The Daugava or Western Dvina is a river rising in the Valdai Hills, flowing through Russia and Latvia and into the Gulf of Riga. The total length of the river is 1,020 km; the total catchment area of the river is 33,150 km2 of which are within Belarus. According to the Max Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary, the toponym Dvina cannot stem from a Uralic language, it comes from Indo-European word which used to mean river or stream; the river began experiencing environmental deterioration in the era of Soviet collective agriculture and a wave of hydroelectric power projects. Andreapol, Zapadnaya Dvina and Velizh. Ruba, Beshankovichy, Polotsk with Boris stones strewn in the vicinity, Dzisna and Druya. Krāslava, Daugavpils, Līvāni, Jēkabpils, Pļaviņas, Jaunjelgava, Lielvārde, Ogre, Ikšķile and Riga. Humans have settled at the mouth of the Daugava and around the other shores of the Gulf of Riga for millennia participating in a hunter-gatherer economy and utilizing the waters of the Daugava estuary as fishing and gathering areas for aquatic biota.
Beginning around the sixth century AD, Viking explorers crossed the Baltic Sea and entered the Daugava River, navigating upriver into the Baltic interior. In medieval times the Daugava was an important area of trading and navigation - part of the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks - for transport of furs from the north and of Byzantine silver from the south; the Riga area, inhabited by the Finnic-speaking Livs, became a key element of settlement and defence of the mouth of the Daugava at least as early as the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the now destroyed fort at Torņakalns on the west bank of the Daugava at present day Riga. Since the Late Middle Ages the western part of the Daugava basin has come under the rule of various peoples and states. Upstream of the Latvian town of Jekabpils the pH has a characteristic value of about 7.8. The high nitrate and phosphate load of the Daugava is instrumental to the buildup of extensive phytoplankton biomass in the Baltic Sea. In Belarus, water pollution of the Daugava is considered moderately severe, with the chief sources being treated wastewater, fish-farming and agricultural chemical runoff.
Richard C. Frucht. Latvia. Eastern Europe. ABC-CLIO. P. 115. Retrieved 2009-08-01. Francis W. Carter and David Turnock. 2002. Environmental problems of East Central Europe. 442 pages Google eBook Daugava River photos at flickr
The Vienna Offensive was launched by the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts in order to capture Vienna, during World War II. The offensive lasted from 2 April to 13 April 1945; the Soviets placed the city under siege. After a few days’ street fighting, the defenders had destroyed all but two of the Danube bridges, the Panzers escaped encirclement; the incoming Soviets devastated the old city, there was much brutality against civilians. Stalin approved the restoration of Austria as a sovereign country. Joseph Stalin reached an agreement with the Western Allies prior to April 1945 concerning the relative postwar political influence of each party in much of Eastern and Central Europe; as a result, the victory of a Soviet offensive toward Austria and the liberation by the Red Army of a large part of this country would have been beneficial for subsequent postwar negotiations with the Western Allies. After the failure of Operation Spring Awakening, Sepp Dietrich's 6th SS Panzer Army retreated in stages to the Vienna area.
The Germans prepared defensive positions in an attempt to guard the city against the arriving Soviets. In Spring 1945, the advance of Soviet General Fyodor Tolbukhin's 3rd Ukrainian Front through western Hungary gathered momentum on both sides of the Danube.. After they took Sopron and Nagykanizsa crossed the border between Austria. On 25 March, the 2nd Ukrainian Front launched the Bratislava–Brno Offensive by crossing the Hron river. On 30 March the Front crossed the Nitra River and rushed across the Danubian Lowland towards Bratislava. Having secured his right wing by 2nd Ukrainian Front, Tolbukhin was now ready to advance into Austria and take Vienna. On 2 April, Vienna Radio denied. On the same day, Soviet troops approached Vienna from the south after they overran Wiener Neustadt, Eisenstadt and Gloggnitz. Baden and Bratislava were overrun on 4 April. After arriving in the Vienna area, the armies of the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front surrounded and attacked the city. Involved in this action were the Soviet 4th Guards Army, the Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army, the Soviet 9th Guards Army, the Soviet 46th Army.
