The article discusses the controversial question about date of creation of desctruction battalions in 1941. According to the author, the state of knowledge of this question cannot be considered satisfactory. From the beginning of the sixties of the last century, officially the creation of desctruction battalions throughout the USSR is considered to be June 24, 1941. Based on family archive documents related to the life and service of Yevgeny Vasilyevich Talanin (1926-1999), the author questions the correctness of this date. Analysis of the content of documents published for the first time in this article suggests that for the Moscow region (within the boundaries of 1941) the date of creation of desctruction battalions in its territories does not coincide with June 24, 1941. It can be said with confidence that the desctruction battalions in the Moscow region created at least 1.5 months before the official start of the war. The establishment of a more accurate date and all the circumstances of the formation of desctruction battalions requires further study of archival materials. However, the data already obtained by the author suggest the following. The formation of desctruction battalions indicates that the statement about the alleged inaction and the «complete unpreparedness» of the Soviet leadership for war does not correspond to the truth. The purpose of desctruction battalions was originally defensive in nature, the fact of their early creation refutes the assumptions about the allegedly aggressive nature of Soviet military preparations.