Iced: Company Of Heroes 2 Sales Halted In Russia

By Nathan Grayson on August 7th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Releasing a game that deals with one of a country’s darkest periods is tantamount to walking on thin ice. Oh, sorry, did I say “walking”? I meant cannon-balling back-flipping onto it. In a tank. Some, then, have argued that Relic could’ve handled its depiction of World War II’s Eastern Front with a bit more grace in Company of Heroes 2. And by “some,” I mean thousands (via an Internet petition) rallying against what they perceive to be a serious “anti-patriotism” slant. As a result, Russian and Eastern European distributor 1C-SoftClub has halted sales of the otherwise decently liked RTS.

In short, many of CoH2′s Russian critics seem to feel that – while the Eastern Front was hardly a friendly springtime picnic – Relic cherry picked too many stereotypical atrocities without balancing its story. 1C-SoftClub gave the cold soldier to Relic’s game about cold soldiers on its website:

“In connection with appeals of people who consider unacceptable number of episodes of the game, the company 1C-SoftClub chose 26 July 2013 to stop selling PC game Company of Heroes 2 (developer – Relic Entertainment, publisher – Sega) in the territory of the Russian Federation and CIS. At the moment we are analyzing the situation and [informing] the developer and publisher of Company of Heroes 2.”

It’s worth noting that 1C-SoftClub doesn’t simply have thin skin. It’s distributed other games containing historically sensitive issues – for instance, Men of War: Vietnam and Red Orchestra 2 – but has never felt the need to pull them from sale.

Sega and Relic, meanwhile, have issued a statement saying that they are “taking this issue very seriously” and doing everything within their power to investigate further.

For now, though, what does our scholarly band of tacticians, historians, and philosophers think? Did Relic go overboard with Company of Heroes 2′s story? Or are people on the Internet simply doing what people on the Internet do best: overreacting?

Thanks, PCGN.

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283 Comments »

  1. Utsunomiya says:

    It’d be great as a Warhammer game, that’s for sure!

  2. Discopanda says:

    COH 2′s story was dull, predictable, and lazy. Offensive to Russians, though? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    • Cinek says:

      Everything that doesn’t show Russians as ultimate heroes is offensive to them. No wonder anyway – years of post-war communist propaganda twisted so many facts that even now we can’t know the whole spectrum of cruelty and atrocities done by the Red Army.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I don’t think the CoH2 is particularly offensive upon inspection. Most of the Russian characters involved are pretty heroic, although the government is portrayed fairly negatively it is also heavily insinuated that some dispassionate decision making was vital.

        But I don’t know if your statement is true at all. Firstly, I think Russia has weathered decades of post cold-war film villainy pretty well. Secondly, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone to find intentionally challenging or critical depictions of their own history to be uncomfortable – even if they are true. Russia is by no means alone in having a questionable past. Britain, for example, has perpetrated some utterly barbaric acts throughout our history and, unlike many of the acts depicted in CoH2, often entirely reprehensible and without defence. Also unlike the acts in CoH2, we rarely have to come face to face with them.

        So I wouldn’t rush to judge anyone for being upset or offended by it. I would question whether removing it from sale is a worthy reaction though. Whilst any creative work of fiction is open to criticism, this is uncomfortably close to censorship (although no publisher HAS to sell something if they don’t want to).

        • jalf says:

          I think that is kind of the point. So far, Relic’s response has basically been “but look, all the individual Russian grunts were portrayed as heroes”, but the complaint is “yeah, but you you portray them as if they were forced at gunpoint to fight by a government which did its best to sabotage the war effort”.

          AFAIK, the complaint isn’t about how the few individuals are portrayed (individual grunts are pretty much *always* portrayed as brave and heroic). But it is reinforcing stereotypes that the country as a whole, the state, the regime, the leaders had no redeeming qualities; that individual Soviet soldiers fought and won *despite* their country, not *because* it.

          Obviously there’s a grain of truth to it, but for dramatic reasons, Relic portrays what was the exception to the rule as being the norm.

          To be honest, I can understand them. I think most Russians know very well how flawed the regime was, and that a lot of terrible things happened, out of incompetence, corruption, negligence etc. But they also know that it’s their country, and it’s not *all* bad. It’s not an evil country where the only good people were the individual frontline grunts.

          • Cinek says:

            I think one of the problems we have is that a major part of people commenting on this game didn’t even play it or didn’t pay attention to anything but Red Army atrocities. See: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/08/07/iced-company-of-heroes-2-sales-halted-in-russia/#comment-1320697

          • Werthead says:

            “but you you portray them as if they were forced at gunpoint to fight by a government which did its best to sabotage the war effort”

            The government did do its best to sabotage the war effort, in the early days at least. They refused to let their men return fire on the invading Germans until given permission to do so, they moved their front-line troops out of fortified positions to a new, unprepared line and they completely ignored multiple intelligence sources giving them the timing of the invasion down to the very day. When the war started, Stalin was so shell-shocked he went into hiding for a week, leaving the country leaderless at the moment of crisis. Retreating soldiers were also indeed shot, though perhaps not quite on the scale or as efficiently as portrayed in the game.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            This is interesting because that was not my impression at all. The colonel seemed to me to be fairly sympathetically drawn – although not as straight forward as the Lieutenant he came across as a hard man making tough decisions or carrying out difficult orders because he believed them to be the correct thing to do. He was essentially a good man with a capacity for making difficult decisions

            Now to be up front – I have not yet finished the game so I have not seen all the content and it may degenerate from there.

            However, I can still see how the heavy handedness of the game can be offensive or uncomfortable for people!

      • General_Me says:

        yeah because the German army was so crap that the Russians could slaughter their own troops burn their own civilians and still win WW2 pretty much alone, the Russian blocking battalions only shot people after court marshal you can wiki that, 10.000 soldiers shot for desertion out of nearly 30million mobilised troops , in most countries a higher number than that would be killed falling down the stairs in the same period.

        I think relic should have gave us a more balanced view of the eastern front just because they had the opportunity to do so, it could have been fun and interesting to not stereotype and try and give a more accurate vision of the eastern front, I see it as a missed opportunity.

  3. CobraLad says:

    Well, no WW2 game paints Soviet Union as Imperial Guards from WH.
    They dealt with sensitive subject in overthetop bombastic maner, basically telling russian gamers that their grandparents were cold paranoid murderers, while americans use more heroic and morally right way to kill Nazis and suffer from war.

  4. rei says:

    Haven’t played the game, don’t know what the specific complaints are, but the world could use a lot more “anti-patriotism”, so good job on that, Relic.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      You might have a point if I could actually think of a single game where the Russians are depicted in a good manner. In almost all entertainment media such as films and games, they are typically the bad guys. So I’d hardly say Relic is doing something great or out of the norm. Sounds like the typical Red Scare evil Russians. If anything would be unique and refreshing, it would be doing the opposite of that for a change.

      All that said, Stalin was hardly a good man, and there were wartime atrocities, so they aren’t exactly making up history, I just don’t know to what extreme they take it. I get the impression it’s really over the top, but I haven’t played it.

      • mouton says:

        They are shown in a relatively positive light in Call of Duty 2 and World at War.

        • Zap Brannigan says:

          I always wondered how well CoD:World at War sold in Japan. I always figured they just didn’t release it there since I never saw any news at the time.
          Now that would be odd, a game where you run around killing your grandfather and his friends.

      • Schiraman says:

        The campaign is really only ‘over the top’ in the sense that it’s fairly cinematic. There are some sections where the commissar is giving very cold-blooded or even evil orders, and other sections where the heroic captain is leading his heroic under-dog soldiers to heroic victory over the evil Germans.

        But it’s pretty balanced – some Russians are bad, some Russians are good. Sometimes the Russians win, sometimes they lose. Seems fair enough to me – the game could have stirred up a lot more dirt if they wanted to smear the Russians, but it’s pretty clear the intention of the writers was to show both the good and the bad of the Eastern Front.

        Unfortunately that’s not enough for some people.

      • Bweahns says:

        The Soviet government was evil, incredibly evil with nothing but the most selfish goals and aims. They were behind Mao and his eventual take over of China and supported all the atrocities he committed. They were actively engaged in all manner of ethnic cleansing both before and after the war. Their policies destroyed families and were otherwise all round arseholes.
        I think you’d have a hard time finding a man more evil than Stalin who had a hand in more death and misery.
        There were atrocities committed by all sides in WWII but that is the nature of war. The Soviets and the Germans had more than their fair share to be sure.

        • bstard says:

          A man more evil as Stalin hard to find? That so much nonsens I’m not sure it’s ignorance or trolling. True, Stalin is very hard to pinpoint, but he wasn’t by a 1.6kilometer the most evil in history. Even Russia herself had ‘Emperor’ Ivar the Fearsome (or Terrible as often translated). That was a true asshole.

          • tnzk says:

            Ivan the Terrible wasn’t evil. Mentally ill? A lot of evidence for it, sure, but certainly not evil. Stalin was a pretty evil fellow.

          • bstard says:

            Mentally ill or evil, is there a difference in how the victims felt the pain? Anyway I dont see Stalin as evil, he was mostly doing what he thought Russia needed to survive. If that had any relation with reality is a different question. Guys like Ivan just did what they did for the heck of it, being a loony or not.

          • Cinek says:

            “Stalin is very hard to pinpoint, but he wasn’t by a 1.6kilometer the most evil in history.” – WHAT?!
            It’s estimated that Stalin regime yielded a total of between 15 and 17 million victims, likely reaching over 20 millions.
            That’s more blood than Hitler got on it’s hands.
            That’s more people than in several Balkan countries combined.

            Statistically Stalin would be a second person in the world resulting in most deaths of other people (Mao Zedong “winning” the title of one having most blood in his hands).
            Seriously – this pro-communist propaganda in here is RIDICULOUS.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      This would make sense if CoH 2 were a balanced, nuanced look at the Eastern Front, but in reality it’s just a lot of lazy stereotypes that were invented by the west during the Cold War to make Russians look bad. It’s sort of just patriotism from the other side, filtered through so many decades of normalcy that people think Russia was actually like this. It’s even worse because the original CoH pretty much was generic patriotic “hooray for us” stuff when it came to the Allies, so a sudden about face to “this is how much Russia sucked!” is pretty whiplash-inducing, especially when instead of showing how Russia actually sucked, they just say “Enemy at the Gates was a documentary,” basically.

      • jrodman says:

        Which authoritative historical works on the topic have made you so certain?

      • ignarebrute says:

        How the hell russians are looking bad in COH2? What lazy stereotypes are you referring too?

        You mean that russians soldiers were bad resisting and winning against terrible odds? You mean russians soldiers were bad when they get shot in their back by their own hierarchy? You mean russians soldiers were bad when their leaders, after allying with Hitler, then at some point understood that the biggest resistance movement in Europe (yeah, Polish resistance has no equivalent) would be a pain in the ass to establish satellite state after war and decided to drop them?

        Open some books or just browse the internet, these are not perilous accusation but well established facts, including according to the bolchevik regime glasnosting.

        • Triglav says:

          What are you on about?
          Russians allying with Germans? A non-agression pact is not an alliance pact. And was in its nature absolutely no more evil or cynical than Western Munich agreement which gave Germany Czechoslovakia (though evil and cynical it was).
          Oh, and speaking of the largest resistance movement, you’re forgetting Yugoslav Tito’s partisans and the country’s 2 million dead in the battle against naziism and fascism. So, perhaps you’d want to do some reading as well, eh, before you get all patronising.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Suggest you go read up on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. It was a little more than just “non-aggression” -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact

          • Triglav says:

            Malibu, I am well familiar with its arrangements. Please tell me how was it any different from the earlier Chamberlain-Hitler Munich pact? How was carving up Poland more evil than giving Czechoslovakia to Germany (and even Poland took for itself a bit of Czechoslovakia then, damn karma is a bitch, eh?)

            Why do you then not speak of “The British have allied with Hitler and that caused WW2″, yet same is being said about Soviets?

            P.S.
            I do not approve of the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact, btw, nor Stalin’s invasion of Finland. But I really want to see some objectiveness when it comes to judging the “realpolitik” of pre-war and early-war years and not just the black and white Allies-good, Soviets-bad doctrine, k?

  5. hungrytales says:

    If you want to understand Russia google Yuri Bezmenov.

  6. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    What a shame.

    Russians still have the superior Men of War to fall back on for Russian armies. Red Tide was really good fun on single player.

  7. DaeL says:

    OK, here’s the deal. We have both testimonies and documents showing that there really were attrocities commited by the Internal Troops of NKVD. And yes, this included “encouraging” their own troops with friendly fire if they disobeyed the order of holding ground. Granted – this did not happen everywhere and all the time like some people would like us to believe. But still, Red Army really was mismanaged and underequiped. That was the point of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa – to strike at an ally (let’s not forget Ribbentropp-Molotov Pact) before his armies get fully mobilized and before they gather their supplies.

    It is also a fact, that because of Stalin’s shenanigans (known as Purge of Red Army 1937-1939) his soldiers were left without many experienced officers. That does not mean, that every commander of the Red Army was an illiterate, incompetent fool. But it does say, that war on the Eastern Front was even more barbaric than what happened in western Europe.

    So, did Relic make claims about Eastern Front that are blatantly untrue? No. Did they take certain liberties with showing the worst parts of Red Army, and omitting the heroic or heart-warming stuff? Perhaps.

    The real problem is different. These things are generally understood by the historians (except for people willingly denying it because of ideology – heck, if you can call Orwell a anti-Soviet right-winger, then you deny any piece of reality you desire). They are also understood in countries that had a “privilege” of being “liberated” by Red Army (like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland). They aren’t however, taught in modern Russia, (just like they are often not mentioned in the heavily influenced by the Russian Federation eastern part of Ukraine). An average young German will have some basic understanding of the Holocaust, invasion of Poland and the workings of the totalitarian state. An average young Russian will – unfortunatelly – know very little about Gulag system, GRU, or Hitler-Stalin alliance of 1939.

    For Russians this whole period is… let’s say blurry. It brings about feelings of ambivalence. It is a policy of Putin’s administration, to keep it this way. They don’t want people reevaluating USSR’s policies, they don’t want to talk about shit found in the Mitrochin archives and things like that.

    So you can understand Russians’ outrage. They see the whole thing as an attempt to smear the memory of their forefathers. It’s absolutely understandable, that they react this way. They are, however, wrong. Even if what Relic has shown is not 100% accurate, it’s still closer to historical truth than what is being taught in Russian schools.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Great post.

    • megazver says:

      You of course being an expert on the historical curriculum in Russian schools. Fun tidbit: Gulag Archipelago is mandatory reading in schools.

      If COH1 took the same liberties with history as COH2 did, the first mission would be you rounding up the Japanese-Americans to internment camps where you have to personally gas them, the second would involve you clearing minefields by making segregated troops run over them and the entirety of the tactics would involve you throwing human waves at machine gun nests, Omaha Beach style, throughout the entire campaign.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        You maybe proved him maybe partially wrong on one point (gulags). That doesn’t magically invalidate everything he says.

        No need to be an expert to see how the Putin government seeks to control information, and is strenghtening that control as we speak. Controlling the history courses to favor your world view is the most efficient way of making the younger generation believe what you want, and no government has ever missed that opportunity, so it makes perfect sense that the Russian one does, especially with its dictatorial tendencies.

        • megazver says:

          You’re free to examine the classbooks and prove me wrong when I say all those subjects are taught in Russian schools:

          http://www.alleng.ru/edu/hist4.htm

          Oh wait, neither of you speak Russian or know anything about how history is taught in Russia.

          • DaeL says:

            “http://www.alleng.ru/edu/hist4.htm

            Oh wait, neither of you speak Russian or know anything about how history is taught in Russia.”

            Since I actually can speak Russian (broken, but still), and do posses the magical skill of reading the cyrylic alphabet (slowly, but still) I took the liberty of looking at the index of the 10th grade textbook which covered 20th century. Let’s just say that there is nothing in the index, that would suggest dealing with attrocities of the communism era. It may be in the book, but it’s definatelly not a seperate chapter.

          • bstard says:

            This is amazing, and teaches us more bout the situation as all the posts here together.

        • Streltsy says:

          Yeah, this doesn’t really have anything to with Putin or his current propaganda.

          It has everything to do with the West’s remnant cold-war propaganda against Russia. Kind of funny how Americans always assume brainwashing is something that only happens in dictatorships.

      • DaeL says:

        “You of course being an expert on the historical curriculum in Russian schools.” Having lived most of my life in many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, having talked to dozens of Russians, having actually read passages from Russian textbooks, I still cannot claim to be an expert. I do however have a basic understanding of the type of historical memory most Russians have.

        Just to be well understood – I am by no means anti-Russian. I love Russian culture, both contemporary (Boris Akunin is one of my favourite writters) and old. But the attitudes that most of Russians take towards history and politics are a bit scary.

        “If COH1 took the same liberties with history as COH2 did, the first mission would be you rounding up the Japanese-Americans to internment camps where you have to personally gas them, the second would involve you clearing minefields by making segregated troops run over them and the entirety of the tactics would involve you throwing human waves at machine gun nests, Omaha Beach style, throughout the entire campaign.”

        There is some truth in what you say. Everyone got their hands dirty, even Western Allies. But I would argue, that there is a difference between (horrendous of course) internent of Japanese-Americans and – for example – executing 20 000 Poles in a forest near Smolensk. There was a difference in the scale of evil that western democracies and eastern totalitarianism were willing to commit.

        The thing about Gulag Archipelago – that’s really great. I did not know about. Now, if only they could add Gulag by Ann Appelbaum to that…

        • megazver says:

          Okay. One more time. The very first mission involves you, a Russian commander, locking up Russian civilians inside their houses and burning them alive because Russians are orcs or something iunno? Then you blow up a bridge while your own people are retreating over it. Then you spend your entire game throwing weaponless human waves at machine guns

          We are not unaware of how bad the war got or what a bastard Stalin was. This game goes way beyond this into dehumanizing us into cattle. Who the fuck are you to tell us what we can be offended by?

          I am done here.

          • DaeL says:

            Well… the burning of peasants is probably not representative for what the Red Army has been doing at that time, but the author of this article would argue that it actually happened: http://www.historisches-centrum.de/forum/musial01-1.html

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            So what?
            I don’t care if it’s accurate or completely made up. Just because it’s Russians doesn’t mean you have to identify with them, in the same way I don’t identify with slave owning Americans, because they weren’t me.
            Is the game fun? Too bad this silly jingoism has to get in the way, then.

