Table of contents:
- White emigrant scouts and saboteurs "Asano"
- Zombie potential saboteurs
- From "Asanovites" to labor brigades
- Returning to your
In military literature, there are often references to the participation in clashes with the Russians of large units of White émigrés on the side of the Japanese. The soldiers of the Asano unit, created in Manchukuo three years before the start of the Great Patriotic War, were used by the Japanese for reconnaissance and sabotage work. However, domestic researchers, who have studied the declassified documents for a long time, have not found unequivocal confirmation of the voluntary participation of the Russian emigration in the battles against the USSR army. But there are plenty of examples of undercover work and assistance to the Soviet military.
White emigrant scouts and saboteurs "Asano"
After the Red troops took Vladivostok in October 1922, thousands of refugees from White Primorye poured across the border. Most of them went to Manchuria, which at that time belonged to China. The city of Harbin became the capital of Russian emigrants. The composition of the emigrant wave was motley: soldiers and Cossacks, railway workers and officers, merchants and criminals.
With the help of experienced Russian cadres, the Japanese military authorities maintained their fighting spirit, preparing an organized "fifth column" for their own aggressive purposes. After the capture of Manchuria by the Japanese and the creation of the puppet country of Manchukuo, the Russian military emigration established close contacts with the Japanese commanders. Small groups united into large units, which later became part of the Kwantung Army.
The number of Russian military in the ranks of the Japanese was about 700 people. The emigrants were financed by the Manchu War Ministry, soldiers from the Asan unit dressed in Manchu military uniforms. However, in the warehouses, in case of special assignments, sets of Soviet uniforms and Red Army weapons were stored. Russians were trained to be thrown into the territory of the Soviet Union, as well as to carry out acts of sabotage in the rear of the Red Army in case of war between the USSR and Japan. And if at first only former servicemen of the White Army were involved in this work, then later the Japanese propaganda was reoriented to the White emigre youth.
Zombie potential saboteurs
Judging by the information declassified for today, Asano did not take direct part in the battles with the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War. After Hitler's attack on the country of the Soviets, the fighters of the émigré formations were thrown into Soviet territory for reconnaissance purposes. Long before these events, servicemen were professionally trained in the possession of intelligence and subversive systems, were subjected to ideological indoctrination. In addition, the emigrant combat battalion in the future could be involved in suppressing the uprisings of Manchu units and in the fight against partisans. After all, despite the ideological contradictions with the communists, not all Russian immigrants sought to conduct subversive activities in the homeland of their fathers.
The Japanese authorities had to put pressure on potential spies, forcing them to cooperate. But the Japanese understood that the ideological enemy of the USSR would be more effective than a saboteur recruited by threats and intimidated. For this reason, in Manchukuo, a true "zombification" of the inhabitants was carried out. Newspapers, radio, social organizations obsessively glorified everything Japanese - power, traditions, medicine, army, education. Cinematography has become one of the most powerful propaganda weapons. In the 1930s, 80 cinemas operated in Manchuria, and already in 1942 the number of such institutions exceeded two hundred.
In the first half of World War II, Harbinians had the opportunity to watch only Japanese and German films, burdened with an ideological component. Competently filmed short films told about the delights of life in Manchuria after the Japanese occupation. Newsreels presented the soldiers of the imperial army as true heroes, glorifying their high-profile exploits.
Prescribed to the inhabitants of Harbin for viewing and propaganda films of Nazi Germany - an ally of Japan of that period. And after the most significant prime ministers, high-ranking leaders made emotional speeches about the importance of a decisive struggle against the communists in close cooperation with the Nazis. Naturally, regularly getting to such film shows, young Russian settlers voluntarily and forcibly imbued with "reasonable" ideas, replenishing the ranks of Japanese intelligence schools.
From "Asanovites" to labor brigades
Despite the fact that the emigre administration convinced the new command of all possible support, the Japanese were in no hurry to trust their Russian allies. Everyone understood that some of the emigrants were just waiting for the arrival of their compatriots. It was also no secret that some Asanovites worked in favor of Soviet intelligence.
In the fall of 1943, all Japanese officers in Asano were replaced by Russians. A month later, the brigade was reorganized (according to the official version, in order to expand the Russian-émigré groups in the Manchurian army) into the RVO (Russian military detachment). By the summer of 1945, the activities of an independent military unit were suspended. Most of the weapons were removed, and agricultural labor brigades were formed from part of the rank and file. The rest were disbanded to their places of residence until special orders.
Returning to your
In August 1945, the emigrants learned that the USSR had declared war on Japan, starting hostilities against it. The Japanese began an urgent mobilization of the armed forces of Manchukuo, including Russian units. The commander of the White emigrants, Colonel Smirnov, after several meetings, suggested that the detachment be disbanded, with which the rest of the Russian officers agreed. Soon the privates and non-commissioned officers received a command to disband, and a couple of dozen soldiers remained in the detachment, who, under the leadership of Smirnov, began to guard warehouses, barracks property and a strategic railway crossing over the Sungari River. When the Red Army approached, it was decided to surrender.
Smirnov was the first to contact the Soviet military command, showing a desire to cooperate. The ordinary emigrants who were subject to mobilization behaved in a similar way. The Japanese Russians were hiding, running into the woods. Some more proactive people created anti-Japanese partisan detachments, which included the Chinese along with them. The guerrillas operated in the rear of the Japanese, and after the defeat of their army, they destroyed the remaining battle groups and handed over the Japanese prisoners to the Soviet military. Other members of the command of the emigrant brigade also went to secret cooperation with Soviet intelligence.
But in the very center of Japan there is still a real Russian village.