Russia says D-Day memorials are part of a 'false' history of WWII meant to airbrush out the Soviet Union
- Russia's foreign minister said that the expansive events commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day are painting a "false" picture of who won World War II.
- Sergei Lavrov, in an article published Tuesday, said that the West propagates a "false" history of the conflict which minimizes the contributions of the Soviet Union.
- Lavrov wrote: "Young people are being told that the main credit in victory over Nazism and liberation of Europe goes not to the Soviet troops, but to the West due to the landing in Normandy."
- Thursday, June 6, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when US, Canadian, and British forces landed in Normandy, France, and began liberating Nazi-occupied areas.
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Ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Russia's foreign minister said that the commemorations of the event are part of a "false" history which belittles the contribution of the Soviet Union to defeating Nazi Germany.
Sergei Lavrov chastised Western powers in an article published in Russia's International Affairs magazine on Tuesday, ahead of events in Europe to mark the D-Day landings which helped change the course of World War II.
"False interpretations of history are being introduced into the Western education system with mystifications and pseudo-historical theories designed to belittle the feat of our ancestors," Lavrov wrote.
"Young people are being told that the main credit in victory over Nazism and liberation of Europe goes not to the Soviet troops, but to the West due to the landing in Normandy, which took place less than a year before Nazism was defeated."
"It was the peoples of the Soviet Union who broke the backbone of the Third Reich. That is a fact."
More than 150,000 soldiers from the US, UK, and Canada took part in D-Day on June 6, 1944. Just under a year later, on May 7, 1945, the German High Command surrendered in Berlin.
By June 1944, Russia had mostly turned back the Nazi forces which first invaded in 1941, and began pursuing them west towards Berlin.
The D-Day landings intensified pressure on Hitler's war machine by forcing the Nazis to fight on two fronts.
The Nazis were pushed back in both directions at once, and Russian and Allied forces reached Berlin at similar times.
The Nazis ultimately surrendered twice, once to the allied forces in Berlin, and a second time to Russia.
Until 1941, the Soviets had an alliance with Nazi Germany, and had agreed to share Eastern Europe - a deal on which Germany ultimately reneged.
Historians agree that the Soviets sustained the heaviest losses of all powers involved in World War II, placing the death toll for the Red Army at between nine million and 11 million soldiers, part of a total 26 million Soviet citizens who died.
Lavrov also wrote Russia has been falsely labeled as an aggressor in World War II.
"Our detractors seek to diminish the role of the Soviet Union in World War II and portray it if not as the main culprit of the war, then at least as an aggressor, along with Nazi Germany," he wrote.
"They cynically equate Nazi occupation, which claimed tens of millions of lives, and the crimes committed by collaborationists with the Red Army's liberating mission."
The Russian Liberation Army were a group of Russian soldiers who defected in 1944, and served under the German Army.
Led by captured general Andrey Vlasov they aimed to exterminate Communism in Russia. When the Third Reich was defeated in May 1945, they surrendered to US forces.
However, historians stress that a huge number of the Liberation Army soldiers only enlisted because they were already prisoners in Nazi work camps, and often faced the choice of enlisting, or being worked to death in the camps.
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