          • aepervius says:

            There is a huge difference between it rarely happened, and using it systematically as a basic game mechanic. And this is where the problem is. If it had been used with parsimony, the OP would have a point. but it was not, at least in my opinion, and certainly the opinion of others. And no, I am neither russian, nor socialist nor communist nor ana dmirer thereof. But credit is due where it is due, and CoH2 greatly exagerated the issues. As another poster said, it would be as If CoH1 greatly exagerated the bad issues the US had to do with, and made it a *basis* component of the game.

          • iniudan says:

            First the house your burning are freaking empty of civilian, they were long evacuated, you burning the house so German can’t get supply from them, after all not like it’s the first time Russia used the scorched earth tactic against invading force, most notably the Fire of Moscow in 1812 to get rid of Napoleon. Your greatest general is Winter, so denying enemy supply and refuge until he can intervene is good tactic.

            Has for the bridge, the troop are not on it, actually the troop incoming to the bridge are out of sight, has there is a edge blocking the view for those guarding the bridge, when the order to blow the bridge is given, then those troop get it sight after it was already given and facing a exploding bridge, right has they finally get to it, while the officer who gave the order feel sorry about losing man, that could have survived, has he seen them a few second earlier and thus quite possibly have delayed the order. Then the men left stranded make a last stand against advancing German troop and armor.

            So stop lying or eating propaganda.

          • Werthead says:

            “The very first mission involves you, a Russian commander, locking up Russian civilians inside their houses and burning them alive because Russians are orcs or something iunno?”

            This never happens.

            “Then you blow up a bridge while your own people are retreating over it.”

            This does happen, but only because the Russian forces waited until the last possible moment to blow the bridge to make sure more Russians were able to escape. IIRC, only a couple of soldiers are killed, the rest are stuck on the other side and are captured by the pursuing Germans.

            “Then you spend your entire game throwing weaponless human waves at machine guns.”

            This also doesn’t happen, at least not past the first couple of missions.

            The game does have a problem in that it focuses a little too much on 1941 Russia (all of the Theatre of War stuff happens there) and not as much on the late-war period, when Russia had some of the best equipment and supply lines in the world, which does unfortunately further some stereotypes.

            Of course, one of the reasons I assume they do this is that focusing on 1945, for example, would mean having to feature the Red Army’s atrocities committed in Poland and eastern Germany, which would be a very hard sell.

          • abase says:

            Well. I have no actual information about Red Army burning houses with people inside.

            What I do have however is a well known fact of killing more the 10K people by blowing Dnieper Dam.
            http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/91490677
            This fact to my opinion is a an evidence of cruelty that supports most of the facts shown by Relic in CoH2.

            However – I agree that they put way too much of controversial facts in one single scenario. Even if all of them have the real background. It is like you put too much salt in dish and ruin the result.

        • Streltsy says:

          The Eastern Front was also a lot larger in scale and a lot more desperate for everyone involved.

          I also wouldn’t say the senseless bombing or Dresden or the mass killing of civilians during the atomic bombings was really any better, although maybe more impersonal.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Then of course there was that country in WW2 which expelled 20% of its own population on ethnic grounds – seizing all their property and killing thousands in the process, or in related massacres. I’m sure you know the one. They only appear in my school history books as victims of Nazi Germany and then later, as victims of Communism.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            When I read this article I thought to myself “Who in the UK or the USA or France would complain if a WWII game was made in which you had to carpet bomb Dresden or drop nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or re-enact the subjugation of the South of France by it’s own people”. I would expect no one because we learn about the bad things our countries have done in the past as well as the good.

            Then of course there was that country in WW2 which expelled 20% of its own population on ethnic grounds – seizing all their property and killing thousands in the process, or in related massacres.

            I have no idea which country you’re referring to. It could literally be any of half a dozen.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Disowning such a massive chunk of its deeply rooted historical population (and then renaming all the towns and villages they built), only the Czechs did that. When they expelled almost everybody of German ancestry after the war. It must have been incredibly unpopular at the time to argue against it though. What we learn about Czechoslovakia is how they were sold out by the allies before the war, occupied by the Germans and then screwed over by the Russians in the 40s and 60s. And you’re right in principal, there isn’t a single country that participated in the war in some way that didn’t take the opportunity to commit something awful when it could – as I said in a previous post, war makes c***s of us all. But my point, also, is that we’re selectively taught (not just at school) to sympathize with some countries and not with others.

      • mrwout says:

        I recently read a couple of scientific articles concerning the way Russian history textbooks (=/= curriculum, total scope of history education fyi) deal with the recent past (mostly focussed on the 20th century). These articles for the most part support what Dael says above. Just my two cents. I could give you the references if someone is interested.

      • Echo_Hotel says:

        Are you seriously defending the reputation of Joseph Stalin?
        There is almost literally no war crime, crime against humanity or crime against nature he is not guilty of, anything you accuse him of is merely a matter of timing and location not scale, he did it just not all at once or in one place.

        Sorry my source may be a little biased though since Great Uncle Peter is still stuck in Siberia and he’s still bitter about his mother being killed by the Red Army when they strafed the refugee convoys…

    • CrazySweeper says:

      Ok. Now please show us this documents (not fabricated) and testimonials (not just opinions or unprovable memories).

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Asking for documents is easy and lazy. Why don’t you bring up authentic and uncontested documents proving YOUR opinions?

      • DaeL says:

        Surely, I cannot present you with a list of sources here, as it would require a lot of work on my behalf. I mean – I would have to put a lot of hours of work into that. But I would like to recommend you a reading – Black Book of Communism by a French historian Stéphane Courtois. It tries to be unbiased (doesn’t always succeed, but tries), it’s not written from a right-wing perspective (the authors are politically moderate), and it features a wonderful bibliography, that should give you the anwsers you are seeking. I read the German version, which features a great chapter by mr. Gauck – the current president of Germany, and a founder of Gauck institute which investigates communist crimes in his country. If you can – try to pick up the translation of the German version.

        • CrazySweeper says:

          Has Stéphane Courtois ever been in Russia? Has he ever been in State Archive of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, …? Has he worked with documents of that time? If not then his book is just a waste of time, because it’s at least one-sided or even worst.

          • darkChozo says:

            Are you criticizing the source or just asking questions and drawing conclusions from them? I’m woefully ignorant on the subject itself, but a quick Internetting suggests that the author is a historian and research professor, and thus would presumably be familiar with, well, doing research. That doesn’t prove anything, of course, but in this case I’d say burden of proof is on the accuser.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            Am i accusing? Nope. However, If he is a research professor that doesn’t mean he is unbiased.

          • Widthwood says:

            Would you extend the same trust to a book about WW2 by a Russian or Ukrainian historian and professor?

          • darkChozo says:

            I agree wholeheartedly, it just stretches the imagination that anyone who would be in such a position would publish anything without referencing source documents. He appears to also have something of a focus on Stalinism, so I’d also be surprised if he hadn’t visited any of the former Soviet countries.

            I mostly took issue with the accusations-phrased-as-questions tone of your original post, especially when you drew conclusions from those questions. To make a horribly localized reference, it’s rather infamous as a tactic used by American political pundits to attack-but-not-really-attack a point.

            EDIT:
            @Widthwood

            Yes, I would. Note that I didn’t exactly extend much trust there, just that he probably put some proper work into the book, and that any suggestions to the contrary really should have some evidence behind them. That doesn’t mean much, if any, trust into the accuracy of any claims and certainly any conclusions.

            SECOND EDIT: Oh my, RPS fifth-level reply ambiguity. How novel.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @Widthwood Of course. More often “history is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there”. So we should be completely accurate and objective.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @darkChozo It was not a conclusion, but a provoking assumption. Just my manner, not the way to accuse someone.

          • Widthwood says:

            My point was that WW2 is so complex and polarizing, that a single book somehow outlining it will have to be so full of simplifications, omissions and generalizations, that it does not matter how professional author is – it will be biased, and there can be no trust in it. Especially when it is offered in support of someones view in argument – by now you can find a book by a respectable author supporting (and imprinting in the reader) almost any view on from “Stalin saved the world” to “Stalin killed more Russians than Germans in WW2″ to “Allies won the WW2″ etc etc (apart from anything supporting nazis, too soon for that)

            Best way is probably to read a vast array of memoire-style books from all countrires involved… but personally I’m just too lazy for that :)

          • David Bliff says:

            It’s probable that the author has indeed been to the archives somewhere to support his research, though it’s also worth noting that Russia has in the past decade become extraordinarily restrictive toward foreign historians seeking access to them, to the point where even established and respected historians of Russia are having a very hard time conducting their research. Nationalist narratives are very present in Russian historiography at the moment, and even though Western academic representations of the imperial period at least are increasingly balanced and sympathetic toward the country, it’s still not enough in the eyes of some Russian historians.

    • Pich says:

      I don’t know if that’s true, but here in Italy there’s a myth that the Italians were “good people” during the wars, when they commicted their fair share of atrocities, so maybe it’s a similar situation.

      • EOT says:

        Well, Japan seems to have gotten by fairly well pretending that the West were the aggressors for the past 60+ years at least from what little I’ve read and chats with a couple of friends who have lived there teaching for some time.

    • lunegov says:

      Real problem is that the game is full of nasty lying, just like the great post I replied.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        I doubt the “nasty lying” is anything more than (necessary) artistic license, just like book stories get butchered when ported over to movie format.

        You take a given source material and are asked to make game mechanics and a series of fun missions with it. It’s not the same as being asked to give a history course.

        • lunegov says:

          Well, why not to say somebody’ mom is a junky whore and not to make series of funny missions with it? What about your mom? It will be just a game, right?

          • ignarebrute says:

            I realize it is pointless to reply to someone that think we can discuss something with talking about “junky whores” and “nasty lying” (for instance?) etc.

            I’d still want you to list what lies you are actually referring too.
            Killing polish resistance (righfully) thought not friendly enough to communism? Not caring about the troops? What are the “lies” you think there are?

            It’s kind of annoying that a game release is stopped due to people like you.

          • Jolt says:

            Talking about junky whores is the whole point of GTA.

            Your opinion on nasty lying is silly, unless you consider Inglorious Basterds nasty lying too.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Imagine if the media (talking about movies and games mostly) continuously plays up the USA (and western allies, perhaps?) being the flawless, heroic group whereas the Russians/communists are continuously portrayed as villains, evil and/or corrupt.

          That’s kind of like males being heroes whereas females are the object of affection, need rescuing etc. In fiction one can take liberties, but consistently flawed portrayals don’t do anyone good.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        People are c**ts and war brings out the c****est in everyone.

    • hungrytales says:

      Hear, hear.

    • Silvermarch says:

      I think another major thing is that Relic seems to write their story based on historical myths from Hollywood like Enemy at the Gates. I.e. the whole 1 rifle for every 2 men, for example.

    • Frux7 says:

      Let me ask this; When you play the germans in video games do you play as the SS or as an infantryman? How do you think Germans would react if there was a WW2 RTS about the german side and they only showed the SS and the holocaust. They didn’t show how their men were trying to be brave and fighting for their country. Also relic straight up doctored some of the facts. They totally misplaced a quote about a high commanding Russian not wanting to fight. The quote was about the Cold War but Relic just threw it in the middle of WW2. That is something that is very dangerous. Relic can say that their game is not intended to be a historically accurate representation of the Russian front but when you start doctoring history is when you are doing something every wrong.

      This game should have been like the mini serious Band of Brothers. That tv show told us about the bravery that the American men had but it also showed us the looting and drinking they did towards the end. Instead we get more war crimes and cowardness then we get brave Russians fighting.

      The game doesn’t feel like it is from the Russian perspective like the Call of Duty games do. Instead it feels like an american propaganda piece from the 1950′s.

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        I can assure you, no german would bitch and moan about misrepresentation if they showed german atrocities. Quite the contrary actually, germans would probably start bitching if you depicted nazis too positively.

        • Sunny Boy says:

          I’d even assume that the game would be outright banned in Germany if the Nazis and their doings were portrayed too positively. Which is a good thing, I guess. Better than banning games because of (too) “hot coffee”, anyway ;)

        • Unruly says:

          From what I understand, the movie Downfall(the one that spawned all those Hitler meme videos) caught a lot of flak in Germany for just that. People said that it portrayed Hitler in too sympathetic a light, and that it was too soft on the German High Command and the Nazis in general. The reality is that they simply portrayed them as humans rather than as the inhuman monsters that they’re generally thought of as.

    • mankysee says:

      An average young Russian will – unfortunatelly – know very little about Gulag system, GRU, or Hitler-Stalin alliance of 1939.

      I wonder where are these generalisations come from? Have you attend russian school? Or I dunno, made a poll amongst representative group of russian youth? And are other statements you made had the same level of accuracy? Just wondering ya know.

    • Elementlmage says:

      Can we please get rid of this idea that the Russian military didn’t have enough small arms to go around? The trope belongs to World War I, NOT the GPW. By the time 1941 rolled around, the Russians had produced almost 6 million M91/30 Mosin-Nagant rifles, 1 million SVT-40 semi automatic rifles, ~100k PPD submachine guns, and by the end of the war had produced a total of 17 million(!) M91/30s, 2 million SVT-40s, 800k DP-28s, 6 million PPSh-41s, 2 million PPS-43s, 3.2 million M38s, and 6.5 million M44s, as well as several million M1891 Mosins, and about 100k Winchester 1895 lever action rifles left over from WWI.

      All told, the Russians had FAR more firearms than they had military personel, and even had more firearms than they had military and civilian casualties TOTAL!

      This idea that they sent men and women into battle without guns needs to die, FAST!

    • Triglav says:

      I’m not Russian, nor ex-Soviet, yet I was already appaled by the trailer of the game so much, that I didn’t even bother looking further. It was ALL about the evil commie, and nothing about the force that broke the nazis’ warmachine.

      First of all, stop perpetuating the lie of a Hitler-Stalin alliance. A non-aggression pact is a non-aggression pact, not an alliance, signed by Stalin to buy himself some time to rearm, knowing full well Hitler was going to invade eventually, just hoping it would be later rather than sooner. I also wonder why your sort, that is so quick to call out the Ribbentropp-Molotov pact always, and I mean ALWAYS forget to mention Neville Chamberlain and the Munich agreement, which was exactly the same thing, only earlier, and ceeded an independent Czechoslovakia to Germany, just cause the Brits said it’s ok (and with a bit of additional research you could even stumble upon Stalin’s offers to Western allies to go at Germany together already back then, which were immediately dismissed by Western allies in hope Hitler would leave them alone and go after the hated bolsheviks only…)

      Secondly, about “attrocities” of the Eastern front. The nazis invaded Soviet Union not to liberate the poor oppressed Soviet people from a tyranical bolshevik regime, but to enslave and if practicable exterminate them. In the siege of Leningrad alone, more civillians were starved to death than all Western Allies war casualities combined. A quarter of Byelorussia’s civillian population was murdered. Altogether a lot more Soviet civillians died in the war, at the hands of German occupyers, than all Soviet soldiers fighting them, supposedly thrown away in insane unarmed banzaii charges. Who’s the murderer here then?

      Just to be eye for an eye, Soviets, after defeating Germany could have gone and murdered about 10-15 million German civillians. Yet they didn’t. Some 2-3 million Soviet prisoners of war died in German prisoner camps alone, soldiers who surrendered because they didn’t perhaps enthusiastically want to support Stalin. And it was because of this that after 1941 – early 1942 mass surrenders among Soviet troops didn’t happen anymore. They realised they were fighting for their lives, not for Stalin.

      Having suffered through a war of extermination, I’d say Soviets showed bloody restraint in waging the war and exacting revenge on the defeated side. The US mainland never suffered 4 years of Japanese occupation and millions of dead civillians, yet they still firebombed Tokyo and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki and didn’t flinch about incinerating tens of thousands of civillians. UK’s got its share of bombings, yet overall still less than was returned to Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin. Yet all the games about western allies always show cool wisecracking guys, taking out military targets with utmost efficiency. Just look at all the pomp and circumstance of D-Day, which overall had less casualities than an average day in Stalingrad… Battles with a few tens of thousands of soldiers are compared as equal to battles where armies of millions fought and died (not that that makes any Allied victories any less significant, but the sheer size is uncomparable). And then you say “yea but more attrocities happened on Eastern front”, I reject that. If you go soldier-involved-per-soldier-involved East to West, add up French villages bombed into dust by USAF, incinterated Japanese civillians, Dresden and Hamburg civillian victims, and compare that to Soviet supposed attrocities, you’ll come up with numbers MUCH, MUCH different.

      Read James Bacque’s book “Other Losses” about Western Allies treatment of German POW’s if you want to compare something to “Soviets shooting prisoners in cold blood” (when in fact simple numbers of soldiers captured/surrendered then surviving or not, for Germans or Soviets tell you German murder was wholesale policy, while for Soviets it was not…)

      About NKVD shooting own soldiers in the back…what have you got to back up that claim apart form a movie with Jude Law? First of all, yes, courtmartial did happen, but not with a machinegun shooting soldiers in the back, as, well, they had guns too, they could shoot back and a brigade of disgruntled Soviet soldiers intent on retreating could eat a detachment of NKVD for a snack. Actually, stragglers and suspected deserters were picked up far behind the front, courtmartialed and some were shot, usually officers first, as an example. Most others were put in penal battalions, where they could redeem their honour with heroic acts. In comparison, Germans also shot even hung own soldiers for “cowardice”, “failing to follow orders”, etc, particularly towards the end of the war.

      To again compare scale. On the Western front, the Germans lost under a half a million men. Allies under a quarter of a million. And it lasted 44-45. In the East, Germans lost some 4 million, over 5 counting their allies too, and Soviets 8-10 million soldiers and 10-15 million civillians and it lasted 41-45. USA lost 1700 civillians in WW2. UK about 70,000. To then portray Soviets as simply mindless drones, barbarian hordes, evil comissars, self-murdering saboteurs is insulting, indecent, without any piety towards their massive sacrifice. I as a European, thankful that they rid us of the truly genocidal naziism, would first and foremost expect some basic decency and respect from a computer game which claims it’s not a fantasy game, not playing with cheap clichées, many even completely rebuffed with facts. Every nation, every soldier, every nation that stood up against naziism deserves respect, not mockery and faulty clichées.

      tl:dr
      For about 3000 9/11 victims, US has caused an estimated 200.000-1 million deaths in Iraq. When will we see Relic make a game, where your team bombs civillians, rapes underage girls, waterboards prisoners, helicopter assaults journalists and jails your own soldiers who talk about any of this? Of course we won’t, because that would be insulting and offensive and taken out of context, wouldn’t it?

