Did Stalin kill all of the Soviet officers involved in the Winter War, when it ended?

A documentary called "Warlords: Hitler vs Stalin" made this claim, but Wikipedia doesn't seem to mention this.

Actual quote from the film:

Finally, the Finns were beaten, but not before killing 125,000 Russian soldiers. Stalin sent in his political komissars to shoot the Soviet commanders, but the real fault was his own.

Since there was no reference to any specific commanders, the sentence implies some punitive systematic killing of Soviet commanders.

  • 9
    I don't think any movie that made such an absurd claim could be called "documentary".
    – IMil
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 6:02
  • 6
    @IMil - Since "mockumentaries" are so universally godawful, my vote is that we simply pretend they don't exist and repurpose the word for crappy HistoryChannel shows.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 13:55
  • 1
    This question originally said "... kill all Soviet officers..." and both answers were posted on the basis of that phrasing. The edit to "... kill the Soviet officers..." essentially invalidates both answers so I've submitted an edit to revert that. MaxB, please don't edit your question in a way that invalidates answers that have already been posted. If you want to ask a more nuanced question, please post a new question, and please make it less vague than "... kill the officers..." Some of them? Most of them? Almost all of them? Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 16:22
  • 4
    I would say that there is a disconnect between the question and the source, i.e. "Soviet Commanders" != "all soviet officers".
    – sharur
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 0:30
  • 5
    @wizzwizz4 - How about "Derpumentary"?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


Wikipedia article on the Winter War

The 3 top Soviet officers (apart from Stalin):

Since Stalin died 5 March 1953, it is rather obvious that there were officers (at least three of them!) involved in the Winter War who were not executed (Voroshilov was sacked from his post, though).

The claim is false.

  • 4
    Is it suspicious that all three of these guys died with about 2 years of eachother? Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 14:15
  • 18
    @DarrelHoffman no
    – ave
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 15:12
  • 4
    @DarrelHoffman: They died at ages 71, 75, 88. So, not really suspicious.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 22:30
  • Yeah but it's hard to know who survived and didn't and their exact dates of death. USSR has a tendency to rewrite history. During the Great Purge, many of the top officers were purged. TWO out of FIVE top generals for example. Stalin even apparently refused carpets so he can hear assassins sneaking up. I mean some people even think Stalin was murdered. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 16:13

Certainly not "all officers", but some:

According to Robert Edwards, the [44th] division's Commander A. Vinogradev managed to escape, but later, on the orders of Stalin's emissary, Lev Mekhlis, he was shot for incompetence following a sham trial. [...]

Other records suggest that Commander (kombrig) Alexei Vinogradov was sentenced in January 1940 to the Highest Degree of Punishment (VMN) by the Military Tribunal of the 9th Army along with his chief of staff Onufri Volkov. On January 11 he was publicly executed in front of [the] formation.


The head commander, Meretskov, was promoted after the winter war, in spite of all his inability. So, definitely, the answer is "no".

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