Ssri withdrawal relief

Natural remedies for antidepressant withdrawal

Antidepressant withdrawal may have associations with antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Therefore, under the advice of a doctor, a person should reduce or taper their medication gradually. Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal can include flu-like symptoms and occur within 2–4 days after drug stoppage.

Ceasing antidepressant medications without slowly reducing them can lead to a number of symptoms, most of which are mild. These symptoms do not necessarily signify a relapse into depression but are instead due to antidepressant withdrawal.

Possible reasons to stop taking antidepressants include:

  • wanting to become pregnant
  • reducing a person’s reliance on medication
  • the circumstances surrounding the initial depression have improved

Withdrawal symptoms can vary according to the individual, the dose of medication they are taking, and the length of time involved. These symptoms may include:

  • flu-like symptoms, including headache, lethargy, aching, fatigue, or sweating
  • insomnia, which may include nightmares or dreams
  • imbalance, which may involve vertigo, lightheadedness, or dizziness
  • nausea, which may include vomiting
  • hyperarousal, including irritability, aggression, anxiety, mania, jerky movements, or agitation
  • sensory disturbances, including sensations similar to tingling, an electric shock, or burning

Treatment for antidepressant withdrawal will vary according to the individual. While the associated symptoms may resolve themselves and are not life threatening, complementary therapies may help ease them. However, speak with a medical professional before reducing or stopping any medication.

This article explores what natural remedies can help with symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, how a person can use them, and the outlook for people attempting to discontinue antidepressant medications.

Several natural remedies might ease a person’s symptoms when they experience antidepressant withdrawal.


A number of studies have established an association between diet and mood. A 2020 study linked a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables with better mental health compared to a diet high in refined carbohydrates and fats. A suitable diet may include the Mediterranean diet.

While the researchers acknowledged not all studies agreed with their findings, they indicated that generally increasing a person’s intake of fresh fruit and vegetables would lead to improved health and mood.

However, a person considering changing their diet should consult with their doctor before making these changes.


Exercise is likely to be effective for people with mild-to-severe depression.

Regular exercise improves physical fitness and mental outlook. A person can also engage in physical activity alongside medication with no side effects.

Exercise can improve motivation, energy, and overall depression symptoms. One 2017 study suggested that regular weekly physical activity could help prevent depression. Additionally, exercising as part of a group may motivate a person more than exercising alone.

However, consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program.


A person with depression may consider acupuncture to help with their symptoms.

A 2018 review of acupuncture studies suggested this technique could result in a moderate reduction in depression severity, but further studies are necessary to follow up in the medium and long term. However, the review does note that improvements in reporting on a person’s risk of adverse events were necessary.

An individual interested in acupuncture as part of their depression treatment should search for an experienced and qualified practitioner.

Yoga and mindfulness

A person with depression can experience decreased depression and anxiety if they take part in yoga sessions or mindfulness sessions regularly.

A 2016 study of college students found there was a reported decrease in the effects of anxiety or depression when engaging in either activity.

A person is also likely to practice more effectively if they attend a group to help them learn the right techniques with a qualified and experienced teacher.


Psychotherapy and other talk therapy types may help with depression.

Talk therapies can help a person identify the thoughts, emotions, and behavior associated with depression and change them.

Talking therapy can take place in a one-to-one situation with a licensed, trained professional or in a support group setting with people who have experienced similar events.

Individuals can use talking therapies alongside medication or as an alternative. Talking therapies can also include cognitive behavioral therapy and family-focused therapy. They can also help create a safety plan for a person who has self-harming thoughts.

St John’s wort

St. John’s wort is a herb that practitioners have used in complementary therapies since the ancient Greek ages. People have used it to treat mild-to-moderate depression, insomnia, and other conditions. Individuals can take St. John’s Wort orally or as a topical medicine they apply to the skin.

Several studies have examined the effectiveness of the herb for depression and how it interacts with other medications.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies have shown that St. John’s wort can cause dangerous interactions with other medications and lead to life threatening circumstances in rare cases.

Some research has shown it to be as effective as standard antidepressant medications for a short period, but there is no proof that it will be as effective for severe depression or in time periods lasting longer than 12 weeks.

A person considering taking St. John’s wort in place of antidepressants should always speak with a doctor first.

When experiencing withdrawal symptoms or antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, increasing physical exercise or changing the diet to include more fresh food may help ease symptoms by making a person feel reinvigorated and less lethargic.

Some studies have demonstrated a link between mental health and gut health, with nutritious diets boosting energy levels and reducing depression symptoms.

When a person experiencing depression practices yoga or mindfulness, they may discover strategies to help keep their symptoms in check.

Psychotherapy can also help a person understand the root causes of their depression if they relate to their circumstances or specific thoughts or behaviors.

Depression is individual to each person, and the therapies that are effective will also be individual to these people.

It is possible to support antidepressant withdrawal with complementary therapies. A person also should taper off their medication gradually under the supervision of a doctor and support their medicine withdrawal with the therapies that best suit their situation.

