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Vodka Thieves

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"Decree of the Military Council of the 1st Belorussian Front #0119
June 30th, 1944
Active Army

On the punishment of the Chief Quartermaster of the 186th Rifle Division, Major of the Intendant Service, Lev Yefremovich Goldberg and Chief Quartermaster of the 238th Rifle Regiment, 186th Rifle Division, Captain of the Intendant Service Petr Alekseevich Paut, for abusing their positions.

As Chief Quartermaster of the 186th RD, Major Goldberg regularly issued vodka illegally to various persons, distributing 234 L of vodka this way in three months. Partially, this shortfall was compensated by an agreement with the Chief Quartermaster of the 238th regiment of that division, Captain Paut, by composition of fictional documents regarding the issue of vodka.

The divisions had a system of parties, farewell events for workers of rear establishments, etc. that consumed vodka and supplies instead of issuing them to personnel. On Goldberg's orders, a farewell party for the former commander of the 167th Independent Motorized Rifle Battalion of the 186th Rifle Division, Captain Klevaniy, was issued 25 L of vodka. An evening party on March 8th in the 167th OMSB was issued 40.2 L of vodka on Goldberg's orders, 27 of which came from the warehouse of the 167th OMSB.

The farewell party of the former Chief of the Organization Planning Department, Captain Cherepanov, was issued 10 L of vodka by Goldberg, 10 cans of meat preserves, 10 kg of wheat flour, 2 kg of lard, 3.5 kg of herring, 3.5 kg of biscuits, and 2.5 kg of sugar. In order to conceal this misuse, the vodka and supplies were added onto requests made by the medical unit. 

Captain of the Intendant Service P.A. Paut, as the Chief Quartermaster of the 238th Rifle Regiment of the 186th Infantry Division, abusing his official position, reported that he received 30 L of vodka more than he did in reality as a part of his agreement with the former warehouse chief, Sergeyev, on December 28th, 1943. On the same day, he composed two reports about issuing 36.5 L of vodka to the regiment's two battalions, even though he issued no vodka to them.

Goldberg and Pauta lost all sense of responsibility and dignity of the Red Army officers. In conducting their criminal actions, Goldberg and Pauta violated order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0374 issued on May 31st, 1943.

With the goal of preventing abuse of power and expanding the fight against theft and resale of supplies, the Military Council of the 1st Belorussian Front establishes that:

In accordance with NKO decree issued on May 24th, 1943, and NKO decree #0374 issued on May 31st, 1943, the Chief Quartermaster of the 186th Rifle Division, Major of the Intendant Service, Lev Yefremovich Goldberg and Chief Quartermaster of the 238th Rifle Regiment, 186th Rifle Division, Captain of the Intendant Service Petr Alekseevich Paut, for the crime of stealing vodka meant for soldiers and forging documents, are directed to a penalty battalion for the duration of two months each.

Commander of the 1st Belorussian Front, Marshall of the Soviet Union, Rokossovskiy
Member of the Military Council of the 1st Belorussian Front, Lieutenant-General Bulganin"


Goldberg died in the penalty battalion, but was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class for his bravery in battle. His pal Paut survived not only his stint in the penalty battalion, but also the whole war, having lived at least until 1985.

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