The Info List - Population Transfer In The Soviet Union

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Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population (often classified as "enemies of workers"), deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite directions to fill the ethnically cleansed territories. In most cases, their destinations were underpopulated remote areas (see Forced settlements in the Soviet Union). This includes deportations to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
of non-Soviet citizens from countries outside the USSR. It has been estimated that, in their entirety, internal forced migrations affected some 6 million people.[1][2] Some 1 to 1.5 million perished as a result of the deportations — of those deaths, the deportation of Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
and the deportation of Chechens
were recognized as genocides by Ukraine
and the European Parliament respectively.[3][4][5][6]


1 Deportation
of social groups 2 Ethnic operations

2.1 Western annexations and deportations, 1939–1941 2.2 World War II, 1941–1945 2.3 Post-war expulsion and deportation 2.4 Post-Stalin policy on deportation

3 Labor force transfer 4 Repatriation after World War II 5 Death toll 6 Timeline 7 See also 8 Notes 9 Bibliography 10 Further reading 11 Wikisource 12 External links

of social groups[edit]

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Kulaks were a group of relatively affluent farmers and had gone by this class-system term in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia, and early Soviet Union. They were the most numerous group deported by the Soviet Union.[7] Resettlement of people officially designated as kulaks continued until early 1950, including several major waves.[8] Large numbers of kulaks regardless of their nationality were resettled to Siberia
and Central Asia. According to data from Soviet archives, which were published in 1990, 1,803,392 people were sent to labor colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931, and 1,317,022 reached the destination. Deportations on a smaller scale continued after 1931. The reported number of kulaks and their relatives who had died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940 was 389,521.[9] It is estimated that 15 million kulaks and their families were deported by 1937, during the deportation many people died, but the full number is not known.[10] Ethnic operations[edit]

A train with Romanian refugees following the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia

During the 1930s, categorisation of so-called enemies of the people shifted from the usual Marxist–Leninist, class-based terms, such as kulak, to ethnic-based ones.[11] The partial removal of potentially trouble-making ethnic groups was a technique used consistently by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
during his government;[12] between 1935 and 1938 alone, at least nine different nationalities were deported.[13] Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
led to a massive escalation in Soviet ethnic cleansing.[14] The Deportation
of Koreans
in the Soviet Union, originally conceived in 1926, initiated in 1930, and carried through in 1937, was the first mass transfer of an entire nationality in the Soviet Union.[15] Almost the entire Soviet population of ethnic Koreans
(171,781 persons) were forcefully moved from the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
to unpopulated areas of the Kazakh SSR and the Uzbek SSR in October 1937.[16]

Looking at the entire period of Stalin's rule, one can list: Poles (1939–1941 and 1944–1945), Romanians
(1941 and 1944–1953), Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians
(1941 and 1945–1949), Volga Germans (1941–1945), Ingrian Finns
Ingrian Finns
(1929–1931 and 1935–1939), Finnish people in Karelia
(1940–1941, 1944), Crimean Tatars, Crimean Greeks (1944) and Caucasus
(1949–50), Kalmyks, Balkars, Karachays, Meskhetian Turks, Karapapaks, Far East Koreans
(1937), Chechens
and Ingushs (1944). Shortly before, during and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a series of deportations on a huge scale which profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union.[17] It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million were deported to Siberia
and the Central Asian republics.[18] By some estimates, up to 43% of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition.[19] The deportations started with Poles
from Byelorussia, Ukraine
and European Russia
European Russia
(see Polish minority in Soviet Union) between 1932 and 1936. Koreans
in the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
were deported in 1937. (See Deportation
of Koreans
in the Soviet Union.) Western annexations and deportations, 1939–1941[edit]

