The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands

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The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands investigates the Soviet response to nationalist insurgencies that occurred between 1944 and 1953 in the regions the Soviet Union annexed after the Nazi-Soviet pact: Eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Based on new archival data, Alexander Statiev presents the first comprehensive study of Soviet counterinsurgency that ties together the security tools and populist policies intended to attract the local populations. The book traces the origins of the Soviet pacification doctrine and then presents a comparative analysis of the rural societies in Eastern Poland and the Baltic States on the eve of the Soviet invasion. This analysis is followed by a description of the anti-communist resistance movements. Subsequently, the author shows how ideology affected the Soviet pacification doctrine and examines the major means to enforce the doctrine: agrarian reforms, deportations, amnesties, informant networks, covert operations, and local militias. The book also demonstrates how the Soviet atheist regime used the church in struggle against guerrillas and explains why this regime could not curb the random violence of its police. The final chapter discusses the Soviet experience in the global context.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The Soviet Union’s annexation of western borderlands at the end of World War II sparked fierce insurgencies against Soviet rule, especially in western Ukraine and the Baltic states. Alexander Statiev draws extensively on Russian archival sources to provide a detailed, insightful account of the Soviet regime’s counterinsurgency doctrine in those regions. No previous study in English has addressed this topic in such depth and such breadth. Even those who would challenge some of Statiev’s conclusions and findings can be grateful for the immense amount of research he has done.” – Mark Kramer, Harvard University

“One of the most obscure aspects of Soviet history has long been the violent pacification of the Soviet borderlands after the end of World War II. Professor Statiev has for the first time produced a strikingly original, honest, and comprehensive account of that hidden history. Free of polemic and prejudice, his account will become the standard work.” – Richard Overy, University of Exeter

“Statiev’s book provides an insightful and meticulous look at the postwar counterinsurgency campaigns in the Soviet Union’s western borderlands, shedding new light on the ruthless struggle for control from the Baltics to Ukraine.” – Dave Stone, Kansas State University

"...Statiev has certainly produced a work that is both a valuable contribution to the literature on Soviet nationalities policy and counterinsurgency, and one that should provide material of interest to a wide academic audience." -Alexander Hill, Canadian Slavonic Papers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521768337
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/19/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Statiev is Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He has published articles in the Journal of Military History, Kritika, War in History, the Journal of Strategic Studies, the Journal of Genocide Research, and the Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Professor Statiev's teachings focus on Russian and East European history.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Origins of Soviet counterinsurgency; 2. The borderland societies in the interwar period: the first Soviet occupation and the emergence of nationalist resistance; 3. The borderlands under German occupation (1941–4): social context of the Soviet re-conquest; 4. Nationalist resistance after the Soviet re-conquest; 5. Soviet agrarian policy as a pacification tool; 6. Deportations, 'repatriations' and other types of forced migrations as aspects of security policy; 7. Amnesties; 8. Red rurales: the destruction battalions; 9. Police tactics: actions of NKVD security units, intelligence gathering, covert operations and intimidation; 10. The church in Soviet security policy; 11. Violations of official policy and their impact on pacification; 12. Conclusion: nationalist resistance and Soviet counterinsurgency in the global context; Appendix 1. Note on used terms and geographic and personal names; Appendix 2. Note on primary sources.

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