The "O-5 Resistance Group," Austrians led by Carl Szokoll, wanting to spare Vienna destruction attempted to sabotage the German defenses and to aid the entry of the Red Army. The only major German force facing the Soviet attackers was the German II SS Panzer Corps of the 6th SS Panzer Army, along with ad hoc forces made up of garrison and anti-aircraft units. Declared a defensive region, Vienna's defense was commanded by General Rudolf von Bünau, with the II SS Panzer Corps units under the command of SS General Wilhelm Bittrich; the battle for the Austrian capital was characterized in some cases by fierce urban combat, but there were parts of the city the Soviets advanced into with little opposition. Defending in the Prater Park was the 6th Panzer Division, along the south side of the city were the 2nd and 3rd SS Panzer Divisions, in the north was the Führer-Grenadier Division; the Soviets assaulted Vienna's eastern and southern suburbs with the 4th Guards Army and part of the 9th Guards Army.
The German defenders kept the Soviets out of the city’s southern suburbs until 7 April. However, after achieving several footholds in the southern suburbs, the Soviets moved into the western suburbs of the city on 8 April with the 6th Guards Tank Army and the bulk of the 9th Guards Army; the western suburbs were important to the Soviets because they included Vienna's main railway station. The Soviet success in the western suburbs was followed by infiltration of the eastern and northern suburbs the same day. North of the Danube River, the 46th Army pushed westward through Vienna's northern suburbs. Central Vienna was now cut off from the rest of Austria. By the 9th of April, the Soviet troops began to infiltrate the center of the city, but the street fighting continued for several more days. On the night of 11 April, the 4th Guards Army stormed the Danube canals, with the 20th Guards Rifle Corps and 1st Mechanized Corps moving on the Reichsbrücke Bridge. In a coup de main on 13 April, the Danube Flotilla landed troops of the 80th Guards Rifle Division and 7th Guards Airborne Division on both sides of the bridge, cutting demolition cables and securing the bridge.
However, other important bridges were destroyed. Vienna fell when the last defenders in the city surrendered on the same day. Bittrich's II SS Panzer Corps, pulled out to the west on the evening of 13 April to avoid encirclement; the same day, the 46th Army took Essling and the Danube Flotilla landed naval infantry up the river by Klosterneuburg. While the street fighting was still intensifying in the southern and western suburbs of Vienna on 8 April, other troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front by-passed Vienna altogether and advanced on Linz and Graz. On the 10th, all but two of the bridges in the city had been destroyed; the Floridsdorf bridge had been left intact by a Fuehrer Order dictating that the bridge be held at all costs. The 2nd SS Panzer, "Das Reich" left a dozen artillery pieces including 37mm anti-aircraft guns to hold off enemy attacks; that night, the "Das Reich", including their last remaining three dozen armored vehicles, pulled out of the city for the last time. Vienna had fallen, the Germans now moved northwest to hold the next defensive line.
By 15 April, armies of the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front pushed further into Austria. The ex
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
1st Ukrainian Front
The 1st Ukrainian Front was a front—a force the size of a Western Army group—of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War. On October 20, 1943, the Voronezh Front was renamed to the 1st Ukrainian Front; this name change reflected the westward advance of the Red Army in its campaign against the German Wehrmacht, leaving Russia behind and moving into Ukraine. The front participated or conducted battles in Ukraine, Poland and Czechoslovakia during 1944 and 1945. During 1944, the front participated with other fronts in the battles of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyy, the battle of Hube's Pocket in Ukraine, it conducted the Lviv-Sandomierz Offensive, during which the Front was controlling the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army, 3rd Guards Tank Army, 4th Tank Army, 3rd Guards, 5th Guards Army, 13th, 38th, 60th Armies. It took part in the battle for Ternopil'. In 1945 the front participated in the Vistula-Oder offensive, conducted the Silesian and Prague Operations, the siege of Breslau, it participated in the Berlin operations in Germany and Poland.
