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Advocacy work in OSOAVIAKHIME on the eve of the Great Patriotic War

igor EAGLES, Andrey GORLOV


The quote which is taken out in the epigraph visually reflects the general fixation of ruling regime on maintenance of the Soviet society of the being able "readiness on duty" in case of the future war. However today more and more becomes obvious that "the power and the people" in days of the Great Patriotic War is behind a problem very wide range of public moods among which there is not only a patriotism, but also a certain discontent of a part naseleniya1. The important role in formation of so mosaic picture, certainly, was played by promotion of pre-war years.

In a modern Russian historiography the questions of propaganda providing a foreign policy of the USSR in the conditions of the begun World War II, including in literature, cinema, theater and in mass media, are most deeply considered by VA. Nevezhinym2.

Nevertheless out of the sphere of historical researches there was a defensive and cultural and mass work including essential propaganda elements. In particular, it is about activity of such mass defense organization as OSOAVIAHIM3 before which in the conditions of the begun World War II there was a problem of strengthening of work on preparation of a reserve of various military specialties. However, work on reorganization of work of society of assistance to defense, aviation and chemical construction went quite slowly. Only since March, 1940 the new programs of military training which substantially changed its contents were entered. The essence of the concept laid in them was in passing from training of znachkist for complex training of future fighter in various objects of preparation — political, front, fire, tactical, physical, chemical, sanitary, etc. To summer of 1941 study according to new programs there underwent 2.6 million chelovek4 which, undoubtedly, became experts of higher qualification, than the previous znachkist. However it was insufficiently for the 12-million organization. Archival documents demonstrate that last pre-war year 22 thousand pilots, 100 thousand drivers and 6 thousand experts naval dela5 were produced. Unfortunately, owing to "gross" approach to training of the population in overwhelming weight it were experts of low qualification,

1 E.N. Simontseva. Studying the Soviet hinterland in a historiography of the Great Patriotic War. A historiography and the history of social and economic and social and political development of Russia in the latest time. Ivanovo, 1995, building 134
2 V.A. Nevezhin. Syndrome of offensive war. The Soviet promotion in anticipation of sacred fights, 1939-1941 M.: AIRO-HH, 1997
3 It is about the citizens consisting in the ranks of society, called for passing of camp collecting and study on military-training points and also students in aero clubs, schools and circles in the OSOAVIAHIMA system
4 History of World War II. T. 3. M, 1974, p. 405

graduate student of MGUS 5 HECTARES of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 1. 208. L. 18.25; T. 5447. Op. 1. 54. L. 53, 55


Borisovich — and. N, prof. of GUVShE

Andrey Sergeyevich GORLOV —

received only initial military podgotovku1.

Not better the situation was also with military-political preparation both the personnel of society and studying in camps and at military-training points, assigned on created in 1939. A political department of Central office and political sectors at regional, regional and republican councils of OSOAVIAHIMA2. The head of OSOAVIAHIMA of Items Kobelev3 in the report to the VIII Plenum of Central office of society About Work Results for 1939 and the Plan of Work of OSOAVIAHIMA for 1940. emphasized on April 1, 1940 that "companion Stalin constantly reminds us of the fact of a capitalist environment and teaches us to ability to draw all necessary conclusions from this fact". However, conclusions lay far away from direct functions of defensive mass organization. "the huge victory over foreign intelligence services" and "big cleaning work" in OSOAVIAHIME on exposure of enemies of the people, "trying to weaken the enemy activity defense society of workers" 4 came out on top.

In the short review of a condition of promotion of Marxism-Leninism in the OSOAVIAHIMA organizations in 1939 it was highlighted that "Short course" "arms our shots not only knowledge of the fighting past of the Communist Party and Soviet state, but also... increases Bolshevist vigilance of party and nonparty Bolsheviks". But at the same time in work of OSOAVIAHIMA considerable defects directed by party promotion and first of all "providing business poly-were noted

1 Goshulyak V.V. OSOAVIAKHIM: pages of history 1929 — June, 1941. Historiography and history of social and economic and social and political development Russia (the second half of XIX

— the first half of the 20th century). Sb. nauchn. the station Penza, 1997, p. 146 — 157

2 Since 1935 in OSOAVIAHIME there was an institute of commissioners and political leaders
3 Pavel Prokofyevich (1897 — 1971) Kobelev

— the lieutenant general of aircraft, the chairman of CS OSOAVIAHIMA in 1938 — 1948 Was confirmed to this post in November, 1938 instead of the "enemy of the people" of the former secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League P.S. Gorshenin removed from this post. Since the beginning of war and till December, 1941 P.P. Kobelev was at war on the Northwest and Leningrad front, at the same time holding a position of the chairman of CS OSOAVIAHIMA. In 1949 it was fired from army due to illness