Deportee barrack in the Kolyma
region, 1957

After the Soviet invasion of Poland
following the corresponding German invasion that marked the start of World War II
World War II
in 1939, the Soviet Union annexed eastern parts (known as Kresy
to the Polish) of the Second Polish Republic. During 1939–1941, 1.45 million people inhabiting the region were deported by the Soviet regime, of whom 63.1% were Poles
and 7.4% were Jews.[20] Previously it was believed that about 1.0 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Soviets,[21] but recently Polish historians, based mostly on queries in Soviet archives, estimate the number of deaths at about 350,000 people deported in 1939–1945.[22][23] From the newly conquered Eastern Poland, 1.5 million people were deported. The same followed in the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (see Soviet deportations from Estonia
Soviet deportations from Estonia
and Soviet deportations from Lithuania).[24] More than 200,000 people are estimated to have been deported from the Baltic in 1940–1953. In addition, at least 75,000 were sent to the Gulag. 10% of the entire adult Baltic population was deported or sent to labor camps.[25][26] In 1989, native Latvians
represented only 52% of the population of their own country. In Estonia, the figure was 62%.[27] In Lithuania, the situation was better because the migrants sent to that country actually moved to the former area of Eastern Prussia
Eastern Prussia
(now Kaliningrad) which, contrary to the original plans, never became part of Lithuania.[28] Likewise, Romanians
from Chernivtsi Oblast
Chernivtsi Oblast
and Moldovia had been deported in great numbers which range from 200,000 to 400,000.[29] (See Soviet deportations
Soviet deportations
from Bessarabia.) World War II, 1941–1945[edit] During World War II, particularly in 1943–44, the Soviet government conducted a series of deportations. Some 1.9 million people were deported to Siberia
and the Central Asian republics. Treasonous collaboration with the invading Germans
and anti-Soviet rebellion were the official reasons for these deportations. Out of approximately 183,000 Crimean Tatars, 20,000 or 10% of the entire population served in German battalions.[30] Consequently, Tatars
too were transferred en masse by the Soviets after the war.[31] Volga Germans[32] and seven (non-Slavic) nationalities of the Crimea and the northern Caucasus
were deported: the Crimean Tatars,[33] Kalmyks, Chechens,[34] Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, and Meskhetian Turks. All Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
were deported en masse, in a form of collective punishment, on 18 May 1944 as special settlers to Uzbekistan and other distant parts of the Soviet Union. According to NKVD
data, nearly 20% died in exile during the following year and a half. Crimean Tatar activists have reported this figure to be nearly 46%.[35][36] (See Deportation
of Crimean Tatars.) Other minorities evicted from the Black Sea
Black Sea
coastal region included Bulgarians, Crimean Greeks, Romanians
and Armenians. Post-war expulsion and deportation[edit] After World War II, the German population of the Kaliningrad
Oblast, former East Prussia
East Prussia
was expelled and the depopulated area resettled by Soviet citizens, mainly by Russians. Poland
and Soviet Ukraine
conducted population exchanges; Poles
who resided east of the established Poland–Soviet border were deported to Poland
(c.a. 2,100,000 persons) and Ukrainians
that resided west of the established Poland- Soviet Union
Soviet Union
border were deported to Soviet Ukraine. Population transfer to Soviet Ukraine
occurred from September 1944 to April 1946 (ca. 450,000 persons). Some Ukrainians
(ca. 200,000 persons) left southeast Poland
more or less voluntarily (between 1944 and 1945).[37]

A dwelling typical to some deportees into Siberia
in a museum in Rumšiškės, Lithuania

Post-Stalin policy on deportation[edit] In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
in his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles, asserting as a joke that the Ukrainians
avoided such a fate "only because there were too many of them and there was no place to which to deport them."[citation needed] His government reversed most of Stalin's deportations. This did not include the Crimean Tatars, Meskhetian Turks
Meskhetian Turks
and Volga Germans, however. They were only allowed to return en masse to their homelands after 1991. The deportations had a profound effect on the non-Russian peoples of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and they are still a major political issue; the memory of the deportations played a major part in the separatist movements in Chechnya
and the Baltic republics.[citation needed] Some peoples were deported after Stalin's death: in 1959, Chechen returnees were supplanted from the mountains to the Chechen plain. The mountaineers of Tajikistan, such as the Yaghnobi people, were forcibly settled to the plain deserts in the 1970s. According to a secret Soviet ministry of interior report dated December 1965, for the period 1940—1953, 46,000 people were deported from Modavia, 61,000 from Belarus, 571,000 from Ukraine, 119,000 from Lithuania, 53,000 from Latvia and 33,000 from Estonia.[38] Labor force transfer[edit]

