||This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2007)|
|Projected Reichskommissariat of Germany|
then not designated
|Reichskommissar||Siegfried Kasche (projected)|
|Historical era||World War II|
Reichskommissariat Moskowien (also rendered as Moskau, abbreviated as RKM; Russian: Рейхскомиссариат Московия), literally "Reich Commissariat of Muscovy (or Moscow)", was the civilian occupation regime that Nazi Germany intended to create in central and northern European Russia during World War II, one of several similar Reichskommissariate. It was also known initially as the Reichskommissariat Russland (Reich Commissariat of Russia). Siegfried Kasche was the projected Reichskomissar, but due to the German failure to occupy the territories intended to form the Reichskommissariat, it remained on paper only.
The German Nazis intended to destroy Russia permanently, irrespective of whether it was capitalist, communist or tsarist. Adolf Hitler's Lebensraum policy, expressed in Mein Kampf, was to dispossess the Russian inhabitants – as was to happen with other Slavs in Poland and most of Eastern Europe- and to either expel most of them beyond the Ural mountains or to exterminate them by various means. German colonial settlement was to be encouraged (Generalplan Ost).
As the campaign against the Soviet Union advanced eastward, the occupied territories would gradually be transferred from military to civilian administration. Hitler's final decision on its administration entailed the new eastern territories being divided into four Reichskommissariate in order to destroy Russia as a geographical entity by dividing it into as many different parts as possible. These new institutions were to be under the nominal supervision of Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg as head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete). The leaders of these provinces, the Reichskommissars, would however be direct subordinates of Hitler himself, and answerable only to him. Conquered territories of most of Russia proper were initially to become a Reichskommissariat Russland (Reich commissariat of Russia) according to Rosenberg's plans, although this was later changed to Moskowien (Muscovy) informally also known as Moskau (Moscow). These eastern districts were thought to be the most sensitive to administer of the conquered territories. As a consequence, they would be managed from the regional capitals and directly by the German government in Berlin.
The plans were ultimately never fulfilled. The German military operation to capture Moscow and central Russia (Fall Taifun) failed and marked the high-water point of German success in the region. The transfer of conquered territories to Nazi civilian rule was therefore never completed.
Territorial planning 
The envisioned province included most of European Russia between the Ural mountains (as well as some districts east of it, including the city of Sverdlovsk) and its boundaries with Finland, the Baltic states, Belarus, and the Ukraine. The Russian parts of the Caucasus region were to be controlled by a separate Reichskommissariat Kaukasus, while the rest of southern Russia was to be integrated into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine for its intended extension eastward to the border with Kazakhstan. Smaller parts that were excluded were the Pskov, Smolensk and Leningrad areas (included in the Reichskommissariat Ostland), and Eastern Karelia and the Kola peninsula, which were promised to Germany's co-belligerent Finland in 1941 for its contribution to the campaign in the east. It would therefore encompass more or less the same lands that were once under the control of the mediaeval state of Muscovy. Its final territory was to be bounded on the west by the Reichskommissariat Ostland and the border with Finland, on the north by the Arctic ocean, in the east by the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and in the south by the massively expanded Reichskommissariat Ukraine.
The planned administrative subdivisions of the province were largely based boundary-wise on the pre-existing Russian oblasts, and supposed to be seated in Leningrad, Gorki, Tula, Moscow, Kazan, Kirov, Molotov, and Ufa.
The administrative capital was tentatively proposed as Moscow, the historical and political center of the Russian state. As the German armies were approaching Moscow during the 1941 campaign however, Hitler determined that Moscow, like Leningrad and Kiev, would be levelled and its 4 million inhabitants killed to destroy it as a potential center of Bolshevist resistance. For this purpose Moscow was to be covered by a large artificial lake which would permanently submerge it, by opening the sluices of the Moscow-Volga Canal. During the advance on Moscow Otto Skorzeny was tasked with capturing these dam structures.
During a conference on 16 July 1941, Hitler stated his personal desires on the division of the eastern territories to be acquired for Germany. The Crimean peninsula, together with a large hinterland to its north encompassing much of the southern Ukraine was to be "cleared" of all existing foreigners and exclusively settled by Germans, becoming Reich territory (part of Germany). The formerly Austrian part of Galicia was to be treated in a similar fashion. In addition the Baltic states, the "Volga colony" and the Baku district (as a military concession) would also have to be annexed to the Reich.
At first, the plans had assumed an eastern limit at the "A-A line", a notional boundary running along the Volga river between the two cities of Archangelsk and Astrakhan. Since it was expected well-ahead of the operation that the Soviet Union would in all likelihood not be totally defeated by military means despite being reduced to a rump state, aerial bombardments were to be carried out against the remaining enemy industrial centers further to the east.
