History Russia is a history of victories, a history of courage and heroism. But, unfortunately, as in the history of any other country, there are also those pages in it that are rethought and cause at least conflicting feelings and emotions. Among such pages is the history of deportations. And in this article I propose to discuss this issue. No, not at all in order to throw a stone into the vegetable garden of the Soviet regime, which sometimes had to make decisions when the enemy was already trampling on Soviet soil. This material is a statement of what happened and that our country is able to draw important lessons from its history.
In the Martynovsky district of the Rostov region, Meskhetian Turks, according to the All-Russian population census, already account for more than 20% of the population. But even a few decades ago, none of the residents of the area, probably, had heard of the existence of such a people. Meskhetians appeared in the Don, as well as in the Kuban, and in the Volga region, and in the Stavropol region, as a result of interethnic clashes in Uzbekistan. But this Central Asian republic was not their homeland either - the Meskhetians, like many other peoples, were deported to Central Asia in the 1940s.
Deportation is one of the saddest pages in the history of the national policy of our state in the twentieth century. The consequences of deportation, as can be seen from the example of the Meskhetians, and many other peoples, are still being cleared up by the country. The impact of deportation on interethnic relations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Kazakhstan, and in other parts of the post-Soviet space cannot be denied.
"Preventive" deportation of peoples in 1941-1942: Germans, Greeks and others
Historians note that forced deportations were used by many governments, and the Soviet one was no exception: entire peoples were once resettled by Russian tsars and Iranian shahs, Turkish sultans, American presidents and enlightened Europeans (in the European case, in their African colonies).
In the Soviet Union, until the early 1940s, the class criterion for deportation was practiced: peasants-kulaks, other representatives of the so-called exploitative strata in the Soviet sense were evicted to Siberia and Kazakhstan, after the entry into the USSR of Western Belarus, Western Ukraine and the Baltic states - representatives of the bureaucracy officers, the bourgeoisie, landowners from the territories occupied by Soviet troops.
Since 1940, as the historian Ivan Berdinskikh writes, the main criterion for deportation was the ethnicity of the resettled. The Soviet government, trying to exclude the formation of "fifth columns" in strategically important territories, liberated the border areas from representatives of a number of nationalities. True, the first deportations based on ethnicity can be called the deportations of Koreans and Chinese from the Far East in 1937-1938, which I will mention below.
On August 27, 1941, the order of the NKVD of the USSR is dated 001158 "On measures to carry out the operation of the expulsion of Germans from the Republic of the Volga Germans, Saratov and Stalingrad regions." By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of September 7, 1941, the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans was liquidated, its territories became part of the Saratov and Stalingrad regions. Soon the Germans were evicted from all cities and towns of the European part of the USSR, which by that time had not been occupied by the Wehrmacht.
So, the Germans were evicted from Moscow, Leningrad, Rostov region, Krasnodar Territory. At the same time, all persons of German nationality who served in the Red Army were demobilized and evicted to a special settlement. The Germans were taken to the Kazakh SSR, Krasnoyarsk and Altai Territories, Omsk and Novosibirsk Regions. By the beginning of 1942, the number of exiled Germans was 1031,3 thousand people. These were practically all Germans living in the USSR, with rare exceptions.
By the time the order for the eviction of the Germans from the Volga region was ordered, the Great Patriotic War had been going on for two months. Despite the fact that many families of the Volga Germans lived in Russia since the XNUMXth century, and the Germans themselves made a huge contribution to the strengthening and development of the Russian state, the Soviet government viewed them as a potentially dangerous and hostile element that could go over to the side of Nazi Germany. At the same time, it cannot be said that the Soviet Germans really supported at least some of their significant part of the Nazi occupiers, but the Soviet leadership preferred to play it safe.
The successful operation to evict the Germans demonstrated to the Soviet leadership the effectiveness of such a measure as deportation, and subsequently the authorities did not hesitate, but very quickly organized and carried out the deportations of other peoples. So, almost immediately after the Germans, the Finns of the Leningrad Region were resettled - they were deported to the Irkutsk Region, Krasnoyarsk Territory and Yakutia.
But if everything was clear with the Germans and Finns - the Soviet Union was at war with both Germany and Finland, then the reasons for the deportation of Greeks from the Crimea and the Caucasus were much more mysterious. The Greeks were never seen sympathizing with Hitler's Nazism, but Lavrenty Beria classified them as anti-Soviet and alien elements. Probably, the fact that the Greeks were a people who had their own statehood outside the USSR played a role.
Another interesting moment was the eviction of the Chinese and Koreans from the border regions of the Far East. By the way, they were evicted, as noted above, even before the Germans - in 1937-1938. It would be difficult to blame anyone but Koreans for pro-Japanese sentiments, but the Soviet government did not trust them either. Obviously, they feared an external similarity - Japanese saboteurs could mimic the Koreans. The deportation of Koreans led to the formation of numerous Korean communities in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, from where, after the war, Koreans also moved to the Volga and Rostov regions.
Thus, in the deportations of 1941-1942. we see a certain general pattern - they were of a "preventive" nature, that is, people were resettled not as punishment for some actions, but solely for the purpose of preventing these actions, for example, cooperation with the occupiers. Beginning in 1943, the concept of deportation of peoples began to change.