4 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 1. 197. L. 2 — 3

tichesky self-education to drift". In particular, in the Kuibyshev aero club, work on studying "Short course" since May stopped in general. In Mogilev a number of employees of society until the end of the year studied only the first and second chapters of "Short course". In some areas and the republics, attempts all fault for weak work on the organization of Marxist-Leninist study of shots of OSOAVIAHIMA were observed to dump on district committees of party. For example, in the Yaroslavl region some political leaders and commissioners put the main emphasis on listening of the lectures organized by district committees and city town committees without being engaged in independent reading and without summarizing the read material. It is indicative that from 110 workers of OSOAVIAHIMA working in the city of Chkalov seriously studied "Short course" only of 27 people.

It is clear, that all these shortcomings were automatically transferred to political work with the members of OSOAVIAHIMA called on collecting and in educational the camp. Especially as in the Irkutsk, Murmansk and Stalingrad regions, the Abkhaz ASSR and other regions party promotion was completely reduced to political classes in camps and on military-training points. The review of party and political work in the OSOAVIAHIMA camps in 1939 helps to open the mechanism of the organization of political classes and a political information which were carried out by the political leaders and group leaders allocated from among the commanding structure, mainly the members and candidates of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) and Komsomol members who arrived to collecting. Political work in camps took place in the most various forms: a political information, all-camp and company meetings, meetings, evenings of questions and answers, conversations and readings of newspapers, evenings of amateur performances and concerts, the organization of hitting qualifying standards on defensive badges, issue of camp and company wall newspapers and fighting leaves. A political information was strictly regulated in a daily routine lagerey5 and was carried out by commissioners and political leaders in general regularly. Only in camps of the Rostov region in 1939, failures of a political information were noted. However

5 30 minutes in the morning and only in the Gomel and Poltava camps — in the evening after classes in view of late obtaining newspapers

in practice the quality of a political information remained poor. In the Kiev aero club of Moscow the political leader Vasin in 15 — 20 minutes "managed" to state "About Day of the press, about the war in Norway, about Chamberlain's performance, about policy of the USA, about the Dutch India". Similar situation took place in aero club of Kiev where the political leader Neroslin within 15 minutes "explained" about the reasons of defeat of Poland, about termination of work of the commission on specification of borders of MNR and Manchzhou-Guo, about the Anglo-Japanese relations, about situation in Abyssinia, about the relation of the USA to the war in Europe and about the war in China. Reports fixed that political leaders and commissioners of a subject of a political information selected for the Leningrad Region accidentally and hastily, were prepared badly and were limited only to reading newspapers.

Other types of mass political work, of course, were developed in camps also. For example, in the Moscow region for collecting only the 1st turn 14 movies were watched and several evenings of amateur performances are spent. In the Ryazan region 6 movies were shown and organized

3 amateur's nights. In camps of the Ordzhonikidzevsky region 7 movies are watched. Besides, concerts were organized by forces of the State philharmonic hall and Stroitel club and also
4 evenings are spent by own efforts.

But frankly the organization of political classes before which holding, as a rule, with group leaders and political leaders it had to be instructed by commissioners of camps "limped". However in the Kuibyshev region, according to CS OSOAVIAHIMA Political department, commissioners of camps exercised control over political classes poorly, did not check at group leaders of abstracts and were present at political classes extremely seldom. In the Ivanovo and Mogilev regions on political classes there were no visual aids and cards. And in the Smolensk region the independent studying materials of the XVIII congress was reduced to group reading by a company in 150 people. With transition to airfields almost in all aero clubs of the city of Moscow holding political classes in general was stopped.

the situation and with evident propaganda was Not better. If in Serpukhov

the camp of the Moscow region fighting leaves were issued daily, in the Almaty camp even wall newspapers were prepared irregularly. In Veshensky and Millerovsky camps of the Rostov region, only all-camp newspapers were issued, and in the Stalingrad regional camp and in the Vyritsa camp the fighting leaves became not on shooting ranges and classes in tactics, and after firing practice why lost the mobilizing value. Some newspapers were not mass as only the command and political structure participated in them. And articles were quite often published big, empty and boring.

The lack of political classes with the commanding structure was the weakest point in the system of political preparation. In camps of Murmansk region it was irregularly instructed political leaders and group leaders who often gave classes without abstracts. Work of group leaders as political leaders and commissioners was controlled poorly owing to what the facts of the wrong interpretation of questions on classes took place. For example, the group leader of the Monchegorsk camp Nakhalov answered a question of the nature of fascism: "The fascism is a highest stage of capitalism". And this despite the fact that control and testing political classes in camps Mari the ASSR and some other regions showed: fighters better acquired subjects on world situation, than program temy1.

