Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

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Art
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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 04 Dec 2019 12:10

Mikko H. wrote:
03 Dec 2019 18:08
I assume that during the 80 years that has passed at least some shreds of circumstantial evidence would have surfaced.
You see, no circumstantial evidences have surfaced which would support any version.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 04 Dec 2019 12:17

Sid Guttridge wrote:
04 Dec 2019 11:08
It seems inherently unlikely that tiny states such as Finland (pop. 3,700) or Estonia (pop. 1,100,000), neither of which had military alliances with anyone else, would unilaterally provoke the USSR (pop. 169,000,000) in 1939.
That line of reasoning assumes that border accidents should necessarily be a deliberate provocation. In fact if you look at it closely you would see that:
1) Border incidents involving firearms were as trivial events in 1930s as snow in winter
2) They mostly happened spontaneously rather than by somebody's grand design.
The particular event in Mainila simply got more PR than the others.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Mikko H. » 04 Dec 2019 16:01

Art wrote:
04 Dec 2019 12:10
Mikko H. wrote:
03 Dec 2019 18:08
I assume that during the 80 years that has passed at least some shreds of circumstantial evidence would have surfaced.
You see, no circumstantial evidences have surfaced which would support any version.
There is more than circumstantial evidence pointing to deliberate provocation arranged by Soviet state agencies: observations by Finnish border guards, notes found in Zhdanov's archives.
That line of reasoning assumes that border accidents should necessarily be a deliberate provocation. In fact if you look at it closely you would see that:
1) Border incidents involving firearms were as trivial events in 1930s as snow in winter
2) They mostly happened spontaneously rather than by somebody's grand design.
The particular event in Mainila simply got more PR than the others.
Sorry, but I find this line of reasoning extremely unlikely. Finns had no artillery withing range that could have fired the shells, so for Finns to have fired them accidentally, one has to create an absurdly unlikely scenario. OTOH, the USSR had both motive and opportunity to stage an incident. Just two days later they staged another one in far north in Pummanki.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 04 Dec 2019 16:52

Mikko H. wrote:
04 Dec 2019 16:01
There is more than circumstantial evidence pointing to deliberate provocation arranged by Soviet state agencies: observations by Finnish border guards, notes found in Zhdanov's archives.
Notes from the Zhdanov archive is a single word "radio-set" which Manninen misread as "shooting". Observation of Finnish border guard were contradictory in regard to the number and succession of shots they heard or observed. Altogether they only saw shells exploding on the Soviet side of the border which itself doesn't say anything in favor of any version.
Sorry, but I find this line of reasoning extremely unlikely
That there were incidents at different places of the Soviet border in 1939 or later or earlier, some with human casualties is not a line of reasoning, it's a fact. Again, these incidents usually didn't get much PR and have been mostly forgotten. The only unusual thing about Mainila was the scale of diplomatic and propaganda reaction.
As for field artillery argument: the distance to the border was so short that even infantry mortars would suffice.
Again: I don't find the "Finnish shots" the most likely but I also don't see it completely improbable. An again I don't think that it would make much difference.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 04 Dec 2019 18:56

It’s easy predicting the future; what’s difficult is predicting the past.
– Soviet joke

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 Dec 2019 19:34

Art wrote:
04 Dec 2019 12:10
any version.
You write here as there were two equal versions, which I find incorrect.
There exists a Soviet/Russian claim and Finnish reports of what we knew about the claim.

Sid Guttridge wrote:
04 Dec 2019 11:08
The onus is very much on the Soviet side to provide proof.
Yep.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 04 Dec 2019 20:10

Juha Tompuri wrote:
04 Dec 2019 19:34
You write here as there were two equal versions, which I find incorrect.
There are more than two possible versions. The problem is that all of them are speculative and lack factual basis.
Again, it's not really important if the incident was deliberately engineered or it happened by accident and was used for propaganda purposes. It's just a small detail that doesn't change the genesis of war.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 04 Dec 2019 20:22

Art wrote:
04 Dec 2019 16:52
Notes from the Zhdanov archive is a single word "radio-set" which Manninen misread as "shooting".
For those who didn't know the story: some time ago Finnish scholar Otto Manninen found a document in Zhdanov's paper which as he claimed had the plan for staging the incident. The document is in fact a small piece of paper without any date with barely a dozen of words on it. One of the word as Manninen said was "расстрел" (shooting) and as he speculated it was somehow related to Mainila. In fact Manninen fell victim of Zhdanov's sloppy hand-script, because the word in question is "рация" (radio set), and the whole version was built on a sand (see the para 2 on the image):

Image

The meaning of the Zhdanov's paper is somehow obscure, but apparently it dealt with propaganda activity at the start of the Winter War, and possibly with Kuusinen's government formation.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 Dec 2019 20:33

Art wrote:
04 Dec 2019 20:10
Juha Tompuri wrote:
04 Dec 2019 19:34
You write here as there were two equal versions, which I find incorrect.
There are more than two possible versions.
Interesting.
Could you post us the versions you mean/know, and how do you rate them?
The problem is that all of them are speculative and lack factual basis.
You mean that the Finnish reports about the Soviet/Russian claim are "speculative and lack factual basis"?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Dec 2019 13:29

