Proofs for Soviet point of view about shelling of Mainila.

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

Post by Stiltzkin » 06 Dec 2019 04:48

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 ?
So the Soviets just simply start a war, without investigating a mere incident and already have ("coincidentally") a ready-made, transitory government, with designated political figures, who in case of a victory would take over?
It could be merely an accident from either side,
Imperialistic expansionism is reinterpreted and rated as an "accident"? Were Hitler's annexations also accidents? Conquering Finnish territory with the intention of eradicating the entire Intelligenzija should be dismissed as an act of chance?

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Dec 2019 17:44

Hi Art,

1) Maslennikov is hardly a an unbiased observer. He represents one of the parties allegedly involved.

2) Artillery incidents certainly are rare and exceptional. However, they are rarely, if ever, accidental. As artillery is essentially an indirect fire weapon, its use has almost necessarily to be premeditated and involve a number of people acting collaboratively.

3) You say, ".....they didn't provoke anybody to anything." Well, if they were accidental they might well not. However, interestingly, all the examples raised here so far seem to be on the borders of the USSR and Nazi Germany - two expansionist authoritarian powers that were also by some way the most populous in Europe and were very shortly to try to over run the other parties involved in the incidents. Coincidence?

You post, "....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."

If so, then there is no substantive evidence that the incident ever happened.

As I posted before, "The onus is very much on the Soviet side to provide substantive proof" if we are to take it further. In the absence of such substantive proof, the "incident" might as well be a fiction (which is certainly one plausible explanation).

Cheers,

Sid.






Sid Guttridge wrote: ↑05 Dec 2019 12:29
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 mars » 06 Dec 2019 21:17

Stiltzkin wrote:
06 Dec 2019 04:48

So the Soviets just simply start a war, without investigating a mere incident and already have ("coincidentally") a ready-made, transitory government, with designated political figures, who in case of a victory would take over?
No, you miss my point, Soviet has already decided to invade Finland, the evidence was that they had already "have ("coincidentally") a ready-made, transitory government, with designated political figures," now what they needed was an excuse, the Mainila incident provided them an excuse, whether Soviet government actually plotted this incident did not matter
Stiltzkin wrote:
06 Dec 2019 04:48

Imperialistic expansionism is reinterpreted and rated as an "accident"? Were Hitler's annexations also accidents? Conquering Finnish territory with the intention of eradicating the entire Intelligenzija should be dismissed as an act of chance?
Again you miss my point, Imperialistic expansionism is no accident, both Stalin invaded Finland and Hilter invaded Poland were no accident, but Mainila could be accident, Stalin just used this as an excuse to invade Finland, if there was no Mainila incident, he would simply find another excuse to invade Filand, that is why I said "did not matter"

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

Post by Stiltzkin » 06 Dec 2019 22:51

Again you miss my point, Imperialistic expansionism is no accident, both Stalin invaded Finland and Hilter invaded Poland were no accident, but Mainila could be accident, Stalin just used this as an excuse to invade Finland, if there was no Mainila incident, he would simply find another excuse to invade Filand, that is why I said "did not matter"
The casus belli did not present itself from an opportunity, rather it was a staged incident by the muscovite regime, the method involved was common practice, even traceable to more recent events (Chechen wars).

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

Post by mars » 07 Dec 2019 02:31

Stiltzkin wrote:
06 Dec 2019 22:51
Again you miss my point, Imperialistic expansionism is no accident, both Stalin invaded Finland and Hilter invaded Poland were no accident, but Mainila could be accident, Stalin just used this as an excuse to invade Finland, if there was no Mainila incident, he would simply find another excuse to invade Filand, that is why I said "did not matter"
The casus belli did not present itself from an opportunity, rather it was a staged incident by the muscovite regime, the method involved was common practice, even traceable to more recent events (Chechen wars).
You should at least consider that this was just an accident or someone simply made a mistake, it may not even be a big deal in normal time, but Stalin had already made his decision to invade Finland,so he needed a casus belli, and this incident was as good a casus belli as any other events

