A history of conflict in Crimea
Control of Crimea, currently an autonomous republic within Ukraine, has shifted many times throughout its history. The Black Sea peninsula had at one point or another been home to Greeks, Scythians, Goths, Huns, Golden Horde Tatars and the Mongols, just to name a few. The Russian Empire wrested control of Crimea from the Ottomans and French and British armies during the Crimean War (1853–1856). Sevastopol was the site of bloody, protracted sieges during both the Crimean War and World War II, when the city held out against Nazi forces for eight months from October 1941 until July 1942. After the Soviet Army finally drove out the Germans in 1944, Joseph Stalin’s government forcibly relocated the entire population of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia for supposedly collaborating with the Nazis. During the height of the Soviet Union, on February 19, 1954, Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean Oblast fromRussia to Ukraine, largely a symbolic gesture at the time. Russia’s historic ties to Crimea and its economic and strategic interest has put the territory at the heart of East-West conflict in Ukraine ever since.
1855: Victorious soldiers (Zouaves) pose after the taking of Malakoff in the Crimea. (Photo by Felice A Beato/Getty Images) #
25th October 1854: Charge of the heavy cavalry at Balaklava, in the Crimea. Original Artwork: Engraving by J J Crewe.
The situation in Ukraine is volatile and murky, says author Marina Lewycka. But, by oversimplifying the country's historic tug-of-war with Russia, the west plays directly into the hands of Vladimir Putin
Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian activists argue during a rally in Sevastopol on 9 March. Photograph: Viktor Drachev/AFP
Public clashes between Ukrainians and Russians in the main square in Sevastopol. Ukrainians protesting at Russian interference; Crimean Russians demanding the return of Sevastopol to Russia, and that parliament recognise Russian as the state language. Ukrainian deputies barred from the government building; a Russian "information centre" opening in Sevastopol. Calls from the Ukrainian ministry of defence for an end to the agreement dividing the Black Sea fleet between the Russian and Ukrainian navies. The move is labelled a political provocation by Russian deputies. The presidium of the Crimean parliament announces a referendum on Crimean independence, and the Russian deputy says that Russia is ready to supervise it. A leader of the Russian Society of Crimea threatens armed mutiny and the establishment of a Russian administration in Sevastopol. A Russian navy chief accusesUkraine of converting some of his Black Sea fleet, and conducting armed assault on his personnel. He threatens to place the fleet on alert. The conflict escalates into terrorism, arson attacks and murder.
The British 4th Light Dragoons encamped in the Crimea, circa 1855.
Sound familiar? All this happened in 1993, and it has been happening, in some form or other, since at least the 14th century.
Instead of blustering into their microphones in a frenzy of self-righteous indignation, the leaders of the US and EU would do well to spend a few minutes swotting up on the history of this volatile region. They would learn that Crimea has a long history of conflict between its Ukrainian, Russian and Tartar communities, and has been ping-ponging back and forth between Ottoman, Russian and Ukrainian jurisdiction for years. The last time the British got involved was in 1853-6, and that, too, was a shambles. This time, the west's intervention has been foolish and inept, and its hypocrisy is shameful.
Sailors of the Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol in 1993. Crimea's naval bases are vital to Russia. Photograph: Robert Wallis/Corbis
1855 - Group of Tatars at work repairing roadway in Balaklava; wooden hut, "Store 14th Regiment", in the background. (Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division) #
A French vivandiere, or cantiniere, with French soldiers in the Crimea during the Crimean War, 1855. Vivandieres were women attached to regiments as canteen keepers and as unofficial nursing staff.
Less than a month ago, a violent insurrection in the streets of Kiev against the elected government was greeted in the west as an uprising of "the people of Ukraine" choosing the west against closer ties with Russia. Everyone knows, if they stop to think about it, that such a simplistic characterisation of "the people of Ukraine" is wilfully naive, but the breathless journalists and huffy politicians gushing their stuff never stop to think. Thinking is dangerous. It can lead you to see the other person's point of view.
The one thing we know for sure is that we don't know what's going on. The situation is volatile and murky. But that doesn't stop western politicians jumping in feet first. We don't know exactly what forces are at play, but we still desperately want to pin our naive "goodies" and "baddies" labels on to somebody.
When things turned nasty in Kiev as armed protesters, some of them with fascist insignia, seized control of government buildings, the police cracked down, and snipers gunned down police and protesters in the streets. But who exactly were these snipers? The Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet, not a natural ally of Moscow, thought it was at least credible that they belonged to the anti-government Maidan protesters. "Gosh!" said the EU's Lady Ashton in a leaked phone call.
