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News about "the Arctic Stalingrad"

On October 6, 1944, Soviet forces attacked the German occupiers on the Kola Peninsula. A bloody war ended in the north. Sami and other indigenous peoples played a major role in the outcome of the war.


Did you know that East Finnmark was actually under Soviet control until well into the fall of 1945? Stalin had decided to wait for the withdrawal until he had been guaranteed that the liberated East Finnmark would remain superpower-free. Recently came a book that gives a regular reader and certainly also historians much to reflect on.

The authors AA Gorter, WT Gorter and M. Suprun have, with the liberation of East Finnmark 1944-1945, provided us with exciting and appalling information about the end of the war. Following the decision of the Germans to withdraw on October 3, 1944, the Soviet Union waited three days for what would turn out to be "an Arctic Stalingrad" for the occupation forces. Winter stood at the door, and in Moscow it was known that former occupants had been burned by wars in the cold country.

Costly war

Through a series of interviews and dives in Russian archives, the authors have produced material, do not forget the photographs, which show unknown sides of the story, but also confirm the facts that have previously been considered speculation.

The Great Patriotic War cost the Soviet Union about 25 million people. Historians have far from been able to give us a proper coverage of the war in the north. Norwegian and other Western sources have also been written with pen in place. It also includes the Cold War era after 1945.

The Patsamo-Kirkenes operation "was just one of 50 such to liberate the Soviet Union. The goal of the operations in the north was to eradicate two German elite divisions, cost whatever it cost. It meant the loss of people, endless suffering for both soldiers and civilians, and the use of vast resources. This document is flooded with facts and figures that historians will certainly check thoroughly, and for a layman it is difficult to detect errors. Small errors such as Gorbachev giving his famous speech in Murmansk in September 1987 (p. 9), which took place on October 1, do not create suspicion about sloppy in this book packed with source information until the unreadable. It should have been interesting to know the Russian reactions to this bilingual work.


The strongest impression is the series of interviews with those who participated in the fighting. It is important that posterity becomes aware that the Sami, Nenet, Komi and other indigenous representatives made a great effort during the war. The ski and reindeer brigades of soldiers who were accustomed to harsh conditions greatly contributed to the crushing of the German forces. They were also able to catch lasso soldiers, instead of firing shots. Here are some excerpts from the interviews:

"We didn't get this march. No one understood what was the purpose of it. Driving with reindeer was no problem, but why should a reindeer herd march? ”(Sami reindeer herder, Jakov V. Okatov, page 21)

"My face exploded next to mine. The comrade who was close to me was torn to shreds. I got soil all over me. My friends joked with me afterwards and said: 'You have such a thick and solid skull that even a mine can't crack it' '. (Alexei J. Ledkov, Nenets Soldier. Page 25)

"The Germans had tried to take Murmansk before we got there. They even had their families with them. In the spring of 1942, many women's bodies with gold teeth were left at Zapadnaja Litsa. ”(Nikolaj N. Koroljov, Comi of Ethnicity. Page 61)

The end phase of the war is portrayed from day to day. As the Red Army was drawn for blood, women were also sent to the front in the north. Young women who served in both sanitation and infantry. One place says: "The locals in Neiden were almost shocked when they saw soldiers with boobs and machine guns swimming across the Neiden River with the others." (P. 49)


The war was a huge burden on the people of East Finnmark. Soviet aircraft and naval vessels had participated in attacks on the cities of the county to expel the Nazi forces. In 1944 the Northern Fleet aircraft directed a total of 994 attacks on Liinahamari, Kirkenes, Vadsø and Bardø. Only on August 23, 200 Soviet aircraft went loose on Vardø and Vadsø, and since this largely went beyond the civilians "there is no explanation (in Norway) for the reason for these attacks." (P. 133)

There is much to indicate that the Norwegian authorities have tried to hide from posterity what suffering from a central team was willing to inflict on the civilian population in Finnmark. Over time, it has emerged through various books that the population was viewed as both less worthy and unreliable, farmers, fishermen, Sami and Finns. In 1951, the Norwegian authorities planned total evacuation of Finnmark as well as military tactical mass destruction of the county "in the event of a Soviet attack in connection with a major war." (P. 153)

The great value of this book is everything new that new source access reveals. References and sources can track people for further study. Details in the fabric may seem insignificant to the whole, but they can also pave the way for new sources. It was exciting to know more about access to Soviet / Russian sources. What happens now? Authors point to the time of the Cold War.

One moment, however, I would like to call for the evacuation plans for Finnmark in connection with the testing of the doomsday bombs over Novaja Semlja in the early 1960s. Something else should be pointed out: Soviet troops did not retire until September 25, 1945, so that parts of Norway were actually under Soviet command long after the end of the war. Rear Admiral Jørgen Berggrav mentioned this when speaking on behalf of the Northern Norway Regional Command during the 60th anniversary last year. He recalled that during a week, 18 soldiers and officers, 10 on Norwegian soil, lost the Soviet troops that went to liberate East Finnmark 44 / 15-773. During October, a ragged and hungry army was out of Finnmark.

The war was over, but the memories of it are being refreshed and given new content with a significant book like this one.

AA Gorter, WT Gorter, MN Suprun:

"The liberation of East Finnmark 1944-45"

The publisher Arkhangelsk-Pomor 2005

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