Deportation as punishment: eviction of the peoples of the Caucasus and Crimea
In November 1943, the deportation of the Karachais was carried out, almost simultaneously with it, in December 1943, the deportation of the Kalmyks. The Karachay Autonomous Okrug and the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic were abolished, all Karachai and Kalmyk names of settlements were renamed. The Karachais were evicted to the South Kazakhstan and Dzhambul regions of Kazakhstan, as well as to the Kirghiz and Tajik SSR, the Kalmyks to the Altai and Krasnoyarsk regions, to the Omsk and Novosibirsk regions. Unlike the preventive deportations of Germans or Koreans, the deportations of Karachais and Kalmyks were already in the nature of a punishment - they were evicted, accused of treason and collaboration with the Nazis.
On February 21, 1944, an order was signed on the deportation of Chechens and Ingush from the territory of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. At the same time, the operation "Lentil" itself was being prepared since the fall of 1943: numerous and militant Chechens and Ingush clearly demanded a "separate approach", in contrast to the Greeks of the Crimea or the German colonists. Nevertheless, by the forces of the NKVD troops, the deportation was carried out as soon as possible. On March 7, 1944, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was liquidated, and its Chechen-Ingush population was deported mainly to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
On March 8 and 9, 1944, the Balkars were resettled, and on April 8, 1944, the Kabardino-Balkarian SSR was renamed the Kabardin ASSR. In fairness, it is worth noting that some of the Kabardians were also evicted.
On May 18-20, 1944, a large-scale operation was carried out to evict the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea, as well as from the territory of the Rostov region, Krasnodar Territory, and a number of regions of the Ukrainian SSR. Most of the Crimean Tatars were resettled to Uzbekistan, and also, in part, to the Urals, Udmurtia, Kostroma and Gorky regions.
Another prevention: Crimeans and Meskhetians
During May-June 1944, about 66 thousand more people were deported from the Crimea and the Caucasus - Soviet Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Italians, Romanians, as well as Germans, who at the time of the mass deportation of the Germans were in the territories occupied by the Nazis. In contrast to the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, Karachais, Balkars, Kalmyks, Chechens and Ingush, the Crimean national minorities were deported again for preventive purposes, since mass cooperation with the Germans was not observed either among the Greeks, or among the Armenians, or among the Crimean Bulgarians.
In the spring of 1944, migrations took place in the Transcaucasus. First, Azerbaijanis were resettled inside Georgia itself - from Tbilisi to Tsalka, Borchali and Karayaz districts. Secondly, Meskhetian Turks, Muslim Kurds, Hemshils (Islamized Armenians) were deported from Georgia to Central Asia. Most of the Meskhetians and Kurds were resettled to Uzbekistan, as well as to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
General patterns of deportation. Why were these peoples evicted
There is a certain pattern in the deportation of peoples. First, they deported representatives of "unreliable" from the point of view of the then power of the peoples who had their own statehood outside the USSR - these are the Germans, Finns, Greeks, Romanians, Koreans, Italians and so on.
Secondly, predominantly Turkic and Muslim peoples living in the border areas in the Black Sea region and in the Caucasus were subject to deportation. They were either accused of massive collaboration with the Germans, or were resettled for the same preventive reasons as the Greeks or Koreans. There is no special secret here: Turkey was viewed by the Soviet leadership as a dangerous potential enemy, and the Caucasian and Crimean Muslims - as potential assistants and allies of the Turks. Interestingly, again, these fears did not apply to Azerbaijanis.
Thirdly, the peoples accused of mass betrayal were deported (as a rule, with the exception of the Kalmyks, they were represented by the Turkic-speaking and Caucasian Muslim peoples). Interestingly, the scale of cooperation with the Nazis in the Baltics or in Western Ukraine was much more impressive, but there were no mass migrations based on ethnicity there: everyone remained in their places, only those who personally served in Nazi or nationalist formations were arrested. These are the riddles of deportation.
The sad result of the deportation of peoples was not only broken destinies and destroyed lives, but also a blow to the traditional economy of a number of regions, especially agriculture, trade, small-scale production, and most importantly, the deterioration of the already complex interethnic relations in a multinational country.
On the other hand, the Soviet Union in the 1940s waged a life-and-death war with Nazi Germany, and in the first post-war years the political situation in the world was very tense. Therefore, the state was guided by political considerations, before which the lives and fates of individual people faded for statesmen.
It is important to note that in subsequent years, the resettled citizens of different nationalities of the country were able to return to their native land. The state recognized the deportation and condemned the policy of "rowing one size fits all", many internally displaced persons received compensation and subsequently themselves became representatives of the ruling elites of the national republics.
Russia does not dismiss this fact of history, as many states do today, which either do not recognize their own deportations and other repressions, or do it formally. The countries of the European Union, which once owned overseas colonies, have not yet come out with repentance to those who were not just repressed, and sometimes driven into real slavery. However, from the same European Union, they constantly hear shouts against Russia with "democratic" moralizing, as if Russia itself is not able to understand its history and learn from the mistakes it has made.
The main lesson learned today is that Russia is one in its diversity. Our country is multinational and multi-confessional, while we do not break lances on the issue of eye shape, skin color, attitude to a particular religion. We understand that our strength lies in unity, that we turned the page when this unity could be challenged by someone in power. We turned over, but our "partners" ... Those same "partners" who still live in fact in racist communities, ready to clash their heads at any moment, showing incredible hatred of their own compatriots.