Hi Art,

You post,

"That line of reasoning assumes that border accidents should necessarily be a deliberate provocation. In fact if you look at it closely you would see that:
1) Border incidents involving firearms were as trivial events in 1930s as snow in winter
2) They mostly happened spontaneously rather than by somebody's grand design.
The particular event in Mainila simply got more PR than the others.
"

1) Certainly unplanned firearms incidents were probably not uncommon, but they were also a recognised means of increasing tensions and pressures on weaker states. In 1938-39 Germany used them in Austria (Austrian Legion), Sudetenland (Freikorps)and Danzig (SA) and opened its war against Poland with one by Brandenburgers. The USSR also stands accused of contriving them against Estonia and Romania (Bessarabia/Moldova), at the very least.

2) The alleged Mainila incident was exceptional in that it reportedly involved artillery. Exceptional incidents require exceptional evidence. This appears to be singularly lacking.

It is also exceptional because the accusation is that the far weaker party was suicidally provoking the much stronger party. Again, such counter-intuitive, exceptional circumstances require exceptional evidence

As I posted before, "The onus is very much on the Soviet side to provide substantive proof."

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 05 Dec 2019 16:03

Juha Tompuri wrote:
04 Dec 2019 20:33
Could you post us the versions you mean/know, and how do you rate them?
Pavel Aptekar' claimed that the very fact of artillery shooting didn't take place and was invented for propaganda purpose. If you stick to the "shooting was real" version, than you have different options regarding who made it and for what reasons. For example, Finns in the their initial response suggested that it was a result of error during Red Army's exercises. Etc etc.
You mean that the Finnish reports about the Soviet/Russian claim are "speculative and lack factual basis"?
Which of them? They were mutually contradictory.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Art » 05 Dec 2019 16:40

Sid Guttridge wrote:
05 Dec 2019 13:29
1) Certainly unplanned firearms incidents were probably not uncommon, but they were also a recognised means of increasing tensions and pressures on weaker states.
For example, according to NKVD forces commander Maslennikov when the Finnish delegation returned from negotiations at Moscow on 15 October 1939 Finnish border guards made two shots on Soviet officers that closed to the border at that moment. Did Finns wanted to increase their pressure on the USSR? I don't think so.
he USSR also stands accused of contriving them against Estonia and Romania (Bessarabia/Moldova)
In June 1940 Soviet border guards attacked Latvian (not Estonian) border posts without an order by their own initiative. That's a known case demonstrating that spontaneous actions without order from above in politically tense situations were not improbable. I'm not sure what was a Romanian border incident exactly, I suppose one of many spontaneous accidents that happened here and there.
2) The alleged Mainila incident was exceptional in that it reportedly involved artillery.
There were incident involving artillery on Soviet-Manchurian border. There were certainly more rare but not exceptional. There is a good Soviet are collection of document called "Soviet border troops 1939-1941" which lists probably not all, but at least many of these border incidents. And I want to repeat it again, there were many-many of them. The most specials thing about Mainila is that it was hugely PRed. Alleged human casualties and employment of explosive ammo was not the most common thing but not altogether exceptional.
It is also exceptional because the accusation is that the far weaker party was suicidally provoking the much stronger party
Well, "spontaneous" incidents are called spontaneous because they don't happen by design. Hence discussing their rationale is altogether meaningless. Then, in fact the bulk of these dozens or hundreds border incidents that happened annually didn't have any consequences other than formal diplomatic protests at most. So they didn't provoke anybody to anything.
As I posted before, "The onus is very much on the Soviet side to provide substantive proof."
Nope, in historical science you've got to have factual basis behind any statement. Since any serious Soviet investigation was absent, and Finnish investigation was token to they the least, you've got too few facts to support any possible version. And most probably would never have.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Mikko H. » 05 Dec 2019 17:15

Finnish forces near the border were under orders to observe strict fire discipline precisely to avoid any incidents that could provoke the USSR.

OTOH, as the incident that took place two days later at Pummanki shows, arranging such provocations was very much on the Soviet to-do list.

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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by Mikko H. » 05 Dec 2019 18:09

4th Border Company war diary for 26 November 1939 (http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=1560400) is otherwise full of the same dull routine as on the many days before, but something happened in the afternoon:

7.00 Reveille
7.00 Weather –3 °C snowing lightly
7.05–7.20 Morning exercise
7.20–8.00 Morning chores
8.00 Morning coffee
11.00 Meal
13.00 Church service
14.45 Between 14.45–15.00 explosions were heard from Mainila
17.00 Meal
21.00 Silence

Certainly something exploded at Mainila.

Screenshot 2019-12-05 at 18.53.56.png
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Re: Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

Post by mars » 05 Dec 2019 20:02

I think what art means was the incident of Mainila could be caused by
1) An plot designed by Soviet government as a reason to launch a war against Finland or
2) It could be merely an accident from either side, or one of many border incident initiated by individuals from either side, Soviet government just used this incident as a convenient excuse to launch a war against Finland

No one would ever deny that Soviet was the aggressor in the winter war, though the real cause of this incident were still not known because of the lack of through investigation, but did it really matter ?

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