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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 17, 1953

SITUATION REPORT FROM ANDREI GRECHKO AND NIKOLAI TARASOV TO NIKOLAI BULGANIN, RECEIVED 6:30 P.M. MOSCOW TIME (4:30 CET)

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    Grechko and Tarasov describe how Soviet forces took back control over the situation in East Berlin and several other GDR cities in the afternoon of 17 June 1953.
    "Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and Nikolai Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin, received 6:30 p.m. Moscow Time (4:30 CET)," June 17, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Russian General Staff, f. 16, op. 3139, d. 155, ll. 8-9. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. Published in CWIHP Bulletin 10 (March 1998), pp. 87-88. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112451
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OPERATIONS DIVISION, MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION,
GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY

Top Secret
Copy #6
To Comrade BULGANIN, N.A.
The situation in Berlin is improving. The principal government and civil service buildings, such as [the ones occupied by] the Council of Ministers, the SED Central Committee, and the Police headquarters, are secured and guarded by our forces. The primary districts of the Soviet sector of Berlin are under the control of our forces.

According to preliminary data, forty-six active instigators were arrested. The situation at the buildings occupied by the SED Central Committee and the government is peaceful.

All the roads on the way to these buildings are blocked by our troops, tanks, and artillery. The tanks and armored personnel carriers are finishing dispersing the demonstrators. Some demonstrators are leaving the columns and hiding along the side streets. Some three thousand demonstrators are gathering at Friedrichstrasse in the American sector of Berlin. Demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans, demanded the immediate resignation of the present government of the German Democratic Republic, and a decrease in prices by 40 percent, the defense of the strikers, the abolition of the [East] German armed forces and the People's Police, and the return of the territories of Germany that were given to Poland, as well as other anti-Soviet slogans.

Martial law was introduced in the Soviet sector of Berlin at 1:00 p.m. on 17 June, local time.

To restore order, the 2nd Mechanized [Soviet] Army, consisting of the 1st and the 14th mechanized divisions and the 12th tank division, was brought into Berlin and given the task of restoring complete order in the city by 9:00 p.m. on 17 June.

The units of the above divisions will be reaching the outskirts of the city by 4-6 p.m.

The members of the GDR Government have been evacuated from the dangerous areas and are with comrade Semyonov.

With the intention to restore public order and terminate the anti-government demonstrations which have occurred, martial law has been declared in Magdeburg, Leipzig, Dresden, Halle, Görlitz, and Brandenburg.

Today, at 2 p.m., local time, a declaration was issued by the Government of the German Democratic Republic to the German people which explained the nature of the events that have taken place and called for the unity and opposition to the fascist and reactionary elements.

GRECHKO
TARASOV

Received on telephone by Lieutenant-Colonel N. PAVLOVSKY
17 June 1953, 6.30 p.m. (Signature)