      • TheFlow says:

        Finally someone that actually knows a thing or two has spoken. I am really discussed by the Hypocrites that claim how they know history and how civilized they are, and everybody other is brainwashed (like Russian that don’t know their own history) but no them.

        I am sorry but saying that Russians are evil while USA and Western Europe country only did honorable deeds is simply you being brainwashed and ignoring modern history. Of course they were killing their allies; take for example the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1944 where 2x more civilians were killed then in operation retribution in 1941.

        Also not to mention recent history where over 500.000 children (!!!) were killed just to catch single man, who is btw ex-CIA agent. And here is a proof from the highest USA officials – http://youtu.be/omnskeu-puE

    • abase says:

      Nothing to add or take! Crystal clear and absolutely correct explanation!

    • General_Me says:

      so show me your sources, I have read nothing that backs up the theory that Russians machine gunned down their own troops, I mean not one historian has said this and backed it with hard evidence, stalins order saying deserters will be shot is not that different from any other army when it comes to deserting in times of war, most armies of ww2 could order a man shot for cowardice the argument is whether this was done and whether it should have been done.

      I say should have been done because the Russians did not have the luxury to just ignore it like western armies they were facing annihilation not a small protracted war involving half a million men each like the western front.

      P.S im British not Russian :D

  8. Vraptor117 says:

    I have not played COH 2, but typically the Russian contribution has been under-represented in WWII history, from the US perspective. Clearly, a country’s own history is usually played up in schools and entertainment, but I have to think that the Cold War also played a large role is reducing the Russian side of things.

    • HadToLogin says:

      For example, most people forget Russians allowed Hitler to start war, dividing Eastern Europe between those two monsters (Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact).
      But Stalin didn’t killed Jews, nobody cares about millions dead in Russian Concentration Camps…

      • CrazySweeper says:

        “But Stalin didn’t killed Jews, nobody cares about millions dead in Russian Concentration Camps…”
        Can you proof this number? Or is it just a figure of speech to you?

        • DaeL says:

          CrazySweeper – wikipedia provides some interesting information. Let me give you a quote:

          “Approximately 300,000 Polish prisoners of war were captured by the USSR during and after the ‘Polish Defensive War’.[37] Almost all of the captured officers and a large number of ordinary soldiers were then murdered (see Katyn massacre) or sent to Gulag.[38] Of the 10,000-12,000 Poles sent to Kolyma in 1940-1941, most POWs, only 583 men survived, released in 1942 to join the Polish Armed Forces in the East.[39] Out of Anders’ 80,000 evacuees from Soviet Union gathered in Great Britain only 310 volunteered to return to Soviet-controlled Poland in 1947.[40]
          During the war, Gulag populations declined sharply due to a steep rise in mortality in 1942–43. In the winter of 1941 a quarter of the Gulag’s population died of starvation.[41] 516,841 prisoners died in prison camps in 1941-43.[42][43]”

          Read the whole thing here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag

          • CrazySweeper says:

            Wiki is not a valid source. Links 37-42 provided in this article are not actual documents, but opinions or memories. I do not deny terror, but when talking about history we must be precise.

          • DaeL says:

            CrazySweeper: I’m sorry, what do you mean opinions? Are you throwing those anwsers from some sort of handy list of things to say when you want to dismiss any argument? One of the links you mentioned as being just an opinion leads to “Gulag: A History” by Anne Appelbaum – the largest and best researched monography of the Soviet prison system ever created. Over 700 pages with full bibliography. Hardly “just an opinion”.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            My overlook. I’ll try to find this book.

            P.S. She married Radosław Sikorski (Polish Foreign Minister) in 1992. Conflict of interest if we are talking about unbiased monography. So i’m a priori skeptical.

          • sektor666 says:

            right. because as we all know, the poles are lying bastards and all those officers at katyn just went and shot themselves in the back of the head.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @sektor666 Please, don’t exaggerate.

          • sektor666 says:

            feel free to correct me as to what it was that you were implying

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @sektor666 In any situation with a possible conflict of interest we should be extremely cautious.

          • TheFlow says:

            Ok, now CrazySweeper who suggest to be cautious is very wrong because in USA they teach you better what happened in USSR then in modern Russia. While almost no Americans had access to USSR at that time. And at the same time they created gulags of their own, where you could accuse anybody for begging a communist and they would be arrested … 1954 also known as a witch hunt.
            Don’t you think that maybe your knowledge of history may be one sided?

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @TheFlow
            1) “CrazySweeper who suggest to be cautious is very wrong”
            I suggest being cautious in situations when you do not possess valid knowledge. What’s wrong with this practice?

            2) “And at the same time they created gulags of their own, where you could accuse anybody for begging a communist and they would be arrested … 1954 also known as a witch hunt.”
            Are you serious? Do you think these events are even comparable?

            3) “Don’t you think that maybe your knowledge of history may be one sided?”
            When have I expressed my point of view on these events?

        • Awesomeclaw says:

          It’s well known that a large number of people were directly executed during the Great Purge (1936-1939) and many more are likely to have died in prison or labour camps (or just been executed ‘off the record’). 15 seconds of Google searching will bring up plenty of info. I think the reason that it’s a little less well known than the Nazi atrocities is because it was more or less the destructive, random flailing of a paranoid and repressive regime rather than a deliberate and calculated genocide.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            Only emotions and “well known facts”, but no actual proof. As for google, more often you can find history exaggeration instead of actual information

          • sektor666 says:

            a lot of this evidence you’re referring to is nonexistent, since stalinists took care to destroy it or didn’t bother to document their atrocities. your line of reasoning is dangerously similar to that of the holocaust revisioninsts, what with hitler not knowing about the deathcamps etc, since there are no documents in existence that would prove it.

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @sektor666 If there is no way to find unbiased information then there is nothing to discuss. Otherwise we are on dangerous grounds of guessing and prejudice.

          • Leb says:

            You live up to the first half of your name CrazySweeper

          • CrazySweeper says:

            @Leb Insult! Wonderful! Thank you for telling me your story, dear sir.

          • sektor666 says:

            bro, as far as katyn was concerned, corpses were dug up, hands tied behind their backs, bullet wounds in the back of the necks, which was NKVD’s execution style of choice. the soviet union and then the russian federation continuously denied their involvement in the crime and tried to pin it on the germans, until finally, after 50 years, yeltsin admitted that the crime was perpetrated by russians and apologized for it. THIS is russia’s ‘unbiased’ version of events. this is how it’s always been and how it always will be.

        • TheFlow says:

          @CrazySweeper
          Ok, maybe I didn’t make myself clear, and put some words wrong. I was actually defending your point of view and supporting your caution, and the replay was meant for the people that posted after you. (They saying that you are wrong, but forgetting)

          Maybe it doesn’t seams that in that point in time it was the same but in the long run it may be even worse, where we currently come to the point that every country that has opinion different form the USA is at serious risk of begging invaded and occupied. Unfortunately history is not something that just happened; our present is a logical chain of event from those points. And all you have to do now is turn on the news and you will see which country has the most troops on other countries territories.
          Although no doubt they did their marketing better.

  9. MellowKrogoth says:

    What I found hilarious (and sad) in this whole story was the Russians asking for censorship of this game. Yup, nothing better than promoting Soviet-style censorship to protest against a game that makes a bad portrait of the Soviet empire. Makes as much sense as the Muslims (a minority I hope, but a very real one) who burn down the nearest Christian church to protest against Islam being portrayed as a violent religion.

    I haven’t played CoH2, but I suspect there are two issues:
    - Relic probably focused on the Evil Soviets exclusively instead of balancing that by presenting some Ex-USSR war heroes. Some of these soldiers were brave men that only did what they believed was their duty.
    - Ex-USSR people have been brainwashed during decades and still are (liberty of the press in Russia is a joke). It’s not surprising then that those that bought the State’s stories are reacting negatively to some grim stuff that CoH2 exposes. The Soviet dictatorships have commited abominations and getting the full details is very difficult due to the control of information that persists to this day.

    • megazver says:

      You need a better sense of humor. You should also maybe actually play the game or see what people are complaining about before you start explaining how poor dumb Russians don’t know anything about their history.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        No, I think *you* need a better sense of humor.

      • Schiraman says:

        Well I’ve completed the game, and your representation of it is almost entirely inaccurate. The game is actually pretty balanced – yes, it shows some pretty evil actions by the Soviets (though it also leaves a lot out, and it doesn’t include most of the things you say it does) but it also shows a lot of heroism.

        It’s important to bear in mind that the Soviets are the good guys in this game – you play as them exclusively, you win every battle, you win the war, you control these heroes driving back the Nazis despite impossible odds. The ‘bad guy’ Russians are only in the cut scenes, and are clearly shown as being opposed to the ‘good guy’ Russians that the player represents.

    • derbefrier says:

      To be fair I doubt there’s a country in this world that doesn’t practice this type of censorship to some degree. Just look at any public shool history book if you don’t believe me. Of course most countries aren’t so obvious.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Sure, my country definitely does it, but not to the same extent, and I criticize it (and lo, I am *allowed* to publicly criticize it without being worried).

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Agreed. I’ve taught high school history in the US and they certainly try to avoid things like the Gulf of Tonkin incident and gloss over just about every military action and the causes. Especially the stuff that was done to convince the country to go to war. I don’t think you can convince any country to fight a war without some well planned propaganda.

        • jrodman says:

          That’s one of the things I feel blessed for: Educated in the United States, but in a private school.

          That means, for example, that our entire 2-3 months spent on the “Vietnam War” focused on how it came about for political goals that were not really properly attached to the conflict going on in Vietnam. From start to finish we deconstructed how the american political system got embroiled, how our military ended up committing atrocites, and how our black budget destabilized the entire region.

          It wasn’t exactly a Chomsky level of negativity, but it was lucid and accurate and detailed.

          I wish all my fellow citizens had encountered the same.

          • Mule says:

            I was educated in a US Public school and I can say that where you are educated matters quite a bit. Also how much attention you paid to the subject matter as a student likely played a role as well.

            In my High School “US History” Class I was taught about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution used by the President to begin major operations in the Vietnam war. We discussed how this was a major shift of power toward the executive side of the government. I learned about the “Trail of Tears” and the awful treatment of natives under the US government that continued long after the ‘taming of the west’ period. I learned about Japanese Internment camps, read a book about Hiroshima written by a survivor, and discussed US triumphs and atrocities from before 1776 and after. We even discussed motives for the American Civil War (It wasn’t simply a noble cause to end slavery as the picture is often painted).

            My High School was in the suburbs of Chicago and I was interested in history at the time. I may have gotten more out of that class than some of my peers… I can only imagine that in other countries there are also teachers and schools that teach more of the big picture, as well as other schools and teachers that take a jingoistic approach. This will likely be the case until the end of time.

          • jrodman says:

            Huh, we covered the trail of tears and the realities of the emancipation proclaimation in 4th grade.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I should note that the high schools I have experience teaching at are in Texas.

          • Lusketrollet says:

            I should note that the high schools I have experience teaching at are in Texas.

            That… probably explains everything, yeah.

    • Frux7 says:

      You act like Russia is the only country that has been brainwashed and has a weak media. Most americans don’t even know that America has performed war crimes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_war_crimes#World_War_II

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Our knowledge of WWII war crimes is basically proportional to our overall knowledge of World War II, really. Aside from the atomic bombings, of course.

    • ignarebrute says:

      “- Relic probably focused on the Evil Soviets exclusively instead of balancing that by presenting some Ex-USSR war heroes. Some of these soldiers were brave men that only did what they believed was their duty.”

      That what you’d think considering this whole drama. But having played the full campaign, without completely spoiling it for you, I can tell that’s the contrary. The story is focused on one actual USSR war hero getting fucked by an USSR war criminal that is higher on the hierarchy, at the expensive of the brave soldiers under him achieving great success despite the odds.

    • TheFlow says:

      At least do some research before posting non-sense. The game was not censorship in anyway, 1C the distributor received a lot of complains that the game is offensive and they decided not to distribute it anymore.
      Don’t they do that everywhere? Even on itunes or google play if there are a lot of complains software will be banned.
      So what I found hilarious and sad is that people like you always judge something while they don’t know anything on the matter. Saying that Russia is totalitarian country with absolutely no freedom of speech is simply not true. Thing there are far from perfect, but where they aren’t?

    • General_Me says:

      are you sure the grim stuff relic is exposing isn’t the fact we in the west have been lied to about all these unsubstantiated claims about Russians barbarism in ww2, I find it really hard to believe an unorganised rabble of unarmed soldiers banzai charging Mg42′s beat the most well oiled and huge German war machine and then marched into their capital effectively ending ww2.

      For the most part if true it seriously downgrades the German army of ww2.

  10. Klarden says:

    I’d say, offensive to logic and history, not “anti-patriotic”, and mostly due to the fact, that Relic chose “this is what happened, this is real” stance, not “we took a lot of liberties and used artistic license to show this story”.
    It’s worth noting, that this is the first time something like this happens and on this scale. Previous known act of, in a way, censorship in gaming in Eastern Europe, that is the infamous “No Russian” from MW2, was done by politicians and not liked by gamers, who were fine with inclusion of such potentially offensiove, yet storywise important level. Here, though, it’s the players who are shocked at the amount of bullshit masquerading as history in CoH2.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      There’s tons of anti-patriotic and historically inacurrate media being produced every year in the US and other Western countries and usually nobody cares. (I’ll refer you for instance to the popular theory that “9-11 was an inside job”. Try openly accusing the government in Russia this way and see how fast you end up in prison.) The incredible fit of irrational rage around this game shows a problem in the protesters, not in the game. Clearly they’re not ready for a democratic and open society where anything can be criticized and dissected.

      • Klarden says:

        I’m guessing, you’re an expert in this field, who actually checked how Russia works and how it’s sosciety operates? I mean, sure, there’s a lot of shit going on there, I mean, I’m from Ukraine and I do not want to even travel to Russia for any reason, because fuck that. But still – even I don’t pretend to know all about how Russian society thinks.
        Also, no, it’s not “more historically accurate” as of now, from what I’ve seen and heard from people living and studying in Russia. However, there are certain laws soon to be in motion, which might change that. And it is highly unfortunate, that this controversy happens right before those new laws and acts (which are aimed at “preserving historical accuracy”)

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          Yeah I’ve edited out the part about the “historically accurate” thing since I realized it might not be true. The rest of my paragraph still stands though.

      • megazver says:

        Yes and it was criticized by people forming a pressure group that told the companies involved that their finances would be negatively affected by the outraged masses boycotting their products. 1C did the math and made amends. Sega is shitting bricks.

        There was no censorship. It wasn’t banned by Putin. Welcome to capitalism.

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          Some people were definitely asking for censorship. We’ll see if the Russian government sees that as an opportunity to tighten its grip or not.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Well the govt doesn’t need to censor if they can establish a jingoistic society that will marginalize and condemn anything that goes against “patriotism.” I’m sure some politicians make a smug grin when they see gamers protesting a videogame that paints the USSR in a bad light, true or not.

          • aepervius says:

            Russia might have been jingoistic a few decades ago, but let us be honest. Who is more aggresively patriotic in the last decade ? The US ? or Russia ? Maybe I am biased, but I rarely get confronted to Russia patriotism, but the US over patriotism, is becoming a running joke even among the *american* colleague with whom i work with.

          • RedViv says:

            Och I dunno, aeper. What’s worse, a loud and aggressive minority in one corner, or the country that hands outrageously early-20th-century-ish anti-defamation of faith and nation laws down from the top in the other?

          • Widthwood says:

            I’d say its the country that still executes human beings, but hey, anti-defamation laws are bad too…

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Yeah, it’s a problem with nation states in general, not exclusive to any one.

  11. ignarebrute says:

    At no instant, during the whole campaign, I felt russian soldiers were portrayed as cold-blooded killers. One character is, not even a soldier, obviously. But he’s presented as a traitor to his own kind more than a representative exemple of the russian average soldier.

    Now, obviously, if they are unhappy because a game mention, for instance, the fact that the Polish freedom fighter, non or anti-communist, were murderered, they ought to open some books from time to time. Or even just browse the web, it is well documented and not even really challenged nowadays by anyone https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre (simple example)

    And if they are also unhappy to remember their own leadership was not valuing life so much, maybe they should realize at some point they are insulting their own grandfathers and anyone that suffered or died during or because of the bolchevik regime.

    This whole petition crap is insulting to both russians and any person that lived in Eastern europe during the previous century. This is truly revolting, certainly not Company of Heroes.

    • Klarden says:

      Katyn massacre happened 2 years before the Soviet Union got involved in the war. They had the “privilage” to do so, because Soviet union was, seemingly, in no danger and they didn’t need allies. After the war started, however, I doubt they could easily afford shooting everyone, who helped them. Honestly – this MIGHT’ve happened, but it’s highly unlikely, before and after the war – I wouldn’t doubt that at all, those were dark times, but during the war – I don’t think so.

      • HadToLogin says:

        I hope you’re not angry about US torturing their prisoners of war, seeing how you don’t see a problem with Russians doing something much worse.

      • DaeL says:

        “Katyn massacre happened 2 years before the Soviet Union got involved in the war. They had the “privilage” to do so, because Soviet union was, seemingly, in no danger and they didn’t need allies. After the war started, however, I doubt they could easily afford shooting everyone, who helped them. Honestly – this MIGHT’ve happened, but it’s highly unlikely, before and after the war – I wouldn’t doubt that at all, those were dark times, but during the war – I don’t think so.”

        Oh come on! Are you seriously making the argument, that Stalin could commit attroicities, murder POWs, run the largest concentration camps system in the world, and basicly commit genocide (i.e. the engineered Holodomor in Ukraine) during time of peace, but he couldn’t have done this during the war? If anything, there are even more incentives for committing attrocities in wartime. You might want to starve the enemy when you retreat (thus – burning the villages), you want to prevent soldiers from defecting to the enemy side (thus – murdering the officers who are not happy with orders they are given), you want to scare the hell out of any potential traitors (thus – brutally killing peasants who did not resist enough when Germans took their food for supplies). And what’s most important – you rarely have the luxury of taking POWs.