The front conducted the major part of the Halbe Encirclement, in which most of the German 9th Army was destroyed south of Berlin. By this time the Polish Second Army was operating as part of the Front. 1st Ukrainian Front provided the defence against the counter-attacks by Armee Wenck which aimed to relieve Berlin and the 9th Army. The Prague Offensive was the final battle of World War II in Europe. Following the war, the Front headquarters formed the Central Group of Forces of the Red Army in Austria and Hungary, guarding the Iron Curtain. General Nikolai F. Vatutin Marshal Georgy K. Zhukov Marshal Ivan S. Konev The armies that were part of the 1st Ukrainian Front included: 13th Army 27th Army 38th Army 40th Army 47th Army 60th Army 3rd Guards Tank Army 2nd Air Army? 5th Guards Army 2nd Polish Army 52nd Army 4th Guards Tank Army 28th Army 31st Army 3rd Guards Army Konev, I. S. Aufzeichnungen eines Frontbefehlshabers Konev, I. S. Das Jahr 1945 Ziemke, E. F. Stalingrad to Berlin Tissier, Tony Slaughter at Halbe Duffy, Christopher Red Storm on the Reich Antill, P.
Battle for Berlin: April – May 1945. 1st Ukrainian Front on Unithistory
The Zhytomyr–Berdychiv Offensive operation was a part of the strategic offensive of the Red Army in the right-bank Ukrainian SSR, the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. The offensive operation was conducted by the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front commanded by General of Army Nikolai Vatutin during World War II, from 24 December through to 14 January 1944; the task was to defeat the opposing German 4th Panzer Army of Army Group South and advance to the Southern Bug river while preventing new attempts by the enemy to recapture Kiev. After an opening attack across a 300 kilometer front, Soviet troops advanced from 80 to 200 km and nearly liberated all of the Kiev and Zhytomyr Oblast regions, along with the regions of the Vinnytsa and Rivne Oblasts; the 1st Ukrainian Front gained a position north of the main German forces of Army Group South. The German forces retained the western shore of the Dnieper in the Kaniv region. Manstein brought the 1st Panzer Army up to join the 4th Panzer Army in launching a series of counterattacks against the flanks of the extended Soviet forces.
These counterattacks, conducted over the following three weeks, succeeded in creating a series of loosely held pockets, the Germans began to stabilize their front. The German counterattacks inflicted considerable losses in men and material upon the Red Army, a cohesive defensive position was restored; however the Soviet's held a great number of forces in reserve, the success von Manstein achieved could not last. In addition to the Soviet formations and units, the 1st Czechoslovak Brigade participated in the operation; as a result of the Kiev Strategic Offensive operation late in 1943, troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front under Vatutin took a large bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnieper in the Kiev region that “overhung” the enemy group of the troops in the south-western Ukraine. In an attempt to reduce the bridgehead and to retake Kiev, German forces counter-attacked in the region south of Zhytomyr; the attempt to retake Kiev failed during the Kiev Strategic Defensive. Eastern Front Timeline of the Eastern Front of World War II
The Jassy–Kishinev Operation, named after the two major cities, Iași and Chișinău, in the staging area, was a Soviet offensive against Axis forces, which took place in Eastern Romania from 20 to 29 August 1944 during World War II. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army engaged Army Group South Ukraine, which consisted of combined German and Romanian formations, in an operation to reclaim the Moldavian SSR and destroy the Axis forces in the region, opening the way into Romania and the Balkans; the offensive resulted in the encirclement and destruction of the German forces, allowing the Soviet Army to resume its strategic advance further into Eastern Europe. It forced Romania to switch allegiance from the Axis powers to the Allies; the Red Army had made an unsuccessful attack in the same sector, sometimes referred to as First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, from 8 April to 6 June 1944. In 1944, the Wehrmacht had been pressed back along its entire front line in the East. By May 1944, the South Ukraine Army Group was pushed back towards the prewar Romanian frontier, managed to establish a line on the lower Dniester River, however breached in two places, with the Red Army holding bridgeheads.