Individuals should also keep their doctor or mental health professional informed about their choices. People with withdrawal symptoms also need to understand how to withdraw their antidepressant medication gradually and what effects this may have.

As long as a person does not stop taking their medication abruptly but instead follows their discontinuation plan, they will likely experience fewer and more manageable withdrawal symptoms.

A person wishing to withdraw from taking antidepressants should speak with a healthcare professional before stopping these medications.

Medical professionals recommend reducing the dosage gradually or tapering off when an individual has been taking the medication for more than 1 month.

A person could find complementary therapies useful in reducing symptoms while withdrawing from the medication. People who are reducing their medication should also consult their healthcare provider if they experience unusual symptoms.

Going Off Antidepressants - Harvard Health Publishing

Coming off your medication can cause antidepressant withdrawal – and could set you up for a relapse of depression.

Can going off your medication cause antidepressant withdrawal symptoms (antidepressant discontinuation syndrome)? About 10% of women ages 18 and over take antidepressants. As many of us know, these medications can be a godsend when depression has robbed life of its joy and made it hard to muster the energy and concentration to complete everyday tasks. But as you begin to feel better and want to move on, how long should you keep taking the pills?

If you're doing well on antidepressants and not complaining of too many side effects, many physicians will renew the prescription indefinitely — figuring that it offers a hedge against a relapse of depression. But side effects that you may have been willing to put up with initially — sexual side effects (decreased desire and difficulty having an orgasm), headache, insomnia, drowsiness, vivid dreaming, or just not feeling like yourself — can become less acceptable over time, especially if you think you no longer need the pills.

The decision to go off antidepressants should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of your physician or therapist to make sure you're not stopping prematurely, risking a recurrence of depression. Once you decide to quit, you and your physician should take steps to minimize or avoid the discontinuation symptoms that can occur if such medications are withdrawn too quickly.

Why antidepressant withdrawal?

Antidepressants work by altering the levels of neurotransmitters — chemical messengers that attach to receptors on neurons (nerve cells) throughout the body and influence their activity. Neurons eventually adapt to the current level of neurotransmitters, and symptoms that range from mild to distressing may arise if the level changes too much too fast — for example, because you've suddenly stopped taking your antidepressant. They're generally not medically dangerous but may be uncomfortable.

Among the newer antidepressants, those that influence the serotonin system — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) — are associated with a number of withdrawal symptoms, often called antidepressant or SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Stopping antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin) that do not affect serotonin systems — dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors — seems less troublesome overall, although some patients develop extreme irritability.

Having discontinuation symptoms doesn't mean you're addicted to your antidepressant. A person who is addicted craves the drug and often needs increasingly higher doses. Few people who take antidepressants develop a craving or feel a need to increase the dose. (Sometimes an SSRI will stop working — a phenomenon called "Prozac poop-out" — which may necessitate increasing the dose or adding another drug. )

Antidepressant withdrawal can look like depression

Discontinuation symptoms can include anxiety and depression. Since these may be the reason you were prescribed antidepressants in the first place, their reappearance may suggest that you're having a relapse and need ongoing treatment. Here's how to distinguish discontinuation symptoms from relapse:

  • Discontinuation symptoms emerge within days to weeks of stopping the medication or lowering the dose, whereas relapse symptoms develop later and more gradually.
  • Discontinuation symptoms often include physical complaints that aren't commonly found in depression, such as dizziness, flulike symptoms, and abnormal sensations.
  • Discontinuation symptoms disappear quickly if you take a dose of the antidepressant, while drug treatment of depression itself takes weeks to work.
  • Discontinuation symptoms resolve as the body readjusts, while recurrent depression continues and may get worse.

If symptoms last more than a month and are worsening, it's worth considering whether you're having a relapse of depression.

Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms

Neurotransmitters act throughout the body, and you may experience physical as well as mental effects when you stop taking antidepressants or lower the dose too fast. Common complaints include the following:

  • Digestive. You may have nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
  • Blood vessel control. You may sweat excessively, flush, or find hot weather difficult to tolerate.
  • Sleep changes. You may have trouble sleeping and unusual dreams or nightmares.
  • Balance. You may become dizzy or lightheaded or feel like you don't quite have your "sea legs" when walking.
  • Control of movements. You may experience tremors, restless legs, uneven gait, and difficulty coordinating speech and chewing movements.
  • Unwanted feelings. You may have mood swings or feel agitated, anxious, manic, depressed, irritable, or confused — even paranoid or suicidal.
  • Strange sensations. You may have pain or numbness; you may become hypersensitive to sound or sense a ringing in your ears; you may experience "brain-zaps" — a feeling that resembles an electric shock to your head — or a sensation that some people describe as "brain shivers."

As dire as some of these symptoms may sound, you shouldn't let them discourage you if you want to go off your antidepressant. Many of the symptoms of SSRI discontinuation syndrome can be minimized or prevented by gradually lowering, or tapering, the dose over weeks to months, sometimes substituting longer-acting drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) for shorter-acting medications. The antidepressants most likely to cause troublesome symptoms are those that have a short half-life — that is, they break down and leave the body quickly. (See the chart "Antidepressant drugs and their half-lives.") Examples include venlafaxine (Effexor), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa). Extended-release versions of these drugs enter the body more slowly but leave it just as fast. Antidepressants with a longer half-life, chiefly fluoxetine, cause fewer problems on discontinuation.