        So yeah… if anything, wartime gives you even more chances and incentives to commit attrocities.

        • Klarden says:

          Which, could cost Soviet Union allies and their forces morale and disitegration of structure, something that they could not afford.
          Again – it’s not like there was no infighting and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) contorversies, it’s not like there was no shit with any prisoner of war risking to go to GULAG as a traitor on being returned home, not like there was no “burned earth” operations or blowing up half the current capital of Ukraine Kyiv (which, was, at the time, said to have been done by the nazis, but istead was done by soviet order). It’s not like shit like this didn’t happen.
          But what I’m saying is – they wouldn’t risk losing allies, whatever they were, at that time of war, at that state of things. Later – sure let’s divide Germany, let’s tried to widen our influence and continue the oppression. But not during the war time, they had enough shit to deal with already.

          • Schiraman says:

            Sorry, but you’re just wrong. The Russians did round up, imprison and often just kill on the spot Polish partisans who were fighting the Germans and who had been ordered to make contact with (and aid) the Soviet forces. This did happen.

            Yes it was brutal and apparently nonsensical, but ultimately Stalin was more concerned with Poland being passive and easily controlled than he was with treating its soldiers with honour or respect. Think about it: Poles who resisted the German occupation would be the very same people who would later resist the Soviets doing the same. Those people dying was to Stalin’s advantage.

        • TheFlow says:

          Are you seriously saying this?! Are we really forgetting what was WW2 all about, and who attacked who? Did we already forget that Hitler goal was to physically eliminate all nations that were not up for his standards? Are we forgetting about holocaust where 6milions Jews were executed and much much more Slavic! Only in Russia there were 20milions of civilians killed, not to mention all other nations across the Europe ….

          Come on get your facts together and stop spreading the BS

      • ignarebrute says:

        “Katyn massacre happened 2 years before the Soviet Union got involved in the war. ”

        And during Nuremberg trials, USSR representatives tried to put the Katyn massacre on the back of the nazis. So that’s not really a story that we can dismiss as anachronic.

        I think that perfectly illustrates USSR/Stalin policy about Poles, his moral standards and behavior towards such unruly resistance fighters. I did not wanted to get into specific and less famous stories, to avoid getting into an expert debate.
        That’s a bold fact, USSR has committed crimes against Poles, not necessarily in order to win the war against Germany but also to get rid of future political opponents. Katyn is a tragic and meaningful example. No one, after that, should dare to see red because of such suggestion in a video game about second world war.

        And, unfortunately, there are cases of Poles murdered during war by the USSR, when it was clear that helping them would be prejudicial to post-war dealings. I understand that you find that illogical, because it is, but this is documented too (but then again, because of this, the Katyn case is easier to apprehend)

  12. walldad says:

    I think this has to be placed in essentially a context of Cold War resentment and the sensitivity Russians (and many historically inclined Americans) have to the Hollywood portrayals of the war in Europe as something that Britian and the US won themselves, while bearing the brunt of the sacrifices. In their films the USSR’s role in World War II is downplayed, denigrated, or just not shown at all. Hell, Patton — no doubt a classic of American cinema — glorifies a man that favored invading the USSR in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the Nazis.

    In this case, the US’s entertainment industry gets a free pass for its utterly false and jingoist propaganda when it contextualizes the Western Front as The More Important War — honestly this to the point where the average person in the US believes the USSR’s role was the lesser one in the war against Nazi Germany. This is contrary to the simple fact that the USSR took the highest casualties from both atrocities committed against their people and in the war itself, saw the fiercest combat, and inflicted the vast bulk of the casualties on the German armies.

    Think about it like this: The Nazis planned to enslave and eventually exterminate all Slavic people, so a Westerner creating a fictional account of the war that exaggerates and overemphasizes faults of an army that had to fight against an enemy like that just comes off condescending and vile.

    So a developer from the Anglo-American world really has to think things like this through instead of taking the same predictable path patterned off movies that deal in nonsense history like Enemy at the Gates. Russians are just going to see it as armchair criticism coming from a part of the world that did not have to deal with anything comparable to the wholesale slaughter of that front of the war in those years, whether the portrayals themselves are ‘historically accurate’.

    Since qualifiers are all the rage these days, let me add this: the USSR most certainly has skeletons in its closet, including its own conduct in the war, but I ultimately think it’s a matter of emphasis and context.

    • Streltsy says:

      Brilliant post summing up my major sentiments and views.

      Most Westerners still think they “won the war’; now, nobody could have won without all the other sides but at the same time it’s fact that 80% of Germany’s forces were fighting in the East.
      It was also a lot more of a desperate struggle as there was no sea seperating the East from the fascists, and they saw Slavs as sub-humans almost in the same vein as Jews. Their plan was basically to eradicate the land of slavic peoples and settle it themselves, and their actions were in line with this.
      But then the West only focuses on the rape of Berlin and wonders how the Russians could be so barbaric, a ridiculous sentiment considering Americans never had to experience fascist occupation. And really most atrocities happened because Stalin was a crazy paranoid fuck, but even then they weren’t so much larger than the West’s.

      Basically, my beef is that most Western portrayals of the Eastern Front completely ignore or skip over the fact that the vast majority fought not because of communism or other political reasons but because they wanted to SURVIVE. They wanted families to survive, their land; the right to not be, literally, exterminated.
      That was what the Eastern front was about, that is the major theme. And ignoring it, or focusing myopically on other aspects? That is disrespectful to those who fought.

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        Western portrayals of WW2 are certainly incorrectly focused, and it’s very true that the Eastern Front saw most of the fighting, and the most brutal of the fighting.
        However, to claim it’s disrespectful to those who fought to make a (simplistic, admittedly) game where the regime is presented as bad? No it isn’t. The Soviet Union was not a nice place, especially at that time. Stalin wasn’t Gorbachev.
        Every country in the world has it’s seedy underbelly and it’s inglorious past. Why is it disrespectful to mention it?

      • ignarebrute says:

        I do agree with you:

        Obviously, the turning point of WWII was the failed operation Barbarossa. Westerners would have won no war if USSR was not involved. Obviously, the fact that this involvement was decided by Hitler and not Stalin just does not speak good about Stalin. But it does not reduce the importance of the contribution of the russian people.
        (and if we are getting back to WWI, it’s an obvious fact that French would have been defeated fast enough without the sacrificial help of the Russians, so there is some kind of pattern here)

        It’s clearly annoying to represent only the russians soldiers as rapists. The number of rapes committed by armies in this period is astonishingly high – but not really uncommon. And you are right to point out that the fact that only part of the soldiers got the war on their own soil surely impact their ulterior behavior. So pointing fingers is easy but reality not so much.

        Still, I played the full campaign of COH2 and Russians did not appear to me as barbaric criminals. Sure, there is one officer that is an obvious war criminal. But the main character of the story oppose him. And most soldiers involved are not more barbaric then any other soldier, not more subject to propaganda, they are indeed fighting to survive.

    • Werthead says:

      I think that’s accurate, although changing in the UK. Antony Beevor’s books STALINGRAD and BERLIN were enormously successful and seem to have sparked a much greater interest in the eastern front. Most people I now speak to here do seem aware that Russia’s importance to the war was much greater than the USA’s, for example.

      I do see a more distressing pattern emerging in the US, however. 10-15 years ago, in the aftermath of the downfall of the USSR, there seemed more widespread American acceptance that Russia’s role in the war was vital. More recently, however, I’ve lost track of number of times that Americans on various forums (history-focused or otherwise) have said that Russia only won the war because of American support and Lend-Lease, and without it they would have been destroyed (ignoring the fact that Lend-Lease did not have a significant impact on helping the Russian supply situation until late 1942/early 1943 at best, and then mostly in a support capacity such as supplying trucks, jeeps and railway cars). This is a disturbing development because it seems so widespread.

      Simultaneously, Russian denialism of the scale of the atrocities committed by the Red Army during WWII also seems to be on the rise (whilst British historical narratives now focus a fair amount of attention on colonial injustices and also on the inhuman nature of mass-bombing of German cities). We need to be clear, this was the bloodiest, most desperate war fought in human history and in Russia it was even moreso because Hitler had made it clear he wanted the Russian people either enslaved or slaughtered (whilst he was fully prepared to negotiate a peace treaty with Britain at pretty much any point of the war and had no ability at all to directly invade the USA). For the Russians this was a total war to the death, and immense levels of sacrifice far beyond anything the West would consider reasonable were called for. In Stalin the Russians had a leader ruthless and amoral enough to force them to make those kind of sacrifices. At least 27 million (and probably a lot, lot more) Russians died rather than see their country submit, and very few did so because other Russians were threatening to shoot them if they retreated. There was tremendous heroism involved from both civilians and soldiers during the war. I particularly recommend reading up on the Siege of Leningrad, where half the city’s population was killed, many of them working like maniacs (whilst starving) to defend it. It redefines the understanding of the limits humans will work under to survive.

      But the Russians committed atrocities as well. Maybe more impersonally, maybe for ‘practical’ reasons rather than ideological ones, and maybe on a smaller scale than on the Germans, but they did do it (and yes, the UK and USA did as well, but nothing even remotely on the scale of either Russia or Germany). The Russians killed tens of thousands of prisoners through basic neglect: it’s often reported that over 100,000 German POWs were taken at Stalingrad, less so that more than 90% of them died or starvation or typhoid in the gulags and only a few thousand ever saw home again. The rape of eastern Germany during the 1945 advance on Berlin was horrendous. Stalin and the Russian commanders also authorised campaigns and offensives that would kill tens of thousands of Russian soldiers rather than undertaking less brutal (but equally effective) offensives which would have taken longer.

      The Germans and the Russians fought a war between two totalitarian, dictatorial regimes led by individual men with almost unlimited power and no mercy or compassion to speak. It’s no surprise that it was a horrible, brutal and bloody conflict. It is a surprise that so many people want it whitewashed or reduced to a ‘good guys vs. bad guys’ fight. There was tremendous heroism involved amongst soldiers and civilians, but the leaders of both sides were really not very nice people, and neither were their regimes.

      • Triglav says:

        Just for comparison, please dig up the numbers of how many Byelorussian, Ukrainian and Russian women and girls were raped and murdered by Germans as well as how many Soviet POW’s died in German POW and concentration camps. Then seriously tell me did Soviets practice the biblical eye-for-an-eye approach, or did they show massive restraint. Thank you.

    • TheFlow says:

      You have to understand that the Stalin was definitely not a good man, but all the repression was next to non during the war time. He just could not afford that. He needed that Russian people to have highest moral possible, and with repression he simply wouldn’t achieve that (In other words doing so would be pretty much suicidal)
      .
      Hack he even allowed faith again, and Russian troops had priests and blessings. (Faith was forbidden in communist countries)

      So Russians didn’t fight in war for Stalin they fought for their country, land, families and for simple survival. You can easily check this fact by looking at the USSR art during that time. Movies for example, they were all about evil that comes which only united people that worked as one can defeat.

      Of course later when he saw that the victory is unavoidable he again forbids the faith, and gets prepared for the inner war for the power and the control of USSR that was ahead of him. And that is where all repression, gulags and shit start. On the other hand USA did the same and wedges their own war against communism and that is how we got next 50 years of cold war.

  13. revan says:

    Sense I got from the game is that ordinary Russian soldiers were rather brave men and women, albeit indoctrinated by the Soviet propaganda, and propaganda indoctrination is the mainstay of all totalitarian systems. In that regard, Soviet and German soldiers were a lot alike, both virtually blinded to anything else due to aggressive ideological propaganda. Yeah, I might get a lot of flak by comparing the two sides.

    Where ‘Evil Soviets’ come into play, game-wise, is upper echelons; NKVD, political commissars, commanders, all the way to the top leadership. Blocking detachments are a historical fact. Commanders and Stalin himself, threw millions of Soviet soldiers to their deaths during the rearguard actions of the early Operation Barbarossa. So I don’t really see what Relic did wrong. Life of a Red Army soldier was cheap during WWII, at least in the eyes of the Soviet leadership.

    • Widthwood says:

      Eugh. This is exactly why Russians tend to be offended by that game.

      Soldiers fighting invaders in their own country don’t need propaganda to fight!
      I’m not sure where this surprisingly persistent idea comes from, but it is completely ridiculous regardless what country it is about.. Do you seriously think any nation would need some kind of propaganda to fight back people that were killing them and burning their homes? That Russians actually did not want to protect their family and loved ones from sure death, and had to be forced to do this by evil regime (by those ubiquitous blocking regiments, no less)??.. That they PREFERRED to just say “i dont care, rape my country all you want, im going home.. oh wait i don’t have one anymore, lol whatever”
      Sure there were symbols and patriotic posters and slogans with stalin, etc – but that is just to boost soldiers morale, like any war banners or songs during any war..

      How can you even try to objectively discuss details of the war when your fundamental opinion about the it is obviously horribly skewed? and you state this opinion like a fact, no less.

      • mvsolid says:

        Slaves make bad soldiers and fear of death by your comrade’s hand is not a good foundation for a discipline in armed forces – especially during the hell on earth that is an actual war for survival. Army that relies only on the effectiveness of the executioners and the power of the whip would have never won WWII. Easy as that.

        Penal batallions, trigger-happy blocking squads, express court-marshalling of POWs to Siberia – thats all true, these are all grave mistakes of Soviet command that caused a lot of unnecessary casualties, they all deserve to be in Great Patriotic War narratives, but not to fulfill them to the edges. Soviet commanders weren’t bloodthirsty idiots and Soviet people weren’t scared cattle.

        I am Russian and, while I despise stalinists, even I feel disgusted by Company of Heroes II – the only narrative developers were interested in was the story of atrocities and their only source of inspiration seems to be the Imperial Guard from W40k. Which – a fictional army from a satirical militaristic universe – in the end, was treated in Relic games with way more care, empathy and common sense than the Soviet Army.

        • ignarebrute says:

          I think you’re overly sensitive.

          You admit these “graves mistakes” and “unnecessary casualties” still you complain about the game. The game does not present the average Russian soldier as cattle, victim of propaganda. The game present the average Russian soldier as a brave soldier, willing to accept these graves mistakes and unnecessary casualties caused by a specific part of upper management because he was fighting for a greater cause: not communism or any theoritical notion but his country and family. COH2 does not tell the eastern front war was won by USSR on the power of the whip, quite the contrary: it was won despite this, despite these graves mistakes and unnecessary casualties.

          You should acknowledge this. That how they were companies of heroes: overcoming a few of their cynical commanders under the order of Beria and alikes.

          • Widthwood says:

            You can stretch reality as much as you want, but the fact that latest CoH suddenly dropped all hero stuff of earlier games in favor of focusing on war crimes, going as far as even adding imaginary ones, of a protagonists nation who also just happens to be the most villified nation in the West, can’t be disputed at this point.

          • mvsolid says:

            I love me a good underdog story, but such narratives at war end only in tragedy. This is large-scale war we are talking about, between two enormous forces of comparable size and military technology level. Such wars can’t be won with irrational idiots in command (and sacrificing your own manpower for unclear reasons is the most irrational act that a commander can make). Human spirit is awesome, but it can’t bend reality.

            Greatest Soviet commander, Rokossovsky, was a Polish general who was imprisoned during the Purge of 1937. Noted fuckers Stalin and Zhukov, whose incompetence caused the tragedy of 1941, knew when to back off and put their trust in more talented people.

            You know what war Russia has actually won with meat-grinder tactics and ignorant command? The First Chechen War, where “pacifying” a tiny region became a series of massacres of unprepared, uncoordinated russian soldiers at the hands of bandits and mercenaries. Zerg rush works if your only goal is to take a city and call it a day; the cynical, illogical and dehumanising approach to your own people willl inevitably backfire if you try to mobilize and march a million people through Europe.

            If the barbaric tactics that some western people see as the definitive trait of the Red Army were as widespread as portrayed in CoH 2, the Red Army would have eaten itself in mutinies and mass desertion somewhere around Kursk, if not earlier.

      • revan says:

        Fun fact: I’ve actually experienced war on my own home soil in the ’90s. Most brutal one in Europe since WWII. And I can tell you that every army, even ours, which was doing exactly what you said: defending their homes and families from cruel and slow death, is influenced by propaganda. And we are talking here about a democratic regime, with far less power than the regime ruling USSR. Dehumanizing the enemy is always the first order of business. Some regimes extend that dehumanization to the civilian population or entire ethnic and religious group (Nazis, Japan militarists). This often leads to atrocities, and Red Army had their share of those. Some were done for revenge, but not all. That’s where vitriolic propaganda, tinged by ideology, comes into play. Talking of Soviet soldiers not being influenced by their superiors and Soviet state seems to me like the talk of someone who has never seen or experienced the war first hand.

        • Widthwood says:

          I see now where you are coming from, and see why you have that point of view. Also, then there is no way in hell anything I say will ever change your mind..

          Still, Yugoslavia war was much closer to a civil war, than war with completely external aggressor, like WW2 or Vietnam, wasn’t it? Its much harder to morally justify war with your long standing neighbor, even one you have rotten relationship with, than with guys you can’t understand, have never seen before, and who are bent on your destruction for no apparent reason. Thus increased need for propaganda..

          • revan says:

            Winter War. That was a war between neighbors, rotten ones by all accounts It was a clear act of aggression and not a civil war. Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Tsarist Russia for a long time, true, but the Bolshevik regime definitely needed propaganda to spur their soldiers to try and ‘liberate’ Finland from the Finns. And I’m sure Finns employed it as well. And don’t forget that Russia and Germany were neighbors for a long time too. It’s just the nature of war. Once it starts, all sorts of lies, slander, falsehoods, exaggerations start to permeate daily lives of soldiers and local civilian population. All the more so if the war is fought on home soil. And much of the time all that is spread by the government.

            I’m not saying that Soviet soldiers lacked the zeal to defend their home and needed lies being told in order to fight. They had shown extraordinary courage, even in the face of leadership that didn’t value their sacrifice in the least . In fact, in my humble opinion, if this war had not been fought in Russia, if the country wasn’t so direly threatened, I’m sure that counter-revolution would have been a very real possibility, because Stalin’s government was so inept, purged of anyone even remotely competent to prosecute the war, and so very callous with the lives of the ordinary Soviet citizens and soldiers. At least in the first two-three years of the war.