After June, calm returned to the sector. Heeresgruppe Südukraine had been, until June 1944, one of the most powerful German formations in terms of armour. However, during the summer most of its armoured units were transferred to the Northern and Central fronts to stem Red Army advances in the Baltic states, northern Ukraine, Poland. On the eve of the offensive, the only armoured formations left were the 1st Romanian Armoured Division, the German 13th Panzer and 10th Panzergrenadier Divisions. Soviet deception operations prior to the attack worked well; the German command staff believed that the movement of Soviet forces along the front line was a result of a troop transfer to the north. Exact positions of Soviet formations were not known until the final hours before the operation. By contrast, the Romanians were aware of the imminent Soviet offensive and anticipated a rerun of Stalingrad, with major attacks against the 3rd and 4th Armies and an encirclement of the German 6th Army; such concerns were dismissed by the German command as "alarmist".
Antonescu suggested a withdrawal of Axis forces to the fortified Carpathian–FNB–Danube line, but Friessner, the commander of Army Group South Ukraine, was unwilling to consider such a move, having been dismissed by Hitler from Army Group North for requesting permission to retreat. 2nd Ukrainian Front – Army General Rodion Malinovsky 6th Guards Tank Army – Major General Andrei Kravchenko 18th Tank Corps – Major General V. I. Polozkov Cavalry-Mechanized Group Gorshkov – Major General S. I. Gorshkov 5th Guards Cavalry Corps 23rd Tank Corps – Lieutenant General A. O. Akhmanov 4th Guards Army – Galanin 27th Army – Lieutenant General S. G. Trofimenko 52nd Army – Koroteev 7th Guards Army – Shumilov 40th Army – Lieutenant General F. F. Zhmachenko 53rd Army – Lieutenant General I. M. Managarov 3rd Ukrainian Front – Army General Fyodor Tolbukhin 5th Shock Army – Lieutenant General Nikolai Berzarin 4th Guards Mechanized Corps – Major General Vladimir Zhdanov 7th Mechanized Corps – Major General F. G. Katkov 57th Army – Lieutenant General N. A. Gagen 46th Army – Lieutenant General I.
T. Shlemin 37th Army – Major General M. N. Sharokhin 6th Guards Rifle Corps 66th Rifle Corps Black Sea Fleet Army Group South Ukraine - Generaloberst Johannes Friessner Army Group Dumitrescu Romanian 3rd Army – Colonel General Petre Dumitrescu 6th Army - General der Artillerie Maximilian Fretter-Pico 13th Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Hans Tröger 306th Infantry Division 76th Infantry Division - General der Infanterie Erich Abraham Army Group Wohler 8th Army – General der Infanterie Otto Wöhler 10th Panzergrenadier Division - Generalleutnant August Schmidt Romanian 4th Army - Lieutenant General Ioan Mihail Racoviță Romanian 1st Armoured Division – Brigadier General Radu Korne Romanian 4th Mountain Division - Brigadier General Alexandru Nasta As of 19 July 1944, the Romanian Army possessed a total of 430 tanks of all types, ranging from tankettes armed with machine guns to Panzer IVs and StuG IIIs. However, only 197 of these could face the mainstay tank of the Red Army, the T-34. From these 197, over 40% were part of the 1st Romanian Armored Division, they are listed below: The division had a dedicated anti-tank battalion.
Its main weapons were of Romanian origin: 10 TACAM T-60 tank destroyers and 24 75 mm Reșița field/anti-tank guns. The 24 guns were the first ones produced of this model; the 1st Romanian Armored Division had lost 34 armored fighting vehicles by 23 August, but claimed 60 Soviet tanks on 20 August alone. Stavka's plan for the operation was based on a double envelopment of German and Romanian armies by the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts; the 2nd Ukrainian Front was to break through north of Iași, commit mobile formations to seize the Prut River crossings before withdrawing German units of the 6th Army could reach it. It was to unleash the 6th Tank Army to seize the Siret River crossings and the Focșani Gap, a fortified line between the Siret River and the Danube; the 3rd Ukrainian Front was to attack out of its bridgehead across the Dniester near Tiraspol, release mobile formations to head north and meet the mobile formations of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. This would lead to the encirclement of the German forces near Chișinău.