Besides easing the transition, tapering the dose decreases the risk that depression will recur. In a Harvard Medical School study, nearly 400 patients (two-thirds of them women) were followed for more than a year after they stopped taking antidepressants prescribed for mood and anxiety disorders. Participants who discontinued rapidly (over one to seven days) were more likely to relapse within a few months than those who reduced the dose gradually over two or more weeks.

Antidepressant drugs and their half-lives*


Half out of body in

99% out of body in

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors

paroxetine (Paxil)

24 hours

4. 4 days

sertraline (Zoloft)

26 hours

5.4 days

escitalopram (Lexapro)

27 to 32 hours

6.1 days

citalopram (Celexa)

36 hours

7.3 days

fluoxetine (Prozac)

Four to six days

25 days

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

venlafaxine (Effexor)

5 hours

1 day

duloxetine (Cymbalta)

12 hours

2. 5 days

desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

12 hours

2.5 days

Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor

bupropion (Wellbutrin)

21 hours

4.4 days

*Discontinuation symptoms typically start when 90% or more of the drug has left your system.

Source: Adapted from Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and "Addiction" (Free Press, 2006).

How to go off antidepressants

If you're thinking about stopping antidepressants, you should go step-by-step, and consider the following:

Take your time. You may be tempted to stop taking antidepressants as soon as your symptoms ease, but depression can return if you quit too soon. Clinicians generally recommend staying on the medication for six to nine months before considering going off antidepressants. If you've had three or more recurrences of depression, make that at least two years.

Talk to your clinician about the benefits and risks of antidepressants in your particular situation, and work with her or him in deciding whether (and when) to stop using them. Before discontinuing, you should feel confident that you're functioning well, that your life circumstances are stable, and that you can cope with any negative thoughts that might emerge. Don't try to quit while you're under stress or undergoing a significant change in your life, such as a new job or an illness.

Make a plan. Going off an antidepressant usually involves reducing your dose in increments, allowing two to six weeks between dose reductions. Your clinician can instruct you in tapering your dose and prescribe the appropriate dosage pills for making the change. The schedule will depend on which antidepressant you're taking, how long you've been on it, your current dose, and any symptoms you had during previous medication changes. It's also a good idea to keep a "mood calendar" on which you record your mood (on a scale of one to 10) on a daily basis.

Consider psychotherapy. Fewer than 20% of people on antidepressants undergo psychotherapy, although it's often important in recovering from depression and avoiding recurrence. In a meta-analysis of controlled studies, investigators at Harvard Medical School and other universities found that people who undergo psychotherapy while discontinuing an antidepressant are less likely to have a relapse.

Stay active. Bolster your internal resources with good nutrition, stress-reduction techniques, regular sleep — and especially physical activity. Exercise has a powerful antidepressant effect. It's been shown that people are far less likely to relapse after recovering from depression if they exercise three times a week or more. Exercise makes serotonin more available for binding to receptor sites on nerve cells, so it can compensate for changes in serotonin levels as you taper off SSRIs and other medications that target the serotonin system.

Seek support. Stay in touch with your clinician as you go through the process. Let her or him know about any physical or emotional symptoms that could be related to discontinuation. If the symptoms are mild, you'll probably be reassured that they're just temporary, the result of the medication clearing your system. (A short course of a non-antidepressant medication such as an antihistamine, anti-anxiety medication, or sleeping aid can sometimes ease these symptoms. ) If symptoms are severe, you might need to go back to a previous dose and reduce the levels more slowly. If you're taking an SSRI with a short half-life, switching to a longer-acting drug, like fluoxetine, may help.

You may want to involve a relative or close friend in your planning. If people around you realize that you're discontinuing antidepressants and may occasionally be irritable or tearful, they'll be less likely to take it personally. A close friend or family member may also be able to recognize signs of recurring depression that you might not perceive.

Complete the taper. By the time you stop taking the medication, your dose will be tiny. (You may already have been cutting your pills in half or using a liquid formula to achieve progressively smaller doses.) Some psychiatrists prescribe a single 20-milligram tablet of fluoxetine the day after the last dose of a shorter-acting antidepressant in order to ease its final washout from the body, although this approach hasn't been tested in a clinical trial.

Check in with your clinician one month after you've stopped the medication altogether. At this follow-up appointment, she or he will check to make sure discontinuation symptoms have eased and there are no signs of returning depression. Ongoing monthly check-ins may be advised.

