Today, in light of the US-led policy of confrontation with Russia, the West is working steadily to force citizens and residents of post-Soviet space to forget history, to distort the outcome of World War II and to attribute to themselves the laurels of victory and to underestimate the role of the Soviet Union in the fight against fascism.
This campaign is aimed at weakening Russia’s position on the international arena, destroying historical ties between nations, exacerbating existing contradictions with the further initiation of confrontation, following the example of Georgia and Ukraine. To this end books and films are published in the United States and Western countries in which the Anglo-American troops play a decisive role in the victory of the Second World War, and the Soviet Union is declared responsible for its unleashing along with fascist Germany.
Now, on August 23, the day the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, Europe commemorates the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, and in the United States, this day is called “Black Ribbon Day” as a reminder of the” terror of the communist and Nazi regimes. From the standpoint of the revisionists, Russia, as the legal successor to the USSR, is a preserved totalitarian system that poses a threat to the liberal values and freedoms of the West. In today’s society, there are very few people who can impartially assess the efforts of the Russian side in preserving peace and stability amid a tough geopolitical confrontation.
History repeats itself. The attempts of the Soviet Union in the 1930s to create a coalition with the Western powers against fascist Germany and to sign a collective security treaty came up against a misunderstanding of future allies. Only when the situation became really critical and the existence of European civilization came into question, did the leadership of the United States and Great Britain realize that without the Soviet Union it was impossible to crush Nazism, so they decided to help the country that was fighting Nazi aggression. However, this assistance was possible only when its leadership was entrusted to people aware of and capable of assessing the contributions of the Soviet people in confronting fascism.
Such a man was the first US Military Attache in Moscow (1933-1939), the head of the US mission to the USSR for the supplying of arms and military equipment in Lend-Lease (1941-1943) Brigadier General Philip R. Faymonville. He not only knew the Russian language perfectly but also the history of Russia, the culture and customs of the Russian people. This knowledge subsequently determined his future service and destiny. His services were highly appreciated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his associates, Averill Harriman and Harry Hopkins. However, P. Faymonville had obvious opponents and even enemies.
His opponents were the employees of the State Department and the US Military Department, as well as the embassy in Moscow, who accused him of pro-communist views and of working for the USSR as an agent. He was the only American officer-diplomat who was convinced of the triumph of the Red Army over fascist Germany at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. In a short time, P. Faymonville created an organization for dispatching military supplies in the USSR in such a way that it could survive the whole war, despite opposition in the military-industrial circles and the US Congress.
His competence and professional knowledge, competent assessment of the situation on the Soviet-German front undoubtedly had an influence on the development of the US government policy towards the Soviet Union in the first difficult years of the war. P. Faymonville was convinced of the need for Soviet-American cooperation and the importance of the efforts of the Soviet people in the fight against fascism.
In 1946 Faymonville was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor for his contributions to the victory of the USSR and its allies over Nazi Germany. A photocopy of the letter of gratitude from the President of the United States, F.D. Roosevelt, was enclosed with his application for the awarding ceremony in which he wrote: ” I want you to know how much I appreciate your continued support of the assistance program for the Soviet Union and everything you have done to achieve a better understanding between our countries”.
On the anniversary of P. Faymonville’s death in March 1963, his biographer, Anatol Mazur, wrote: “When passions and personal feelings subside, they give way to a show of impartiality, and Russia’s assistance in the critical years of war will be overestimated. The role of Faymonville will manifest itself in a different light, much more favourable than it was shown his contemporaries. His true patriotism, unquestionable integrity, unselfish devotion to civic duty and honour, call for paying tribute to the able soldier, citizen and, above all, to Man. Faymonville was an invaluable friend of the Soviet Union. Even in the difficult 1950s in the midst of the Cold War, he spoke about the prospects for Soviet-American relations.
The way out of the current crisis of contradiction between the United States and Russia is, above all, the search for common ground in the history of the two great nations and the preservation of historical truth. One of the tools to do this is to hold joint events to perpetuate the memory of Russian and American soldiers missing during the years of historical conflicts.
In 1992 the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America established the Russian-American Joint Commission for POWs and Missing Persons. The Commissions investigative plans are aimed at finding out the fate of Russian and American soldiers missing in all conflicts since the beginning of the Second World War.
In May 2018, within the framework of international military cooperation in the territory of Primorsky, a Russian-American search expedition was conducted to establish the probable sites of crashes of American aircraft in different periods of history. To participate in the expedition to Vladivostok, a group of specialists from the US Department of Defense’s Lost and Missing Agency, and archaeologists from the University of Pittsburgh arrived. This was their first time to come to Primorsky for historical truth.
Participants from the Primorsky public regional association “Aviapoisk” were involved in the search. During the ten-day expedition, all probable crash sites were inspected. The sites of three American-made aircraft were found, their presence in the USSR was confirmed. It is established that the dead pilots were buried with military honours. The joint work of Russian and American search efforts will continue. In the autumn of this year, Russian search efforts will go to North Carolina, where they will examine the site of a crash of a combat aircraft.
After the stay in Vladivostok, the participants of the joint expedition paid tribute to the memory of Pacific sailors who died in the Second World War, laying wreaths at the Eternal Fire at the Memorial complex “Combat Glory of the Pacific Fleet “. The event was attended by members of American and Russian delegations, as well as the US Consul General in Vladivostok, Michael Keys. The American diplomat thanked the expedition members for “an important work to establish the truth in connecting the history of our great countries”, and also noted that “any work you can do to put an end to the unknown for any family that does not know the fate of their loved ones. here in Russia and in the US is worthy of support from our governments. “
Also, in his speech, Michael Keys recalled the visit to Vladivostok in April of this year. John Huntsman, the US Ambassador to Russia, who, after the wreath laying at the Eternal Flame, said the words: “If the Russians and Americans gather at the same table, they will quickly discover much in unity. We are stronger when we work together against ‘‘global threats’’ to peace and humanity. “
Despite the attempts of revanchist circles, as well as some politicians of the US State Department, to reconsider the results of the Second World War, the basic opinion of the World Community remains the same. The role of the Soviet Union in achieving victory over fascism was decisive. In the struggle for freedom and independence, against the aggression of Nazi Germany, millions of people from different countries joined together with the Soviet people. This was an act of solidarity and mutual assistance. And today, contrary to political disagreements, Russians, Americans and citizens of other countries at heart share common values, including the respect for the lessons of history and the need to unite in efforts to preserve the world for posterity.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.