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Population transfer in the Soviet Union refers to forced transfer of various groups from the 1930s up to the 1950s ordered by Joseph Stalin and 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.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1953) and Premier (1941–1953). Initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, by the 1930s he was the country's de facto dictator. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies are known as Stalinism.
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration, intimidation, as well as genocide and genocidal rape.
In most cases, their destinations were underpopulated remote areas (see Forced settlements in the Soviet Union). This includes deportations to the Soviet Union of non-Soviet citizens from countries outside the USSR. It has been estimated that, in their entirety, internal forced migrations affected at least 6 million people.Of this total, 1.8 million kulaks were deported in 1930–31, 1.0 million peasants and ethnic minorities in 1932–39, whereas about 1.5 million ethnic minorities were further resettled during 1940–52.
Forced settlements in the Soviet Union took several forms. Though the most notorious was the Gulag labor camp system of penal labor, resettling of entire categories of population was another method of political repression implemented by the Soviet Union. At the same time, involuntary settlement played a role in the colonization of remote areas of the Soviet Union. This role was specifically mentioned in the first Soviet decrees about involuntary labor camps.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Soviet archives documented 390,000deaths during kulak forced resettlement and up to 400,000 deaths of persons deported to Forced settlements in the Soviet Union during the 1940s; however Steven Rosefield and Norman Naimark put overall deaths closer to some 1 to 1.5 million perishing as a result of the deportations — of those deaths, the deportation of Crimean Tatars and the deportation of Chechens were recognized as genocides by Ukraine and the European Parliament respectively.
The kulaks were a category of affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire and early Soviet Union, particularly Soviet Russia.
The deportation of the Crimean Tatars was the ethnic cleansing of at least 191,044 Crimean Tatars or, according to the other sources, 423,100 of them in 18-20 May 1944; one of the crimes of the Soviet totalitarian regime. It was carried out by Lavrentiy Beria, head of the Soviet state security and secret police, acting on behalf of Joseph Stalin. Within three days, Beria's NKVD used cattle trains to deport women, children, the elderly, even Communists and members of the Red Army, to the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan, several thousand kilometres away. They were one of the ten ethnicities who were encompassed by Stalin's policy of population transfer in the Soviet Union.
Genocide is intentional action to destroy a group of people in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος and the Latin suffix -caedo. The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe;
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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.Resettlement of people officially designated as kulaks continued until early 1950, including several major waves.
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.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.
Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".
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.The partial removal of potentially trouble-making ethnic groups was a technique used consistently by Joseph Stalin during his government; between 1935 and 1938 alone, at least ten different nationalities were deported. Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union led to a massive escalation in Soviet ethnic cleansing.
In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), of the parties of the Communist International, after Bolshevisation; and is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. The purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the revolutionary transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, which is led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy through democratic centralism.
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort and to annihilate the rest according to Generalplan Ost, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.
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.Almost the entire Soviet population of ethnic Koreans (171,781 persons) were forcefully moved from the Russian Far East to unpopulated areas of the Kazakh SSR and the Uzbek SSR in October 1937.
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 (1929–1931 and 1935–1939), Finnish people in Karelia (1940–1941, 1944), Crimean Tatars, Crimean Greeks (1944) and Caucasus Greeks (1949–50), Kalmyks, Balkars, Italians of Crimea, 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.It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million were deported to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. By some estimates, up to 43% of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition.
The deportations started with Poles from Byelorussia, Ukraine and European Russia (see Polish minority in Soviet Union) between 1932 and 1936. Koreans in the Russian Far East were deported in 1937. (See Deportation of Koreans in the Soviet Union.)
After the Soviet invasion of Poland following the corresponding German invasion that marked the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviet Union annexed eastern parts (known as Kresy to the Polish or as West Belarus and West Ukraine in the USSR and among Belarusians and Ukrainians) of the Second Polish Republic, which since then became western parts of the Belarusian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR. During 1939–1941, 1.45 million people inhabiting the region were deported by the Soviet regime. According to Polish historians, 63.1% of these people were Poles and 7.4% were Jews.Previously it was believed that about 1.0 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Soviets, 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.