For a moment, the frothing stopped and a truce was negotiated, with the help of Poland, Germany and France, and supported by the US, Russia and the Kiev protesters, all realising that things had gone too far. The agreement allowed for a return to the old constitution, and new elections. Order was restored. Phew!
But this compromise was quickly sabotaged by extreme elements among the protesters, including some sinister far-right elements who are now a de facto part of the government. They pre-empted the outcome of the elections by continuing the occupations and installing themselves in power. (But it's OK: it's not a coup, because they are pro-west.) The Russians were alarmed. What was the point of negotiating, if the agreements were not respected, the Russian interior minister demanded to know.
As if in answer, president Viktor Yanukovych resigned. Victory was declared. Hurray! Neither the EU nor the US stood up for the agreement they brokered. Yanukovych fled, with his ill-gotten wealth. Yulia Tymoshenko was releasedfrom jail, with her ill-gotten wealth (which is OK in her case, because she is pro-west).
circa 1855: Officers of the 89th Regiment, Princess Victoria's Royal Irish Fusiliers, at Cathcart's Hill in the Crimea.
Let us just pause to remember, before we gallop on to the next crisis, that Yanukovych, for all his grotesque self-enrichment, was democratically elected, as few of the new self-appointed government have been. We shouldn't feel too sorry for him, though. His allegedly pilfered billions will have already been safely stashed abroad, no doubt in some western-administered tax-haven, where they will be protected by our very own financial whizzes.
And so it goes on. Unfortunately, someone in the new Ukrainian government flexes his anti-Russian muscles, and the Russian language is stripped of its official status throughout Ukraine. Fortunately, someone else sees sense and the move is cancelled. But if you were a Russian speaker, wouldn't you be rattled? Wouldn't you look around for support? Sixty per cent of Crimea's population is Russian. Suddenly, Russian troops appear in Crimea. Is it an annexation or a rescue? It depends on your point of view. Is there any evidence that Russia was behind the Crimean move to secede from Ukraine, or was it a homegrown initiative, as in 1993? The Russian Black Sea fleet had been docked on territory controlled by anti-Russians. And rumour has it that Nato is sniffing around for a new place to park its ICBMs. (But that's OK, because Nato is on our side.)
A rally in Moscow in support of Vladimir Putin's stance on Crimea. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images Europe
19th June 1869: A Tartar shepherd-boy in the Crimea. A group of Ukrainian peasants at Yalta, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, July 1930.
MASSANDRA, UKRAINE: A picture taken at the beginning of the 19th century shows the last Russian Tsar and founder of the Massandra winery Nicolas II (L) walking along his vineyards in Massandra, not far from the Crimean resort of Yalta. MASSANDRA WINERY/AFP/Getty Images #
I am no fan of Vladimir Putin, who is, in my opinion, a loathsome, anti-democratic tyrant with physique issues. But the EU and the US have played right into his grubby little hands. His popularity has soared enormously, because he has been doing exactly what a leader is supposed to do: he has been sticking up for the interests of his people. Would any western government allow its fleet to fall into the hands of its enemies? I hope not, though given the level of incompetence we have witnessed so far, anything is possible. Would any western government allow its enemies to station missiles a few miles off shore? Kennedy was hailed a hero for putting his foot down over Cuba. And Putin is being hailed a hero over Crimea. Whether the threats are real or not is irrelevant at this point.
The Crimean peninsula itself had been ruled by Russia for centuries until Nikita Khrushchev gave it away to Ukraine in 1954, a move that was deeply unpopular in Russia – some say Khrushchev was drunk at the time –and most ordinary Russians – as well, it seems, as a majority of Crimeans themselves – would like to see it returned to Russia. Putin is also off the hook over the Ukrainian economy. Previously, Russia had agreed to bail out Kiev, but it seems that now this cost will be borne by European taxpayers. Will Ukraine also be offered membership of the EU? This is what most of the Maidan protesters were hoping for, but in truth, it was never on offer.