Image: AlinaTraut/Getty Images

Lessons from August 1994. They came as conquerors and liberators, they left as unwanted guests

Veterans of the armed forces, especially veterans of the Western Group of Forces in Germany, as well as many middle-aged politicians, remember this last August day in 1994 well. Then, in front of the majestic monument to the warrior-liberator in Berlin's Treptow Park, in the presence of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, as well as more than three thousand spectators, under the cameras of the world's largest television companies, the last units of the Russian troops leaving the country where they were there for almost half a century. nine0003

Russian troops leaving Treptow Park, August 31, 1994

© AP Photo/str/Jan Bauer

The Russian leader delivered a heartfelt speech. He paid tribute to the memory of the heroic victorious soldiers, including the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives for the liberation of Germany and Europe from Nazi fascism. And then he went down from the podium and, having taken away the stick from the conductor of the police orchestra, he began to wave his arms, forcing the musicians to play "Kalinka-Malinka" ...

In this memorable and, what can I say, very bitter scene, like in a drop of water, the whole long-term drama of our army was reflected, which came to Germany as a victor and liberator, and was forced to leave at the behest of short-sighted politicians, with all observance of external formal decorum like an unwelcome guest who has been sitting in a strange house and tired of the owners.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, August 31, 1994

© Alexander Sentsov and Alexander Chumichev/TASS

Why did we stay in Germany? May 1945.

Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov became its first commander-in-chief and at the same time the commander-in-chief of the Soviet military administration in Germany, established by the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. At 1954 GSOVG was transformed into the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. And if in the first post-war years its number was about three million people, then in the 80s it was already about 500 thousand. Its main task was to ensure the protection of the western borders of the USSR from external threats and to be ready to crush any likely aggressor, which was then, as, indeed, remains now, US and NATO troops.

Their group consisted of several hundred thousand servicemen, heavy equipment and strike aircraft. American nuclear weapons were stored in warehouses and arsenals, and on closed military bases in Washington and London they gathered the remnants of the unfinished fascist troops, formed companies, battalions and regiments from them, developed an attack operation on our country called Unthinkable ("Unthinkable") and prepared dozens of nuclear strikes on our cities under the Dropshot plan. nine0003

Soviet troops in the center of East Berlin, 1953

© AP Photo

To protect the former allies from the aggression in World War II, the GSVG was equipped with the most advanced and modern military equipment and weapons for that time, including nuclear weapons. In the mid-80s of the last century, the group was armed with operational-tactical missiles with an increased (up to 900 km) range "Temp-S" and an operational-tactical missile system "Oka" with a launch range of up to 400 km, as well as 7,700 tanks, from of which 5700 were part of 11 tank and eight motorized rifle divisions, and another 2000 vehicles were in separate (training) tank regiments, in reserve and at repair enterprises. From this amount to the middle 19In the 80s, there were more than a thousand T-62 tanks. Then the T-80B gas turbine tanks appeared there. By the beginning of the 1990s, they had become the main shock fist of the group. One of the commanders-in-chief of a group of troops told me that when his combat vehicles with gas turbine engines, capable of reaching the English Channel in a day or two, during exercises roared out onto the banks of the Elbe and Oder-Neisse, all of Europe froze with fear. Forcing it then, as, in fact, today, was facilitated by the American and Western European media, which frightened the European man in the street with horror stories about supposedly imminent Soviet aggression. nine0003

It didn't happen. There were other aggressive wars, but after the withdrawal of our troops from Germany. Their initiators were not Russia and not its army, but the USA and NATO, their troops. These are the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the invasion of the American and NATO armadas into Afghanistan in 2001 - the Pentagon has not withdrawn its GIs from there until now. And then there was the war of the United States, their NATO partners and satellites that joined them against Iraq in 2003, the attack on Libya in 2011 and the invasion of Syria in 2013, where Washington, using the hands of ISIS terrorists banned in Russia, tried to to overthrow the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad... Which did not work, thanks to our revived army. But about her a little later. In the meantime, I note that all these aggressive wars between the US and NATO took place long before the events of 2014 in Ukraine. nine0003

One of the streets of Aleksinac after the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia, 1999

© Sergey Velichkin/TASS

What we left behind

Let's get back to the GSVG. As of January 1, 1991, there were 337.8 thousand military personnel in the group of troops, and taking into account their family members and civil servants - 546,200 people. The group had its own factories, infrastructure facilities - modern European quality military camps, barracks, parks for military equipment, warehouses and arsenals, boiler houses and hospitals with the most advanced equipment for that time, subsidiary farms, schools for officer children, pioneer camps, sanatoriums, trading a network, houses of officers, television centers, consumer service complexes - in every garrison, clubs - in every military unit, military song and dance ensembles. And for some time even its own Drama Theatre. A whole state within a state. nine0003

All this infrastructure - 21,000 buildings in 777 towns worth, according to various estimates, from $ 10. 5 to $ 28 billion, was abandoned after the withdrawal of our troops and passed to Germany. Negotiators from the Russian General Staff, who dealt with the problems of settling disputes with the German side, shared with me at that time their happiness that the Germans did not force our country to pay for the reclamation of all these buildings and environmental damage. But they could! And they even allocated something like 400 million greenbacks as compensation. Where the money went is still unknown. nine0003

