UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Aviation Industry - Great Patriotic War - Repression


MozhayskyAlexander Fedrovich
ZhukovskyNikolai Egorovich
SikorskyNikolai Egorovich exile

Chief Designers

AntonovOleg Konstantinovich
Bartini Robert Ludvigovichimprisoned
Beriev Georgy Mikhailovich
Kalinin Konstantin Alekseevich shot
Kamov Nikolay Ilyich
LavochkinSemyon Alekseyevich
Mikoyan Artyom
Mil Mikhail Leontyevich
MyasistchevVladimir Mikhailovich imprisoned
Petlyakov Vladimir Mikhailovichimprisoned
PolikarpovNikolai Nikolaevichimprisoned
SukhoiPavel Osipovich
Tsybin Pavel Vladimirovich
Tupolev Andrey Nikolayevich imprisoned
YakovlevAlexandr Sergeevich
A number of organizers of production and designers who worked in the aviation industry and suffered from repression, which undoubtedly influenced the pace of creation of new aircraft technology, often they were the key figures in their fields of activity. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that a lot of illiterate peasants poured into the cities to reopen enterprises from villages. And it took a long time for the most sensible of them to become skilled workers and technicians, not to mention engineers capable of mastering and creating new technology.

It will probably not be a secret that in this environment there were people who were driven by envy, a desire to make their way upward by intrigues and denunciations multiplied by the illiteracy of these "well-wishers" in technical matters. This gave rise in the aviation industry, as well as in other people's commissariats, denunciations with accusations of wrecking. Well, the use of this situation by the state machine became a matter of technique. It seems that it was not necessary to expect that the NKVD's employees understood the issues of aircraft construction better than designers and technologists.

"Sharagi” - design offices behind prison bars, was not the invention of the unforgettable Lawrence Beria. They appeared even under his rather distant predecessor, V.R. Menzhinsky, who led the OGPU in the late 1920s. Then, in connection with the “case of the Industrial Party,” a powerful wave of repression fell upon the specialists of the old school, who had weight and a strong reputation in pre-revolutionary Russia. They were declared “pests”, charging them with sabotage of socialist industrialization. Among those arrested were many large workers in the aviation industry. Among them, such a well-known aircraft designer, like DP Grigorovich , whose “flying boats” served faithfully and served the Russian fleet in World War I, and later was in service with red aviation until 1926, went into jail.

By 1934 the People's Commissar of Defense KE Voroshilov, concerned over the excessive efforts of the competent authorities to search for "enemies of the people," was forced on August 5 to write to the Politburo of the CPSU (b) Kaganovich: "As a result of a number of purges, since 1930 we have dismissed from the Air Force of the Red Army" over social origin and political-moral inconsistency "more than 2,000 flight personnel and basically drove out really hostile and politically unreliable people. The inevitable companion of these purges was the great jerking and flutter of the flying and technical staff, especially those comrades who, because of different tails (relatives, origin, etc.) are suspected. It must be said directly that the continuing "search" for dubious elements is already bad for the political and moral state of many of our pilot commanders. I consider it necessary to resolutely abandon the system of these constant "searches", as from the method of strengthening our air forces that is absolutely harmful in the given conditions."

The command and bureaucratic administrative mechanism existing in the Soviet Union carried out all the necessary measures for "leveling" the talented, active personalities, who were rushing to progress, and sometimes to their physical destruction. Forced to this was AN Tupolev, in order to survive, obeying the regime of lies and show-off, to create a school that led to the very deplorable state of domestic heavy aviation.

In aircraft construction, everything began in 1937 with the destruction of the department of the pilot aircraft construction TsAGI - the largest design bureau, headed by A.N. Tupolev. Among the field in the category of "enemies of the people" were his closest associates, very far from politics people: VM Petlyakov and VM Myasishchev, as well as famous motor-builders BS Stechkin and AD Cheromskaya. On February 14 of the following year, RL Bartini was arrested, followed by the turn of VA Chizhevsky and KA Kalinin, the only one of the chief designers of aviation equipment, shot in 1938.

During the same years, Kocherigin, Golubkov, Itskovich, Moskalev, Florov, Borovkov, Gribovsky, Tsybin, Pashenin, Grokhovsky, Shcherbakov, Chachovnikov, Belyaev, Tairov, Rafaelyants, Zhonshay, Kozlov, Nurov, Ermolaev, Tolstykh, Viskovat, Cheranovsky, Nevdachin, Yakovlev - this listed 24 main, there were, of course, more of them - each of which had its own design bureau, did not give the Air Force any aircraft. Apparently, many of these people, talented designers, could be used more productively in large OKB. From the economic side of the matter, the country did not have much money, but how much did the maintenance of all these bureaus cost?

When they took Vannikov, who created a conveyor assembly of aircraft engines - which had no analog in the world, - then the production of aircraft engines was in jeopardy. When they took Balandin, this also happened not because of his poor performance. People's Commissar for Aircraft Industry AI Shakhurin told IV Stalin about Balandin: "I said that Balandin is considered to be our "benchmark" director, no one is better than him." Designer RL Bartini created "Steel-7", on the basis of which the high-speed long-range bomber Yer-2 was created - but because of the arrest of RL Bartini could not create a plane "Steel-8", which was supposed to fly faster than German fighters.

The threat of arrest at one time loomed over the aircraft designer Alekseev. One of his colleagues wrote a denunciation: "Alekseyev is a foreign spy, because he has a foreign pencil", nevertheless they began to untangle denunciation, and Alexeyev hastily left the Tupolev Design Bureau. Later, he became deputy to Lavochkin and his co-author on La-5 and La-7 - the best Soviet fighter of the Second World War. It was Alekseev that solved some fundamental questions in the mass production of La-5, which allowed them to establish their uninterrupted production.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 20-04-2019 18:51:58 ZULU