Russian Liberation Army

Image - The Russian Liberation Army (ROA) soldiers.

Russian Liberation Army [Russian: Русская освободительная армия or РОА; Russkaia osvoboditelnaia armiia or ROA). A military formation in the German armed forces during the Second World War. It was organized in 1943 with the approval of the German High Command by Gen Andrei Vlasov, a captured Red Army general, from among Soviet prisoners of war held by the Germans. In 1944 control of the ROA was transferred to the SS. In early 1945 the ROA’s total strength was approx 200,000, of which about 40 percent were Ukrainians. The ROA was used by the Germans largely for propaganda purposes; its units were never committed to combat. Some ROA units participated in the anti-German uprising of early May 1945 in Czechoslovakia. At the end of the war many ROA officers and men surrendered to the Western Allies in the hope of escaping Soviet reprisal. Most of them, however, were turned over to the Soviet authorities (see Repatriation).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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