Smyslowsky, Boris Aleksiejewicz, born 03-12-1897 in Selenogorsk Saint Petersburg, Russia. His pseudonyms were Arthur Holmston and Hauptmann von Regenau. He commanded the pro-Axis collaborationist First Russian National Army during World War II. He joined the Imperial Russian Army where he advanced to the rank of captain in the Imperial Guards.
During the Russian Civil War he fought against the Bolsheviks in the White Army and then moved to Poland, later to Germany, where he became a Generalmajor in the Wehrmacht. There he attended the Prussian Military Academy. His view was that foreign intervention and help was needed to free Russia from Bolshevism.
The White émigré and Russian nationalist Boris Smyslovksy, commanded the eastern battalion of the Russian All-Military Union based in Warsaw, and in July 1941 formed an Abwehr Training Battalion (Lehrbattalion) for anti-partisan and warfare duties under Wehrmacht Army Group North. By December, he had recruited more than 10,000 Russians into 12 reconnaissance battalions, unified into Sonderdivision R. In March 1942, Smyslovsky formed the Sonderstab R counter-intelligence agency in Warsaw, with Colonel Mikhail M. Shapovalov controlling 1,000 agents in detachment in Pskov. Mikhail Shapovalov was a Soviet Colonel who was captured at Kerch in 1942. He joined the Germans, was promoted to Generalmajor and was given a leading role in the Russian Liberation Army (ROA). He was ambushed and killed by partisans in 1945.
During World War II, Smyslowsky led the formation of a Wehrmacht reconnaissance unit in July 1941 as a special leader (K) of the Wehrmacht. He initially used the pseudonym Hauptmann von Regenau. The unit’s original designation was “учебный русский батальон” (Russian training battalion), the Wehrmacht’s first Russian volunteer formation.
Boris soon realized that Nazi ideology was at collision with his views of intelligent use of Russian anti-Bolshevik forces and established feelers to Switzerland in case he would need asylum at the war’s end. In 1943, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of military counter-intelligence, personally spoke up for his officer, who had been arrested for high treason. Smyslowsky had refused to be deployed on the western front. He believed that in the war the Russians should fight only against the Bolsheviks.
Towards the end of the war Germany upgraded its Russian volunteers in the war effort, and the army led by Smyslovsky was eventually elevated to the 1st Russian National Army, i.e. the status of an independent allied army, on 10-03-1945. By April 1945, Smyslovsky had moved his fighters to Feldkirch where he met Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich, the Romanov claimant to the Russian Imperial Crown. The whittled-down army of 462 men, 30 women, and 2 children then moved into neutral Liechtenstein on 02-05-1945, the Grand Duke, however, decided to stay in the US occupied zone in Austria because neither Liechtenstein nor Switzerland would issue him a visa. The Russians were cared for by the Liechtenstein Red Cross. On 16-08-1945, a Soviet delegation came to Liechtenstein in an attempt to repatriate the Russians. Homesick and subject to cajoling and menacing, about 200 of the group agreed to return. They departed in a train to Vienna and nothing was ever heard of them again. The remainder stayed in Liechtenstein for another year, resisting with support of Liechtenstein further pressure by the Soviet government to participate in the repatriation program. Eventually the government of Argentina offered asylum, and about a hundred people left. Smyslovsky was visited by Allen Welsh Dulles and other Western military experts to learn more about his expertise regarding the Soviet Union and handed information over to Intelligence Service Generalmajor Reinhard Gehlen‘s espionage system.
While the Western Allies and other countries in Europe complied with Soviet requests to repatriate Soviet citizens regardless of their individual wishes, Liechtenstein was the only country that stood up to these demands and informed the Soviet government that only those Russians who wanted to go home would be permitted to go. Those soldiers of the 1st Russian National Army who chose to return to the USSR were summarily executed by the Soviet military authorities after their arrival in the Soviet Union.
According to Alexander Frick, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, the Russians were at no point in danger of being extradited, and the local population fully supported the government in providing asylum to the Russians. The small population of the country (12,141 in 1945) supported the émigrés (4% of the population) at a rate of CHF 30,000 per month for 2 years and paid their costs to move to Argentina; they did not know that these costs were later to be reimbursed by Germany. While the Western Allies and other countries in Europe complied with Soviet requests to repatriate Soviet citizens regardless of their individual wishes, Liechtenstein was the only country that stood up to these demands and informed the Soviet government that only those Russians who wanted to go home would be permitted to go.
Most of the rest went into exile in Argentina, including Smyslovsky. But in 1975, he returned to Liechtenstein with his wife Irene.
In 1921 he had married Alexandra (1898-1975), daughter of Colonel F. G. Ivanov. From this marriage he had a daughter – Marina (1922-1998). Around 1937-1938 he married the Polish woman Eugenia Mikke (~ 1900 – 1972) and his third wife was the Polish artist Irina Kochanovich (1911-2000).
Death and burial ground of Smyslowsky, Boris Aleksiejewicz.
Smyslowsky third from the right.
Smyslowsky continued his intelligence activities, this time in the service of the United States. Among other things, he became an advisor to the General Staff of the German Armed Forces and to Argentine President Juan Peron. Boris Smyslowsky died 05-09-1988, old age 90, in Vaduz. in Liechtenstein, where he had found his second home.
Boris Smyslowsky”s grave is in Vaduz in the (St-Florinsgasse), in Switzerland, from the entrance at the bottom right. Denis Estoppey from Geneva, Switserland visited the cemetery in Vaduz (St-Florinsgasse) and the graveside and sent me with great thanks the grave photo’s..