Soldiers of the Western Group of Forces receiving sweet gifts from representatives of the Defa film studio in the GDR, 1990

© V. Khabarov/TASS boiler rooms, used by the Germans to this day. My friends who visit the places of their former service talk about the joy with which ordinary people meet them there. Something turns into ruins, on which Hollywood blockbusters are filmed. Something useful to refugees from Africa and the Middle East. For the military units withdrawn from East Germany, their servicemen and members of their families, and this, let's not forget, more than half a million people, no infrastructure was prepared at home. nine0003

The withdrawal of our troops from the Group of Forces in Germany began unilaterally by decision of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev, who announced the reduction of the Soviet armed forces. The first to leave the GDR were two tank divisions from the 20th Guards Army - the 25th and 32nd, in addition to them - two tank regiments, eight separate battalions, including four air assault. Upon arrival at home, they were disbanded. The GSVG was renamed the Western Group of Forces, and after the signing by the foreign ministers of six states - the FRG and the GDR plus the USA, France, Great Britain and the USSR - on September 12, 1990 years of the agreement on the final settlement with respect to Germany and the unification of the two German states, the stay of Soviet troops in the GDR was called temporary. Moscow has undertaken to withdraw them completely before 1994.

At the same time, the 1990 agreement did not contain a word about the timing of the withdrawal of US, British and French troops from the territory of united Germany. Washington, for example, was going to withdraw only 40 thousand and almost 50 thousand members of their families from 252.5 thousand of its military personnel stationed in Germany, but within five to seven years, and London up to 19In 95, he was ready to return to the metropolis only 27 thousand people from 38 points, including those stationed in Berlin. Gorbachev replied that the Germans are wise and will figure it out themselves. Later, the German leader said: “If Gorbachev had said:“ Give us a hundred billion and get the GDR, ”we would have done just that. What is 100 billion for the eastern lands with their annual budget of 500 billion? Yes, we got the GDR for the price of a sandwich !" And the withdrawal of troops was accelerated and reduced by four months. nine0003

Marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Yazov, whom Mikhail Gorbachev elevated to the highest post in the Soviet army, called the actions of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee a betrayal.

No one in the world has solved such tasks

On the Internet you can find interesting figures that testify to the scale of the task that our army has completed. Just one fact. To transport 5,000 tanks, 10,000 armored combat vehicles, 500 helicopters (the planes flew away on their own) and other heavy equipment for three and a half years, it took almost 132,000 wagons, in which 2.5 million tons of cargo went through three border lines . Such a colossal task in such a short time was not carried out by any country, not a single army in the world. At the same time, it should be emphasized that this happened at a time when the Soviet Union collapsed, ties were broken not only between the republics, but also railway stations, there were no customs posts, chaos reigned everywhere, including at the borders ...

Loading of military equipment of the Soviet troops at the railway station near Wünsdorf, 1991

© Centralbild/TASS

I know some people who managed to make a decent capital for themselves in this mess. I remember how Moscow and many other large cities were flooded with used Mercedes, Volkswagens, BMWs, Opels, and even Warburgs and Trabants, which some officers and employees of the group bought with the last German marks for resale or for personal use. There were also firms that were engaged in driving cars from Germany to Russia for relatively little money. Someone promoted business, and someone experienced a real drama and tragedy. nine0003

It took place against the backdrop of frenzied anti-army propaganda, which unfolded in the domestic media and on television, and which we, but not veterans of the armed forces, have already begun to forget. Stories about hazing, about "generals' dachas where conscripts work", about "army corruption", which seemed to not exist in society and existed only in the troops... without a roof over their heads, there were 350,000 officer families), even severance pay for those who retired ahead of schedule. When you remember this, it becomes clear why the army began to scatter and shrink on its own. nine0003

Construction of a military camp for the 10th Guards Tank Division withdrawn from Germany, Voronezh Region, 1994

© Mikhail Rogozin/TASS

The reasons for all this are obvious. The country, Russia, did not wait for its army, which was leaving Eastern Europe. Not only from united Germany, but from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, in the East - from Mongolia. There was no money for all this, or simply no one wanted to look for them. There is nowhere to place the arrived regiments and divisions with people and equipment. Someone was lucky - they moved into the dilapidated towns of the units reduced before that, and someone was taken out into the open field. At that time I worked as a war correspondent for Izvestia and traveled to many garrisons where officer families lived in dormitories arranged in metal barrels. He wrote that in winter there was nowhere to go from the cold and dampness, no stove could save him, and in the summer - from stuffiness and heat. You need to bow to the belt to those officer wives who managed to survive, raise and educate children in this difficult environment. But, unfortunately, not all of them were. Someone went to mom and dad, if there was somewhere to go, someone just filed for divorce. And you can't blame anyone for that either. nine0003

