Viktor Suvorov
Viktor Suvorov is the pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 for Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun (born April 20, 1947 in Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

), a former Soviet and now British writer of Russian and Ukrainian descent who writes primarily in Russian, as well as a former Soviet military intelligence
GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

 (GRU) spy who defected to the UK. Suvorov made his name writing books about history of the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

, GRU, and Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz, Specnaz tr: Voyska specialnogo naznacheniya; ) is an umbrella term for any special forces in Russian, literally "force of special purpose"...

, but it was the Icebreaker about role of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 that spurred considerable debate and controversy.


Suvorov began his service in the Soviet Army's 41st Guards Tank Division, and worked in Soviet military intelligence (GRU) before defecting to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1978, where he worked as an intelligence
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

 analyst and lecturer. At the time he was working in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 under United Nations cover. Rezun was smuggled out of the country to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 with his wife and two young children. A career soldier, he had participated in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and had later supervised the training of the elite Spetsnaz special forces. He had also undertaken missions in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...


Books about the Cold War era

Suvorov has written several books about his Soviet Army experiences and also joined the team led by the British General Sir John Hackett
John Winthrop Hackett Junior
General Sir John Winthrop Hackett GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC was an Australian-born British soldier, author and university administrator.-Early life:Hackett, who was nicknamed "Shan", was born in Perth, Western Australia...

 in writing the book The Third World War: The Untold Story. Published in 1982, this book was the sequel to the 1978 original The Third World War, in which Hackett and his team had speculated about the possible course of a Soviet/NATO war in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


Suvorov made his name writing books about the contemporary Soviet Army, GRU, and Spetsnaz (Soviet Army's special forces). His publications included Aquarium, GRU, and The Liberators.

Historical works about World War II

Suvorov wrote many books about the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet War in 1941 and circumstances that led to it. The first such work was Icebreaker
Icebreaker (Suvorov)
Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, by Viktor Suvorov is a 1987 documentary book, which alleges that World War II started as a result of Joseph Stalin's ploy to "liberate" the working class of Europe and eventually the whole world.-Suvorov's thesis:Suvorov challenges the widely-accepted...

, with many others to follow. Suvorov's provocative idea is that Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 originally planned to use Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 as a proxy (the “Icebreaker”) against the West. For this reason Stalin provided material and political support to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, while at the same time preparing his Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 for an offensive against Nazi Germany and further against all of Western Europe. Suvorov argued that Hitler had no choice but to direct a unexpected preemptive strike at the Soviet Union, what we know today as Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. In the end, Stalin was able to achieve some of his objectives by establishing Communist regimes in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. However this victory according to Suvorov was unsatisfying to Stalin, as he intended to bring Soviet domination to the whole continent of Europe.

Suvorov's assertions remain a matter of debate among historians, and the final result of the debate is not yet clear. See Soviet offensive plans controversy
Soviet offensive plans controversy
The Soviet offensive plans controversy refers to the debate among historians on the question of whether Joseph Stalin was planning to invade Germany prior to Operation Barbarossa.-Background:...

 for details on the debate.
In some countries, particularly in Russia, Germany and Israel, Suvorov's controversial theses have left the bounds of academic discourse and captured the public imagination.

Political implications of the debate

Although the debate concerns the events of more than a half-a-century-old history, it can indirectly affect contemporary public sentiments about the true nature of the best known and much praised historical collaboration between the democratic and communist regimes. Preserving the officially accepted model of the Second World War (that Hitler was the sole initiator of the war, that Stalin tried to avoid the war, and that the collaboration of the leading Western democracies with Stalin's authoritarian regime was justified by the events of the time) is arguably more acceptable for most of the world's historians and general public, both Western and Eastern. On the contrary, the new historical model of the Second World War (that Stalin was the active supporter of Hitler's aggressive plans for the world war, that Stalin was planning to use the World War to his own advantage to further spreading of the communist ideology, and most importantly, that Stalin manipulated both Hitler and Western leaders to his own advantage) might upset both professional historians and people's sentiments in both Western and Eastern countries for different reasons.

See also

  • Causes of World War II
    Causes of World War II
    The main causes of World War II were nationalistic tensions, unresolved issues, and resentments resulting from the World War I and the interwar period in Europe, plus the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s....

  • List of Eastern Bloc defectors
  • Soviet offensive plans controversy
    Soviet offensive plans controversy
    The Soviet offensive plans controversy refers to the debate among historians on the question of whether Joseph Stalin was planning to invade Germany prior to Operation Barbarossa.-Background:...

  • Soviet-German relations before 1941

About Cold War era Soviet Union

  • Inside the Soviet Army, 1982, Macmillan Publishing Co.
  • The Liberators
    The Liberators (Suvorov)
    The Liberators by Viktor Suvorov is a partly autobiographical description of life in the Soviet Army during the 1960s and 1970s...

    , 1981, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-10675-3
  • Inside Soviet Military Intelligence, 1984, ISBN 0-02-615510-9
  • Aquarium
    Aquarium (Suvorov)
    Aquarium is a partly autobiographical description by Viktor Suvorov of the GRU . The account starts in 1969, when Suvorov, as an ordinary tank company commander, is recruited into intelligence analysis by an up-and-coming Lieutenant Colonel...

    , 1985, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-11545-0
  • Spetsnaz, 1987, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-11961-8

The series about the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet War

    • Icebreaker
      Icebreaker (Suvorov)
      Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, by Viktor Suvorov is a 1987 documentary book, which alleges that World War II started as a result of Joseph Stalin's ploy to "liberate" the working class of Europe and eventually the whole world.-Suvorov's thesis:Suvorov challenges the widely-accepted...

      1990, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-12622-3
    • Day "M"
    • Suicide
      Suicide (Suvorov)
      Suicide is a book by Viktor Suvorov about German preparations for the war with the Soviet Union.Suvorov argues that the German army was ill-prepared, Germany's leaders were unsophisticated , and that attacking Russia was suicidal for Germany , and he suggests an explanation why Hitler nevertheless...

      . For what reason Hitler attacked the Soviet Union? , Moscow, ACT, 2000, ISBN 5-17-003119-X
    • Last Republic, ACT, 1997, ISBN 5-12-000367-4.
    • The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008 (hardcover, ISBN 978-1-59114-838-8).

About the Soviet historical figures

  • Shadow of Victory , questions the image of Georgy Zhukov
    Georgy Zhukov
    Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

    . The first book of trilogy with the same name.
  • I Take My Words Back , questions the image of Georgy Zhukov. The second book of "Shadow of Victory" trilogy.
  • Cleansing . Why did Stalin behead his army?, Moscow, 2002, ISBN 5-17-009254-7


  • Tales of a Liberator , fiction
  • Control , fiction
  • Choice , fiction

External links

Who Started World War II? – Stalin as a Chief Culprit, Viktor Suvorov's presentation at the U.S. Naval Academy, Eurasia Forum, in Annapolis, Maryland, on October 7, 2009, as a four-part video: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. "The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II", a C-SPAN2 video of a February 2009 speech by Viktor Suvorov at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. Some online books of Viktor Suvorov and links to related online publications at the Maxim Moshkov's Library Complete up-to-date collection of Suvorov's online books (some in English), at Militera Project Viktor Suvorov, Ledokol, audio book Viktor Suvorov's new homepage Виктор Грызун – Как Виктор Суворов сочинял историю.
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