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Interview: American war with Russia in the Arctic

Voice of Russia
February 12, 2013

Why were weapons cached in Russia by the West? – Rozoff
John Robles

Audio

First part of the interview with Rick Rozoff

Voice of Russia regular contributor Rick Rozoff continues with the story of the Polar Bear Expedition or what was also called the American North Russia Expeditionary Force. The operation took place between 1918 and 1919 and saw at least 5,000 US troops sent into Russian territory to kill Bolsheviks in the north of Russia and to secure weapons that had been cached there. To this day it remains a mystery why exactly the weapons were there and sadly the killing of Russians continues to be something to be proud of for certain American polticians.

Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Rick Rozoff. He is the manager and the owner of the stop NATO website and mailing list, and a regular contributor to the Voice of Russia.

Robles: And this was actually US troops on Russian territory killing Russians?

Rozoff: People defending their soil, you know, their territory.

Robles: Why were they placed under the UK Command?

Rozoff: I suspect because the fact that British soldiers had been sent to the same area, the Archangel-Murmansk region, a month earlier to prepare, it was easier for them to get there I guess. But we know that Britain had played a role in the interim period between the February Revolution in 1917 in Russia and the October one, that is during the Provisional Government of the Kerensky period, in trying to secure the continued involvement of the Russian Government, whatever it was, whatever it turned out to be, in the war.

And the Kerensky government indeed, I’m sure under the pressure and perhaps no little bribery from Britain, France and the United States, did continue the Russian involvement in the war, one which cost several million Russian lives. And with the accession to power of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution the first thing they did was to withdraw from the war.

I would suspect that the British military and intelligence personnel were already situated in northern Russia with the intent of not only aiding the Russian war effort while Russia was in the war during the Tsar’s period, but also to ensure that no Russian government would come to and maintain itself in power that would withdraw from the fighting.

Robles: Murmansk is very, very far from the center of power, from Moscow and from what was Leningrad. For the listeners one more time, can you clarify why they were deployed in such a remote location?

Rozoff: I can’t honesty give you an explanation for that, except that the the three official reasons for the deployment were to secure munitions that have been shipped there by the British, I’m not sure for whom…

Robles: Geographically, if you would picture it like Washington DC and troops fighting in northern Maine for example…

Rozoff: Murmansk is not that terribly far north from St. Petersburg, which was the capital until October 1917 when the capital was shifted to Moscow. So, I mean if they wanted to advance on the Russian capital, let’s say, with Czech and other foreign fighters commanded by British and French and American troops, I don’t think it would have been out of the question to have launched an offensive from the north on the capital.

Robles: And that would have been totally unexpected I think.

Rozoff: Possibly. This is beyond my expertise, I have to confess.

Robles: Ok, so no real reason other than that there were possible weapons there. Why would that they’ve been storing weapons that far north in the first place?

Rozoff: What I’ve read doesn’t really give me a definitive answer to that question. Whether, for example, these were weapons that have been shipped there earlier in the war for using by the tsarist Russian government. Or, as seems likely, that these were weapons shipped by Britain and perhaps France after the…well, of course you know the deployment of September 1918 predates the Armistice actually at that time which didn’t occur until November.

It is possible, because of the revolution in February and in the subsequent October Revolution, which I guess could not have been anticipated but it occurred, that these weapons may have been intended precisely for Czech and other fighters, either White Russian fighters or foreign fighters inside Russia, to be used against the new government in Moscow when it came to power in October, and perhaps as a safeguard against the Kerensky Provisional Government befre that, but, again, this is something that is completely beyond my expertise.

Robles: This is a real mystery. What became of the weapons?

Rozoff: The weapons, according to the accounts that I’m familiar with, the Russian forces anticipated the American move and moved them upstream on the Dvina River and out of reach of the American soldiers who were sent to seize them, which led as I alluded to earlier to the fact that the American forces actually somehow managed to move up river in pursuit of both the weapons and the Russian forces that had removed them, and it’s my understanding successfully, but along the way engaged in fighting that resulted in the deaths not only of 110 troops but I would assume an equal, if not a larger number, of Russian forces.

Robles: Has there ever been an official apology or exchange of notes, or anything on these operations and this incident?

Rozoff: Not to the best of my knowledge. And the fact that a senior senator, one of the longest-serving senators in the country, Carl Levin, as I mentioned, almost four years ago applauded this military operation and stated that it is a lesson for the future and so forth, suggests that far from there being any remorse or misgivings by the US government, they seem to be particularly proud of what they’ve done.

Interestingly enough, my paternal grandfather had been born in Russia, as my last name might suggest, and he came to the United States before World War I. And my maternal grandfather was born in the US and was sent on the Polar Bear Expedition. So, in 1918-1919 I had one grandfather who was born in Russia who was in the US and one who was born in the US who was in Russia. That’s an interesting twist of fate.

Robles: Was your Russian grandfather battling American forces?

Rozoff: My Russian grandfather was working at steel mill and not even making munitions to the best of my knowledge.

Robles: Well, maybe you just don’t know that.

Rozoff: That’s true, he died when I was very young, I’m afraid.

Robles: That’s sad to hear. Rick thank you very much for this bit of history and this bit of a mystery, I think.

Rozoff: Well put. History and mystery. May it be the beginning of further research into the subject.

Robles: Very interesting subject I think. Thanks for sharing that with us and sharing your insights. That was an interview with Mr. Rick Rozoff – the manager and the owner of the stop NATO website and mailing list.

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