Only three or four years after the withdrawal of troops, with the money allocated by the German government, and this is about 8 billion German marks at the time, new residential towns were built for the officer families of the undisbanded military units withdrawn from Germany. Beautiful even from today's point of view. Everything was there - bright and comfortable apartments with everything you need, schools, shops, kindergartens and clinics, cultural centers, sports palaces with swimming pools and even television studios ... But they were built far from big cities - the leadership of the Ministry of Defense was afraid that the local administration would apply for the missing apartments. As a result, the officers' wives had nowhere to work, they had to travel seven miles to the market and cinemas, and even then when rare shuttle buses came to the town. nine0003

Construction site of the future military camp for the military personnel of the Western Group of Forces, Rostov-on-Don, 1994

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

Heroic traditions were handed over to the warehouse

And even this, in my opinion, was the saddest. Among the military units withdrawn from Germany, 139 were guards, 127 had honorary titles, 214 were awarded the highest awards of the Motherland. No one guessed until the military department was headed by Sergei Shoigu that these honorary titles, banners and orders could be solemnly transferred, along with glorified military traditions, to those military units in the European and eastern part of Russia that did not have them. And the banners of the legendary regiments and divisions, along with their orders, those who defended Moscow, liberated Kyiv, Minsk and Lvov, Warsaw and Prague, stormed Koenigsberg and took Berlin, handed over to museums, and most often to army warehouses. It's probably hard for some civilians to understand, but the soul was taken out of the army. Because there is nothing holier for a real officer and soldier than pride in one's illustrious unit, readiness to be worthy of glory and the feat of one's fellow soldiers...

Nobody can change my mind. The failures of our army in the first Chechen war, when, according to the Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin, it was impossible to assemble one combat-ready battalion tactical group from the entire mass of troops assembled in the North Caucasus, in my opinion, are explained, among other things, by this . And the fact that in the then society of the 90s of the last century, what can I say, and the leadership of the country did not really understand why we need a powerful and combat-ready army. Sobering came after the events of August 2008, when the cocky and impudent Saakashvili army, nurtured by American instructors, attacked South Ossetia and shot our peacekeepers who defended peace on this land. This, in my opinion, was the last echo and a very clear lesson from the contradictory and sad experience of the withdrawal of our troops from Germany. nine0003

Ceremony of welcoming the last echelon of the Western Group of Forces in Moscow, 1994

© Irakli Chokhonelidze/TASS

Notches for the future our so-called strategic partners will accept us into their family and security will spread from Lisbon to Vladivostok only because the ideological confrontation between the West and the East has ceased, are utopian. No one has canceled competition, the desire of individual countries to manage the whole world for their own benefit, trampling on the fundamental interests of other peoples.


Where we left off, there are now NATO troops, American atomic bombs, missile defense systems with long-range cruise missiles. Regiments and battalions of a potential enemy hang over our borders, thousands of exercises of North Atlantic military groups take place along them all year round, combat aircraft fly. Although once the US Secretary of State promised Mikhail Gorbachev that not a single NATO soldier would cross to the right bank of the Oder. And this is not the only transatlantic deception that we have encountered in recent years. nine0003

NATO exercises in Germany, 2015

© AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Today there is a consensus in the leadership of the country, the armed forces and in Russian society, unity in the understanding that a compact but powerful army is the most reliable and effective the backbone of our state, the guarantor of its security and the protection of national interests. And they are doing everything to make it so, so that the events of the 90s of the last century and the beginning of this century will not be repeated. As one well-known politician said: "So far, our armed forces may not be the first in the world, but clearly they are not the second." nine0003

The lessons of August 31, 1994 also taught us to keep our gunpowder dry, take care of our army and be proud of it.

The opinion of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author. Quoting is permitted with reference to


GermanyThe collapse of the USSR

The liberation of Poland

The German attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 was the beginning of World War II. During the occupation, Poland lost about six million people; the Nazis created numerous concentration camps and death camps on its territory. The Polish population was systematically destroyed. The Soviet soldier brought freedom, independence and life itself to the Poles. The liberation of Poland began in the summer of 1944 years, lasted until the beginning of 1945 and cost the lives of 600 thousand soldiers of the Red Army.

The Holocaust in Poland German troops, moving across Poland, are carrying a Polish border sign taken as a trophy.
Photo courtesy of RIA Novosti

As is known from archival documents, even before the war, Polish politicians approved of Hitler's solution to the "Jewish question". Already in September 1939, the extermination of Jews on the territory of Poland began: they were imprisoned in ghettos and concentration camps, which were massively created by the Nazis throughout the country. nine0003

From the summer of 1942 to the autumn of 1943, a special program of the Third Reich for the extermination of Jews was carried out in the death camps Belzhits, Sobibor, Treblinka - Operation Reinhard. The Nazis killed more than two million Jews and more than 50,000 Gypsies during this period. People were destroyed in gas chambers, shot, corpses were burned in crematoria. Auschwitz (Auschwitz) concentration camp, where millions of civilians were killed, became an ominous symbol of the genocide.

In October 1943, a group of Soviet prisoners of war led by Lieutenant A.A. Pechersky raised an uprising in the Sobibor death camp. The prisoners killed the guards and broke free. Most of the rebels died at the hands of the Nazis and collaborators, but Pechersky himself and a group of comrades managed to get to the Soviet partisans, and then join the Red Army. nine0003

“In the fourth zone, the Germans forced us, eighty people who arrived by the last train, to build several barracks. This territory was located near the third zone, where people were killed, and I heard groans and screams. The Germans tried to hide these screams so that the population of the camp would not know what was going on inside."

