For the second month in a row, the main theme of our issue is war! Or rather, the memory of the war. Every year on May 9 we celebrate Victory Day, the greatest of our great victories. Usually we miss to recall the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. But this year, the date of June 22 is marking the 80th year since the beginning of the worst tragedy in our history.
The Great Patriotic War which began on June 22, 1941, was a war of extermination and enslavement. The physical destruction of the Jewish population of Europe by the Nazis is widely known. But a terrible fate was prepared for the Slavic population, especially Russians. The Nazis called the Slavs “Untermensch” which is translated as “subhuman”. According to Himmler, “Subhuman is a biological being created by nature, with arms, legs, a semblance of a brain, with eyes and a mouth. Yet this terrible creature is only partially human. It has facial features similar to human ones, however a subhuman is positioned spiritually and psychologically lower than any animal. There is a chaos of wild, unbridled passions inside this creature: an unnamed need to destroy, the most primitive desires and undisguised meanness”.
62 countries with a total population of 1.7 billion people participated in World War II. The total losses in World War II ranged from 50 to 80 million people, of which 26.6 million were Soviet citizens. 6.8 million of our military order were killed in battles, and 1.8 million were tortured in captivity. The rest of the victims – in fact, two thirds of the deaths – were civilians: 7.4 million people were exterminated deliberately, 2.2 million people died in slave labor in Germany and 4.1 million people died from hunger and disease. This is what the war that began 80 years ago brought to the Soviet people.
The Publishing House “Russian Mind” expresses thanks to the Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad for the support and financial aid provided to the “Russian Mind” magazine for the purpose of the Special Issue, to mark the 80 years since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.