            War in general is a very hard thing to understand if you didn’t experience it first-hand. And even then you are just afforded a glimpse of understanding. In hindsight it is all very clear, ordered. But in reality it is all so chaotic, you just blunder about most of the time. That’s where propaganda comes into play. It gives focus to soldiers, enhances their zeal, holds them up when they are about to falter, helps to stave off war weariness. And if you have to be silent about the horrible acts you side committed to help the war move along, you do that.

            But the problem arises when the war is over and people have this distorted vision of a fight between the forces of good and evil. Long after the war has ended. In reality it is all very much grey, with all sides sometimes doing horrible things. I am not putting an equation between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Former was a victim, latter the aggressor, no doubt about that. But being ‘liberated’ by the Red Army often wasn’t all that much better than living under the Nazi yoke. Just ask the Baltic States or Poland. That’s why people find themselves offended by the portrayal of their sides in games.

            This is a very demanding topic, spanning things like human behaviour and hundreds of years of history. Pulling just the WWII (Eastern Front in general) out of context, and trying to find the answers to these questions from that piece of history alone will bring some very skewed findings. Background of each of these two countries must be examined far into the past if something even remotely resembling unbiased conclusion is to be produced. It’s far too complex for the comments section of a gaming portal. Just remember that we always shine brighter in our own eyes than in the eyes of the beholder. And they, if looking honestly, see us much clearer, warts and all.

    • Triglav says:

      I love it when people who have perhaps read one book or just a few Wiki articles, and saw a few (western) movies, confidently use the phrase “historical fact”. /facepalm

  14. aircool says:

    Just buy Wargame ALB instead… it’s better, and portrays the FSU in a positive light.

    • Chimpyang says:

      The great thing about W:ALB is that everything is present as matter of fact, and in a neutral manner. Opinions are not foisted upon you by the game. Want to play as PACT? Cool. Want to play as NATO? Cool.

  15. Relnor says:

    In other news, if anyone is interested in a less “cinematic” (and imo not biased) account of the Eastern Front, then I’d certainly reccomend the Hardcore History podcasts by Dan Carlin, Ghosts of the Ostfront in this case.

    The way his website works is that the newer stuff is free, and the older podcasts (like this one) cost 2$ or something, although there are places to obtain them freely if you’re uh, crafty enough~

    It’s quite lenghty and he talks alot about what happened there during the war rather than a typical historical narration, and there certainly are a lot of terrible things that were done there by both sides.

    The main reason I look down on the guys calling for censorship (apart from the fact that censoring games is stupid) is that, despite what some of you guys may have said above, there ARE many people that just refuse to believe some of the more .. unsavory .. things that their countries have done. A few countries have been more repentant, the majority have not, and Russia is definetly one of the latter.

    PS: Obviously the events in CoH2 are vastly exagerated, but claiming that the Soviet regime (note, the REGIME, not the common soldier ) were any more the “good guys” than their opponents is pretty silly aswell.

    • Siythe says:

      I’ll second Relnor’s recommendation of Dan Calrlin’s Hardcore History podcast. It covers the eastern front of WWII exceptionally well and goes out of it’s way to include both the bravery and skill of the Russian soldiers as well as the extraordinary hardship and violence of that warzone in comparison to the western front.

      On a personal level I think the cold war prejudice that’s been mentioned here cuts both ways. The russian view of Stalin and the actions of Soviet troops in WWII is just as prejudiced as western version. But that’s a larger historical argument than the contents of COH2.

  16. reggiep says:

    The outrage is expected. Whatever. Some people like to get their history from video games I guess? I don’t. I don’t even care about the story in RTS games. It’s all just a gameplay delivery system anyway.

    The kicker is that the Soviet leadership on the Eastern Front was brutal. It’s well documented. The soldiers were mostly caught in between their brutal leadership and the brutal enemy. It was a terrible place to be, but they prevailed. That’s the whole point. But Russians are too busy being outraged over the first few cutscenes that they missed the point. Not only that, but the Russian faction is probably the best in the series.

    So, ya, Russia. Show the world how strong of a people you are by essentially burning books. You can’t handle the content, so it must be squashed, right? Weak.

  17. Dowr says:

    I have not played CoH 2 so I cannot say how “offensive” the game is, but what I will say is this: why the hell are they trying to ban it? I thought we (gamers) hated censorship? I Isn’t this one of the reasons they disbanded the Soviet Union; to get away from that attitude?

  18. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    If anything, I feel their fault was in making the Allies look heroic in the first game.

    Both games should have been as grim as CoH2 and should have portrayed every side of the fight as equally monstrous.

    A war game should reinforce not wanting to go to war by making war as ugly as possible.

    • Dalex says:

      “A war game should reinforce not wanting to go to war by making war as ugly as possible.”

      So basically indoctrination of youth, to ensure world peace?
      For the greater good?
      Trust me I don’t think war should be glorified but I also don’t think that we should design games, movies and other stuff with explicit purpose of scaring the populace into shape we want it to fit.

      Personally I’m in favor of realism.

      • jrodman says:

        I think the idea here is that “as ugly as possible’” is not as ugly as the reality. That all game renditions are so whitewashed as to be impossible to even approach realism by reducing their sanitization by measurable degrees.

        At least, that’s what I suspect. I’ve never been to war.

    • Werthead says:

      There was a certain degree of that, but it was also unavoidable. The western Allies committed far fewer war crimes and atrocities than either the Russians or the Germans, but the scale of the war that the Allies were fighting was also much tinier (if pushed into the same corner as the Russians were, I don’t doubt that either the Americans or the British would have been as ruthless in defending their homelands). Our biggest war crime, the indiscriminate mass-bombing of civilian targets in bombing raids over Germany, was also outside the scope of the CoH franchise, which is mostly concerned with ground battles. On that score, whilst the Americans and Brits weren’t innocents (the occasional shooting of surrendering German soldiers, for example, is widely reported, as are friendly fire incidents), there wasn’t quite the same brutality involved. The numbers involved being far lower in Normandy and the rest of the western campaign also plays into that.

      • harmlos says:

        Actually, I would say the biggest “war” crime the U.S. committed was directly after the war, when they let the German civilian population freeze and starve in the winter of 1945/46. This was when the Morgenthau plan was still in effect, which was supposed to turn Germany into an agrarian state – never mind that a non-industrial Germany wouldn’t be able to come close to sustain its population. This plan was only abandoned in 1947/48 when it became clear that confrontation with the Soviets was inevitable, and the (West) Germans might be more useful as allies.

  19. Crimsoneer says:

    Lots of Russians nationalistic and right wing. More news at 11.

  20. Dalex says:

    While I personally don’t agree with Russians (my country being part of eastern block and being invaded by our “allies” is a big part of that) I must say that they are not alone in this.
    Almost every country has some sort of “glorious” era which most of its people almost worship oblivious to horror that happened during that time.

    For Russia its WWII, for France its revolution, for my country its sectarian civil war that ultimately led to thirty years war, which was basically world war of 17th century.

    To most of my countrymen its glorious time and they don’t want to or are unable to see wider implications of our ancestors actions nor the damage they caused. This is caused by fact that my nations intellectuals and later politics were for centuries propagating that kind of view thru books, plays and even movies.

    To Russians it seems as an insult because they were taught and their fathers and grandfathers were taught that WWII was flawless victory of Russian heroes over German madmen.

    So before we condemn those who signed those petitions we should first question ourselves whether we don’t hold similarly biased view of our own nations history.

    • rockman29 says:

      Thank you for your post.

    • TheFlow says:

      I respect your opinion, but it is not quite logical. Basically everyone’s grandfather (if you are from Russia and are 30+) was soldier in that war, so they were not taught about what happened then, they were actually a part of it and they have experienced all the horror of the worst war in the history of mankind on their own skin. You still have people alive that were in WW2, and every year in Moscow they receive respected place in victory parade on 9, may.

      Do you really think that if what was showed in the COH2 was even remotely true that Stalin could survive the wrath of the probably most powerful army at that time? He would be probably skinned alive and hanged on the red square! Stalin may be everything, but he was not a stupid man.

      For Russian WW2 was defiantly not a dark part of history. What happened afterwards on the other hand is.

      • abase says:

        So why then this victory day started to be celebrated only much after JS death in 1965? Because a lot of time was needed to calm down the people who suffered from events of war and pacify those who were confronting unwise decisions of Soviet leadership afterwards.

  21. rockman29 says:

    This is one bigoted comment thread… wow.

    I thought the worst was discussing sexism in videogames, but I was obviously wrong. Some serious Russia hating going on here.

    • RedViv says:

      We all just really want to be able to seriously yell WOLVERIIIIIIINES!
      Outside of cursing the movies of the similarly named Marvel character, of course.

  22. Policentric says:

    You know what the REAL problem is?

    In CoH:

    SOVIET = EVIL, HOMICIDAL MOSTERS
    USA = HEROIC, GLORIOUS ANGELS OF JUSTICE
    GERMANY = PROFFESIONAL, PATRIOTIC, NOBLE (but lied to by their evil mind-manipulating overlord)

    Now THAT is why this is a problem.

    • Schiraman says:

      Sure, that would be a problem.

      It’s not what happens in the game at all, but yeah, it would be bad if it did.

      As it happens the portrayal of the Soviets in CoH2 is very much “heroic soldiers who fight bravely against overwhelming odds but whose leaders sometimes betray or fail them”.

      You might have a point that the portrayal of the US in CoH1 was too positive, but let me ask you this: what specific American crimes, failures or betrayals do you think that game should have shown?

      • jrodman says:

        The obvious starting point would be Dresden. I’m not aware of the next tier of issues.

        Mostly the US involvement in the European theatre was relatively brief compared to the other participants. Home turn was not involved, and a lot of organization, logistics, etc was required to get the troops to the right continent, so haphazard cruelty by disorganization was not on the cards.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          It’s difficult to show negative aspects of the Americans in the war in Europe because they really weren’t in Europe all that much. The way Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans were treated back home isn’t an issue that really related to front-line combat. Neither is the dropping of the atomic bomb ’round the other side of the world. The heavy casualties at the D-Day landings were to be expected given all the factors involved and it’s very, very, hard to argue the case for any other approach to the invasion of Europe especially as none would have ended the war anywhere near as soon. A horrible decision to have to make but not one that can be construed as incompetent. Perhaps the Americans’ motivation for involvement was suspect – one could argue that they feared a world in which the red army liberated Paris, more than they feared one in which Hitler moved his offices to London. But how do you reflect this in a game about front-line soldiers? This was long before propaganda even brought communism to most Americans’ attention.

      • Triglav says:

        Well, while I think warcrimes or bad waging of war should not be the first priority of these wargames, which should provide the player to play out his own heroic fantasy, but if Relic was to use the same approach for COH1 as they did for COH2, by saying “but these things actually did happen, we wanted to show a real portrayal”, then COH1 campaign would be something like this.

        First you’d not start with D-Day but with the completely incompetent Dieppe raid, where 60% of Allied invading troops (mainly Canadians) were killed, wounded or captured. That’d be, let’s say a counterpart of throwing unarmed Russians at German machine guns, yea?

        Then you’d get preparatory bombardments (and also post-D-day ones) in which US bombers level about 1500 French towns and villages, killing about 70,000 French civillians. That’d be comparable to COH2′s scorched eath and torching own people, wouldn’t it? Maybe throw in destruction of historic and cultural monuments such as the unnecesary destruction of the Italian Monte Cassino as well?

        Then, you could show more incompetence and poor leadership in the form of “friendly-fire” bombing of British troops by Americans, the botched Market Garden and Anzio operations, the panic and retreats of the Bulge, etc. I think that would show the poor leadership and incompetence of many Allied decisions which needlessly sacrificed many Allied soldiers’ lives quite fairly too, wouldn’t it?

        And for a cherry on the cake, if you are familliar with the term Eisenhower’s Holocaust, the figures vary, but some say from a hundred thousand to over a million German POW’s were starved to death by western allies after victory in Europe. I think that could compare to the Soviets shooting prisoners in COH2, perhaps?

        But we didn’t see any of that in COH1, did we? I really wonder why Relic chooses to focus on such things when it comes to Russians, but not when it comes to Western Allies, if they’re so big on historical accuracy? Could it have anything to do with the overall never-got-over-the-Cold-War mentality of western propaganda, similarly displayed in most movies, games, etc that feature Russia or Russians?

    • Werthead says:

      Really? I think Germans have the most to complain about. The Germans don’t get their own campaign (outside of a half-assed half dozen missions in OPPOSING FORCE and some horrible little game mode things in TALES OF VALOUR) at all and are presented continuously as faceless, personality-less robotic evil enemies who need to be mass-slaughtered at every opportunity.

      The problem for Relic – and why ultimately no proper German campaign has been attempted in either game – is that they can’t show all of the German solders as either inhuman monsters or humanised individuals without annoying one group or another, so they have just never bothered.

      • Triglav says:

        So, it’s not ok to show Germans, who killed about 15 million Soviet civillians, as bad guys in any way, but it’s perfectly fine to do so with Russians, who did not kill about 15 million German civillians? Not even 1% of that number…? So it’s not ok to offend Germans, but perfectly fine to offend Russians?

  23. Prince_Eugen says:

    You all bullying us for being stereotypical. But why? Didnt you making stereotypes about our history? Who the hell you’re? How far is Eastern Europe from Canada. You’re claiming that you made historical right game? Dont amuse me. What historical sources you used? I bet it was a memories of mentally unstable half-educated person, didnt it? You’re trying to fake and bring down the heroism of our ancestors by yours points of view. From your view, the liberator of France (no offense on french, you suffered from war and occupation) the american (or allied if ya want) soldier is a knight in polished shiny armour on the white horse, whilst the Soviet Soldier (officer) is the monster that killing everyone on his way. Really feels like this game scenario has missed the side it was probably best for Nazi Campaign. By showing this “thruth” you overcrossed the heroism of our ancestors.

    Answering to some replies:
    1. NKVD’s points were to search for spies and collaborationists. They did executions, but not as showed in the game (game scenarion, no offence, were written by the mentally-disabled, bloody-minded persons).
    2. “Stalin’s Purges”
    Oh, this is the famous and the favourite page of all USSR-haters all over the world. Now come with me, put the NKVD coat, and lets go. Who were the “purged”? Answer: purged were the men who actually made revolution. That were unstable people, the permanent rebels (marshal Thukhachevskiy – the russian “Bonaparte” who’s main aim is to rule). The clearence of that people was needed, with them in 30′s you could get 10-15 Red Revolutions.
    3. Russians feared Poland.
    “facepalm”
    How can the country, ruined by the war, threat the mighty for that time USSR? This is just brain explode for me. When [underline]Soviet[/underline] army left Manchuria (after defeating Japanese Kvantun Army) they left all ammo, tanks, artlillery and other to China?
    4. Murdering of own POW’s
    FFS
    Japanese (again) after the battle of Halkhin-Gol murdered their soldiers and officers who were POW’s. I understand, Bushido, Code of Samurai. In USSR and RA (Red Army) for that time were many problems with collaborationists and spies.So NKVD needed to check all ex-POW’s, undersatnd please, it’s needed in every point!
    Murdering of German POW’s
    Sorry pls, but how many people (and POW’s ofc) were executed by SS? And, understand, our people were raged out by the germans moves in USSR, someone must be punished for that…

    I’ll make no more answers i’m tired of reading this amount of sh** and mud. I’m the human, and my mind cant can no longer take this delirium from community and devs. Sorry, i can take it no more.

    About myself a bit:
    I’m 21 years old. I’m from Ukraine. My grand-grand fathers fought for their and my future. They died on war (peace be upon them) on that war. First was the sergeant commander of T-34 tank and he burnt alive in his tank in 1941 covering the retreat. Second was the lieutenant and died in 1944 in Poland in by taking the fire of MG on himself to give the rest of troops possibilty to cross the road (i know he wasnt threated by the orders or machine guns on the back, we was just a hero, who gave out his life to save others). I’ll never forget their heroism, and the Western thruth like this not making sense for me. Thanks for reading.

    • jrodman says:

      I’m in the US.

      When I see police brutality on the street, I ask the police what’s going on, in order to discourage it.
      They say “We’re arresting a *bad man*.”

      You can justify anything this way.

    • ignarebrute says:

      You are funny lad.

      Sure, it’s is stupid to consider that the only country in the whole Europe without famous collaborator (germany was not even willing to find one, distrusting them all), with the most massive resistance organization, known to be unfriendly toward communism, could have been seen as a problem by happy guys like Stalin, Beria, etc.

      Sure, Purges were a cool and necessary thing against enemies of the state. And you can always photoshop these enemies when there are too many pictures of you shaking hands with them!

      POW were greatly handled in Russia, obviously, since there was POW until 1956!

      So you are 21 years old? And you know so specific details about actions of your grandparents during war? I’m quite older than you and, about my relatives that died during war, including on the Eastern front, I just know that they died eventually. I’m not sure how you had the opportunity to get precise information about this. But I understand your feelings are speaking more than anything else. So I guess it’s kind of a helpless argument.

    • abase says:

      How would you explain that http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/91490677 Red Army blasted Dnieper Dam killing 10000 people of their own country. It is also was really necessary as killing POWs and veterans of WWII by NKVD. Enemy of the state is such a convenient term that allows you to slain innocent people in the sake of greater good? Logic? Where?

  24. WinTurkey says:

    It seems a lot of people in this thread have difficulty differentiating a boycott from censorship.

    Consumers putting pressure on a producer of a product is a boycott.

    Governments putting pressure on a producer of a product is censhorship.

  25. mariandavid says:

    For what it is worth my expertise is in writing military history with gaming being merely (HORROR) a pleasurable side benefit. Having said that:

    - military episodes comparable (but never as single mindedly atrocious) as those in COH2 did take place. But this was in common with deeds of the same nature carried out with equal force by the Germans, the Commonwealth, the Americans and the Japanese. The difference is solely that only the Russian deeds (and much more rarely the German ones) ever appear in computer games – or for that matter in popular press, movies or TV.

    - the really atrocious deeds were very rarely performed by elements the Red Army, rather by NKVD Border and State Security elements, much as most of those of the Germans were by the SS and Gestapo. Unfortunately while Westerners have insisted on those being shown as distinct (every movie shows the really bad Germans in SS uniforms) that is NOT applied to the Russians. COH2 follows practise in this regard, just as did Gates of Stalingrad.