It is no wonder owing to this fact that reviews of political morale contained not only quite extensive list of manifestations of indiscipline, alcoholism and collective non-execution of orders, but also fixed frankly anti-Soviet statements and performances.

Also performances of Baptists who refused to take weapon were celebrated in camps and to become in a system. So, the native of Kiev region fighter Ya.G. Prikhodko in attempt of the commissioner to explain the relevant articles of the Constitution said: "I the believer and for me am not the law, and I will not submit to such laws. In my heart

1 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 6. 48. L. 48, 53—54. 52. L. 45 — 53

there is Christ to whom I submit". The resident of the Kamyanets-Podilsky region S.F. Prigodin also refused to carry out military duties, having said: "For me all the same, what country: The USSR or Japan — there would be a work". Responded to all attempts to influence it that it "has Christ". In the Saratov region the fighter of a machine-gun company P.F. Zharikov openly expressed unwillingness in case of war to kill the opponent, including it zlom1.

Not all Soviet citizens unambiguously treated also "liberation" of the Western Ukraine and the Western Belarus. For example, fighters of the company of drivers of the Ordzhonikidzevsky region sent on partial mobilization in September to regular units wrote: "We are happy that on us the joyful honourable task and release of the Ukrainian and Belarusian people from the Polish sirs-oppressors had to stand up". Whereas the commander of a stock Kuzmin (Krasnodar camp) excluded earlier from party ranks, having read Molotov's speech about the help to the Western Ukraine and the Western Belarus, said: "Pursued peace policy, and we occupy others territory". When the political leader about it began to talk to him, told: "Our communists as parrots, repeat what will be solved and will told above by 5 — 6 people" 2.

During "winter war" with Finland OSOAVIAHIM sent hundreds of snipers to the operating parts of the Red Army. Voluntarily several pilots of aero clubs left on the front. Besides, the OSOAVIAHIMA organizations of a front-line strip rendered the daily help of the Red Army to parts — filled cartridges in machine-gun tapes, cleared away airfields from snow and helped with the organization of quartering of troops. The OSOAVIAHIMA organizations transferred to the Red Army of 1449 guard dogs, mainly riding and 730 post golubey3. Partly it was result of the work on increase in discipline and organization which is carried out by political sectors in orga-

1 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 6. 48. L. 58 — 59, 52. L. 55—61, 177—178, 180, 185—186
2 In the same place. 52. L. 160 — 170
3 In the same place. 48. L. 11

OSOAVIAHIMA na, and considerably strengthened political morale of workers of OSOAVIAHIMA.

Essential motions occurred also in the sphere of staffing. So, by April 1, 1940 were accepted on political work of 3085 people or 81% in relation to all regular number of political structure of OSOAVIAHIMA4. The statistical portrait of new replenishment is given below.

On a partstazha

1917 — 1920 191 person
1921 — 1925 220
1926 — 1928 523
1919 — 1932 1316
1933 — 1937 185

Since 1938 1.116 Candidates of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) 125 people

Members of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League 15 people

By training the General:

Initial 2527 people

Average 1159

The highest 63


Military-political academies 20 people

Military-political schools 80 people

Komvuza 316 people


> 535 people

VKSHSh 170 people

Various courses 961 persons

Have no special political

preparation 1680 people


Military academies 21 persons

Military colleges and schools 519 people

Various courses 204 people

Have no special military preparation 3020 chelovek5

Existence among political workers of a large number of young communists with partstazhy since 1938 — 1291 persons (together with candidates) or 34.4% is evident. It is indisputable that the vast majority of them had no sufficient experience of party and political work. Turns

4 Without political workers of the Karelian-Finnish SSR, Yakut the ASSR, the Zaporizhia and Zhytomyr regions of Ukrainian SSR
5 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 6. 48. L. 3 — 4

No. The name of the city, area, region, republic Is carried out about conversations, lectures, reports on defenses e subjects Prisutst in-valo on reports of conversations, lekpiya Is carried out about film sessions on defenses e subjects Prisutst in-valo on film sessions

1 City of Leningrad 8.621 631.292 240 19.654
2 The Moscow region 4.42Ya There are no data There is no Ya80 Data

I The Penza region 910 41.625 There are no data

4 Perm region 1.417 71.668
5 Chelyabinsk region 584 55.603
6 The Rostov region 1.500 There are no data 247 25.296
7 Bashkir ASSR There are no data 67.500 Data is not present 18.000
8 Udmurt ASSR 245 14.83Ya
9 Water transport 34Ya already laly 16.772 —//—

on itself attention the fact that the level of general education and political training of many political workers was, to put it mildly, low. For example, 67% of political workers had the elementary education, and 44.6% from them had no special political preparation. Besides, 75% of political workers did not get vocational military education, and often even elementary military knowledge.