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

Post by Art » 07 Dec 2019 09:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Dec 2019 17:44
1) Maslennikov is hardly a an unbiased observer. He represents one of the parties allegedly involved.
Finnish border guards were not unbiased observer either. Both Finnish and Soviet border guards reports belong to the same type of sources, don't they? In this particular case the important thing is not an interpretation but the very fact of fire opened from the Finnish side. The reasons, I suppose, were trivial: they saw a movement of Soviet officers to the border bridge and decided to fire warning shots to stop them.
However, interestingly, all the examples raised here so far seem to be on the borders of the USSR and Nazi Germany
Here we go:
On March 11, 1938, a day before Austria was annexed into Greater Germany following the Anschluss, Justas Lukoševičius, a Lithuanian border guard shot Stanisław Serafin, a Polish soldier, on the demarcation line in the village of Trasninkas near Merkinė. The exact circumstances are not clear; the obscure event was variously portrayed as a Lithuanian provocation, a Polish provocation, or an accident. During the 1920s and 1930s, similar incidents had occurred: between 1927-1937, seven Lithuanian border guards were killed during the course of 78 events.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirmish_at_Diosig
As far as I remember in 1945 the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia was guarded by Soviet troops because the feelings between the two neighbors were two "friendly".
Again: I don't agree with reasoning which sees the border incidents as something exceptional. In fact they were a pretty trivial occurrence. Situation in early 1920s was even more curios with private armies raiding across the Soviet-Finnish, Soviet-Polish and Soviet-Romanian borders.

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

Post by Juha Tompuri » 07 Dec 2019 10:26

Art wrote:
07 Dec 2019 09:43

Finnish border guards were not unbiased observer either. Both Finnish and Soviet border guards reports belong to the same type of sources, don't they? In this particular case the important thing is not an interpretation but the very fact of fire opened from the Finnish side. The reasons, I suppose, were trivial: they saw a movement of Soviet officers to the border bridge and decided to fire warning shots to stop them.
Where can we read (more) about the Soviet border guard reports about the Mainila case?

Regards, Juha

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

Post by Juha Tompuri » 07 Dec 2019 21:03

Translated official Soviet version of artillery fire from Finnish territory:
NOTE OF M. MOLOTOV, COMMISSAR FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
HANDED ON NOVEMBER 26th, 1939, TO M. YRJÖ-KOSKINEN,
FINNISH MINISTER AT MOSCOW.
Translation.

Monsieur le Ministre,
According to information received from the headquarters of the Red Army, our troops posted on the Carelian Isthmus, in the vicinity of the village of Mainila, were the object to-day, November 26th, at 3.45 p.m., of unexpected artillery fire from Finnish territory. In all, seven cannon-shots were fired, killing three privates and one non-commissioned officer and wounding seven privates and two men belonging to the military command. The Soviet troops, who had strict orders not to allow themselves to be provoked, did not retaliate.

In bringing the foregoing to your knowledge, the Soviet Government consider it desirable to stress the fact that, during the recent negotiations with M. Tanner and M. Paasikivi, they had directed their attention to the danger resulting from the concentration of large regular forces in the immediate proximity of the frontier near Leningrad. In consequence of the provocative firing on Soviet troops from Finnish territory, the Soviet Government are obliged to declare now that the concentration of Finnish troops in the vicinity of Leningrad, not only constitutes a menace to Leningrad, but is, in fact, an act hostile to the U.S.S.R. which has already resulted in aggression against the Soviet troops and caused casualties.

The Government of the U.S.S.R. have no intention of exaggerating the importance of this revolting act committed by troops belonging to the Finnish Army - owing perhaps to a lack of proper guidance on the part of their superiors - but they desire that revolting acts of this nature shall not be committed in future.

