4 May 2023

What is the Russian Liberation Army? – ROA functions and characteristics

By Donald

The Russian Liberation Army, or ELR, was a group of paramilitary origins, it was created during World War II in the year of 1941under the command of General Andrei Vlasov, who before this was part of the Red Army.

General Vlasov had surrendered to the forces of the Nazi Germany being captured on the Eastern Front during the Battle of Moscow, believing that the only way to liberate Russia from the communists was to join the Germans and fight the Red Army.

Most of the soldiers who were under the command of General Andrei Vlasov were part of the Russian army, Red Army desertersSoviet prisoners of war and civilians who believed in their cause.

The ELR had two main functions, on the front its role was military, it fought against the Soviet Red Army and the allied forces in eastern Europe.

His second function was political, since he worked for create an alternative Stalin’s communist government and promote the idea of ​​a nationalist and democratic state in Russia.

What does ROA stand for?

The name of the Russian Liberation Army, derives from the Russian (Русская освободительная армия, Rússkaya osvoboditelnaya ármiya) and the German Russische Befreiungsarmee which translates to Russian Army of Liberation (ROA) by their initials to the Latin alphabet. It is also known as the “Vlasov Army” or Vlasov Army, referring to its general.

History of the Russian Liberation Army

The Russian Liberation Army was formed during World War II. It is officially generated in the year 1944, after a group of Soviet soldiers captured by the Germans decided to join the forces of the Third Reich to fight against the Russian empire and Stalin’s communist government.

However, despite the fact that it was officially formed in 1944, it dates back to the year 1941, when the army of Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Unionand took a large number of Russian prisoners.

So as the war progressed, the shortage of personnel, finances and the need for a trained and knowledgeable military force to fight on the eastern front, which is why the idea of form an army of volunteers russians.

Origin of ROA

In 1941, after the advance of German troops into Soviet territory, some groups of Red Army soldiers were captured and other military gave themselves up voluntarilyseeking with this to put an end to the Soviet system in some way.

Russian volunteers joining the Wehrmacht (United Armed Forces of Nazi Germany) became known as Hiwi which derives from German Hilfswilligerwhich translates into Spanish as Willing to help.

These troops were not under the command of any type of organization exiled anti-communistOn the contrary, they were under the orders of the German army.

These volunteers did not participate in the fighting and were only used for secondary intelligence actions. But soon several German commanders they handed over weapons various groups of volunteers to join the combat in different fights.

The relationship between Adolph Hitler and the Russian Liberation Army was very complex and contradictory, since Hitler saw the ROA as a tool of great publicity importance, as well as a military force which he could use in his fight against the Soviets.

But, on the other hand, Hitler did not fully trust the Russian soldiers, since he considered the Slavs as an inferior race, so he was cautious from the beginning, since although he saw the potential for propaganda to attack the soviet morale. The fear that they would rebel against the German troops was always present.

However, despite the doubts regarding the accounting, it was possible to gather a considerable number of soldiers Russians who were willing to fight against the Soviet troops.

For him year 1943 thousands of Soviet soldiers were part of the German troops; however, despite the national propaganda effort, German troops did not fully trust the loyalty of these groups.

This became manifest when on September 12, 1943 troops withdrew of the 2nd Assault Battalion from the front due to what were reported to be multiple mutinies and desertion of various units.

The Russian Liberation Army was officially formed in the fall of 1944, when the military Heinrich HimmlerChief of the SS, who at the time was the Reich Minister of the Interior, convinces Hitler to allow the formation of multiple divisions with the troops that are members of the ROA.

On the other hand, the Russian Liberation Army (ROA) and Stalin had a tense and complex relationship during world war II. On the one hand, Stalin viewed the ROA as a propaganda tool of the Nazi German regime and its soldiers as traitors and fascists.

So Stalin’s government did everything possible to undermine their credibility, using all its propaganda machinebranding them as fascists and traitors to the homeland.

He also sought to discourage Russian soldiers from joining the ROA, threatening the relatives of those who joined, even sending them to forced labor camps in Siberia. However, despite his enormous efforts, a large number of soldiersboth trapped and volunteers and civilians, joined the German forces to reinforce the ROA.

end of ROA

In view of the little political and strategic support and the distrust of the Germans, the Russian Liberation Army could not fully fulfill its functions, so that at the end of the war in the year of 1945with the defeat of Nazi Germany by the allies many of its members are captured and sent to trial.

Many of them are sentenced to prison, hard labor in camps in Siberia, while others were sentenced to death, including General Andrei Vlasov.

Who are the most notable commanders in the ROA?

General Andrei Vlasov was the most notable commander of the ROAwas born in Lomakino, a small village in the Nizhny Novgorod province, Russia.

By the year 1941 it was the Commander of the Soviet Fourth Army and fought against the Germans on the Eastern Front; however, in July 1942 he was surrounded and captured by the Germans near Vyazma and taken to a German prison camp.

So in its stopped time it begins to rally disillusioned soldiers of the Soviet regime and its communist ideals, gradually integrating a large number of sympathizers. In this way, the German army designates him as commander of these troops, giving them the name of the German Liberation Army.

They strove to build an image as a liberation movementHowever, this interpretation was difficult to prove, since they were fighting under the German flag.

With the end of the war and the fall of the Third Reich, US troops Capture General Vlasov and he is transferred to Moscow, where he is tried and sentenced to death. On August 2, 1946, one year after the end of the war, he was hanged.

Currently it is possible access multiple podcastswhere the events that occurred during the Second World War, strategies and tactics used are discussed from different perspectives.