History 23/03/20 “Forest brothers”: what did the Baltic Bandera after the war

After the great Patriotic war in the Western parts of the Soviet Union intensified the partisan movement: Bandera — in Galicia, the “Iron guard” — in Moldova, the “Forest brothers” in Baltic States. Confrontation with the past was most bloody: if the number of victims of the Ukrainian insurgent army in the second half of 1940-ies was about 10 thousand people in clashes with the “Forest” killed about 25 thousand.

In the forests and swamps

the image of the “forest brothers” has its roots in the legends of the noble robbers that are present in the folklore of almost all European peoples. The reality, as usual, bears little resemblance to the myth. The forces of the “forest”, first appeared EN masse in the Baltic States during the First Russian revolution of 1905-06 years, in less than 2 years burned 57 estates, killed dozens of Royal officials and embezzled several million rubles in the course of expropriations (in other words — Bank robberies). With the suppression of the revolution by their binge also came to naught.

the Much more mass character of the movement took at the end of the great Patriotic war as a reaction to the not always harmonious integration of the Baltic republics in the socialist system. If readily available in areas of recent fighting, weapons, a wooded swampy area at the junction of Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, with a few secluded hamlets — have become a breeding ground for all sorts of paramilitaristic groups. In their composition are former “national cadres” of the territorial battalions of the SS who understood that, after identification, in the best case, will send to Siberia; and wealthy peasants, driven from their estates during collectivization; and members of the intelligentsia who had sufficient reason to believe the arrival of the red Army occupation.

the Tactics of “Lesnax brothers” is very characteristic described in the eponymous folk song. In the predawn fog, five armed with assault rifles, the guerrillas come to the farm. Neither soldiers nor policemen, there is (and will not put them to guard each house). “Fellowship” defiantly shoots first Chairman of the collective farm, then — Russian Komsomol-AGROTEKHNIKA, seconded for the progress of agriculture. And who is hiding in the haystack? Village postman. His Lithuanian, but the informant MGB. Well, none of the peasants tomorrow will receive no letters… Local (out of fear or willingly) provide “leshakov” food, and with the sunrise they go to lie down in the thicket for a few weeks.
As you can see, the “brotherly” the terror was directed not only against the Communists and the military, but often against the General population that does not add sympathies to militants from the middle of the Baltic States.


it Should be noted that Lithuanian Forest brothers themselves do not named — used the names “army for the Freedom of Lithuania” or simply “green”. It was the only of the three Baltic republics, where anti-Soviet formations had a single focal point and were so numerous that at first, in 1945-47 he even attacked the small garrisons of the Soviet Army.
If we abstract from the use of terror and overt Russophobia “brothers”, considering them only as the object of military history we need to recognise that the guerrilla and sabotage the movement can be successful as a Supplement to the regular army, but not as a substitute for it.

Despite the support from Western intelligence agencies (in the sheltered Baltic Bay periodically we go fishing boats loaded with arms and explosives), — the elimination of the “green” was only a matter of time, despite the fact that the Soviet military was not used against them armored vehicles and artillery, limited “police” action. The methods were tested: the creation of a wide network of informants on the ground, aerialshoot, cordon and combing woodland where hidden saboteurs; the arrest and exile sympathizers among the peasants and townspeople.


In this country the “Forest brothers” was mainly composed of former soldiers of Latvian SS Legion, surpassed in the extermination of Jews and other defenseless victims even their Berlin genosse. Fought in Nazi uniform and weapons of the Wehrmacht, lived in the woods in left of the German bunkers. Units of Latvian “green” even went to the border areas of the Pskov region.

fighting with the guerrillas were engaged not only part of the NKVD (since 1946 — MGB), but Latvian division in the service of the red Army. Therefore, some researchers struggle with the “Forest brothers” is regarded as final for the Baltic republics, the Civil war that began in 1918.


the Estonian “brothers” were few — no more than 500 fighters at the peak of existence (unless, of course, not counting the thousands of sympathizers who helped with information, food and shelter).
Although the activities of the “green” gone by the early fifties (including counter-terrorism thanks to the skillful actions of the MGB), namely in the Republic, believed to be the longest fought the last “forest brother”. In September 1978, employees of the Soviet secret police was abolished August the Sabba staying illegally since joining the partisans in 1950. At the time of death of the pensioner was 69 years old.

Socialist construction

a Successful guerrilla movement is only possible with the support of the people and only when there is a social base for anti-government protest. Meanwhile, an unbiased analysis shows that the Communist regime really was engaged in the development of the Baltic States, transforming it from an Eastern European backwater, what was the “border States” before the war, in the most prosperous region of the USSR.

So, the population of Lithuania between 1945 and 1965 increased from 2.5 to nearly 3 million, and Chilennosti all ethnic groups, Russians and Lithuanians have increased in roughly equal proportions.

In Latvia in the postwar years was held large-scale industrialization. The Soviet Union went on the train Riga railcar factory, listened to radio Riga factory “WEF”. In 1946 he commissioned the Riga electrical machine building plant, put on the first conveyor in a Union household washing machine. In 1949, Riga autobus factory, supplying minibuses “RAF” the whole Eastern bloc. These and many other industrial enterprises that produced high-tech products, gave the Latvians tens of thousands of jobs.

Estonia was the leader among all the territories of the USSR in volume of the state investments in the economy and infrastructure per capita. Built roads, hospitals, schools — especially in underdeveloped rural areas.
And today the interest of the inhabitants of the Baltic States to the “Forest brothers”, I think, caused by including the protracted socio-economic crisis, in which three republics found themselves after the EU accession. For in the depths of people’s souls is always a glimmer of naive hope that from somewhere in the forest will be the noble outlaw and eradicate all injustice.

Russian Seven

© Russian Seven

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