An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski

An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski* is a must read! I loved this book for so many reasons. First of all it offers one of the most unusual perspectives of WWII and a bit of the Spanish civil war. It was written by Vladímir Kovalevski, a White russian. He was not a Nazi, admired some aspects of the German soldiers, but he is mostly sarcastic about them. He was, as the name of the book is perfectly chosen, an anti-communist. He lived in Spain and was very cynical towards them. Let’s say he was not impressed by the Spaniards. He was an outsider. Also, a highly intelligent man that spoke multiple languages, funny (albeit scathing in his comments on the Spanish colleagues).

An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski

The book is about 200 pages, as there are extensive notes at the end. The first 75 pages are written by Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas and Oleg Beyda. Núñez Seixas is an author I read before, in my research on the Spanish civil war, an author recommended to me by my teacher. While 75 pages might sound a bit too much as an introduction for a 125 page memoir, these are really necessary. It sets the context nicely and it talks about Kovalevski too.

Kovalevski was a very interesting man. He fought the Germans in WWI. Fought for Franco in the Spanish civil war and for Hitler in the Spanish Blue Division on the Eastern Front in the WWII. This memoir starts in 1941. He struggled with what he saw in russia during the Nazi occupation. He wrote this memoir in late 1940s, in russian. It was in an archive for more than 70 years, before being translated into English, of which this is the first English edition.

It is a valuable document. Offers a different perspective on the Nazi occupation, of the Blue Division, of White russians who fled the Bolsheviks. He wrote in the memoir: ‘I remember an old woman in Belgrade, who exclaimed with indignation: “These Serbs are so incompetent: we’ve been living here for 15 years and they still haven’t learned to speak russian!”‘. It was interesting to see that the imperialistic inclinations of russians are so well entrenched in their culture. For this reason, this memoir is just fantastic. If offers a wealth of details on so many different topics.

An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes!
Published by: Pen & Sword Military
Year it was published: 2023
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Memoir
Pages: 264

About the author: Vladímir Ivánovich Kovalevski was a Russian soldier who served in the tsar’s army during the First World War and fought the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War, then joined the French Foreign Legion, Francoist Army during the Spanish Civil War and Hitler’s Spanish Blue Division on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. He was deeply disillusioned by his experiences as an interpreter with the Blue Division in the Soviet Union. Soon after the Second World War, as an exile in Spain, he wrote this remarkable record of his varied military career. Little is known about his later life. His memoirs were first published in Spanish in 2019 with an introduction and notes by Xosé M. Núñez Seixas and Oleg Beyda.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

4 thoughts on “An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front by Vladímir Kovalevski”

  • It does sound interesting! I think a lot of people were drawn to fascism because they were anti-communism, and conversely a lot of people were drawn into communism because they were anti-fascism. Sometimes being against something is a bigger driving force than being for something!

    • He was not a fascist, just wanted to liberate russia from the Bolsheviks. He also admired individuals who showed moral values, struggled with what he was doing as the part of the army, questioned his views on communism, but was also an imperialist and that did not sparkle any questioning. It is a very complex memoir.

      I agree, he was against something and was very driven by it. Fascinating book.

    • I plan to read this one again, checking all the endnotes carefully. When I have the time to do something like that. It is a fantastic primary source and, even more, it’s fun to read.
      If you ever change your mind, I think you might enjoy it. 🙂 Although, the topic is not exactly a cheerful one.

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