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The Brest Fortress (2010) - Best war movie of 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010 · Category Art & Culture · comments 2

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This weekend the new Russian war movie "The Brest Fortress" was released. In light of the premiere and the viewing of the movie by Mr. Putin and President Medvedev, I have found the Russian movie posted already on
the Russian Vkontakte social network site. In my opinion it's definitely the best war movies since a long time and a revival of USSR pride?

About the movie

The film shows the heroic defense of Brest Fortress, which has taken upon the first stroke of German fascist invaders on June 22 1941. Events of first days of defense are being described with documental accuracy. The film tells about three main resistance zones, headed by the regiment commander, Pyotr Mikhailovich Gavrilov (Аlexander Korshunov), the commissar Efim Moiseevich Fomin (Pavel Derevyanko) and the head of the 9th frontier outpost, Andrey Mitrofanovich Kizhevatov (Аndrey Merzlikin). All heroes are tied by the story of Sashka Akimov (Аlyosha Kopashov). We see film events by his eyes.

Sasha's prototype was a fifteen years old Petya Klypa, one of few defendants of Brest Fortress, who have survived. The film is not only a war story, relations between protagonists are also an important part of the film. But the main idea of the film is best formulated in the scripture, found on the wall of one of casemates - "die but don't surrender".

The Brest Fortress Movie Website

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About the Brest Fortress

At the beginning of its existence the Brest Fortress was one of the most perfect fortifications in Russia. In 1878-1888 some 10 forts were built around the Brest Fortress. After that the defence line achieved 30 km long. The second reconstruction took place in 1911-1914 as a result of which the whole defence line was improved. According to Riga Peace Treaty (1921) the territory of the Brest Fortress as well as the territory of the Western part of Belarus became a part of Poland. During the Invasion of Poland in 1939 the fortress was defended for 4 days by a small garrison of four infantry battalions and two tank companies under Gen. Konstanty Plisowski against the XIX Panzer Corps of Gen. Heinz Guderian.

The Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Pact

According to the terms of the 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact the territory around Brest as well as 52 % of the then Poland was assigned to the Soviet Union. Thus, in the summer of 1941, the Germans had to capture the fortress yet again - this time from the Soviets. The Germans planned to secure the fortress and surrounding areas in 12 hours with a force of some 37.000 soldiers including the 2nd Panzer Group of Heinz Gudarian.

The Russian defence consisted of several different army groups totalling a number of 3.700 soldiers and border patrols excluding women and childeren of the servicemen. Major Pyotr Gavrilov, one of the best known defenders of Brest (later decorated for it as Hero of the Soviet Union) was captured only on 23 July. The last days of the defence are covered with legends. During those days the inscriptions were made by the last defenders. They said: "We'll die but we'll not leave the fortress". "I'm dying but I won't surrender. Farewell, Motherland. 20.VII.41."

There were reports that isolated defenders were weeded out by Germans as late as in August when Hitler and Mussolini visited the fortress with heavy security to protect them from remaining defenders.

Hero Fortress

The book "Brestskaia krepost" that broke the story of the fortress defense in the USSR was published in 1957 by the Soviet investigative journalist Sergei Smirnov. After the war, some of the survivors who returned to the USSR after spending the rest of the war in Nazi concentration camps were imprisoned by the Soviet authorities under charges of treason (Order No. 270) and collaboration and sent to labor camps.

In the post-Stalin era both the fortress and her defenders were rehabilitated and the Soviet propaganda built on the defenders' heroism and examples of individual hold-outs. The fortress was awarded the title Hero Fortress on 8 May 1965 (the twentieth anniversary of the German surrender)

Soviet Order No. 270

Dated August 16, 1941, was issued by Joseph Stalin acting as People's Commissar of Defense:

  • The first article directed that any commanders or commissars "tearing away their insignia and deserting or surrendering" should be considered malicious deserters. The order required superiors to shoot these deserters on the spot. Their family members were subjected to arrest.
  • The second article demanded that encircled soldiers used every possibility to fight, and to demand that their commanders organize fighting; according to the order, anyone attempting to surrender instead of fighting must be killed and their family members deprived of any state welfare and assistance.
  • The order also required division commanders to demote and, if necessary, even to shoot on the spot those commanders who failed to command the battle directly in the battlefield.

Commenting on that order, Stalin declared: "There are no Soviet prisoners of war, only traitors".

Comments

1. by George Trakakis about 7 years

Where can I find this movie

2. by Bart about 7 years

It is Russian, but sometimes you may be able to find it on Youtube. Here's two links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMfNccrsYfY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouzmO_yGWFA

The film is a joint production of Belarus and Russia, made in 2010. It is based on a true story: the heroic defense (from the Germans) of Brest in June and July of 1941 by the Russian-dominated but multi-ethnic Soviet Army. We can be proud of the fact that the Soviet commander, Major Gavrilov,  was of Bulgarian heritage.

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