In consequence, the Government of the U.S.S.R., while protesting energetically against what has happened, propose that the Finnish Government should, without delay, withdraw their troops on the Carelian Isthmus from the frontier to a distance of 20-25 kilometres, and thus preclude all possibility of a repetition of provocative acts.

[Accept, M. le Ministre, the assurance of my high consideration.

People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR V.] Molotov.

November 26th, 1939.
https://histdoc.net/history/molotov261139.html

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

Post by Art » 08 Dec 2019 14:10

Juha Tompuri wrote:
07 Dec 2019 10:26
Where can we read (more) about the Soviet border guard reports about the Mainila case?
I mean Maslennikov report on the 15.10.39 incident discussed above.

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

Post by Juha Tompuri » 08 Dec 2019 21:11

Art wrote:
08 Dec 2019 14:10
Juha Tompuri wrote:
07 Dec 2019 10:26
Where can we read (more) about the Soviet border guard reports about the Mainila case?
I mean Maslennikov report on the 15.10.39 incident discussed above.
Is this (onlinetranslated) the report/about the report of the Soviet claimed incident you mean?
“The chief of the border troops of the Leningrad district reported that on October 15, 1939, at the site of the Sestroretsk Red Banner Border Detachment, the Finnish delegation headed by Paasikivi was supposed to go abroad by car. A bridge for auto-communication across the border river Sister is missing. In this regard, measures were taken to prepare a railway bridge in the vicinity of Art. Beloostrov.

Arriving at 11.30 on the border in the area of ​​the bridge, a group of commanders of the headquarters of the troops and the border detachment found that the Finnish side was not ready to pass cars.

Major Comrade Okunevich, assistant to the USSR border commissar, tried to call Finnish border guards who were nearby, but the latter rushed to a firing point near the border and fired a machine gun in two shots at our commanders.

Our border commissioner on the Karelian Isthmus was invited to protest to the Finnish border commissar about the illegal actions of Finnish border guards.

From the report of the chief of the border troops of the Leningrad District on October 16, p. It is known that the Finnish command was not quite satisfied with its border guards guarding the railway bridge, which on October 15, when Soviet commanders appeared at the border in panic, fired at them from a machine gun.

Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR

Maslennikov "
http://old.rk.karelia.ru/blog/trudnosti-perevoda-2/

Can we read about the Mainila stationed Soviet border guard/troop reports about the 26th Nov-39 Mainila case?

Regards, Juha

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Dec 2019 13:11

Hi Art,

You asked, "Did Finns wanted to increase their pressure on the USSR? I don't think so." I also think it improbable, given their relative weakness to the USSR.

Many of the new borders in Eastern Europe were long and poorly marked, leaving plenty of scope for confusion. They were also sometimes not yet agreed. This was the case on the Lithuanian-Polish border. The incident you mention (which appears to have been unpremeditated by anyone) was immediately followed by the mobilisation of a Polish army corps and the deployment of most of the Polish air force to the area (with the loss of a good number planes through landing accidents on unfamiliar airfields at dusk). Poland threatened war unless Lithuania recognized the de facto border as de jure. The Polish foreign minister was then returning from Italy via Austria immediately after the Anschluss with Germany and appears to have recognized the Anschluss in return for a free hand against Lithuania. The Lithuanians sensibly caved in and recognized the border as de jure.

You post, " ....."spontaneous" incidents are called spontaneous because they don't happen by design. Hence discussing their rationale is altogether meaningless." True. However, incidents involving artillery are hardly likely to be "spontaneous" for the reasons outlined earlier. Artillery is a multi-crew, indirect fire weapon requiring forward observers and gun crews to act in concert. To fire, either an order was received or a standard operating procedure was being followed. Neither can be classed as "spontaneous".

In the absence of any hard evidence from either side, the Mainila "incident" might as well be a fiction. As the supposedly aggrieved party and the complainant, it was up to the Soviet Union to produce more than unsubstantiated accusations if is to be believed..