The same followed in the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (see Soviet deportations from Estonia and Soviet deportations from Lithuania).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. In 1989, native Latvians represented only 52% of the population of their own country. In Estonia, the figure was 62%. In Lithuania, the situation was better because the migrants sent to that country actually moved to the former area of Eastern Prussia (now Kaliningrad) which, contrary to the original plans, never became part of Lithuania.
Likewise, Romanians from Chernivtsi Oblast and Moldovia had been deported in great numbers which range from 200,000 to 400,000.(See Soviet deportations from Bessarabia.)
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.Consequently, Tatars too were transferred en masse by the Soviets after the war. Vyacheslav Molotov justified this decision saying "The fact is that during the war we received reports about mass treason. Battalions of Caucasians opposed us at the fronts and attacked us from the rear. It was a matter of life and death; there was no time to investigate the details. Of course innocents suffered. But I hold that given the circumstances, we acted correctly." Historian Ian Grey writes "Towards the Moslem peoples, the Germans pursued a benign, almost paternalistic policy. The Karachai, Balkars, Ingush, Chechen, Kalmucks, and Tatars of the Crimea all displayed pro-German sympathies in some degree. It was only the hurried withdrawal of the Germans from the Caucasus after the battle of Stalingrad that prevented their organizing the Moslem people for effective anti-Soviet action. The Germans boasted loudly, however, that they had left a strong “fifth column” behind them in the Caucasus."
Volga Germansand seven (non-Slavic) nationalities of the Crimea and the northern Caucasus were deported: the Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, and Meskhetian Turks. All 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%. (See Deportation of Crimean Tatars.)
Other minorities evicted from the Black Sea coastal region included Bulgarians, Crimean Greeks, Romanians and Armenians.
After World War II, the German population of the Kaliningrad Oblast, former 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 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).
In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev in his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles. His government reversed most of Stalin's deportations.
Some peoples were deported after Stalin's death: in 1959, Chechen returnees were supplanted from the mountains to the Chechen plain. The mountain peoples of Tajikistan, such as the Yaghnobi people, were forcibly settled to the desert plains 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 Moldova, 61,000 from Belarus, 571,000 from Ukraine, 119,000 from Lithuania, 53,000 from Latvia and 33,000 from Estonia.
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Punitive transfers of population transfers handled by the Gulagand the system of forced settlements in the 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 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 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.
When the war ended in May 1945, millions of Soviet citizens were forcefully repatriated (against their will) into the USSR.On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the USSR.
The interpretation of this Agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviet citizens regardless of their wishes. British and U.S. civilian authorities ordered their military forces in Europe to deport to the 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.
At the end of World War II, more than 5 million "displaced persons" from the Soviet Union survived in German captivity. About 3 million had been forced laborers (Ostarbeiter)in Germany and occupied territories.
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.
Several historians, including Russian historian Pavel Polianand Lithuanian Associate Research Scholar at Yale University Violeta Davoliūtė consider these mass deportations of civilians a crime against humanity. Terry Martin of Harvard University observes:
... the same principles that informed Soviet nation building could and did lead to ethnic cleansing and ethnic terror against a limited set of stigmatized nationalities, while leaving nation-building policies in place for the majority of nonstigmatized nationalities.
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.
