Skip to content

June 17, 1953

Report from A. Grechko and Tarasov in Berlin to N.A. Bulganin, 11:00 p.m.


Top Secret

To Comrade BULGANIN, N.A.

I am reporting on the situation in the GDR and Berlin as of 11:00 p.m., 17 June 1953 (Moscow time).

1. The Soviet forces, namely the 1st mechanized infantry division, the 14th mechanized infantry division, and the 12th tank division (altogether 600 tanks), have for the most part restored order in the Soviet sector of Berlin. The provocative plan of the reactionary and fascist-like elements has been wrecked.

There have been only minor groups around the Alexanderplatz and Stalinallee downtown area in the evening, which are being dispersed and arrested by our forces.

It may be considered that a special organization based in West Berlin has directed the strikes in East Berlin. Analyzing the situation, I have also come to the conclusion that the provocation was prepared in advance, organized, and directed from Western sectors of Berlin. The simultaneous actions in the majority of the big cities of the GDR, the same demands of the rebels everywhere as well as the same anti-state and anti-Soviet slogans, serve as proof for this conclusion.

As the result of measures undertaken in the Western sectors of Berlin, there have been large gatherings of German residents at the borders between the Soviet sector and the British and American ones.

The border with the Western sectors of Berlin was closed by our troops.

Power-stations, gas plants, water-supply, and railway have worked smoothly.

About 300 organizers and provocateurs were arrested in Berlin by 8:00 p.m.

2. Order was restored in the majority of the cities of GDR. Normal life and activity of state institutions were restored toward the end of the day. Order was restored by measures undertaken in Magdeburg. 50 Germans were killed and wounded, and over 100 instigators and provocateurs have been arrested during the restoration of order.

3. With the purpose of preventing further possible riots, the forces of the Group [of Soviet Forces in Germany] are being moved from field camps into the following big and important populated areas:

The 3rd Army - the 19th mechanized division into Magdeburg; the 136th artillery-technical, tank & self-propelled gun regiment into Burg; the 13th mechanized division into Parchim, Ludwigslust, Pirleberg; the 207th infantry division into Gardelegen, Stendal.

The 8th Guards Army - the 20th Guards mechanized division into Weimar, Jena, Zeitz; the 21st Guards mechanized division into Halle, Merseburg; the 57th Guards infantry division into Naumburg, Weissenfels and its one infantry regiment into Eisenach.

The 1st Guards Army - the 11th tank division into Dresden (the main forces) and Meissen, Koenigsbruck (the minor forces); the 8th Guards mechanized division into Leipzig (the main forces) and Borna, Grimma (the minor forces); the 9th tank division into Piesa, Oschatz, Zeithavn.

The 3rd Guards Mechanized Army - the 6th Guards tank division into Dessau, Wittenberg; the 9th mechanized division into Luebben, Cottbus, Spremberg.

The 4th Guards Mechanized Army - the 6th Guards mechanized division into Bernau, Eberswalde, Bad Freienwalde; the 7th Guards mechanized division into Fuerstenwalde, Frankfurt an der Oder.

The motorbike battalion and the howitzer battalion of the 10th tank division into Brandenburg; the 25th tank division (a tank regiment and a mechanized infantry regiment) into Oranienburg.

4. According to preliminary information, the losses suffered throughout the entire GDR territory by protesters have been[:] 84 people killed and wounded, 700 men arrested. Our exact losses are being determined.

5. Martial law was declared in the British sector of Berlin. Soldiers are not allowed to leave the barracks. The patrols at the border with the Soviet sector have been reinforced. Troops in the American and French sectors of Berlin are in barracks.


17 June 1953

The demonstrations in Berlin and several other cities had been stopped. Grechko and Tarasow came to the conclusion that "the provocation was prepared in advance, organized, and directed from Western sectors of Berlin." The losses of the strikers in the whole territory of the GDR had been: 84 people killed and wounded, 700 men arrested.

Document Information


AGSh, f. 16, op. 3139, d. 155, ll. 12-14. Provided and translated by Viktor Gobarev.


The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.

To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].

Original Uploaded Date





Record ID