All this makes me immensely sad, because Ukraine is a wonderful country, and Ukrainian people are clever, hard-working, resourceful, passionate, generous and good fun. They deserve better than to be pawns in this cynical east-west power game of spheres of influence, which has nothing at all to do with Iron Curtain anti-communism any more, and has even less to do with the wellbeing and happiness of ordinary people. Of course Ukrainians should be part of the EU: they have much to contribute, and were less of an economic basket-case before western advisers introduced them to casino capitalism. Maybe Russia will also one day be part of the EU. Why not? Of course Ukraine should not turn its back on its eastern neighbour. Putin is not to everyone's taste, for sure, but the Russian people are not the enemies of the Ukrainian people; on the contrary, in many cases, as in my own family, they are friends, colleagues, cousins, in-laws, husbands and wives.
The cynicism and hypocrisy with which some politicians have tried to pick apart the seams in this delicate and ancient fabric fills me with rage and despair. The histories of Russia and Ukraine have been entwined since at least the ninth century, and so have Russian and Ukrainian families. Only in some fascist paradise are people ethnically "pure".
As the German invasion of the Ukraine continues, soldiers of the invading Wehrmacht troops are seen in the cover of a shell-marked wall, at an unknown location on the Crimean peninsula, in November 1941. (AP Photo) #
In fact, Kiev was the original capital of Kievan Rus', the proto-Russian Slavic state of the early middle ages, but became too vulnerable during the Mongol invasions, and the administrative and royal headquarters were moved north, near Moscow, which gradually became the dominant region. The languages of north and south drifted apart, too, but are mutually comprehensible, and closer than, say, Italian and Spanish. Many people, speak Surzhyk, a mongrel mixture of the two. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the western part of Ukraine was annexed by the Polish empire, which imposed Catholicism on a previously Orthodox population. During the 19th century, this region, Galicia, centred on the city of Lviv, belonged to the Catholic Austro-Hungarian empire. Not surprisingly, these regions of Ukraine are still predominantly Catholic, and see themselves as belonging in the west. In a way, this historic tug of war between Poland and Russia over Ukraine is still being played out, with Poland being the strongest champion of Ukraine in the EU. Poles sometimes refer to Ukrainians as "Eastern Poles", while Russians still sometimes call them "Little Russians".
At the end of the second world war, when Churchill and Stalin met in Yalta to define the boundaries of the new world order, western-born Ukrainians who were refugees or ostarbeiter working under the Third Reich were allowed to stay in the west, like my family, whereas those who came from further east were sent back, often to face the gulag. This is why most Ukrainians now living in western countries hail from that western Catholic part of Ukraine, and are likely to support the Maidan protesters.
Ukrainian nationalists gather round the controversial statue of Stepan Bandera in Lviv. Photograph: ITAR-TASS Photo Agency / Alamy/Alamy
22nd November 1941: Locals watch as a German column passes through the city of Simferopol, the Crimean capital, which they had captured on 2 November. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) #
The second world war has left its gory mark on this part of Ukraine in another way, too. Galicia was home to the notorious pro-Nazi Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose leader, Stepan Bandera, was viewed as a hero by some Ukrainian nationalists (including my maternal grandfather), but a fascist antisemite by others (including my paternal aunt).
The staggering wartime losses suffered during the second world war, which is still called the Great Patriotic war by those in Russia and the east of Ukraine, also underlies much of the bitterness now surfacing on the streets, since a member of the new Ukrainian government actually tried to ban the use of the term. Some 20 million Soviet citizens perished in the war against fascism, an almost unimaginable sacrifice; hostility towards those seen as neo-fascists is easily ignited. It is a defining historical sacrifice for eastern Ukrainians, in a way that Stalin's famine of the 1930s has become a defining sacrifice for Ukrainians in the west. In 2006, the authorities in Lviv erected a statue of Bandera in the central square, which provoked outrage in the east. It is Bandera's spiritual descendants who provided much of the organised violent muscle on the streets of Kiev. To tar the whole of the protest with the fascist brush would be very unfair, since most of the protesters are clearly just ordinary citizens fed up with the suffocating corruption of the old regime. But the western powers should be careful not to collude with neo-Nazis (though, to judge from much media coverage, their snipers and molotov cocktails are OK, because they're on our side).
As the German invasion of the southern Ukraine continues, soldiers of an advance division are seen at an unknown village, somewhere between the Crimean Mountains and the Black Sea, on March 12, 1941. A military convoy is moving down a street in the background. AP Photo) #
What will happen next? I predict that nothing will happen. There will be a tremendous amount of huffing and puffing of hot air; well-oiled muscles will be flexed and machinery moved about. Some kleptocratic Russian and Ukrainian ladies will have to put on hold their next shopping trip to Harrods or Gucci. But for the bankers, oligarchs and oilmen, it will be business as usual. They will still own big chunks of London. And, fortunately, their offspring will still be able to enjoy their elite education in some of the world's finest private schools cut-price, thanks to the generosity of the British taxpayers who have deemed those institutions to be charities.