Following the successful encirclement, the 6th Tank Army and the 4th Guards Mechanised Corps were to advance towards Bucharest and the Ploiești oil fields. Both the 2nd and the 3rd Ukrainian Fronts undertook a major effort, leading to a double envelopment of the German Sixth
Nikolai Erastovich Berzarin was a Soviet officer in the Red Army during the Stalinist era and the Second World War. In 1945 he became the first town mayor of the Soviet occupying forces in Berlin. Berzarin was born in Saint Petersburg as the son of a seamstress, he had four sisters. In 1925, he married bank employee Natalja Prosinjuk, with whom he had two daughters and Irina. In 1918 Berzarin fought against Allied troops in Archangelsk. Between 1921 and 1923 he received more military training at the Leningrad Command Courses, machine gun course at the "Vistrel" and a command course at the Siberian Military District. In 1922, he became a member of Komsomol. In 1923 he was assigned to Siberia. In 1926, after officer training, he became a member of the CPSU, he began service as an enlisted soldier in the Soviet Union in Petrograd, after service on the Northern Front against the Allied Intervention participated in the suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion. In 1924 he was serving as a junior officer in the Amur region against the bandit raiders.
In 1927 he returned to Siberia, where he was an assistant to commander of an officers training unit in Irkutsk. From 1933 to 1935, he served in the staff of the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army; until 1938, he was the chief instructor of the Amur group. During the Great Purge, he was accused of owing his career to the "enemies of the people", but was supported by various Communist Party members; as commander of the 32nd Rifle Division, he repelled Japanese attacks at Lake Khasan, for which he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. After his appointment as Major General, he was transferred at his own request to Riga, became commander of the 27th Army in May 1941, he fought against the German armed forces after their assault on the Soviet Union. From December 1941 to May 1944 he was Commander-in-Chief of several armies, he received the Order of Lenin and was promoted to Colonel General for his success in breaking through German lines in the Jassy-Kishinev Offensive. After conquering Chișinău in August 1944, the Belorussian and Ukrainian Fronts began their march on Berlin.
During the Battle of Berlin, Berzarin's 5th Shock Army reached the eastern outskirts of Berlin on April 21, 1945, making them the first Soviet Army to do so. On April 24, he was appointed commander of the city by Marshal Zhukov, in an echo of the Tsarist tradition of rewarding the first commander to enter a city with command over it. By his "Order No. 1", Berzarin assumed all governmental power. He worked to re-establish order in the ruined German capital, creating a city police force and supplying the population with food, water and electricity, as well as re-opening schools and theatres. On May 17, he appointed non-partisan Arthur Werner the first post-war Mayor of Berlin presiding over a civil city government. On June 16, 1945, after only 55 days in office, he was killed in a motorcycle accident when he collided with a truck convoy near his office in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, aged 41. Rumors that scattered Nazi Werwolf forces had assassinated him were never established. Berzarin is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.
In 1975 Berzarin posthumously was bestowed honorary citizenship of East Berlin. After German reunification he was formally removed from the roll of honorary citizens by the Senate of Berlin in 1992. Upon a resolution by the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus parliament, he regained his honorary citizenship in 2003, in view of his merits concerning the supply of the local population. Detractors of the re-awarding claimed that Berzarin was a Stalinist and involved in Soviet war crimes being responsible for the deportation of 47,000 Balts in 1940; these accusations, were proven wrong on, as Berzarin was deployed in Vladivostok at the questioned time. From 1947 until 1991 Petersburger Straße in Berlin-Friedrichshain, a section of the Inner Ring Road, was named Bersarinstraße in his honour, the Bersarinplatz roundabout bears his name up to today. In April 2005, a road bridge in Berlin-Marzahn was named after Berzarin, in the area where his army reached the Berlin city limits in 1945. A birch tree planted in 2005 and a memorial stone mark the site of his motorcycle accident.
Battle in Berlin