Lokot Autonomy

Lokot Autonomy

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Локотское самоуправление
conventional_long_name = Lokot Autonomy
common_name = Lokot
continent = Europe
status = Autonomous territory
empire = Germany
status_text = Autonomous territory in Reichskommissariat Moskau
era = World War II
year_start = 1941
event_start =
date_start =
year_end = 1943
event_end =
date_end =
s1 = Soviet Union
flag_s1 = Flag of the Soviet Union 1923.svg




capital = Lokot
currency =
leader1 = Konstantin Voskoboinik
year_leader1 = 1941-42
leader2 = Bronislav Kaminski
year_leader2 = 1942-43
title_leader = "Burgomeister"
common_languages = Russian

The Lokot Autonomy ( _ru. Локотскoe самоуправление) was a semi-autonomous region in Nazi-occupied Central Russia under an all-Russian administration from 1941 to 1943. The name comes from the region's administrative center - the small township Lokot (Локоть) of Oryol Oblast (now of Bryansk Oblast). The Autonomy covered the area of several raions of Oryol and Kursk oblasts.

In 1941, engineer Konstantin Voskoboinik was placed by the Nazi occupational authorities in charge of the Lokot region. Voskoboinik and his one-time classmate, chemical engineer Bronislav Kaminski, both former political prisoners of the Stalin regime, began recruiting an armed force to fight off the Soviet partisans. The force, called the Russian National Liberation Army (RONA), gathered 10,000 men through recruitment and conscription, and managed to hold the territory of the Lokot Autonomy under its control. After the death of Voskoboinik, who was killed in an ambush, Kaminski became both the burgomeister of the Autonomy and the commander of the RONA, also known as the Kaminski Brigade. The Autonomy had the support of Heinz Guderian and of the commander of Army Group Centre, Günther von Kluge.The relationship between the Russian administration of the Lokot Autonomy and the occupational forces of the Axis carried on the character of a suzerainty, unlike other Nazi-occupied eastern territories where the local administrations were under the direct control of Nazi officials. Although plans to make the Lokot administration a "Bezirksverwaltung" were not realized, the Germans did not interfere as long as their transports were kept safe and the republic delivered the required food quotas to the Wehrmacht.

Consequently, the Autonomy was relatively free to govern itself, making it the first territory on Russian soil under non-communist Russian control since the evacuation of Vladivostok by White forces twenty years earlier. There was enough autonomy to permit the Republic's police force to try and execute two Axis soldiers (believed to be Hungarians) for marauding.

The Lokot region and surroundings were places of settlement of many exiled and those who served term in labor camps and hence were forbidden to live in larger cities. Therefore the idea of liberation from the Bolsheviks found noticeable support.

Collective farms were abolished, and a large degree of free enterprise was permitted. Schools were open, and a radio station along with a theater group was active in the city of Bryansk. Grain prices in the republic were lower than in both Nazi and Soviet held territories.

Newspapers published in the Lokot Autonomy were typical of all newspapers published on Nazi-occupied Russian territories, featuring articles exposing Soviet crimes along with Nazi propaganda (which included the usual heavy dose of anti-Semitism). Kaminski's speeches as translated in the newspapers of the region underlined that the aims of Nazi Germany and Russia "are the same".

Kaminski's pro-Nazi rhetoric and his tributes to the German suzerain were undoubtedly genuine. Unlike with General Vlasov and other Russian anticommunist leaders during this period, no reliable primary sources on Kaminski are currently known to exist. Historiographers can only rely on Soviet secondary sources (which paint Kaminski as a typical Quisling), a few apocryphal memoirs, and what survives of the Lokot Republic's archives, i.e. newspapers and propaganda literature - neither of which seem to provide enough insight or objectivity. However Kaminsky's anti-Semitic rhetoric resulted in several mass executions of Jews in the Lokot Autonomy that completely eradicated the Jewish population in the region. [ Чуев С. Проклятые солдаты, ЭКСМО,2004, ISBN 5-699-05970-9 стр. 116-117] 223 Jews were shot in the township of Suzemka, and 39 at Navlya. [ Альтман И. Жертвы ненависти, стр. 263]

The Royal Hungarian Army (Honvédség) posted their headquarters and main eastern front detachment in Kastornoye (Kastornoe), Kursk, just inside of the state; along of the Italian forces in Russian front, The Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (CSIR) also later known as the Italian Army in Russia (ARMIR), was posted in Zaporozhye and later in Millerovo in time for the Battle of Stalingrad. Later, both detachments were devastated by Soviet forces during period of Stalingrad and Kursk battles.

The Autonomy's life came to an end in 1943, soon after the war on the Eastern Front changed course at Stalingrad. Kaminski had to evacuate (over 30,000 persons, with families) to Lepel of Vitebsk oblast, Belarus.

Lepel

In August he set up a new, "Lepel Republic", where he and his RONA were folded into the Waffen SS as "Russian SS unit No. 1". The unit was used in quelling of the Warsaw Uprising, and outdid Germans in atrocities (see Ochota massacre). Soon thereafter Kaminski was tried for marauding, and was executed by the SS court-martial. The RONA was absorbed into General Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army (ROA).

Anatoly Ivanov portrayed the Lokot Republic in his novel "Eternal Call" (Вечный зов) and the corresponding TV sequel, popular in the Soviet Union (but the fact was little known, if at all).

According to Russian sources, there was also a Partisan Republic located in Bryansk. It has to be verified, whether and in what boundaries this Partisan Republic existed. A map of the republic which includes also Lokot, is figured under [http://www.admin.debryansk.ru/~press/histore3.html] and [http://www.admin.debryansk.ru/~press/MAPS/parmap.jpg]

References

See also

* Kaminski Brigade
* Bronislav Kaminski
* Russian Liberation Army
* Russian Liberation Movement


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