Let us hope I am right, because the alternative is civil war: people slaughtering each other in the streets over some fabricated notion of ethnicity. And even a bit of hot air and hypocrisy is preferable to that.
This picture shows Nazi Stuka bombers in flight heading towards their target over coastal territory between Dniepr and Crimea, towards the Gate of the Crimea on Nov. 6, 1941. Apparently the narrow neck of the Russian black-sea Peninsula ris where the Germans are reported to be steadily pushing forward. (AP Photo) #
The rock-like defence of Sevastopol, the Malta of the Crimea, on June 12, 1942, shows no signs of weakening under a new all-out offensive by General von Mannheim’s armies. Symbolic of the heroic garrison is this Russian girl sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who has killed by her accurate shooting the magnificent total of 300 Germans before Sevastopol. (AP Photo) #
The bodies of two fallen Soviet soldiers lie at roadside, while a truck of the Romanian Army, with an artillery gun in tow, advances towards the city of Kerch, in June 1942, during the Battle of the Crimea in World War II. (AP Photo) #
October 1942: German troops making a dash to escape in the Crimea are cut off by Russian forces. An armoured personnel carrier is seen rushing through a burning Russian village on their way to the Dnieper River. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) #
circa 1944: Germans in the Crimea making their escape from the approaching Russians. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) #
February 1945: American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945), right, with Admiral William D. Leahy (1875 - 1959) and General George C. Marshall (1880 - 1950) at the conference in Yalta, in the Crimea. Russian premier Marshal Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953), left of centre at the table, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), with his back to the camera, are also amongst those present at the conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) #
President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin, accompanied by Foreign Secretaries, Chiefs of Staff and other Advisors, met at Yalta in the Crimea in February 1945. (AP Photo) #
With their foreign secretaries behind them, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin sit on the patio of Livadia Palace, Yalta, Crimea, Feb. 4, 1945. Standing, from left: Foreign Sec. Anthony Eden, Sec. of State Edward R. Stettinius, and Foreign Commissar Vyasheslav Molotov. (AP Photo) #
circa 1950: A shady bus stop in Yalta. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images) #
Black Sea Fleet sailor adjusts a former Soviet navy flag atop a fleet submarine, Wednesday, March 20, 1996 at the Sevastopol naval base, the Crimea, Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine so far have failed to divide their shares of the fleet ships, which still carry old Soviet naval flags along with Russian ones. (AP Photo/Sergei Volkov) #
Some of 100 thousand Tatars, (Turkic ethnic group) who returned to their native land, stare from behind a barbed wire fence in a ìghettoî in Crimea on Sunday, Oct. 30, 1990, which they built with official permission near small village Koreis in Cremea, the slogan reads Motherland or death. (AP Photo/Vladimir Lagrange) #
Crimean Tatars wipe their tears at a mourning rally during the 60th anniversary of deportation of ethnic Tatars under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 18, 2004. Thousands of people gathered in Simferopol main square to honor the memory of victims of the Soviet regime (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) #
SIMFEROPOL, UKRAINE - MAY 18: A woman carries a flag during a demonstration for the Crimean Tartars May 18, 2003 in Simferopol, Ukraine. The demonstration marked the 59th anniversary of a mass deportation by Stalin's regime during World War II of the Crimean Tarters, the name given to Turkic people living in the Crimean Peninsula in what is now the Ukraine. Approximately 15,000 participants took part in this demonstration. (Photo by Sergei Svetlitsky/Getty Images) #
CRIMEA, UKRAINE - AUGUST 18: Sunbathers lay out on the rugged beach of Yalta August 18, 2003 in Crimea, Ukraine. After the number of annual visitors to the Black Sea peninsula dropped from 8 million in the late Soviet era to just 3 million in the mid 1990's, about 4.5 million vacationers traveled to Crimea in 2002. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images) #
SEVASTOPOL, UKRAINE - AUGUST 15: Russian sailors tend to a "Varshavyanka" submarine August 15, 2003 in Sevastopol, Crimea in the Ukraine. Sevastopol is the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Russia and the Ukraine have an agreement keeping the base in Sevastopol through 2017. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images) #
