made in 1939-1940. It is exactly noted by the historian Sergei Slutch: "Stalin did not understand the essence of the Hitler-politician, who would accept only one argument - force. And those convulsions on the international arena, demonstrated by the Kremlin in the spring of 1941, fully reflected the inadequate assessment of what was happening.
It remained unclear whether Stamenov gave information to the destination. Berlin was silent. Hitler believed in the power of the German troops, and did not need Stalin's concessions. He believed that Stalin's place was not in Moscow but behind the Urals. It seems that in 1942, in a close circle, on the question of whom to entrust the management of the territory of the Soviet Union behind the line of Arkhangelsk-Kirov- Astrakhan, where German troops would not go, the Fuhrer responded in the same vein: say, we will leave it to Stalin, he knows how to handle these people.
The years passed. Generalissimo Stalin, covered with glory, and court historians are writing the "correct history of the war
" - the story of his victories. But he remembers that three people know the secret of his cowardice and the depth of his fall in 1941. They know what they would be better not knowing. This is the plausible explanation of the events, when in 1950 - seemingly for no reason at all - Stalin proposed to the Minister of State Security Abakumov to arrest Sudoplatov. This was told by Berija himself, when he was under arrest (original punctuation):
"... In 1950, in the middle or at the beginning of the year, when Abakumov was at the Council of Ministers on other issues, he said that he had the order from Stalin to arrest Sudoplatov, Eitingon, and a number of other employees. Abakumov did not tell me what they should be arrested for. For me it was clear that the arrest of Sudoplatov meant his death. So I said to Abakumov, that he had to talk once again to Stalin, the more so, because of reasons of Sudoplatov’s arrest were not mentioned. I said to Abakumov: "If I were in your shoes, I would save Sudoplatov and would not permit to destroy him."
Stalin’s demarche disturbed Berija. He knew that, maybe, it was easy to deal with Sudoplatov, but then, without doubt, his turn would come soon. And who's next, Molotov? In recent years of the dictator's life the shadow of Stalin’s distrust was chasing both Molotov and Berija. Stalin kept Berija "in check" with the help of "Mingrelia case", and Molotov was ousted from the "narrow leadership", publicly criticized at the October (1952) Plenum of the Central Committee of the Cominist Party as a "defeatist", passing to the West. Perhaps, in the long run, Stalin was preparing for all this trinity the bad end. But tha fatal data of March 5 1953, made its adjustments to Stalin’s plans.
From the explanatory note of Pavel Sudoplatov to the Council of Ministers of the USSR:
"August 7, 1953
I am reporting on the following facts, well-known to me.
A few days after the treacherous attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union, approximately on the 25-27th of June 1941, I was summoned to the service office of the then People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Berija.
Beria told me that there was a decision of the Soviet government, according to which they needed to informally find out under what conditions Germany would agree to stop the war against the Soviet Union and suspend the offensive Nazi troops. Berija explained to me that the decision of the Soviet Government was aimed to create conditions that would allow the Soviet government to maneuver and gain time to gather strength.
In this regard, Beria ordered me to meet with the Bulgarian Ambassador to the USSR Stamenov, who, according to NKVD reports, had various connections with the Germans and was well known to them .
Beria ordered me to put in a conversation with Stamenov four questions. These questions were listed by Berija, who was looking in his notebook, and they were as follows:
1. Why did Germany violate the nonaggression Pact and launched a war against the Soviet Union?
2. What would suit Germany, under what conditions Germany would agree to end the war, what is necessary to end the war?
3. Will the Germans be satisfied with the transfer of such Soviet lands like the Baltic States, Ukraine, Bessarabia, Bukovina, the Karelian Isthmus in German jurisdiction?
4. If not, what are the further Germany’s territorial claims?
Beria ordered me to talk with Stamenov not on behalf of the Soviet government: I had to put these questions in the course of the conversation on the subject of the military and political situation which was created and also seek the views of Stamenov on the merits of these four questions.
Beria said that the aim of my conversation with Stamenov was as folling: Stamenov had to remember well the abovementioned four questions. Berija expressed his confidence that Stamenov would bring these issues to the attention of Germany ... "