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Russian Liberation Army

Russian Liberation Army or ROA (from Russkaya Osvoboditel'naya Armiya), was the name given to the volunteer Russian forces under the German command during the World War II. ROA was organized by turncoat general Andrey Vlasov who tried to unite all Russians opposing Joseph Stalin's tyrany. Many volunteers were just the starving prisoners of war enrolled by Vlasov's propagandists but majority of them were people who hated communist tyranny.

ROA practically never fought as a joint unit, though at the end of the war Joseph Goebbels, with the consent of Adolf Hitler, allowed the formation of two divisions of ROA. Before that separate Russian detachments, dubbed by Vlasov as ROA, were dispersed among bigger German army units and conducted a lot of military police and anti-partisan operations besides participation in the front-line combat.

During the final stage of the World War 2 ROA turned coats again, this time for the noble cause of supporting Prague insurrection of 1945 against the German occupation.

Nevertheless, according to the Allied agreements and with the outrageous violations of the human rights, the great majority of ROA soldiers were sent from the British and American prison camps to Stalin's Gulag. It was sure death for many of ROA's rank and file because Stalin had already named all the Vlasovtsy (followers of Vlasov) as traitors, even though that some of them never were the citizens of the USSR. Summary exile to hard labor camps in Siberia for 10 years was the mildest sentence for them. Some of the ROA soldiers, probably those from its' 2nd Division that liberated Prague, were used as armed guards in labor camps of Gulag.

Vlasov and several other leaders of ROA were hanged. There is an officially unconfirmed report that they were hanged not simply by the neck but with the help of metal hooks plunged under the base of their sculls. The agony in this case lasted for three hours.