    - finally we from the West need to have a little perspective here. Contrary to perceived wisdom neither Czarist Russia or the Soviets were aggressive in the sense of freely attacking other countries – of course there were exceptions, but the same is true with greater force of both the USA and various European countries. And following on from that:

    - again we overlook (obviously from reading some of the comments) that Russia is the greatest victim in this respect, a nation that had been invaded far too often, by French, Prussians, Germans, British, Japanese and Americans. And yes some of these were ‘in aid of the Czar’ but even so it reasonably adds to the national perception that it is the target not the offender. So I do understand the Russian objections and regret the inclusion of some, but only a few, of the episodes in what was in most respects a superb game.

    • DaeL says:

      I agree with the premise (which is – in the time of war everyone becomes barbaric), but disagree with the conclusion (which is – everybody is just as evil in the time of war). You missed one point – numbers. There are hundreds of thousands of bodies that tell a story different from your conclusion. A story of a totalitarian regime that had no regard for human life, including the life of it’s own citizens. Things like Dresden or Hiroshima stand out as acts of extreme violence, but acts that have – on some level – try to provide a justification for themselves (meaning – they can be interpreted as steps that led to finishing the war faster). We will probably debate them for years to come. I would like to hear anyone give me a similar explanation to Katyn or Holodmor.

      And yes, I know that both Katyn and Holodmor happened before Operation Barbarossa. But they serve to show a crucial difference between Soviet regime and western democracies. A difference that persisted during whole of WW2.

      • Sheogorath says:

        The idea that Holodomor was an intentional genocide of Ukrainians is, I have always found, rather ridiculous.

        If Stalin wanted to SPECIFICALLY murder the Ukrainian cossacks, why was the rest of the country starving as well? Stalin was paranoid, but he wasn’t generally STUPID (at least not until the 1950′s.) Both of the Russian history professors I spoke to at the University of Oregon agreed with this assessment. The mass starvation as a result of collectivization was certainly tragic, but it was also more the result of gross incompetence rather than malice.

      • Triglav says:

        First concentration camps? British in the Boer War in South Africa.
        Genocide? US and Native Americans.
        Murder and oppression? British at Croke Park, Ireland 1920.
        Deportation? US citizens of Japanese descent.
        Invasion and oppresion of other countries? British Empire, French, Dutch, Belgian, Italian overseas empires.
        Collaborating with nazis? Neville Chamberlain and the Munich agreement.
        War crimes? Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Eisenhower’s Holocaust.

        And that’s just a few…

        Now, please tell me, why is Russia the bad guy and those above the good guys?

    • Schiraman says:

      Yeah, don’t really agree with you here.

      It’s actually pretty clear in CoH2 that all the ‘bad stuff’ is carried out by the NKVD commissar, while the Red Army captain that is his opposite number is appalled by it and does his best to prevent it. So yeah, I’d say that’s basically the same as portrayals of the Nazis that make the regular soldiers decent chaps and the SS into the evil ones.

      You say that the atrocities carried out by the Soviets in the game are easily matched by similar actions committed by every other power, but I’m not convinced that’s true – at least not in Europe in WW2. Did the US or the British round up and kill their Polish allies? What incidents are you thinking of, exactly? I’d give you the bombing of Hiroshima, for example, but that’s well outside of the scope of any CoH game so far (though if they ever do a US-vs-Japan game I’d be very surprised and disappointed if they don’t mention it).

      Finally you say that the Soviets weren’t aggressive, but they did of course conspire with the Nazis to conquer and divide Poland in a totally unprovoked attack right at the start of the war. And you say the US is worse in this regard – and you might cite Iraq or Vietnam in this regard – but again, there’s nothing like that in this particular period of history.

      If you’re arguing that Russia is no more evil than any other nation, and/or that every nation has things in its history that it should be ashamed of then I’ll heartily agree. If you’re saying that it’s terribly unfair for CoH2 to feature some of those things when discussing the period of history where they occurred, then I’m afraid I don’t follow your logic.

      • mariandavid says:

        Hiroshima was regrettably quite minor compared with what was going on in Europe – the bombing losses inflicted by the RAF and USAAF were far, far more horrendous in their impact on civilians. In fact the closest ‘atrocity’ inflicted in the Pacific War was Lemay’s low level firebombing of Tokyo etc etc. Not that I am saying this was wrong in military terms – having been bombed in my cradle (which dates me!) by the Luftwaffe means that I am not especially prone to classify these as atrocities.

        There is of course nothing comparable in the West with Katyn – but then the West has never experienced the visceral mutual hatred of Russians, Poles, Germans and Uniate Ukrainians, something that has poisoned warfare there for centuries. On the other hand on the battlefield there have been few dispassionate proofs that Russians were any more brutal than the Germans, and often much less. Not that this is an excuse.

        My argument was not that the game did not distinguish between NKVD and Red Army, but that western media traditionally did not. But you have reminded me that the NKVD appearances are pretty improper anyway – it was highly unusual for them to be anywhere in the front area, even in retreat – in military terms they were corps and army rear-echelon units (except for the very few fighting NKVD divisions and the Border Guards).

      • Triglav says:

        You’re not convinced it is true, eh? Darn.

        Just because there are no games of movies showing the UK fleet sinking their “French Allies” navy at Mers-El-Kebir that didn’t happen, right?

        Just because there are no games or movies showing the USAF bombing 1500 allied French towns and villages, killing some 70,000 French civillians that didn happen, right?

        Just because there are no games or movies showing the Western Allies starving to death of up to a million German POWs in Eisenhower’s Holocause that didn’t happen, right?

        Just because there are no games or movies showing UK supporting nazi-collaborators in Yugoslavia who fought against Allied anti-nazi Tito’s partisans, just because said partisans were undesirably communist that didn’t happen, right?

        Just because there are no games or movies showing the rape and plunder committed by Western Allies in France, Italy, Germany, that didn’t happen, right?

        Ya, I guess it’ll be hard to convince you then. Cause Russia is all about commie propaganda, while the West is all about the truth and nothing but the truth, right? And if some soldier speaks the truth too much, he’s not jailed, right?

        Oh yea, and when are you going to mention the British alliance with Nazi Germany through the Munich agreement which ceeded Czechoslovakia to the Nazis? Since, apparently a later similar agreement between Soviets and Nazis bothers you so much? Double standards perhaps?

    • Mattressi says:

      The Soviets weren’t aggressive? Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelling_of_Mainila

      The Soviets, at the start of WWII, shelled their own town and tried to blame it on the Finns, just so they had an excuse to invade Finland. They then spent the entire rest of the war trying to invade Finland (leading to awkward changes of alliance for Finland, since the West stopped helping them when Russia came over to the allies…but Russia didn’t stop attacking Finland). Yeah, the Soviets were just bloody great people.

      • mariandavid says:

        The Finnish attack is one of the few initiated by the Soviets and note that even though they forced Finland into an ignominious surrender they still allowed it to retain all but the fortified frontier zone. I cannot imagine Germany or Japan being so magnanimous. And otherwise I assume that you agree that Russia was far more invaded than invading,

        • Mattressi says:

          I’m still failing to see how this makes them non-aggressive. So what, because Finland was small, it doesn’t matter so much? Because the largest proportion of Russia’s fighting was in defence, it means they were somehow good? Russia wasn’t defending itself from an enemy which it opposed for righteous moral reasons – it was defending itself from a former ally with whom it invaded allied countries, only to be turned on. It wasn’t as aggressive as it could have been only because it was too tied up by Germany to be more aggressive. A murderer doesn’t become less of a murderer just because he’s unable to murder in solitary confinement.
          I just can’t get behind the “woe is Russia” line of thinking, when the Russians would have been busy steam-rolling the entirety of Europe alongside Germany, if Germany hadn’t turned on her.

          • mariandavid says:

            Look I fully understand that from the Finnish point of view the Soviet attack of 1939 was monstrous – and of course it was. But it was still utterly different from the contemporary German invasion of Poland and the Japanese invasion of China. It was NOT accompanied by wholesale massacres and deportation to death camps or by massed rapes across entire cities. Indeed by the standards of later events in World War Two it was, unbelievably, a rather civilized affair – certainly compared with the mutual atrocities of the 1918 White creation of Finland.

            And there is not an iota of evidence (though lots of invented stories) that Russia was intending to invade Europe and was only stopped by Germany. That was a myth created by Nazi apologists in the United States after the war and happily taken up by the McCarthy school of professional anti-Communist politicians and newspaper owners. Indeed as far as I recollect the previous unprovoked attack by Russia on another country was in 1877 against Turkey – and both Britain and the United States launched several such attacks well after that date.

          • Triglav says:

            Mattressi: But your ramblings are of course the truth and nothing but the truth and in no way Goebbels-inspired propaganda, right? Good. As long as we’re clear on that.

    • Subject 706 says:

      “finally we from the West need to have a little perspective here. Contrary to perceived wisdom neither Czarist Russia or the Soviets were aggressive in the sense of freely attacking other countries ”

      Er, czarist russia was very expansionist, the expansion was just not usually directed westwards. Siberia, central asia, the caucasus, etc, etc.

      • mariandavid says:

        Accepted: I kept thinking of ‘countries’ in the accepted sense. You are absolutely right, in fact the Russian expansion east almost exactly matched the United States one west and in both cases we have the nasty habit of thinking them as being ‘natural’ because only tribes and not nations were being wiped out

    • Werthead says:

      “the really atrocious deeds were very rarely performed by elements the Red Army, rather by NKVD Border and State Security elements, much as most of those of the Germans were by the SS and Gestapo”

      This is a very dangerous generalisation. Both ‘proper’ Wehrmacht and Red Army troops carried out atrocities and war crimes, sometimes on a large scale. It wasn’t just certain units. For example, the regular Sixth Army troops enthusiastically joined in a large-scale round-up and imprisonment (or execution) of Jews during its advance across the southern Ukraine. When Von Paulus assumed command, he put a stop to it not for humane reasons, but because it was intefering with efficiency and military discipline. Similarly, regular Red Army troops carried out horrendous atrocities against the civilian population during their invasion of Germany.

      Saying the regular troops never or rarely did such things is as inaccurate as saying they all did all the time.

      • mariandavid says:

        I was using the weasely phrase ‘really atrocious’ to distinguish between the pre-planned actions such as extermination round-ups (by the SS) and extermination blocking forces (by the NKVD) from the, alas, almost customary and seemingly unthinking mutual detestation of Serb and German on the Eastern Front. So you are correct and I should have been more precise. (In passing one of the truly puzzling aspects is the contrast between the behavior then and in 1914-1917 which was almost genteel in comparison.

        Having said that there is a lot of evidence that the atrocities one does associate with the Red Army – the ‘rape of Brandenburg and Prussia’ is the most commonly cited – were NOT carried out by the front-line Russian forces. Rather by the rear- area hangers on (and maybe the NKVD) that followed them. Some of the best evidence here comes from the timing of the widely reported rapes in captured Berlin which we now know happened some time after the capture and after the lead troops had left to face the Allies.

  26. Sheogorath says:

    People often misunderstand something fundamental about Russians. It can be difficult for non-Russians to wrap their heads around this, so I’m going to try to sum it up simply:

    Russian patriotism generally focuses on Russia itself, the geographical area, or the national concept, rather than the government. Russians love Russia. They don’t generally like their governments. It’s been that way since Tsarist times. When you see the glorious suicide charge into the enemy machine guns so often portrayed in WWII movies, the Russians aren’t doing it for ‘Comrade Stalin,’ or ‘the glorious Soviet Union.’ They haven’t been brainwashed by Communist propaganda. Russians always have, and probably always will, defend their homes with the same patriotic fervor Americans would if the US was invaded.

    To address a few of the stereotypes brought up here:

    -Warhammer 40k style ‘Commissars’ never existed in the Soviet army. The closest you got were the political commissars which existed briefly in the early phases of the German invasion. The thing is, these guys were generally attached at the company level or higher, and would probably never get anywhere near the actual fighting. Commissars personally shooting retreating soldiers is most likely a myth (although it may have happened in individual cases, actually verifying such this is basically impossible.)

    -Likewise the ‘blocking units’ generally did not SHOOT retreating soldiers. Contrary to stereotypes, the Soviet Union (and the Tsarist state before it,) suffered serious manpower shortages. Shooting soldiers out of hand was a no-no. Of about half a million troops intercepted by the blocking units, about 10,000 were sentenced to death in court martials. Note that last part of the sentence, ‘sentenced to death.’ They generally weren’t shot on the spot.

    Further, the Soviet Union would never have turned machine guns on its own soldiers. That would be a waste of valuable war materiel.

    I do not deny that the Soviet army committed horrible atrocities during WWII. No Russian would deny it either. What I, and what I suspect many Russians object to, is this strange trope which seems to pop up in Western portrayals of WWII, the idea that we should have been fighting the Russians instead of the Germans.

    I mean, to judge by Company of Heroes, the Germans were honorable fellows who we just had some ideological differences with. If I ONLY had CoH to go by, I’d say that we should have been fighting with them rather than with the Soviets.

    Considered from an American perspective, what if somebody made a WWII game focused on the Pacific Front, where your first mission is breaking into the homes of Japanese Americans and herding them into trucks to be moved to the Arizona desert?

    What if your subsequent missions involved burning down the villages of Pacific islanders and dropping incendiary bombs on Japanese cities?

    What if somebody made a WWII game where you played as a British RAF pilot who’s mission was to firebomb civilian targets? What if that was the ENTIRE game, and the assumption was made that not only did the majority of the war comprise this single element, but that most British people APPROVED of the mass killing of civilians with incendiary weapons?

    I know I’d be upset. My grandfather fought in the Pacific, and I’m pretty sure he never took part in any massacres of Japanese civilians.

    • benkc says:

      “Considered from an American perspective, what if somebody made a WWII game focused on the Pacific Front, where your first mission is breaking into the homes of Japanese Americans and herding them into trucks to be moved to the Arizona desert?

      What if your subsequent missions involved burning down the villages of Pacific islanders and dropping incendiary bombs on Japanese cities?”

      I would applaud them for attempting to bring more attention to a part of our history that is generally downplayed. (Though, I doubt that last one would really have the correct impact if your only viewpoint was from up in the plane.)

      • Widthwood says:

        You also have to imagine that this is the main thing other countries ever portray you doing. In movies, books, games, random comments on Internet, etc. So it really isn’t downplayed at all, but already blown out of proportion.

      • Sheogorath says:

        OK, imagine, for the sake of this scenario, that the Japanese internment camps are a fairly well known and acknowledged thing. Imagine that they’re a common subject in movies, particularly those made in (lets say,) Canada. Imagine every time you leave the country, you are bombarded with this idea that America’s sole action in WWII was throwing Japanese citizens into internment camps.

        Imagine that, in the face of this, the undoubtedly brave contribution of American soldiers is lost. Because the world perceives ALL American soldiers as having been too busy throwing people into camps to do any fighting.

        Now imagine that 15% of the population of the United States died during WWII.

        How do you feel?

        • benkc says:

          That’s a lot harder to answer; that’s sufficiently different from my reality that I can only guess as to how that hypothetical-me would respond. Not applause, obviously, since it’s no longer serving something under-served. But after giving it some thought, I suspect I would respond with a frown, and perhaps a call for more diverse art.

          But perhaps said hypothetical-me would not have such strong feelings that it is important to remember the mistakes of the past, or that more art is better than less art.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      When you see the glorious suicide charge into the enemy machine guns so often portrayed in WWII movies, the Russians aren’t doing it for ‘Comrade Stalin,’ or ‘the glorious Soviet Union.’ They haven’t been brainwashed by Communist propaganda.

      It’s worth pointing out that although Communist propaganda had very little to do with the Russian defence effort, the idea of Motherland has been shaped and cultivated by the Russian ruling elite in conjunction with the Orthodox church for a very long time for various reasons. Communist propaganda incorporated multiple aspects of that idea.

      • Sheogorath says:

        The idea of the “Motherland” (although it was more commonly the “fatherland” (otchizna) in earlier propaganda,) has been in use since the early 17th century at least, when it was invoked against the Poles occupying Moscow. It may have been used earlier, but sources from that era are difficult to come by.

    • Cinek says:

      I mean, to judge by Company of Heroes, the Germans were honorable fellows who we just had some ideological differences with. If I ONLY had CoH to go by, I’d say that we should have been fighting with them rather than with the Soviets.

      - You obviously never played the game. Forgot a scenes of extermination camps? Cities ravaged by Germans to a point where there’s nothing left but rubble? Complete disregard to POVs and shooting of Russian soldiers who tried to surrender (the bridge scene)?

      DID YOU EVEN PLAY THIS GAME?

      ‘Commissars’ never existed in the Soviet army. The closest you got were the political commissars which existed briefly in the early phases of the German invasion. The thing is, these guys were generally attached at the company level or higher, and would probably never get anywhere near the actual fighting. Commissars personally shooting retreating soldiers is most likely a myth (although it may have happened in individual cases, actually verifying such this is basically impossible.)” – I think you’re talking here about NKVD officer? The officer that’s a second main character in the game? These in did served on a front line, heck: even deployed a whole Rifle Division for the Battle of Stalingrad. And individual officers in did served in a rear lines as a deterrence of desertion. And in did – they were people who shot deserters. Only it was a rather uncommon practice (unlike in the game where it seems to be something very common).

      -Likewise the ‘blocking units’ generally did not SHOOT retreating soldiers” – WRONG. Highly recommend reading some history books.
      Only thing that’s wrong in a game is showing that as a permanent practice. It never was. “Blocking troops” were used only for a few months. For shooting retreating soldiers as shown in a game. But generals didn’t like loosing manpower so eventually these were disbanded.

  27. GenBanks says:

    This doesn’t really deserve being turned into a political debate: the real problem isn’t about historical accuracy (there are hardly ANY mainstream films or video games that are historically accurate) but about story-telling. The CoH2 campaign is ridiculously cliched at times. The scene of running into battle without rifles has been done to death, as has the shooting of retreating troops. It’s lost all of its drama and shock value now and has become a trope.

    If they wanted to portray the harsh realities of the Soviet army there are loads of other things they could have dealt with.

  28. ribobura osserotto says:

    TL:DR just watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m4SCUaBHS8

    The issue here is that war atrocities committed by the red army didn’t happen, but rather that they’re overplayed and exaggerated over atrocities likely committed by other ally countries’ armies, and are also seldomly put in context with the conditions of the eastern front. Add that to omitting many feats of heroism performed by the Red Army, and discarding them in favor of your typical “war never changes” nonsense bullshit, and you have one bad plot the Russian campaign.