From the memoirs of A.A. Pechersky

Soviet-Polish relations before the start of liberation

Shortly after the German attack on the USSR, Moscow established relations with the Polish government in exile in London. On the territory of the Soviet Union, an army was created from the Poles living in the USSR to fight the Germans under the command of General V. Anders. However, at 19In 42, at the suggestion of the British government and the "London Poles", these formations were evacuated to Iran. In 1943, the emigrant government of Poland supported the information of the Nazi leadership about the involvement of the NKVD of the USSR in the execution in 1940 of Polish officers in Katyn (Smolensk region). Relations between Moscow and the "London Poles" broke off.

In 1943, the Polish division named after M. T. Kosciuszko, who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Red Army. Later, the 1st and 2nd armies of the Polish Army were formed, which fought on the Soviet-German front. nine0003 Soldiers of the Polish Army march through the streets of the city of Lublin with light machine guns.
A. Kapustyansky / RIA Novosti

The beginning of the liberation of Poland

In July 1944, after the Red Army crossed the border of Poland, the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKNO) was formed - a temporary governing body in the territories liberated by the Red Army. In some areas, our troops reached the Vistula River. At the end of December 1944, the PKNO was transformed into the Provisional Government of Poland. nine0003

At the same time, detachments of the so-called Home Army, subordinate to the Polish government in exile, operated in the rear of the Soviet units. They shot Soviet soldiers in the back, committed sabotage.

Warsaw Uprising

The uprising in Warsaw against the German occupiers was raised on August 1, 1944 by underground detachments of the Home Army, when it seemed to its commander T. Bur-Komorowski and the Polish government in exile that they were part of the Red Army Poland. Our command was not informed about the plans of the rebels - the "London Poles" refused to coordinate their actions with the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command. nine0003 Street fight on the outskirts of Warsaw. Soldiers of the Polish Army break through the barriers.
Photo provided by RIA Novosti

Before approaching Warsaw, formations of the 1st Belorussian Front of Marshal K. K. Rokossovsky covered hundreds of kilometers, were weakened by heavy battles and suffered serious losses. Despite this, the Soviet troops and units of the Polish Army made desperate attempts to break through to the rebels. However, having liberated the suburbs of the Polish capital (Prague district), the Red Army faced fierce resistance from the Germans. About 500 of our tanks were knocked out on the outskirts of Warsaw. nine0003

More than 200,000 Poles died during the uprising, primarily civilians. The remnants of the Home Army detachments operating in Warsaw surrendered to the enemy on October 2, 1944.

“The Polish people paid dearly for the adventure of the government in exile. The losses of the Home Army, the People's Army, as well as the civilian population were enormous. Warsaw was subjected to indescribable destruction. The Warsaw Uprising, on the one hand, demonstrated the selflessness and heroism shown by the rebels in the fight against the invaders. On the other hand, it was an act of the criminal anti-Soviet policy of the Mikołajczyk government and the leaders of the London government in exile who were in Poland. ” nine0003

From the memoirs of the Soviet diplomat V. M. Berezhkov about the Warsaw Uprising

The final liberation of Poland

In the summer of 1944, Red Army formations captured a number of important bridgeheads on the left bank of the Vistula River, which became the basis for inflicting devastating blows on the enemy already in the new year, 1945.

Red Army soldiers swim across the Vistula.
Photo provided by RIA Novosti

The German military leadership understood that Warsaw and the part of Poland that remained under the control of the Germans lay on the way to Berlin, so they created a powerful system of defensive structures in the Vistula region and further to the west, which were supposed to bleed the offensive outburst of the Red Army. In Poland, there were industrial and mining enterprises that were vital to maintaining the combat capability of the Wehrmacht. nine0003

“While preparing the operation, we tried to think creatively about the experience gained on the battlefields. We really wanted not to repeat the mistakes that we remembered, and to achieve success at the cost of a little blood.

From the memoirs of Marshal of the Soviet Union I. S. Konev about the Vistula-Oder operation

From the Vistula to the Oder

The Vistula-Oder strategic operation (January 12 - February 3, 1945) was carefully prepared by the Supreme Command. Its goal was to defeat the opposing group of Germans - Army Group (GA) "A" (since January 26 - GA "Center") and the complete liberation of Poland. The 1st Belorussian Front of Marshal G.K. Zhukov and the 1st Ukrainian Front of Marshal I.S. Konev were preparing for the offensive. To the north - in the direction of East Prussia - the forces of the 2nd and 3rd Belorussian fronts acted. The German troops were led by Colonel General J. Harpe, from January 17, 1945 years old - Colonel General F. Scherner.

The balance of forces of the Red Army and the Wehrmacht before the Vistula-Oder offensive operation in 1945.

