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Leonid Brezhnev Signed Secret Letter Re: Red Banner Guards Appointment in Ukraine Just After World War II

A 2pp classified typed letter in Russian signed by then Major-General Leonid I. Brezhnev (1906-1982) in his role as Head of the Political Section of the Prikarpatsky Military District as "L. Brezhnev" at the center of the second page (reverse of the first page.) Dated May 20, 1946, n.p. Also countersigned by Colonel P. Khomyakov as "P. Khomyakov" in his capacity as Head of Personnel Department PM of the Prikarpatsky Military District beneath Brezhnev's signature. Light toning and scattered minor margin damage consisting of pin holes and tiny closed tears mentioned just for accuracy. Else near fine. 8.25" x 11.75." Accompanied by a full and complete English translation.

In the spring of 1946, Brezhnev wrote this recommendation letter to Iosif V. Shikin (1906-1973), Stalin's most prominent political commissar. Earlier in 1946, Shikin had been promoted to political chief of the Soviet armed forces as a colonel-general; he and his subordinates were responsible for guaranteeing that Communist policies were practiced by the military. Shikin survived one of Stalin's most audacious and transparent purges, called the Leningrad Affair, a few years later. Between January 1949-1950, in a patent bid to protect his own power and popularity, Stalin falsely accused war heroes from the Siege of Leningrad, and any other officers associated with that city, of treason. 2,000 people were removed from political office, imprisoned, or executed--except Shikin.

In this letter, Brezhnev recommended a Ukrainian-born career officer named Ivan Gavrilovich Belan (born 1910) to the post of Deputy Head of the Political Section of the 66th Poltava Order of the Red Banner Guards Rifle Division (the Red Banner Guards were an elite unit recognized for distinguished military service.) Belan had excellent credentials, and was proposed as a replacement for an officer who faced imminent dismissal; the reasons for his predecessor's firing are unsettlingly vague and could point to another political purge.

Brezhnev wrote in part:

"Ivan Gavrilovich BELAN - Guards Major, Deputy Head of the Political Section of the 125th Uman Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov and Order of the Red Banner division.

In connection with the disbandment of the division, the individual is proposed for appointment as Deputy Head of the Political Section of the 66th Poltava Order of the Red Banner Guards Rifle division…

He has been working as the Deputy Head of the Political Section of the division since November 1944. He has exhibited nothing but positive attributes. He knows the work of the political section well and organizes such work correctly. He is able to manage political section staff well. He is enthusiastic and persevering in his work. He is politically and militarily qualified. He focuses in particular on the organization of political studies, with Red Army officers and sergeants, and Marxist-Lenin studies with officers…"

In 1942, Brezhnev had been assigned to the Caucasus region bordering Turkey, Georgia, Iran, and the southern Soviet Union on a political track of the military. In 1943, Brezhnev was reassigned to the 1st Ukrainian Front, the western arm of the Soviet Army, where his superior officer was none other than Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971). The "Prikarpatsky Military District" appearing in the titles of both signees Brezhnev and Khomyakov appears to be related to the Carpathian Military District. The Carpathian Military District was established in early May 1946; it encompassed western Ukraine and was headquartered in Lvov.

Leonid Brezhnev was born in modern day Ukraine. Educated as a metallurgical engineer, he joined the Communist Party in 1929 and served in the role of a political commissar during World War II. Brezhnev was promoted by Stalin in 1952, and after a series of similar career advancements, succeeded Nikita Khrushchev as the General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1964; he served in this role until his death in 1982.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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