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Punitive transfers of population transfers handled by the Gulag[39] and the system of forced settlements in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
were planned in accordance with the needs of the colonization of the remote and underpopulated territories of the Soviet Union. (Their large scale has led to a controversial opinion in the West that the economic growth of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was largely based on the slave labor of Gulag prisoners.) At the same time, on a number of occasions the workforce was transferred by non-violent means, usually by means of "recruitment" (вербовка). This kind of recruitment was regularly performed at forced settlements, where people were naturally more willing to resettle. For example, the workforce of the Donbass and Kuzbass mining basins is known to have been replenished in this way. (As a note of historical comparison, in Imperial Russia
Imperial Russia
the mining workers at state mines (bergals, "бергалы", from German Bergbau, 'mining') were often recruited in lieu of military service which, for a certain period, had a term of 25 years). There were several notable campaigns of targeted workforce transfer.

Twenty-five-thousanders NKVD
labor columns Virgin Lands Campaign Baku
oil industry workers transfer: During the German-Soviet War, in October 1942, about 10,000 workers from the petroleum sites of Baku, together with their families, were transferred to several sites with potential oil production (the "Second Baku" area (Volga-Ural oil field), Kazakhstan and Sakhalin), in face of the potential German threat, although Germany failed to seize Baku.

Repatriation after World War II[edit] When the war ended in May 1945, millions of Soviet citizens were forcefully repatriated (against their will) into the USSR.[40] On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the USSR.[41] The interpretation of this Agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviets regardless of their wishes. British and U.S. civilian authorities ordered their military forces in Europe to deport to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
millions of former residents of the USSR (some of whom collaborated with the Germans), including numerous persons who had left Russia and established different citizenship many years before. The forced repatriation operations took place from 1945–1947.[42] At the end of World War II, more than 5 million "displaced persons" from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
survived in German captivity. About 3 million had been forced laborers (Ostarbeiter)[43] in Germany and occupied territories.[44][45] Surviving POWs, about 1.5 million, repatriated Ostarbeiter, and other displaced persons, totally more than 4,000,000 people were sent to special NKVD
filtration camps (not Gulag). By 1946, 80% civilians and 20% of PoWs were freed, 5% of civilians, and 43% of PoWs re-drafted, 10% of civilians and 22% of PoWs were sent to labor battalions, and 2% of civilians and 15% of the PoWs (226,127 out of 1,539,475 total) transferred to the NKVD, i.e. the Gulag.[46][47] Death toll[edit] The number of deaths attributed to deported people living in exile is considerable. The causes for such demographic catastrophe lie in harsh climates of Siberia
and Kazakhstan, disease, malnutrition, work exploitation which lasted for up to 10 hours daily as well as any kind of appropriate housing or accommodation for the deported people.

Number of deaths of people in exile 1930s—1950s

Nation Estimated number of deaths References

Kulaks 1930–1931 389,521 [48]

Kulaks 1930–1937 Unknown [10]

Poles 90,000 [49]

Koreans 28,200 – 40,000 [50][51]

Estonians 5,400 [52]

Latvians 17,400 [52]

Lithuanians 28,000 [53]

Finns 18,800 [50]

Karachais 13,100 [54]

Soviet Germans 42,823 – 228,800 [55][54]

Kalmyks 12,600 [54][50]

Chechens 125,500 [54]

Ingush 20,300 [54]

Balkars 7,600 [54][50]

Crimean Tatars 34,300 [54]

Meskhetian Turks 12,859 [54]

TOTAL 846,403 – 1,044,180


Date of transfer Targeted group Approximate numbers Place of initial residence Transfer destination Stated reasons for transfer

April 1920 Cossacks, Terek Cossacks 45,000[56] North Caucasus Ukraine, northern Russian SFSR "Decossackization", stopping Russian colonisation of North Caucasus

