REPUDIATION by the headquarters of the Leningrad Military District
January 14, 1940

During the second three weeks' period of military operations in Finland there has been no significant changes on the front. If on the first three weeks' period there were serious operations culminating in establishing bridgeheads to the Soviet troops on Finnish territory , the second three weeks' period matters are limited in most cases to conventional skirmishes between reconnaissance detachments and small infantry units. Sudden cold spells considerably eased the position of the Finnish troops, but despite of this, they failed in making serious use of the favorable situation. But the foreign press, especially the French, first of all the French agency Havas, had during this to set up a large operation and steam up slanderous fabrications against the Soviet troops. The staff has no time to refute every day every slanderous allegations by the representatives of foreign agencies. But the staff believes that it wouldn't be useless from time to time to take stock of the smear campaign of these gentlemen, and reveal their true faces.
1. The foreign agency, referring to the mythical "sources" of the Geneva, Helsinki, Riga, say, — not only insist but shout themselves hoarse - that Finnish troops broke through in all directions, crossed the Soviet border and conduct their operations in the territory of the USSR. This is a sheer lie, and a childish, stupid, ridiculous lie. In fact, not in one direction Finnish troops reach the Soviet border. They hardly set themselves this sort of task. At Vyborg direction Finnish troops are separated from the Soviet border for 70 km, on Sortavala direction - up to 80 kilometers, at Petsamo direction in southern Petsamo 130 km, at the Oulu area, direction Rovaniemi, at 120 kilometers, in the direction of Suomussalmi 10—15 km.
2. Foreign agencies, and especially the Havas agency, referring to those same "sources", claim that in the battles of the Suomussalmi area the 44th Soviet division "lost 14,000 men". This assertion is a supernatural fantasy of its hapless author. The 44th division had only got on the front of no more than ten thousand men — how could it lose 14 thousand men? In fact, Soviet troops here did lose no more than 900 men, most of them due to frost that suddenly came on, more than of actions of the Finnish troops. But foreign gossip mongers are assiduously silent about the Finnish troops who lost here as killed and wounded at least 2,000 people, and about the Finnish schutzkorps [civic guards] brutally finishing off the wounded, not to leave "tongues" in the hands of the Soviet troops.
3. Foreign agencies argue, referring to the same "sources" that Finnish troops have cut traffic on the Murmansk railway and that this road is now "totally paralyzed". This is the same lie as the previous try. This is evident from the fact that, as stated above, the Finnish forces did not reach in a single point the Soviet border, the Finnish troops are separated from the Soviet borders upto tens of kilometers, and from the Murmansk railroad, roads, hundreds of kilometers. In fact, the Murmansk railroad did not interrupt its work for a single moment.
4. Those foreign agencies, referring to the same to mythical "sources" to unknown to anyone claim that "Russians lost Petsamo" and that "Russians called Germans for help", not 20, not 40, but 140 "German military instructors came to the USSR for the reorganization of the Soviet troops." We consider it necessary to say that this supernatural gossip exceeds in its falsity all other gossips of the gentlemen from foreign agencies. Petsamo is in the hands of the Soviet troops since the 1st of December. Soviet troops, together with units of the First Finnish national corps, arrived recently in Petsamo, not only to occupy Petsamo, but moved further 130 km south of Petsamo. As for "German military instructors", allegedly arrived in the USSR "for the reorganization of the Soviet troops", then we stupified refute also this fantasized and silly babble. We think that only an animal fear of the prospect of a military bloc between Germany and the USSR could make the gentlemen of the French agency to spell out these stupid, extranatural lies.
We are aware that foreign agencies are charged with their owners to engage in propaganda against the Soviet troops. They also lead this "propaganda", piling up a heap of lies, would justify their existence. But what to think about propaganda that is not based on facts but on deception? Is it to systematically deceive the public opinion by this "propaganda" defending "civilization"? We did not anticipate that the representatives of the foreign press could sink so low.

"Pravda" Nr. 14 (8060) January 14, 1940 .

Source: [Highest Party School of the Central Committee of the All-Soviet Communist Party.] The foreign policy of he USSR. Collection of douments. Vol. IV. Nr. 393. Moscow — 1946. Draft Google assisted machine translation by Pauli Kruhse, 2010.

Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940