As Russia marked the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union newly opened archives threw fresh light on the Western nations' secret campaign to direct Hitler's aggression eastward.
Solemn candle-light ceremonies and church services were held here and other cities to mark the German attack on June 22, 1941, which is observed in Russia as the Day of Memory and Sorrow.
The ensuing bloodiest war in the history of the world “brought pain and suffering to practically every Soviet family,” President Dmitry Medvedev said after laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin walls.
The Soviet Union lost almost 27 million lives in the Great Patriotic War as World War Two is called in Russia. The war had devastating demographic consequences for the Soviet Union, wiping out 97 percent of all men born between 1921 and 1923. The resultant large gap in the number of men and women persisted for 50 years after the war ended in 1945.
Soviet intelligence reports of the WW2 period unveiled on Wednesday lend weight to Moscow's long-time claims that Britain and France wanted Hitler to wipe out Soviet Communism.
“There was no appeasement of Nazi Germany; the goal was to push Hitler to the East,” Major General Lev Sotskov of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service said presenting a collection of 200 dispatches from Russian spies abroad and other declassified documents brought out in Moscow under the title “Aggression.”
The documents reveal, among other things, that Hitler's right-hand lieutenant Rudolf Hess flew to Britain 40 days before the German attack on Russia to negotiate joint action against the Soviet Union. Major Gen. Sotskov challenged London to release its documents on Hess' mission, which are still locked in British archives.