1930–1931 Kulaks 1,679,528- 1,803,392[57] "Regions of total collectivization", most of Russian SFSR, Ukraine, other regions Northern Russian SFSR, Ural, Siberia, North Caucasus, Kazakh ASSR, Kirghiz ASSR Collectivization

1930–1937 Kulaks 15,000,000[10] "Regions of total collectivization", most of Russian SFSR, Ukraine, other regions Northern Russian SFSR, Ural, Siberia, North Caucasus, Kazakh ASSR, Kirghiz ASSR Collectivization

November–December 1932 Peasants 45,000[citation needed] Krasnodar Krai
Krasnodar Krai
(Russian SFSR) Northern Russia Sabotage

February–May 1935; September 1941; 1942 Ingrian Finns 420,000[58] Leningrad Oblast, Karelia
(Russian SFSR) Vologda Oblast, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Siberia, Astrakhan Oblast; Finland

February–March 1935 Germans, Poles 412,000[citation needed] Central and western Ukraine Eastern Ukraine

May 1935 Germans, Poles 45,000[citation needed] Border regions of Ukraine Ukraine

July 1937 Kurds 1,325[59] Border regions of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan Kazakhstan, Kirghizia

September–October 1937 Koreans 172,000[60] Far East Northern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan

September–October 1937 Chinese, Harbin Russians 9,000[citation needed] Southern Far East Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan

1938 Persian Jews 6,000[citation needed] Mary Province
Mary Province
(Turkmenistan) Deserted areas of northern Turkmenistan

January 1938 Azeris, Persians, Kurds, Assyrians 6,000[61] Azerbaijan Kazakhstan Iranian citizenship

January 1940 – 1941 Poles, Jews, Ukrainians
(including refugees from Poland) 320,000[62] Western Ukraine, western Byelorussia Northern Russian SFSR, Ural, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan

July 1940 to 1953 Estonians, Lithuanians
& Latvians 203,590[63] Baltic states Siberia
and Altai Krai
Altai Krai
(Russian SFSR)

September 1941 – March 1942 Germans 855,674[64] Povolzhye, the Caucasus, Crimea, Ukraine, Moscow, central Russian SFSR Kazakhstan, Siberia

August 1943 Karachais 69,267[65] Karachay–Cherkess AO, Stavropol Krai
Stavropol Krai
(Russian SFSR) Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, other Banditism, other

December 1943 Kalmyks 93,139[60] Kalmyk ASSR, (Russian SFSR) Kazakhstan, Siberia

February 1944 Chechens, Ingush 478,479[66] North Caucasus Kazakhstan, Kirghizia 1940-1944 insurgency in Chechnya

March 1944 Kurds, Azeris 3,000 Tbilisi
(Georgia) Southern Georgia

May 1944 Balkars 37,406[65]–40,900[60] North Caucasus Kazakhstan, Kirghizia

May 1944 Crimean Tatars 191,014[65][60] Crimea Uzbekistan

May–June 1944 Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Turks 37,080 (9,620 Armenians, 12,040 Bulgarians, 15,040 Greeks[67]) Crimea Uzbekistan (?)

June 1944 Kabardins 2,000 Kabardino-Balkar ASSR, (Russian SFSR) Southern Kazakhstan Collaboration with the Nazis

July 1944 Russian True Orthodox Church
Russian True Orthodox Church
members 1,000 Central Russian SFSR Siberia

November 1944 Meskhetian Turks, Kurds, Hamshenis, Pontic Greeks, Karapapaks, Lazes and other inhabitants of the border zone 115,000[60] Southwestern Georgia Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia

January 1945 "Traitors and collaborators" 2,000 Mineralnye Vody
Mineralnye Vody
(Russian SFSR) Tajikistan Collaboration with the Nazis

1944–1953 Poles 1,240,000[58] Kresy
region postwar Poland Removal of indigenous population from the new territory acquired by Soviet Union

1945–1950 Germans Tens of thousands Königsberg West or Middle Germany Removal of indigenous population from the new territory acquired by Soviet Union