    • Cinek says:

      I seen this video. If anything is “nonsense bullshit” – it’s the talk made by a guy there. Over half of the things he talks about don’t have ANYTHING to deal with reality.

      Russians did tremendous amount of atrocities during WW2 and right after it. Red army was second only to Nazi genocide in terms of cruelty. And – unlike what video author suggests – these weren’t rare, separate incidents that can be justified. Over 1/3 of prisoners of war held by the Red Army died. Sending penal battalions to certain death was a fact. Barrier troops shooting anyone who tried to retreat were a fact (even if they didn’t last long – they did shoot anyone retreating, unlike what video author said – without any 24 hour court). Sending unarmed soldiers onto a front-line was a fact. Katyn massacre and hundreds of incidents where soldiers from Central Europe were murdered simply because they wanted to fight for their own independence, without a Russian occupation was also a fact. Stalins purges were a fact. People escaping from gulags in Siberia were also a fact.

      The guy in that video is a classical example of what happens if you grow up in a country that still have a living Red Army legacy and propaganda with total disregard to the historical facts. Yes, of course this game has many things shown in very dramatic way – first of all I doubt a single person could ever see all of those horrible things, but seriously – what the guy said on that video is total, and utter garbage that’s further away from historical facts than Company of Heroes 2 ever was.

      • Widthwood says:

        It would help if you also said where exactly did you get those “historical facts”, or why do you state Soviet acts independently from the whole situation at the time. This is like boldly claiming some man is a heartless coldblooded killer, with omission of the fact that the victim was raping and murdering the man’s family who tried to stop him.

        For example, considering that more than 60% of Russian prisoners were killed in German concentration camps amounting to a total of 3 million dead, and German mass murders on Russian territory lead to a civilian deaths amounting to 4.5 to 6.8 million (debated figure), I’m not sure how you can expect Russians to treat German soldiers committing these acts with total respect.
        Compare that to 0.5 to 1 million dead German prisoners, and 0.15 (!) million civilian deaths.

        Axis and Allies had long standing agreements regarding treatment of prisoners, and thus mutually didn’t get the same treatment. Obviously those agreements didn’t exist with Soviet union, what with German leadership actually set on wiping Russian race along with Jews.

        These figures were taken directly from English wiki, hope you would not see it as a Soviet propaganda source.

        • Cinek says:

          I think I stated clearly enough that Germans in did were worse than Red Army. NOONE is even trying to deny it.
          Heck – even Company of Heroes in did IS showing Germans doing WORSE atrocities than the Red Army. (and that’s despite of the fact that the story isn’t shown from their perspective)

          Unless you are going to argue that German concentration camps weren’t as bad as Russians shooting their own man or murdering one (!) POW through entire game.

          state Soviet acts independently from the whole situation at the time” – Never stated anything like that. I only stated that atrocities should be codenamed, regardless who did them.
          And as for where these historical facts came from – well, just read through the wikipedia if you’re too lazy to read books.

          • Widthwood says:

            One tiny disclaimer does not make it ok to make sweeping generalizations and write straight out lies.
            Again, I would like to ask you for the source of your information, as it contradicts current understanding of situation during those times…

            Penal battalions were not routinely sent to certain death – they were generally assigned more risky missions, but that is how ANY army’s penal battalions work. Barrier troops arrested deserters, not shot them with effing machineguns. Of all caught deserters, 96% were returned to duty, sometimes after arrest. Only about 4% were sentenced to sentenced to execution by court martial. Russians murdering one another – wtf is this even about??? Don’t you think when your homeland is attacked and your compatriots are mass murdered, the last thing you would do is murder them yourself? Considering 3 million Russian died in German concentration camps, do you imply that Russians murdered 3 million of their own people during the war? What for?

            You may scoff at using wiki for information, but at least it is constantly reviewed and doesn’t contain obvious bullshit from certain biased “historical” books from either USSR or West or Eastern Europe.

  29. MadTinkerer says:

    I recommend for those who dislike the RTS CoH2 for historical reasons that they should play the far more historically accurate RTS Stalin vs. the Martians.

    • Don Reba says:

      I suspect, Stalin vs Martians was created in reaction to this sort of sensitivity towards WWII. I like it. It has spunk.

  30. Sheogorath says:

    I suppose the basic idea is this:
    If you want to take a “balanced” approach, go watch Letters from Iwo Jima. That was a balanced approach. It showed Japanese soldiers as (mostly) honorable men out doing a job, it showed the fervently patriotic and the ones who got conscripted (or reassigned) against their will. It showed the bad times on the home front. It also showed the Americans being bastards and doing cruel and evil things.

    Contrast that to CoH 2 and…well, it doesn’t look so “balanced” when the Soviets are the ones committing all of the war crimes, executing their soldiers for essentially no reason, and burning their own civilians alive.

    • Cinek says:

      the Soviets are the ones committing all of the war crimes” – not true. Play the game again. Yes, you see Russians most often, because it’s a game about Russians, but they’re nowhere near doing all of the war crimes. Not even the worst of them.

  31. Niko says:

    The fact that World War II is called the Great Patriotic War in Russia should explain a lot. That level of stereotyping in the game might be a little on the bad taste side, though.

  32. deadwitness says:

    Well that’s a pretty civil conversation as far as this topic goes, so I’ll contribute for a change. And yep, I’m from Russia (hence mistakes, but I doubt somebody will read it anyway).

    I’d like to point out a few things:

    1) There is a strange misconception that Russians are monolithic in their opinion – an army of obedient drones that believe what their government tells’em. Nothing can be more wrong. We usually have an identity crisis (or two, it depends) and tons of infighting about everything. So most generalizations, like “Russians don’t want to admit” or “Russians believe”, are highly inaccurate. Some people here are so willing to admit Soviet crimes, that they are proponents of a most progressive idea that we should commit a mass suicide, cause everybody agrees that we’re bad. Also the idea that in other country everybody is oblivious to something is usually a result of propaganda against it. Really. We change our ideology at least once in a century, so we’ve seen both construction and deconstruction of indoctrination systems.

    2) In the turmoil of identity crisis The Great Patriotic War is something most people agree on (at least in part that we are not dead thanks to victory, though some are not content with it too, see n.1). It is a national identity anchor, so it can’t be denounced, at least now, until the new balance is found.

    3) I’ve been told about crimes of Soviet Union in school. We even had special lessons about tolerance and its importance in modern world. Most of Russian people who you meet in the Internet were educated after the USSR fell apart. Of course not everything is told, but keep in mind, when you criticize school textbooks for not having large articles about Soviet atrocities, that they’re made for children, and you can’t really spend most of history classes saying to a child that his history consists only of black, unless you want to turn him/her in a psychotic wreck of a human.

    4) Look at this thread. Now imagine you’re Russian. How do you feel? And like this each time, everywhere (usually worse, as I’ve said). There is a strong opinion that you can say whatever you want about Russians or to them. Things that are not OK in any other case suddenly become OK. You can kill Russians in movies, books and games, turn them into cardboard villains, change their history. There’re no rules, no respect, no decency. I understand that is a result of Cold War, but isn’t it time to change something? The Internet reaches mostly everywhere, and our people face this more and more. It makes you sad and you lose faith in humanity. Don’t you think that sooner or later that will cause reaction?

    5) Relic’s position is strange. At first they were simply asked why. Then they were asked to maybe at least make a disclaimer saying that this is work of fiction, so there’re inaccuracies. But they insisted that they are right and know our history better (I wonder why then they couldn’t even name the protagonist properly?) and closed their facebook to Russians and Ukrainians. On Steam and the official forums they let loose their moderators, who banned everybody who addressed the issue and made themselves a lot of derogatory comments about Russian customers. Wouldn’t it be easier to say something plausible and friendly and end all this? Even if you hate Russains why loose customers?

    • Niko says:

      I wish more Russians on the Internet were more like (and knew languages other than Russian, as well).

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Excellent post, and I especially like point 3. Growing up in the UK we were of course taught to be proud of how our nation dealt with WW2 and I wouldn’t expect anything less to be taught in schools in the US or Russia. It would be a bit weird if Russians were taught that their parents and grandparents did everything they did just because they were mindless programmed communist drones and that they should grow up to resent their country, their past and probably themselves too. That isn’t even the way they’re taught in Germany.

      Also, I think the generation in the US and UK that was fed all the anti-Russian propaganda in the 50s, 60s and 70s is largely now drawing its collective pension. Growing up in the 80s I was told about the iron curtain and the USSR which was big and red on all the maps and I was a bit scared. But then when I was 8 or 9 the Berlin wall came down. So I think the majority of adults today, particularly those in their 30s and 20s are much less likely to be influenced by anti-Russian propaganda – that’s probably why there’s a lot of understanding here.

      I actually didn’t know, before this story, that Russians referred to WW2 as a “patriotic” war. But it makes perfect sense. Yes, deserters were shot. Yes, some people abused their power in communist Russia. Just as they always have done and always will do in every country and political system. But this should have been a game about soldiers on the front-lines, plucky underdogs defending their homeland. it’s the story the West supposedly loves the most and it’s actually the only opportunity you get in a WW2 setting to really tell that story on any great scale. Instead this game is about a clash of two dehumanized ideological war machines.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Ok there was that war between Russia and Finland too :) My point is not that Russia should be painted entirely as a blameless victim during WW2 but that it is a bit odd that we in the West are still quite uncomfortable with the idea that Russia’s war with Germany was at least as important to the freedom we have in Europe today as was Britain’s determination or the USA’s last minute cavalry charge.

      • deadwitness says:

        Thanks, I hope you are right and the situation is really going to change. It’d be nice to see each other portrayed as people, not propaganda stereotypes. But I fear that things start to worsen anew, on all sides (and ours too, of course).
        Actually this game is an example of bad relations as well: WW2 made opposing regimes fignt together against a common foe, I think that would be a good point to make in a game about the Eastern Front, but Relic chose instead to show all the cliches.

        Yes, it is mostly known here as patriotic war. It is just too important and alive. Even now, after more than 60 years there are places around my city where ground is filled with bones – they appear on the surface from time to time. And people find mines near their homes while gardening. There’re tanks buried in the swamps. And most imortantly you can still meet veterans – old proud people, who, when they put on their medals on holidays, probably, weight less than the orders on their coats. My friend (she is 23) each anniversary of the Victory buys a ton of flowers and gives them away. Now she’s found out that restaurants are serving food to veterans for free on this day and tries to take as many as she can to celebrate. It’s important to her because she loved her veteran grandmother very much. That’s why it is a sensitive matter.
        >< Sorry, I'm in a poetic mood, it seems.

    • Acorino says:

      Responding to 4): So what? We Germans are constantly depicted as villains in Hollywood movies too, John Stewart of the Daily Show still falls back on Nazi cliches when he talks about recent news concerning Germany. And man, have I read lots of stupid prejudice about our country online. And we get through it and take it in stride. You know, because we consciously distance ourselves from our past and want to make damn sure that we won’t commit such atrocities ever again. Our new identity is built on the confrontation with our past evil. So why can’t you do that? Deal with your past, own up to your commited atrocities, build a new identity based on that and turn consciously your back to your past evil. We managed to do that, so can you. With “you” I of course don’t mean the individual “you”, I mean your whole country with it. You as an individual may be powerless to do anything about it, and the ones in power who could do something about it probably don’t want to.
      Honestly, I thought Russians don’t think of themselves as pussies, but in this regard they sound an awful lot like pussies to me that can’t handle the truth. I know, I’m generalizing again. I shouldn’t. But you can’t talk about a country as a whole without some hefty generalization. There are some great Russians, strong individuals, Russian women always seem especially strong to me. But the majority really doesn’t seem to be able to stare into the face of the truth. That’s my impression. Now don’t I sound prejudiced and stupid! Well, I think it’s better to lay out all the prejudices in the open so they can be dealt with.
      Never been to Russia, but would like to learn the language some day. Love the music of Mussorgsky. And Shostakovitch was like a musical genius and a very courageous and patriotic man.

      Am I rambling? I think I’m rambling.
      I better stop now. Like, now.

      • deadwitness says:

        Nah, it’s not exactly the same. Germans are perceived as people who have done terrible things, but are pretty cool regardless. And you’re a part of the Western world. Russians are seen as alien and inherently, irreparably bad.
        Also… Well… I don’t usually want to mention it, but the main source of everything anti-Russian are the former Soviet countries. As far as I understand it, they too have an identity crisis and build their new ideologies using hate towards Russia as uniting point. They are reviewing their history on a large scale now.
        Take, for example, the Polish press. I, sometimes, read translations of Polish articles instead of coffee, when I’m tired, but need to work. It’s pure electrifying hate. If you want to tell me that Poles have always hated Russians – so be it, but the same happens in Ukraine and Baltic States.
        So that’s not a thing of past for us.

        Btw, I’ve started learning German, but I have only very basic knowledge so far. I like the language a lot, but, God, is it hard!

  33. Rovenkar says:

    First off, I’d like to thank all the commenters that tried to explain why this whole this is offensive to Russians. A lot of good points have been made here, and I’m really pleased to see that some of them are expressed by non-Russian people, just those who took care to study the subject and form a fact-based opinion. Bonus points for keeping trying to explain things despite the flak you got.

    Those who speak about “artistic license”, imagine something like this. A game is made about your close relative (mom, dad, you name it) that may or may not be based on facts in some way. It depicts the said person as someone drinking, sleeping with anyone they meet, doing drugs, beating innocent people senseless and dissecting kittens. It gets published, millions of people are exposed to it. Game’s authors just express themselves, right? It’s (probably) based on facts, right? You shouldn’t try to sort things out, ban the game for being a blatant lie and have a quiet word with these “artists” in some dark street, right?
    That’s how it feels for Russians. That’s why they used their wallet power (Russians are not poor anymore btw) to make the local publisher halt the sales. That’s both capitalist and democracy in action. You should be proud, you like these toys of yours.

    For those of you who say that there’s nothing really non-heroic about the actions Russian soldiers commit in this game, I pity you. Russians are NOT OK with burning people alive. They’re NOT OK with betraying and killing those who help them. They’re NOT OK with having your own soldiers with machine guns urging you to attack. They’re NOT OK with killing their own fellow citizens. Actially that’s the reason why all this had been rare in the war, that’s why it had been looked down upon and investigated, with persons responsible found and put to court. If you think Russians are twisted enough to do all that, you’re propoganda victim. If you this that all this is what heroes do, you’re a really strange person with grey-to-black morals, hence the pity.

    Just to put things into a bit of perspective here. When RA entered Europe, strict no-sex-with-locals (no SEX, mind you, rape had already been a “death-warrant-level” offence) orders were issued, with offenders court-marshalled and executed to bring the message across. When US Army ertered France, it had instructions that the soldiers could do anything as long as they pay for it somehow (money, food, anything) afterwards. Now that’s a difference in approach, isn’t it?

    The funny thing is, this game has done some good actually. Some of the Westerners learned about this issue, dug a bit into history, learned that things are not the way they showed them in the movies. Even the most ugly lie can be used for something good, it seems.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Hi Rovenkar,

      Thank you for your comment. I must admit that you make me feel a little ashamed of myself. I had not considered some of the points you bring up as being all that offensive – that is rather insensitive and ignorant of me. As soon as you say it, I can of course see how such things may cause discomfort and even offence. Thank you.

      I suppose I disagree with you on the subject of artistic licence, primarily. You ask us to consider the matter of a close relative being depicted in a depraved manner within a work of fiction based on real events but greatly exaggerated. I don’t think that would be an entirely equatable situation but I think that even here I would have to allow room for such things. Perhaps the degree to which artistic licence is taken with the truth (whilst still purporting to represent that truth) may make it difficult for me personally though. I would hope that some consideration for the truth and sympathy for my relative may be afforded by the creator, but depending on the context – it may not be my place to demand such things.

      I think it would be more appropriate to consider our own nation depicted performing sanctioned war crimes. Our own soldiers (our grandparents and great grand parents) forced or freely willing to commit acts we would deem to be atrocious. The fact is, those things /did/ happen. What I think is terrible is that they are not discussed in a public forum. We see plenty of positive but virtually no negative.

      Conversely, we hear no end about the atrocities of the German government and soldiers during the war but virtually nothing of the positive things.

      Ultimately, war is itself a terrible and horrific thing. I do not think there is anything glorious or heroic about killing another human being. However, within the theatre of war, there is always a full spectrum of humanity and I would prefer that those were ALL addressed in the media and then we as an audience may choose to engage with it.

      May I also say, whilst I do disagree with you on the topic of artistic licence, I think your course of action – to not buy or partake in the offensive material, to encourage others to look further into the real history and to address the matter calmly and respectfully is totally spot on and very admirable

      I hope that this establishes a dialogue between Relic and the audience and encourages them to take feedback onboard for either revisions of this work or for their future creations

    • jpvg says:

      You’re missing context.

      Europe was in fear of how the RA would act in territories outside Soviet territory, measures such as denying sex would have been implemented to ease tensions between the local population and the RA.

      The US however did not suffer from a similar fear.

      Today we have similar situations, e.g. if you’re deployed in the middle east, sex is out of the question as well in order to avoid any tensions with the local population. I think you can draw a line from the RA to what is happening in the middle east in terms of perspective from the local populations. In both cases, foreigners is going to install almost puppetlike goverments with their own view on things.

  34. Sgt.Knumskull says:

    BTW: 1C released (developed?) a “Men of War” game soley about a unit of “war criminals” (aka “murderers”, rapists, thiefs “cowards” and the like).
    Ahh, the smell of hypocrisy in the morning… smells like napalm roasted civilians and sh**e.

    And one for the “Russians” dudes can’t stop it: get over it!
    You don’t even know the slightest what it is to get portrayed in every “cherry picked” and “sterotypical” manner available to human imagination. Try to play games as a german (person, not side in a game). It’s ridiculous. I think I even understand what it’s like to get disrespected for your belief as a christian. (i’m not a christian, it’s ’bout the similiarities and the amout as well as the type of stereotypes you get thrown at ye!)
    Even in “Total War: Medieval II” your generals shout “stoopid” stuff like “We killed the SCHWEIN!” or “We won’t let the AUSLÄNDER get away!” Whoot? U sirious? And the WWII stuff I will not just begin with. It’s marvelous. So full of fairy tales and the “cherry “pickiestst”" atrocities. Even Schindlers List is a document of the time compared to this dumd stuff.