Political leadership 
This occupation will indeed have a completely different character to that in the Baltic Sea provinces, in the Ukraine and in the Caucasus.[nb 1] It will be geared towards the oppression of any Russian or Bolshevist resistance and [sic] requires an absolutely ruthless personality, not only on the part of the military representation but also the potential political leadership. The resulting tasks need not be recorded.—Alfred Rosenberg, memo dated 7 April 1941
Koch rejected his nomination in June of that year because it was, as he described it, "entirely negative", and was later given control of Reichskommissariat Ukraine instead. Hitler proposed Wilhelm Kube as an alternative, but this was rejected after Hermann Göring and Rosenberg deemed him too old for the position (Kube was then in his mid-fifties), and instead assigned him to Belarus. SA-Obergruppenführer Siegfried Kasche, the German envoy in Zagreb, was selected instead. Hamburg senator and SA general Wilhelm von Allwörden promoted himself to be nominated as the Commissioner for Economic Affairs for the Moscow area. Kasche's nomination was opposed by Heinrich Himmler, who considered Kasche's SA background as being a problem and characterized him to Rosenberg as "a man of the desk, in no wise energetic or strong, and an outspoken enemy of the SS".
Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski was to become the regional Higher SS and Police Leader, and was already assigned to Army Group Centre as HSSPF-Russland-Mitte (Central Russia) for this purpose. Odilo Globocnik, then the SS and Police Leader in Lublin was to head Generalkommissariat Sverdlovsk, the easternmost district of Moskowien. Rosenberg suggested Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorf as Hauptkommissar of the Yaroslavl district.
Planned policies 
Rosenberg viewed that the political goal of Operation Barbarossa was not merely the destruction of the Bolshevik regime, but the "reversing of Russian dynamism" towards the east (Siberia) and the freeing of the Reich of the "eastern nightmare for centuries to come" by eliminating the Russian state, regardless of its political ideology. The continued existence of Russia as a potential instigator of Pan-Slavism and its suggestive power over other Slavic peoples in the fight between "Germandom" and "Slavism" was seen as a major threat. This was to be solved by exploiting ethnic centrifugal forces and limiting the influence of "Greater Russiandom" (Großrussentum) by promoting segmentation in the manner of divide and conquer.
In a memorandum sent to Rosenberg in March 1942, Nazi anthropologist Otto Reche argues for the disappearance of 'Russia' both as an ethnic and political concept, and the promotion of a new plethora of ethnicities based on medieval Slavic tribes such as the Vyatichs and Severians. Even White Ruthenia, and in particular the Ukraine ("in its present extent") he deemed to be dangerously large. Heinrich Himmler had already advocated for such a general policy towards Eastern Europe in 1940. In a top-secret memorandum entitled "Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Peoples in the East" he expressed that the Germans had to acknowledge and cultivate as many ethnic splinter groups in German-occupied Poland as possible, including Ukrainians, "White Russians" (Belarusians), Gorals (see Goralenvolk), Lemkos, and Kashubians. The Eastern Ministry responded that Reche's emphasis on the plurality of ethnic groups in the Soviet Union was correct "in itself", but was skeptical about his proposal to resurrect obscure and extinct nationalities. He defended his proposal by arguing that "[sic] in the area of ethnicity much has already been successfully brought back to life!", but inquired as to whether names connected with the main towns in each area might serve this role instead. A memo date written by Dr. Erich Wetzel (NSDAP Office of Racial Policy) on April 1942 details the splitting up of Reichskommissariat Moskowien into very loosely tied Generalkommissariats. The objective was to undermine the national cohesion of the Russians by promoting regional identification; a Russian from the Gorki Generalkommissariat was to feel that he was different from a Russian in the Tula Generalkommissariat. Also, a source of discussion in the Nazi circles was the replacement of the Cyrillic letters with the German alphabet.
A series of "semantic guidelines" published by the Reich Interior Ministry in 1942 declare that it is permissible to use the word 'Russia' only in a reference to the "Petersburg empire" of Peter the Great and its follow-ups until the revolution of 1917. The period from 1300 to Peter the Great (the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Tsardom of Russia) was to be called the "Muscovite state", while post-1917 Russia was not to be referred to as an empire or a state at all; the preferred terms for this period were "bolshevik chaos" or "communist elements". Furthermore, historic expressions such as Little Russia (Ukraine), White Russia (Belarus/White Ruthenia), Russian Sea (for the Black Sea), and Russian Asia (for Siberia and Central Asia) were to be absolutely avoided as terminology of the "Muscovite imperialism". "Tatars" was described as a pejorative Russian term for the Volga, Crimean, and Azerbaijan Turks which was preferably to be avoided, and respectively replaced with the concepts "Idel (Volga)-Uralian", "Crimean Turks", and Azerbaijanis.
See also 
- Reichskommissariat Kaukasus
- Reichskommissariat Turkestan
- Reichskommissariat Don-Wolga
- Battle of Moscow
- Lokot Autonomy
- Russian volunteer units with Axis forces
- Note that this comment needs to be read in the context of Rosenberg's rejected plan to make use of the Soviet Union's non-Russian ethnic groups in these regions (Balts, Ukrainians, et al) by presenting the German invasion as a liberation from Russian rule and promising them political independence.
- Oscar Pinkus (2005). The war aims and strategies of Adolf Hitler, p. 228. MacFarland & Company Inc. Publishers.
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