Despite "a Stalin appeal" in OSOAVIAHIMA political bodies, there were not enough instructors of political sectors (shortage of 16.8%), commissioners of departments of OBP and PVHO (25.7%), commissioners of schools and clubs (16%), camps (39.4%) and especially political leaders of schools (41.9%). And this despite the fact that the political leader reckoned as the central figure in all political-education work with called on collecting and despite constant appeals "pain -

she to help it and to direct more it" 1.

In 1940 academic year the Political department of CS OSOAVIAHIMA revised programs of political classes towards acquaintance of students with the military oath and the Law on a general conscription, moral and political shape of the fighter of the Red Army and problems of strengthening of the Soviet military discipline, a state and tasks of the Red Army and Navy and also with the current events. Besides, one of the central places in the system of political education was occupied by such flexible and topical form of political work as a political information. The OSOAVIAHIMA organizations actively joined in preparation and holding a political campaign for elections to local councils.

1 In the same place. Op. 1. 197. L. 40
a Number of the OSOAVIAHIMA organizations significantly expanded with

this activity what data on a number of regions for the I quarter 1940 confirm. For this period:

1. By the OSOAVIAKHIMA Novosibirsk regional organization it is carried out lectures, reports and conversations:

a) on the international subjects 198 with coverage of 24418 people,

b) on defensive 37 with coverage of 7665 people,

c) about the 22nd anniversary of the Red Army 693 with coverage of 19983 people,

d) on the current policy 147 with coverage of 11752 people.

2. Across the Leningrad Region it is carried out:

a) reports and conversations on the 16th anniversary from the date of Lenin's death in number of 261 with coverage of 6950 people and several excursions in Lenin's branch museum,

b) reports and conversations about the 22nd anniversary of the Red Army in number of 1070 with coverage of 29,900 people and in 6 areas, exhibitions with materials were organized

about the Red Army and Navy.

3. Across the Kirov region it was carried out lectures and reports on different subjects in number of 2383 with coverage of 105670 people and conversations — 3596 with coverage of 74875 people.

The big role in carrying out political and mass work was played by the houses created in villages and the cities and huts of defense. From among the most prepared members and candidates of party non-staff instructors propagandists who systematically conducted political-education work not only with members of OSOAVIAHIMA, but also with the rest nase-leniyem1 were allocated.

Political providing not only significant political holidays and events, but also regularly spent sports festivals and competitions became an important component of promotion. Demonstrate scope of the mass political work which is carried out by the OSOAVIAHIMA organizations, a vchas-tnost, these political reports nachal-

1 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 8355. Op. 6. 48. L. 55 — 57

a nickname of the Political department of OSOAVIAHIMA of the regimental commissioner Ryazanov to L.Z. Mekhlis and A.A. Andreyev about carrying out in November, 1939 VI All-Union chemical sorevnovaniy2.

However, also many shortcomings of last year remained. So, only single political sectors followed instructions of the Political department in the field of accounting of the local press and strengthening of the management of newspapers. Many newspapers continued to appear extremely irregularly. In reports "the low ideological level of a large number of wall newspapers, fighting leaves and startovka which is expressed that the press poorly connects the practical questions which are taken up in newspapers with political events in country life" was noted. Experience of leaders of study and work was extremely faintly promoted. Questions of political work and experience of Marxist-Leninist self-education of shots were insufficiently taken up. The criticism in wall newspapers mostly extended to everyday issues. Moreover, the weak management of newspapers led to the fact that editorial boards saw problems of criticism in that in each occasion "to criticize" the commanding structure. For example, the political sector of the Vinnytsia regional council provided the following fact in the review. The wall newspaper of VUPa "Combat training" placed verses in which commanders are presented in very comical form: "All children of a leg beat with drill, and komvzvoda behind a counter drink beer" 3. But mass repressions the power itself provoked the similar critical attitude towards the command structure of army and the fleet. And orientation to "mass coverage" of workers political propaganda conducted to the fact that many issues were not resolved in general or decided with irrevocable loss of time. Only the deep feeling of a debt to Rodina and patriotism of the Soviet people allowed our country to battle against exclusive persistence.

2 In the same place. 86. L. 3
3 In the same place. 48. L. 60 — 63
Gary Freeman
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