SEVASTOPOL, UKRAINE - AUGUST 15: Russian sailors linger on a street August 15, 2003 in Sevastopol, Crimea in the Ukraine. Sevastopol is the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Russia and the Ukraine have an agreement keeping the base in Sevastopol through 2017. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union named Operation Barbarossa -- some 4.5 million troops launched a surprise attack deployed from German-controlled Poland, Finland, and Romania. Hitler had long had his eye on Soviet resources. Although Germany had signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR in 1939, both sides remained suspicious of one another, and the agreement merely gave them more time to prepare for a probable war. Even so, the Soviets were unprepared for the sudden blitzkreig attacks across a border that spanned nearly 2,900 km (1,800 mi), and they suffered horrible losses. Within a single week, German forces advanced 200 miles into Soviet territory, destroyed nearly 4,000 aircraft, and killed, captured, or wounded some 600,000 Red Army troops. By December of 1941, German troops were within sight of Moscow, and they laid siege to the city. But, when the notorious Russian winter (nicknamed "General Winter") set in, German advances came to a halt. By the end of this, one of the largest, deadliest military operations in history, Germany had suffered some 775,000 casualties. More than 800,000 Soviets had been killed, and an additional 6 million Soviet soldiers had been wounded or captured. Despite massive advances, Hitler's plan to conquer the Soviet Union before winter had failed, at great cost, and that failure would prove to be a turning point in the war.
A German infantryman walks toward the body of a killed Soviet soldier and a burning BT-7 light tank in the southern Soviet Union in in 1941, during the early days of Operation Barbarossa. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive)
(Editor's note, the date in this caption was in error, these rocket launchers were not deployed until later in the war.) Soviet rocket launchers fire as German forces attack the USSR on June 22, 1941. (AFP/Getty Images) #
An Sd.Kfz-250 half-track in front of German tank units, as they prepare for an attack, on July 21, 1941, somewhere along the Russian warfront, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. (AP Photo) #
A German half-track driver inside an armored vehicle in Russia in August of 1941.(Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive) #
German infantrymen watch enemy movements from their trenches shortly before an advance inside Soviet territory, on July 10, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German Stuka dive-bombers, in flight heading towards their target over coastal territory between Dniepr and Crimea, towards the Gate of the Crimea on November 6, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German soldiers cross a river, identified as the Don river, in a stormboat, sometime in 1941, during the German invasion of the Caucasus region in the Soviet Union. (AP Photo) #
German soldiers move a horse-drawn vehicle over a corduroy road while crossing a wetland area, in October 1941, near Salla on Kola Peninsula, a Soviet-occupied region in northeast Finland. (AP Photo) #
With a burning bridge across the Dnieper river in the background, a German sentry keeps watch in the recently-captured city of Kiev, in 1941. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive) #
Machine gunners of the far eastern Red Army in the USSR, during the German invasion of 1941. (LOC) #
A German bomber, with its starboard engine on fire, goes down over an unknown location, during World War II, in November, 1941.(AP Photo) #
Nazi troops lie concealed in the undergrowth during the fighting prior to the capture of Kiev, Ukraine, in 1941. (AP Photo) #
Evidence of Soviet resistance in the streets of Rostov, a scene in late 1941, encountered by the Germans as they entered the heavily besieged city. (AP Photo) #
Russian soldiers, left, hands clasped to heads, marched back to the rear of the German lines on July 2, 1941, as a column of Nazi troops move up to the front at the start of hostilities between Germany and Russia. (AP Photo) #
Russian men and women rescue their humble belongings from their burning homes, said to have been set on fire by the Russians, part of a scorched-earth policy, in a Leningrad suburb on October 21, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Reindeer graze on an airfield in Finland on July 26, 1941. In the background a German war plane takes off. (AP Photo) #
Heinrich Himmler (left, in glasses), head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, inspects a prisoner-of-war camp in this from 1940-41 in Russia. (National Archives) #
Evidence of the fierce fighting on the Moscow sector of the front is provided in this photo showing what the Germans claim to be some of the 650,000 Russian prisoners which they captured at Bryansk and Vyasma. They are here seen waiting to be transported to a prisoner of war camp somewhere in Russia, on Nov. 2, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Adolf Hitler, center, studies a Russian war map with General Field Marshal Walter Von Brauchitsch, left, German commander in chief, and Chief of Staff Col. General Franz Halder, on August 7, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German soldiers, supported by armored personnel carriers, move into a burning Russian village at an unknown location during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, on June 26, 1941. (AP Photo) #