1945–1951 Japanese, Koreans 400,000[68] Mostly from Sakhalin, Kuril Islands Siberia, Far East, North Korea, Japan Removal of indigenous population from the new territory acquired by Soviet Union

1948—1951 Azeris 100,000[69] Armenia Kura-Aras Lowland, Azerbaijan "Measures for resettlement of collective farm workers"

May–June 1949 Greeks, Armenians, Turks 57,680[70] (including 15,485 Dashnaks)[70] The Black Sea
Black Sea
coast (Russian SFSR), South Caucasus Southern Kazakhstan Membership in the nationalist Dashnaktsutiun Party (Armenians), Greek or Turkish citizenship (Greeks), other

March 1951 Basmachis 2,795[70] Tajikistan Northern Kazakhstan

April 1951 Jehovah's Witnesses 8,576–9,500 [71] Mostly from Moldavia and Ukraine[72] Western Siberia Operation North

1920 to 1951 Total ~20,086,000

See also[edit]

On the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples Forced settlements in the Soviet Union Pre- World War II
World War II

Dekulakization Jewish Autonomous Oblast: Jewish settlement in the region National operations of NKVD

German operation of the NKVD Greek Operation of NKVD Deportation
of Koreans
in the Soviet Union Polish operation of the NKVD

Deportations of the Ingrian Finns

World War II
World War II
evacuation and expulsion

June deportation (Baltics) Kalmyk deportations of 1943 Nazi–Soviet population transfers Forced labor of Germans
in the Soviet Union Evacuation of East Prussia Flight and expulsion of Germans
(1944–1950) Deportation
of the Crimean Tatars Soviet deportations from Bessarabia
Soviet deportations from Bessarabia
and Northern Bukovina Operation Lentil (Caucasus)
Operation Lentil (Caucasus)
(Checheno-Ingushetia) Territories of Poland
annexed by the Soviet Union Polish population transfers (1944–1946)

Post- World War II
World War II

Soviet deportations
Soviet deportations
from Estonia Soviet deportations
Soviet deportations
from Lithuania

Operation Priboi
Operation Priboi

Repatriation of Poles
(1955–1959) Operation North (Jehovah's Witnesses) Doctors' plot: Speculation about a planned deportation of Jews

Against Their Will


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Settlements. Oxford University Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780195187694. 

Further reading[edit]

Polian, Pavel (Павел Полян), Deportations in the USSR: An index of operations with list of corresponding directives and legislation, Russian Academy of Science. Павел Полян, Не по своей воле... (Pavel Polyan, Not by Their Own Will... A History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR), ОГИ Мемориал, Moscow, 2001, ISBN 5-94282-007-4 28 августа 1941 г. Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР "О выселении немцев из районов Поволжья". 1943 г. Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР "О ликвидации Калмыцкой АССР и образовании Астраханской области в составе РСФСР". *Постановление правительства СССР от 12 января 1949 г. "О выселении с территории Литвы, Латвии и Эстонии кулаков с семьями, семей бандитов и националистов, находящихся на нелегальном положении, убитых при вооруженных столкновениях и осужденных, легализованных бандитов, продолжающих вести вражескую работу, и их семей, а также семей репрессированных пособников и бандитов" Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР от 13 декабря 1955 г. "О снятии ограничений в правовом положении с немцев и членов их семей, находящихся на спецпоселении". 17 марта 1956 г. Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР "О снятии ограничений в правовом положении с калмыков и членов их семей, находящихся на спецпоселении". 1956 г. Постановление ЦК КПСС "О восстановлении национальной автономии калмыцкого, карачаевского, балкарского, чеченского и ингушского народов". 29 августа 1964 г. Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР "О внесении изменений в Указ Президиума Верховного Совета СССР от 28 августа 1941 г. о переселении немцев, проживающих в районах Поволжья". 1991 г: Laws of Russian Federation: "О реабилитации репрессированных народов", "О реабилитации жертв политических репрессий".


State Defense Committee Decree No. 5859ss: On Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
(See also Three answers to the Decree No. 5859ss)

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These Names Accuse (Soviet Deportations in Latvia) Baltic Deportation
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