Vasili Blokhin, The Butcher Of Katyn

Stalin's favorite executioner Major-General Vasilii Mikhailovich Blokhin
Stalin’s favorite executioner Major-General Vasilii Mikhailovich Blokhin

A fascinating and quite disturbing post by the Cotton Boll Conspiracy on the infamous “Soviet Butcher” Vasili Blokhin. chief executioner of the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, and his role in the Katyn Massacre of 1940. In April and May of that year the Soviet Union executed over 21,000 captured or detained nationals of Poland, the vast majority of them members of the Polish army, police and intelligentsia.

“It’s likely that all of us, at some point in our lives, aspire to be the best at something. When one is young, it sometimes doesn’t matter what that “something” is; the goal is simply to be No. 1.

Vasili Blokhin achieved such prominence, even if many don’t recognize his name.

He was Joseph Stalin’s executioner for decades and personally killed tens of thousands of individuals between the 1920s and early 1950s. Today, he is recognized as the most prolific official executioner in recorded world history.

Perhaps most infamously, he single-handedly killed approximately 7,000 Polish prisoners of war during a one-month period in 1940.

The Poles had been captured in the early days of World War II. Shortly after Germany attacked Poland from the west, the Soviets did the same on the east.

After taking hundreds of thousands of Polish prisoners captive, the Soviets culled out officers and intelligentsia such as university professors, lawyers and priests.

In a bid to deprive the Polish state of a good bit of its leadership – present and future – Stalin had nearly 22,000 killed in what became known as the Katyn Massacre, so-called for the forest where many of the bodies were later discovered.

Blokhin’s work was done over a period of 28 consecutive nights, as he personally executed 300 men each evening.

A description of the scene sounds like a modernized version of Dante’s Inferno.

Polish prisoners were led into a small chamber one at a time. The chamber was painted red and specially designed with padded walls to block sound, along with a sloping concrete floor with a hose and drain.

Blokhin, fittingly, wore a leather butcher’s apron, cap, and shoulder-length gloves to protect his uniform.

He shot each prisoner in the base of the skull with a German Walther Model 2 .25 ACP pistol. The choice of a German-model weapon would give the Soviets a means to place the blame on the Nazis should the bodies be found.

There was no hearing, no reading of a sentence and no other legal formalities before each execution.

Blokhin’s men then removed the body, hosed away the blood and loaded the corpse on a flatbed truck through a back door, to be buried in a mass grave.

Blokhin liked to work continuously and rapidly without interruption, executing a prisoner, on average, every three minutes.

The executions started at dark and continuing until dawn, with Blokhin working without pause for 10 hours each night.

For his efforts, Blokhin was secretly awarded the Order of the Red Banner from Stalin on April 27, 1940.”

Read the full story here.

13 comments on “Vasili Blokhin, The Butcher Of Katyn

  1. Reblogged this on Life in Russia and commented:
    Do thuairim féin anseo… (más mian leat)


  2. Do not conflate Polish propaganda with history. The Red Army did indeed perpetrate the Katyn shootings but at a time when Russia stood alone against Nazism. Ireland was neutral……..


    • at a time when Russia stood alone against Nazism.

      A rare disagreement! I hardly think that the Soviet Union stood against the Third Reich for any other reason than Operation Barbarossa. Up to then they were the very embodiment of an axis of evil.

      The Katyn Massacre was simply mass murder and took place a year before the German Nazi Party and the Russian Communist Party went to war. At the time they were allies!


      • Unofficially I agree with you (Did not expect my goal to get past you) Officially Red Army stood alone!


        • Well, hardly alone, whatever the Russians claim in retrospect (or then). The first supplies to the USSR from the Allies arrived in September 1941, four months after the German invasion. And the whole Red Army alone against the fascist hordes was in part due to Stalin’s extreme paranoia about allowing Allied Forces into the USSR or the territories it had seized both before, during and after his pact with Hitler.

          Strange times make for strange allies I suppose. Looking back WWII was such a sordid affair. If not for the (incidental?) ending the horror of the Holocaust it would probably rate as another Great War, a conflict of utmost pointlessness. Empires thrashing about in their death or birth throes. Such a waste of lives, such awful suffering.


    • ceannaire1

      Hmmm, the Red Army stood alone – so shot officers of the country they had invaded (and subjugated)? How would murdering such a vast number of soldiers make them ‘not lonely’?

      I really don’t understand the point you are making.

      Oh, and, unfortunately, Ireland were not as neutral as it seems. Irish Special Branch collaberated throughout the war, it seems, with the British. See endnote 122 in Irving’s Churchill’s War Volume 2, Chapter: A Little Aeroplane Incident. (I hate to endorse a right-wing British historian but it seems he’s correct).


      • Russia also invaded Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Stalin did not want a strong Poland – indeed during the Warsaw Uprising he ordered the Red Army to “wait”. Ireland was offered the 6 counties in response to joining the Allies. Dev was a **** if he had done as Salazar (Azores) he could have come up smelling of roses.Instead he signed the condolence book for Adolf!


        • What of the poor Finns? Screwed from every which way. The Allies would have served them up to Uncle Joe on a platter to save their own skins. I rarely hear people berating Finland for being Nazi-collaborators but Ireland is portrayed as being crypto-Nazis for being neutral and saying a plague on all your (imperial) houses. Bah! 😉

          Ireland was offered the opportunity to explore/discuss the constitutional status of the north-east of the country in any after-conflict negotiations. It was not offered reunification or anything like it. Dev knew his enemy!


          • Churchill (Kirkomaali in Finnish to be flash!) offered reunification for naval aid. Finns lost Karelia. They were not neutral as they saw Hitler as a lesser evil than Russia.


            • Churchill offered a declaration by the British government accepting the “principle” of a reunited Ireland, a joint body of the Irish and British governments with the Stormont regime to explore the issues involved in future reunification (with Stormont having a veto over any movement and Britain accepting that could be no coercion and acting as a protecting power), a joint defence body for north and south (though Stormont could veto its participation) and immediate acceptance by Ireland of British naval installations and use of Irish ports. That is not reunification and most historians believe Churchill had no intention of honouring any of it and if he did Stomont had a veto over every step. In fact the end result may well have been de facto British rule over all of Ireland again under wartime exigencies.

              Ok, Churchill in Finnish is impressive 😉


              • Only know Churchill in Finnish as many emigrants to USA in 1890-1900 could not get names pronounced correctly so changed/angliced them!


  3. Jim Monaghan

    WW2 was a complex war, in fact it was a series of interconnected wars.


    • Very true, Jim. There was the global war and then the multiple mini-wars that formed party of the global war some of which pre-dated WWII and some of which continued long after WWII. When did WWII end in the Baltic, Central and south-east European states? The 1950s? In Lithuania the Forest Brothers were still fighting into the early 1960s.

      Hollywood and the British love their versions of WWII. But they are only versions.


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