A huge Russian gun on tracks, likely a 203 mm howitzer M1931, is manned by its crew in a well-concealed position on the Russian front on September 15, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Rapidly advancing German forces encountered serious guerrilla resistance behind their front lines. Here, four guerrillas with fixed bayonets and a small machine gun are seen in action, near a small village. (LOC) #
Red Army soldiers examine war trophies captured in battles with invading Germans, somewhere in Russia, on September 19, 1941.(AP Photo) #
A view of the destruction in Riga, the capital of Latvia, on October 3, 1941, after the wave of war had passed over it, the Russians had withdrawn and it was in Nazi hands. (AP Photo) #
Five Soviet civilians on a platform, with nooses around their necks, about to be hanged by German soldiers, near the town of Velizh in the Smolensk region, in September of 1941. (LOC) #
A Finnish troop train passes through a scene of an earlier explosion which wrecked one train, tearing up the rails and embankment, on October 19, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Burning houses, ruins and wrecks speak for the ferocity of the battle preceding this moment when German forces entered the stubbornly defended industrial center of Rostov on the lower Don River, in Russia, on November 22, 1941. (AP Photo) #
General Heinz Guderian, commander of Germany's Panzergruppe 2, chats with members of a tank crew on the Russian front, on September 3, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German soldiers remove one of many Soviet national emblems during their drive to conquer Russia on July 18, 1941. (AP Photo) #
A man, his wife, and child are seen after they had left Minsk on August 9, 1941, when the German army swarmed in. The original wartime caption reads, in part: "Hatred for the Nazis burns in the man's eyes as he holds his little child, while his wife, completely exhausted, lies on the pavement." (AP Photo) #
German officials claimed that this photo was a long-distance camera view of Leningrad, taken from the Germans' seige lines, on October 1, 1941, the dark shapes in the sky were identified as Soviet aircraft on patrol, but were more likely barrage balloons. This would mark the furthest advance into the city for the Germans, who laid seige to Leningrad for more than two more years, but were unable to fully capture the city. (AP Photo) #
A flood of Russian armored cars move toward the front, on October 19, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German Army Commander Colonel General Ernst Busch inspects an anti-aircraft gun position, somewhere in Germany, on Sept. 3, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Finnish soldiers storm a soviet bunker on August 10, 1941. One of the Soviet bunker's crew surrenders, left. (AP Photo) #
German troops make a hasty advance through a blazing Leningrad suburb, in Russia on Nov. 24, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Russian prisoners of war, taken by the Germans on July 7, 1941. (AP Photo) #
An column of Russian prisoners of war taken during recent fighting in Ukraine, on their way to a Nazi prison camp on September 3, 1941. (AP Photo) #
German mechanized troops rest at Stariza, Russia on November 21, 1941, only just evacuated by the Russians, before continuing the fight for Kiev. The gutted buildings in the background testify to the thoroughness of the Russians "scorched earth" policy.(AP Photo) #
German infantrymen force their way into a snipers hide-out, where Russians had been firing upon advancing German troops, on September 1, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Two Russian soldiers, now prisoners of war, inspect a giant statue of Lenin, somewhere in Russia, torn from its pedestal and smashed by the Germans in their advance, on August 9, 1941. Note the rope round the neck of the statue, left there in symbolic fashion by the Germans. (AP Photo) #
German sources described the gloomy looking officer at the right as a captured Russian colonel who is being interrogated by Nazi officers on October 24, 1941. (AP Photo) #
Flames shoot high from burning buildings in the background as German troops enter the city of Smolensk, in the central Soviet Union, during their offensive drive onto the capital Moscow, in August of 1941. (AP Photo) #
This trainload of men was described by German sources as Soviet prisoners en route to Germany, on October 3, 1941. Several million Soviet soldiers were eventually sent to German prison camps, the majority of whom never returned alive. (AP Photo) #
Russian snipers leave their hide-out in a wheat field, somewhere in Russia, on August 27, 1941, watched by German soldiers. In foreground is a disabled soviet tank. (AP Photo) #
German infantrymen in heavy winter gear march next to horse-drawn vehicles as they pass through a district near Moscow, in November 1941. Winter conditions strained an already thin supply line, and forced Germany to halt its advance - leaving soldiers exposed to the elements and Soviet counterattacks, resulting in heavy casualties and a serious loss of momentum in the war.(AP Photo)