Sunday, May 15, 2016

General Vladimir Kirpichnikov as a POW of the Finns

Major-General Vladimir Kirpichnikov with a packet of Chesterfield cigarettes at the Kyöliö officers’ prison in November 1943. He was the only prisoner of general rank that the Finns captured during the wars! Kirpichnikov was captured by the Finns near the city of Viborg on 1 September 1941. He was first interrogated in the village of Karisalmi and later moved to Finnish Army headquarters in Mikkeli. The Finns wanted to use Kirpichnikov for propagandist purposes since they knew he had some opinions that were critical of the Soviet regime. However, Kirpichnikov did not agree to work for the Finns. In December 1941 he was moved to Sotavankileiri 1 (Prison camp 1), which was located in the municipality of Köyliö in Western Finland. It was a camp for more than 3,000 Soviet prisoners, including 1,000 officers. According to other prisoners, Kirpichnikov was offered the commander's post of the Russian Liberation Army but he refused. The pictures taken of Kirpichnikov were used as a propaganda tool. Most famous are a picture of Kirpichnikov lighting the cigarette of his interrogator, General Lennart Oesch, and this color photo of Kirpichnikov with a newspaper and a pack of Chesterfield cigarettes. He was also seen in a Finnish propaganda film. After the war was over, Kirpichnikov was sent back to the Soviet Union where he was immediately arrested by the SMERSH. Kirpichnikov was held in a prison camp in Podolsk, then later at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. He was charged with treason and sentenced to death by the USSR Military Collegium on 8 October 1950. Two days later, Kirpichnikov was shot. Some sources report the date of his execution as 28 August 1950, prior to the recorded death sentence.

Source :
 Book "Finland at War: The Continuation and Lapland Wars 1941-45" by Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter, Toni Wirtanen and Chris Birks

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