Red Army

German troops


about 2.1 million

about 800 thousand

guns and mortars

about 37 thousand

about 4.1 thousand

tanks of tanks of tanks of tanks and self-propelled guns

more than 7 thousand

about 1.1 thousand

Red Army


About 2.1 million

guns and mortars

about 37 thousand

tanks and self -propelled guns

more than 7 thousand

German troops


about 800 thousand

22222 Guns and mortars

about 4.1 thousand

Tanks and self-propelled guns

about 1.1 thousand. The offensive had to start earlier than planned: J.V. Stalin received an urgent telegram from W. Churchill, in which the British Prime Minister asked the Red Army to intensify operations on the Eastern Front in connection with the difficult situation of the Anglo-American allies in the Ardennes. January 12 19For 45 years, after a large-scale artillery and aviation training, the strike formations of the Red Army dealt a powerful blow to the enemy. German forces with huge losses began to roll back to the west.

The rapid offensive of the Soviet troops to the Oder

“Our troops marched in one breath from the Vistula to the Oder for more than five hundred kilometers. An operation of this scope, of course, should have some thresholds in the general movement, divided into some stages. If it fell to my lot to break the Vistula-Oder operation into some stages in relation to the movement of the 8th Guards Army, I would find myself in difficulty. Our forward movement, begun from the Magnushevsky bridgehead on the Vistula, did not stop for a minute. nine0003

From the memoirs of General V. I. Chuikov

On January 17, 1945, long-suffering Warsaw was liberated, which was actually completely destroyed by the Nazis.

On January 19, the troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front of I. S. Konev liberated Krakow. Thanks to the bold maneuver of the troops and the actions of Soviet reconnaissance and sabotage groups, the Nazis failed to turn one of the most beautiful cities in Europe into ruins.

On January 27, our soldiers freed the survivors of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz (Oswiecim). nine0003 The liberation by the Soviet troops of the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp "Auschwitz-Birkenau" - Auschwitz.
B. Ignatovich / RIA Novosti

By the beginning of February 1945, formations of the 1st Belorussian Front of Marshal G.K. Zhukov reached the Oder and fought for the capture of bridgeheads on its western bank. Only about 60 kilometers remained in a straight line to Berlin. In the following weeks and months, the Red Army and its constituent units of the Polish Army continued to liberate Poland.

Heroes Ivan Vasilyevich Golovin.
Photo courtesy of the Memory of the People portal.

Guards senior lieutenant company commander of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade Ivan Vasilyevich Golovin showed courage and heroism when crossing the Pilica River. For two days, his company fought fierce battles with the enemy. During this time, our tankers cut several branches of railways and highways, destroyed 400 Nazis, 20 guns, 5 tanks and other enemy equipment. For this feat I. V. Golovin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. nine0003

Results of the Vistula-Oder operation

The Red Army, together with formations of the 1st Army of the Polish Army, liberated the main part of the territory of Poland. The Polish people got the opportunity to gain state independence. Soviet soldiers crossed the pre-war borders of Germany, capturing a number of bridgeheads in the Oder region. 35 German divisions were destroyed, 25 enemy formations suffered heavy losses. Irretrievable losses on the Soviet side amounted to more than 43 thousand people, sanitary - about 150 thousand. The Germans lost about 480 thousand soldiers and officers killed and wounded, about 150 thousand prisoners. The operation was carried out in a short period and shook the morale of the Wehrmacht to its foundations. nine0003

“So, the Vistula-Oder operation is over. As a result of the rapid offensive of the Soviet troops, a gap appeared in the strategic front of Nazi Germany in the east. On the western bank of the Oder, our troops captured several important bridgeheads. It seemed that the way to Berlin was open. One more blow, and the defeat of fascism can be completed, and the countries of Europe will finally find the long-awaited peace.”

From the memoirs of Marshal of the Armored Forces M. E. Katukov

The price of freedom and independence of the Poles

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, J. V. Stalin, F. Roosevelt and W. Churchill decided that the Poles - both oriented towards Moscow and aimed at cooperation with the Western allies - should negotiate in order to create a government of a national unity.

On April 21, 1945, the USSR concluded an agreement on friendship, mutual assistance and post-war cooperation with the Provisional Polish Government in Warsaw. For Moscow, it was fundamentally important that there be a strong and friendly state in relation to the USSR on the western Soviet borders. 28 June 19In 1945, as a result of a compromise, the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, dominated by the Communists, was formed. At the Potsdam Conference (July-August 1945), the USSR supported the Polish territorial claims against Germany. As a result, the rich industrial and agricultural regions of the eastern part of Germany (up to the line of the Oder rivers - the Western Neisse and part of the former German lands near the coast of the Baltic Sea) went to Poland after the war. Thanks to this, the Polish state was able to more successfully restore its economy, destroyed by the Nazis. A significant part of German reparations was transferred to the Poles. nine0003 Polish soldiers in liberated Gdansk. March 30, 1945.
Photo provided by RIA Novosti

By the beginning of 1945, thanks to help from the USSR, the forces of the armies of the Polish Army already numbered about 200 thousand people.

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