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Andrey Vlasov

General Andrei Andreyevich Vlasov was a general of the Soviet Union's army during World War 2.

Described by some historians as "charismatic", Vlasov was decorated following his efforts in the defense of Moscow and of Kiev.

Vlasov was captured in summer 1942 after his army had been encircled by German forces. He was persuaded by his German captors to assist them to fight Stalin. Vlasov blamed Stalin and the excesses of the Soviet police state for his defeat and capture. Marshal Kirill Meretskov in his memoirs depicted Vlasov as a sheer "careerist" who withdrew himself from the command of the encircled army. Soviet relief forces broke the encirclement several times but, without the organized support from within the encirclement, were unable to secure the withdrawal of Vlasov's army. As the result, according to Meretskov's figures,16 thousand men of the encircled army escaped through a narrow (only 300-400 meters wide) "corridor" along the railway line, 6 thousand were killed in action and 8 thousand were missing in action. From the post-war search and exhumation efforts in 1980-ies and later it is now obvious that most of the MIAs should be presumed dead.

Vlasov argued that Germany should create a Russian provisional government and a Russian army of liberation to be under his command. Vlasov wrote an anti-Bolshevik leaflet which was dropped by the millions on Soviet forces, and as a direct consequence thousands of Russians deserted.

Only in the closing stages of the war, however, did Germany finally agree to the deployment of two Russian divisions under Vlasov's command. Long before that Vlasov had already dubbed all the volunteer Russian forces in the German army as his "Russian Liberation Army known as ROA (from Russkaya Osvoboditel'naya Armiya).

In May 1945, Vlasov and his men surrendered to western Allied forces. Vlasov was handed by the Allies to the Soviet Union, and was executed after a summary trial.