  35. bad guy says:

    In the meantime they will have to stick with Red Alert 2. ;)

    • Widthwood says:

      Red Alert was always popular in Russia :) I don’t remember anyone being in any way offended by it – it was a great game, and an obvious satire of all sides.

      That it didn’t claimed historical accuracy, and the devs didn’t continue to insult Russians after release of the game could’ve helped too

      • Cinek says:

        And how exactly devs are continuing to insult Russians?
        I read all official posts and statements from them and didn’t found anything insulting in any of them.

        • Widthwood says:

          With claims that what you see in the game is historically accurate and based on real people when it is obviously product of imagination of their writers?

        • deadwitness says:

          It’s much calmer now and they cleaned up the threads (I’ve looked through their forum, but I haven’t found the parts that I’ve read before). In the beginning they said something along the lines of “No, that’s the truth and we did everything right, cause we live in a free country with access to information and you’re indoctrinated and delirious. And we showed heroism, but you couldn’t understand. We recognise USSR’s contribution to the Allies’ victory”. I could give you link with the English version of the video which started the whole process, where they show these comments, but it’s advertising, I guess.

  36. Thirdstar says:

    I’m amazed at the number of people in the comments section criticizing a game they clearly haven’t played.

    • SooSiaal says:

      Welcome to the internet

    • Acorino says:

      Yeah, and I learned today that historical inaccuracies in a FICTIONAL narrative are especially considered severe when they concern Russians. ;)
      Maybe I’m unfair here. I haven’t played Company of Heroes 2 either. Maybe its (fictionalized) depiction of events is truly tasteless and distorted, and I can understand a game being shunned for that. But that this results in sales being halted feels like an overreaction to me.

  37. Urfin says:

    Being Russian, I have a very simple answer to why this thing happened.

    In WWII, Russia fought like half of Europe along with the Germans, and while, by far, we did most of the fighting and winning, the US certainly managed to extract the most benefit for itself from the war. I’m not gonna touch the tricky subject of the US orchestrating WWII, and to what degree, but it’s a fact that this war is what propelled the US to its current position, at the obvious expense of everyone else. We have not forgotten this little detail the way Europe seems to have.

    Now, when North America (Relic’s Canadian, but that doesn’t make much difference in this case for us), who profited from our millions of dead and have obviously been our geopolitical enemy No.1 ever since, paint us as bloodthirsty monsters that massacred their own population, we tend to get pissed. Especially since we had a ton of that kind (and worse) of propaganda poured on us when the USSR fell.

    Also, there’s the simple fact that most people I know here have someone in the family who either died or fought in the war, so we kinda know first-hand, and it is quite personal. So yeah, the whole outrage is warranted.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      The Americans certainly profited hugely financially from the war and its aftermath. However, the Marshall plan (although its goal from an American perspective was the stop the spread of Communism) was a far better thing for those European states who signed up to it, than Communism was for those European states which went in the other direction. Plus, the reconstruction and reunification of Germany post WW2 has been a good thing for the whole world and wouldn’t have happened without American help. Cominform was never a Soviet alternative to the Marshall plan, it existed only to bully states into forming a buffer zone between Russia and Western Europe (and stop them accepting American help) and no economic aid ever came from it.

      • Urfin says:

        Ask some Eastern Germans what they think about going back to capitalism :) You’ll be surprised.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I wouldn’t actually, I know some Czechs already who tell me certain aspects of life for them personally were better under Communism. So I get that there are a percentage of people in every former Communist state who hark back to the old days. The grass is always greener after all. And many of the East Germans have some legitimate reasons to be annoyed with the progress they’ve seen since reunification. Today is a different story but I don’t think anyone can argue that being part of the eastern bloc was anything short of a disaster socially and economically for western Slavic countries like Czechoslovakia and Poland in the post war period.

      • harmlos says:

        The only part the U.S. played in the reconstruction of (West) Germany was allowing it. The U.S. looted more from Germany than was ever given back by the Marshall plan (and don’t forget, the Marshall plan was a loan, not a gift). Now, you could say that the U.S. was justified in its actions – after all Germany was dumb enough to start a war and then loose it. Though we should thank the U.S. for supporting German reunification in 1990 in spite of the attempts to sabotage it by our supposed British allies (the French weren’t too keen either, but at least they where open about it).

    • GenBanks says:

      Canada and the US are different countries. Go tell a Canadian that they’re basically just Americans and see what they say. This isn’t a conspiracy against Russia.

      I don’t like the campaign and think it’s innacurate and cliched, but come on.

      • Urfin says:

        I know Canada’s not US, I’ve been to both, but most people here don’t see it as an independent country, at least as far as ideology of this kind goes.

    • Laurentius says:

      I can imagine how Russians would cry if game actually would start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German%E2%80%93Soviet_military_parade_in_Brest-Litovsk or at least aggression on Finland.

    • Acorino says:

      Firstly, it should matter to you whether you talk about Americans or Canadians. Can’t throw South Koreans and Chinese in the same pot either, can you? Secondly, you make it sound like the game is some officially sanctioned propaganda by the state. Thirdly, an outside perspective isn’t anymore or any less valuable than an inside perspective. I think it has its own pros and cons. Only an outsider may be able to see the problems an insider is willing to overlook. On the other hand, only an insider may be able to understand why the problems exist in the first place. We need a variety of perspectives, because a single one is not enough and doesn’t paint the whole picture, can’t paint the whole picture.

      • iridescence says:

        Taiwan and mainland China is a better comparison. We’re not the same as Americans but we do share a language and a lot of culture with them. This isn’t really about where the developers come from though I don’t think. I doubt they really have some big anti-Russian agenda. It seems more of a case of thinking that watching a couple of Cold War-era movies was enough historical research to do for this game.

    • Mhorhe says:

      Do you know what the heroes of Warsaw were singing as they were abandoned by everyone?
      “We are waiting for you, red plague, To deliver us from black death.”

      The title Company of Heroes does not preclude presenting the reality of the age or the regime.

      There were people achieving incredible acts of bravery and heroism on both sides of the fence – sadly, both sides of the fence were the two most vile political regimes the world has known.

      Someone talked about how the US orchestrated the 2nd WW – how about talking a bit about Stalin, as well. The man that had Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, so mad with hunger they ate each other in the thousands, while grain enough to feed them and more besides was being exported for the continued militarization of the USSR.

      I refer the interested reader to Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlands:_Europe_Between_Hitler_and_Stalin

      As said, let’s talk about Stalin!

      How, when the Nazis had no tanks nor planes, they were invited to shape their tank and air force doctrine in the USSR.

      How Stalin shipped innumerable tons of strategically vital materials that allowed Hitler to ravage Western Europe, leaving the Old World ripe for revolution and “liberation”.

      How Stalin made sure Hitler *knew* his back was safe to achieved said ravage.

      How Stalin swallowed nations and parts of nations of the East while Hitler was doing the same in the West.

      Most importantly – you will even find Communist historians that allow that Stalin was going to attack Nazi Germany, but they claim a vague need to “modernize” “concentrate” etc etc.

      Other authors claim Hitler beat Stalin to the punch by a year, by months, maybe even by weeks.

      I refer the reader to the excellent books by either Victor Suvorov (the more layman but better writer) or Mark Solonin (the more dedicated historian but making for a more dry read, http://www.solonin.org/en )

      Yes, the Russians – and all the myriad peoples and nations of the Soviet Union – fought above and beyond the limits of heroism.

      In point of fact though, the war in the east was a case of two murderous regimes clubbing each other in the head badly enough that one succumbed and the other was drained out bad enough that it decomposed and died.. even if it took half a century more.

      Or as one historian puts it – that fight was to avoid being put in a foreign concentration camp and placed into your own, with the possibility of extending that concentration camp to encompass the entire world (paraphrased). You only need to take one look at the “liberated” parts of Europe where the Red Flag flew.

      Nothing, nothing, NOTHING wrong with depicting at least a tiny part of such a regime in a video game. Good job Relic.

      • Ded Romantik says:

        Great post.

        As a Ukrainian I can say that if the hunger of 20-30s was Stalin orchestrated, why the people did not revolt? Maybe because only a portion of population decided to work as hard as they can why the rest of them said if “If all that I grow is taken by the Communist I should not grow anything now, nothing for them nothing for myself”, while all that comunists tried to do was to distribute the bread accross the whole nation equaly because of 10 years of Civil War left most of the USSR baren of wheat and oats and hungry.

        Thats regarding Holodomor.

        Regarding invasion of Poland – Stalin freed Belorussia, Ukraine and Baltic countries from Nationalistic and Expansion centristic government of Poles. Then after Britain and France left Poland one-on-one with Nazis, He allowed his generals to take controll of the eastern Poland to stop what was happening in Western part of it.

        Regarding Finland – before the obviously coming war (Austria, Chehoslovakia are occupied now) USSR realised the huge danger that German sponsored Finish army is posing to Leningrad and its industrial complex, and proposed to exchange territories with ratio of 1:2 (in favour of Finland) to move the border further away from Second largest city in the Eastern Europe that Finland declined. They got what they asked for.

        USSR and Germany had trading agreement and mutial interst to improving their industry in 20s and 30s. I see no problem in inviting Wermacht to practice in USSR with their tanks and planes. This invitation was revoked as soon as Hitler came in to power and Nazis took the government.

        • Mhorhe says:

          Thank you. I would dearly wish to say the same – except some (much?) of your post seems to be taken from the Basic Manual of the Stalin Apologist.

          “As a Ukrainian I can say that if the hunger of 20-30s was Stalin orchestrated, why the people did not revolt? Maybe because only a portion of population decided to work as hard as they can why the rest of them said if “If all that I grow is taken by the Communist I should not grow anything now, nothing for them nothing for myself”, while all that comunists tried to do was to distribute the bread accross the whole nation equaly because of 10 years of Civil War left most of the USSR baren of wheat and oats and hungry.”

          The image of the peasant that would rather starve his and his own than have the State benefit from his labor is one the regime used back then to justify the famine. I find it incredible to impossible that anyone would believe it, let alone use it as an argument. No one but the mentally insane would have himself and his family starve to death in the name of such a “principle’.

          The rest of the the paragraph is inaccurate. What 10 years of Civil War?! By 1920 the Soviet Union was gearing up to export revolution to the west..The Civil War combined with poor harvests was responsible for the real live famines of the 20s..The orchestrated hungers of the 30s had nothing to do with a general famine. Most of the USSR had no food shortages during the 30s.
          Furthermore, the measures taken in the 30s were completely different to the 20s. In the 20s, Lenin actually bought foreign grain to feed the Union. In the 30s, Stalin actually took seed grain and even the cottage vegetables from the peasants.
          Afflicted areas were locked down with travel forbidden – those caught were sent back. In effect, large parts of Ukraine – and Kazakhstan as well – were transformed into guarded death traps, while the USSR at large live on pretty much normally.

          “Regarding invasion of Poland – Stalin freed Belorussia, Ukraine and Baltic countries from Nationalistic and Expansion centristic government of Poles. Then after Britain and France left Poland one-on-one with Nazis, He allowed his generals to take controll of the eastern Poland to stop what was happening in Western part of it.”

          Once again, the “expansionistic Poles” were a propaganda tool used by the regime of the time. In fact the entire paragraph you wrote here seems to be taken straight out of a 30s issue of Pravda. Are you seriously using STALIN and FREED in the same sentence? Thank the gods Stalin freed all those eastern nations from the evil Poles, allowing the Light from the East to come with all its benefits: NKVD, gulag, etc
          The East really dodged a bullet on that one, who knows what the Poles would have done!..
          I’m assuming you’re going to deny Katyn as well, filthy Nazist propaganda that it was? Trouble is, most every eastern territory taken by Stalin in 1940 had its very own Katyn. Romanians in Basarabia had theirs at Fantana Alba (White Well) – numbers were not that high (3-4000) but the method was identical.
          As for Stalin “saving” Eastern Poland from what was happening in the West, refer to my earlier post: Come you Red Plague, to deliver us from the Black Death..
          Oh, and by the way – strangely enough, only on the USSR side of Ukraine were people eating babies. The Polish side was strangely quiescent. Man, good thing Stalin saved them from Polish expansion, huh.


          Regarding Finland – before the obviously coming war (Austria, Chehoslovakia are occupied now) USSR realised the huge danger that German sponsored Finish army is posing to Leningrad and its industrial complex, and proposed to exchange territories with ratio of 1:2 (in favour of Finland) to move the border further away from Second largest city in the Eastern Europe that Finland declined. They got what they asked for.”

          Unbelievable. You really are quoting the Pravda! Are you aware that both Finland and Poland were ATTACKED BY THE SOVIET UNION? Poland in the 1920s, but it beat them back. Finland, the infamous Winter War.
          Cause you sure make it sound like the other way around – first it’s Polish expansion, now it’s Finnish militarism..


          USSR and Germany had trading agreement and mutial interst to improving their industry in 20s and 30s. I see no problem in inviting Wermacht to practice in USSR with their tanks and planes. This invitation was revoked as soon as Hitler came in to power and Nazis took the government.”

          Until now it was merely propaganda – a twisting of facts – now we’re talking outright lies. It happened AFTER the Nazis took the government, not before – or are you going to take the Pravda approach one step further and tell me how the Weimar Republic was arming itself for war?
          And by the way – it wasn’t even called Wermacht before 1935. And yes, there is a goddamn problem inviting the Wermacht to train in your country, when the Wermacht serves a regime who has always made the prosecution of your country and regime its official policy, always.

          • harmlos says:

            Your last point is inaccurate – the cooperation between the German and Russian militaries date from the early 1920s. For the German side, the benefit was the ability to test weapons Germany was prohibited by the Versailles treaty from developing, like tanks, aircraft, submachineguns, etc. Not sure what the Russians got out of it.

            Hitler decided he could openly thumb his nose at Versailles pretty early in his reign, so he had little incentive to continue the cooperation (and, considering his anti-Bolshevik rhetoric, lots of reasons to break it off). The bottom line is – there is plenty bad stuff you can legitimately accuse the Soviet Union in general and Stalin in particular of, no need to make stuff up.

        • abase says:

          You are not Ukrainian! You are Soviet ignorant! If you would think a little you might realize that Holodomor was done o purpose to break the potential revolt – you cannot revolt when you are starving. Secondly the grain taken from peasants was sold to cover the expenses of suboptimal economy strategy.

      • Urfin says:

        Goebbels would be proud of your efforts, dude :)

        • Mhorhe says:

          Because I totally praised Nazis in those posts, yo.

          But hey, I’m dissing Stalin/USSR, so I MUST be a Nazi sympathizer!

          As long as those are the only counter-arguments you can/are going to bring, sure, whatever you say.

          Until such a time, everything I said can be *easily* verified on the great sea of the web and in any historical library worth its salt.

          • Urfin says:

            I was referring to your manner of discussion :) As for the topic itself, it is so thoroughly buried in mythilogy that even younger lads over here start getting funny thoughts after reading all the newer shit on the net, let alone people on the other side. The amount of bullshit around WWII is simply unparalleled. What’s a fact is that Stalin was the most efficient and beneficial ruler we ever had, both in war and peace, and comparing him to Hitler is like comparing, I dunno, Churchill to whatever’s crawling around Downing st. these days :)

  38. Widthwood says:

    Can’t believe we haven’t made it to the second page yet.
    Come on people, this is pathetic!

  39. pazmacats says:

    Why is nobody talking about the fact that telling a story like this does make sense from a marketing point of view? – You can’t sell the game to Stalin’s followers (no followers left), so communists have to be the bad guys. You want to sell the game to Germans and to Nazi sympathisants worldwide (plenty of those with a computer worldwide). End result: A story that doesn’t make sense.

    • iridescence says:

      I have not played this game but if what is shown in that video is accurate I can certainly understand and sympathize with why Russians are upset about it. Whatever you think of the Soviet government of that period (and few people would hold them up as any paragons of human rights) the Russian people’s sacrifice in WW2 was incredible and really the main reason why the allies won the war. I wonder if all the (presumably) Americans who are all saying “whatever, it’s just a game…” would be so sanguine about it if some Russian company came out with a game portraying the American Revolutionary War in a very negative light?

      It looks like this game company went overboard trying to be “edgy” and if you do that with real countries’ history you should be damn sure to do the research first.

    • Acorino says:

      I’m sure Relic consciously strived to include fascists in their target audience. That’s what definitely happened.

  40. Koozer says:

    In other news: http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/6/4594394/world-of-tanks-stalin-emblems-inscriptions

    Wargaming.net, Russian developers of World of Tanks, are adding in pro-Stalin insignias for players to slap on their tanks. Previously these were limited to the RU server only, now they’re adding them worldwide for ‘historical accuracy,’ to much outrage from Eastern European players. This is while not including many historical insignias for German tanks, because the company is ‘anti-fascist.’

    • mvsolid says:

      >Nazi symbols do not appear in the game, in part because they are illegal to display in some European countries.

      Thats the main reason for the latter, hardly a new thing.
      Would anyone lift a brow because of “Smash A Jap” on a Sherman? I am sure reddit “free speech” brigade would jump to defend the authencity of the Greatest Generation racist propaganda.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        They have this issue all the time on the last MMO I worked on. There’s a coat of arms designer and obviously we have a few (not many, which is encouraging considering the designer allows a lot of creativity and freedom*) people designing swastikas and other Nazi symbols that we simply have to delete/ban. But many of the Russian players come up with soviet designs and they’re a bit of a grey area unless other players complain that they’re offended. And some do, their argument being that Stalin was as bad as Hitler from their point of view….

        *Although, of course, there are an awful lot of cocks.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Oh yeah and the game I’m making right now is a WW2 era game in which the players are all German U-boat captains :) WW2 era war games are very popular across Europe, the trick is to make sure it’s a hypothetical scenario in which there’s a war between the Axis and the Allies but no Nazis are involved.

    • deadwitness says:

      If you’re going to start a discussion about this, don’t forget, please, that Wargaming is a Belarusian company.

  41. f69 says:

    If they wanted to make a game about the crimes of stalinism they should call it that.

    But it’s called ‘Company of Heroes’. So here is an American company that hamfistedly presumes to inform us that this collection of western stereotypes are our heroes. They can go fuck themselves.

  42. Chirgwin says:

    Holy shit guys, I’m so impressed with this comment section. Most of it anyway.

    Frequent visitor, but never bothered to sign up. I just had to after having spent a good hour and a bit reading through the posts.

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