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by JTV » 09 Dec 2019 18:04

The obvious differences in between Finnish and Soviet border guard reports would have been difference in motives and how things were done. Let's assume for second that both sides would have had motive to falsify documents - in such case the motive would have been:
1. Finnish side: To either claim that the shelling did not happen or prove that they were not the ones responsible.
2. Soviet side: To prove that the shelling happened that the Finns were responsible.
And what happened - the Finns report that the shelling happened, say that they did not do it and ask investigation. While the Soviets apparently gather no evidence and refuse investigation. How does this fit to those motives? Well the Finns did not even try claiming that the shelling did not happen, say that they did not do it and ask investigation. And while the Soviets should have had excellent opportunity to prove their point if it was valid, they showed absolutely no interest in making so. What does that look like?

As far as I am concerned the shelling must have happened, since there simply are too much Finnish reports suggesting that it did. The difference in way of doing things at the time was/is that Finland was not a country where history re-written for political reasons basically on weekly bases and people disappearing/re-appearing in official photographs etc. Finland has no culture of doing such things and falsifying official reports in Finnish Frontier Guard would have been matter of court martial. Hence there is quite clear difference, which side was more likely to falsify documents.

And the reason - the timing was just much too perfect for the whole thing to be accident of any sort. Besides - Boris Yeltsin told to press in year 1994 that the Soviets had staged Mainila shelling - considering he was President of Russia at that time, one would assume that he had best possible to access to Soviet primary sources and knew what he was talking about.

Jarkko

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

Post by Juha Tompuri » 09 Dec 2019 20:49

mars wrote:
07 Dec 2019 02:31
You should at least consider that this was just an accident or someone simply made a mistake,
About a half year before:
According to the book Veljien Valtiosalaisuus (The State secret of Brothers) by Jari Leskinen, Soviet Baltic Navy held an operational wargame March 26-28th 1939.
The Soviet scenario to the game, was the following (red side = USSR, yellow side = Estonia, blue side = Finland)
General situation at the red side:
22-23th July 1939 many large border conflicts with the blue side at Mainila village area at Karelian Isthmus.
Yellow side is moving it's troops to the East-border area...
An unknown enemy submarine sank a red trawler at Kalbådagrund area 24th July 1939 1000 hours
viewtopic.php?p=1036407#p1036407

Red trawler:
viewtopic.php?t=171143

Regards, Juha

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

Post by Art » 10 Dec 2019 06:41

Juha Tompuri wrote:
08 Dec 2019 21:11
Can we read about the Mainila stationed Soviet border guard/troop reports about the 26th Nov-39 Mainila case?
Not that I know of
Is this (onlinetranslated) the report/about the report of the Soviet claimed incident you mean?
Yes.

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

Post by Art » 10 Dec 2019 06:57

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Dec 2019 13:11
Many of the new borders in Eastern Europe were long and poorly marked, leaving plenty of scope for confusion. They were also sometimes not yet agreed.
That's a little an understatement. To put it bluntly Poland took some land that Lithuanians believed to belong to them. So from Lithuanian POV it was not a state border but a demarcation line. The same applies to Romanian-Soviet border btw. My impression from these and other events is that with certain level of political tensions there was no need to specially organize border incidents since they happened spontaneously and didn't pursue any major goal. You can find similar trend in the most recent history as well.
However, incidents involving artillery are hardly likely to be "spontaneous" for the reasons outlined earlier. Artillery is a multi-crew, indirect fire weapon requiring forward observers and gun crews to act in concert. To fire, either an order was received or a standard operating procedure was being followed. Neither can be classed as "spontaneous".
By "spontaneous" I mean not following orders by political leadership. I don't see that crucial difference between artillery and small-arms. Normally to make a shot from a rifle you've got to aim it and pull a trigger - that's a deliberate action. Actually with indirect fire it is easier to make a mistake and send rounds to where they were not intended. Incidents involving artillery were not impossible, there were shelling on the Mancrhurian border, as I said, there were Romanian shelling of Soviet cutters on Danube etc.

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