|Ethnicity||Estimated number of deaths||References|
|Date of transfer||Targeted group||Approximate numbers||Place of initial residence||Transfer destination||Stated reasons for transfer|
|April 1920||Cossacks, Terek Cossacks||45,000||North Caucasus||Ukraine, northern Russian SFSR||"Decossackization", stopping Russian colonisation of North Caucasus|
|1930–1931||Kulaks||1,679,528- 1,803,392||"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||"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||Krasnodar Krai (Russian SFSR)||Northern Russia||Sabotage|
|February–May 1935; September 1941; 1942||Ingrian Finns||420,000||Leningrad Oblast, Karelia (Russian SFSR)||Vologda Oblast, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Siberia, Astrakhan Oblast; Finland|
|February–March 1935||Germans, Poles||412,000||Central and western Ukraine||Eastern Ukraine|
|May 1936||Germans, Poles||45,000||Border regions of Ukraine||Ukraine|
|July 1937||Kurds||1,325||Border regions of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan||Kazakhstan, Kirghizia|
|September–October 1937||Koreans||172,000||Far East||Northern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan|
|September–October 1937||Chinese, Harbin Russians||9,000||Southern Far East||Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan|
|1938||Persian Jews||6,000||Mary Province (Turkmenistan)||Deserted areas of northern Turkmenistan|
|January 1938||Azeris, Persians, Kurds, Assyrians||6,000||Azerbaijan||Kazakhstan||Iranian citizenship|
|January 1940 – 1941||Poles, Jews, Ukrainians (including refugees from Poland)||320,000||Western Ukraine, western Byelorussia||Northern Russian SFSR, Ural, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan|
|July 1940 to 1953||Estonians, Lithuanians & Latvians||203,590||Baltic states||Siberia and Altai Krai (Russian SFSR)|
|September 1941 – March 1942||Germans||855,674||Povolzhye, the Caucasus, Crimea, Ukraine, Moscow, central Russian SFSR||Kazakhstan, Siberia|
|August 1943||Karachais||69,267||Karachay–Cherkess AO, Stavropol Krai (Russian SFSR)||Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, other||Banditism, other|
|December 1943||Kalmyks||93,139||Kalmyk ASSR, (Russian SFSR)||Kazakhstan, Siberia|
|February 1944||Chechens, Ingush||478,479||North Caucasus||Kazakhstan, Kirghizia||1940-1944 insurgency in Chechnya|
|April 1944||Kurds, Azeris||3,000||Tbilisi (Georgia)||Southern Georgia|
|May 1944||Balkars||37,406 –40,900||North Caucasus||Kazakhstan, Kirghizia|
|May 1944||Crimean Tatars||191,014||Crimea||Uzbekistan|
|May–June 1944||Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Turks||37,080|
(9,620 Armenians, 12,040 Bulgarians, 15,040 Greeks )
|June 1944||Kabardins||2,000||Kabardino-Balkar ASSR, (Russian SFSR)||Southern Kazakhstan||Collaboration with the Nazis|
|July 1944||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||Southwestern Georgia||Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia|
|January 1945||"Traitors and collaborators"||2,000||Mineralnye Vody (Russian SFSR)||Tajikistan||Collaboration with the Nazis|
|1944–1953||Poles||1,240,000||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||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||Armenia||Kura-Aras Lowland, Azerbaijan||"Measures for resettlement of collective farm workers"|
|May–June 1949||Greeks, Armenians, Turks||57,680 |
(including 15,485 Dashnaks)
|The 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||Tajikistan||Northern Kazakhstan|
|April 1951||Jehovah's Witnesses||8,576–9,500||Mostly from Moldavia and Ukraine||Western Siberia||Operation North|
|1920 to 1951||Total||~20,086,000|
By 1937, 18,5 million were collevtivized but there were now only 19.9 million households: 5.7 million households, perhaps 15 million persons, had been deported, many of them dead
The Kalmyk deportations of 1943, codename Operation Ulusy was the Soviet deportation of more than 93,000 people of Kalmyk nationality, and non-Kalmyk women with Kalmyk husbands, on 28–31 December 1943. Families and individuals were forcibly relocated in cattle wagons to special settlements for forced labor in Siberia. Kalmyk women married to non-Kalmyk men were exempted from the deportations. The government's official reason for the deportation was an accusation of Axis collaboration during World War II based on the approximately 5,000 Kalmyks who fought in the Nazi-affiliated Kalmykian Cavalry Corps. The government refused to acknowledge that more than 23,000 Kalmyks served in the Red Army and fought against Axis forces at the same time.
Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group, who are indigenous people of Crimea and formed in the Crimean Peninsula during the 13th–17th centuries, primarily from Cumans that appeared in Crimea in the 10th century, with strong contributions from all the peoples who ever inhabited Crimea. Since 2014 Crimean Tatars have been officially recognized as an indigenous people of Ukraine. Crimean Tatars are also listed among the indigenous peoples of Russia.
Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, millions of people suffered political repression, which was an instrument of the state since the October Revolution. It culminated during the Stalin era, then declined, but it continued to exist during the "Khrushchev Thaw", followed by increased persecution of Soviet dissidents during the Brezhnev stagnation, and it did not cease to exist until late in Mikhail Gorbachev's rule when it was ended in keeping with his policies of glasnost and perestroika.
Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union was considered by the Soviet Union to be part of German war reparations for the damage inflicted by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union during World War II. German civilians in Germany and Eastern Europe were deported to the USSR after World War II as forced laborers, while ethnic Germans living in the USSR were deported during World War II and conscripted for forced labor. German prisoners of war were also used as a source of forced labor during and after the war by the Soviet Union and the Western Allies.
The Crimea Germans were ethnic German settlers who were invited to settle in the Crimea as part of the East Colonization.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a federation made up of 15 soviet socialist republics, and existed from 1922 until its dissolution in 1991. Six of the 15 republics had a Muslim majority: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. There was also a large Muslim population in the Volga-Ural region and in the northern Caucasus region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. A large number of Tatar Muslims also lived in Siberia and other regions.
Dekulakization was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of prosperous peasants and their families in the 1929–1932 period of the first five-year plan. To facilitate the expropriations of farmland, the Soviet government portrayed kulaks as class enemies of the USSR.
The Deportation of the Chechens and Ingush, also known as Aardakh, Operation Lentil was the Soviet forced transfer of the whole of the Vainakh populations of the North Caucasus to Central Asia on February 23, 1944, during World War II. The expulsion, preceded by the 1940–44 insurgency in Chechnya, was ordered by NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria after approval by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, as a part of a Soviet forced settlement program and population transfer that affected several million members of non-Russian Soviet ethnic minorities between the 1930s and the 1950s.
The topic of forced labor of Hungarians in the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II was not researched until the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that up to 600,000 Hungarians were captured altogether, including an estimated 200,000 civilians. An estimated 200,000 citizens perished. It was part of a larger system of the usage of foreign forced labor in the Soviet Union.
The Greek Operation was an organised mass persecution of the Greeks of the Soviet Union that was ordered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Greeks often use the term "pogrom" (πογκρόμ) for this persecution, though this term usually refers to mob violence rather than persecution by police acting under direct orders, as this one was. It began on December 15, 1937 and marked the beginning of the repressions against Greeks went on for 13 years. Depending on the sources, it is estimated that between 20,000 and 50,000 Greeks died by the end of this campaign.
Turks in Uzbekistan are ethnic Turks who live in Uzbekistan.
The deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia took place as an act of forced resettlement and ethnic cleansing throughout the 20th century. Prior to the October Revolution, Azerbaijanis had made up 43 percent of the population of Yerevan. Prior to the October Revolution, Azerbaijanis had made up 43 percent of the population of Yerevan. The Tartar population endured a process of forced migration from the territory of the First Republic of Armenia and later in the Armenian SSR several times during the 20th century. Under Stalin's policies, approximately 100,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from the Armenian SSR in 1948. The Tartar population endured a process of forced migration from the territory of the First Republic of Armenia and later in the Armenian SSR several times during the 20th century. Their houses were subsequently inhabited by Armenian repatriates who arrived in the Soviet Union from abroad.
In the Soviet Union of World War II, NKVD labor columns were militarized labor formations created from certain categories of population, both fully rightful Soviet citizens, as well as categories of limited civil rights. They were primarily from the people of ethnicities associated with the countries that fought against the Soviet Union. The vast majority of them were ethnic Germans. In later literature these formations were informally referred to as "labor army", in an analogy with Soviet Labor armies of 1920-1921, although this term was not used in official Soviet documents in reference to 1941-1946.
Evacuation in the Soviet Union was the mass migration of western Soviet citizens and its industries eastward as a result of Operation Barbarossa, the German military invasion of June 1941. Nearly sixteen million Soviet civilians and over 1,500 large factories were moved to areas in the middle or eastern part of the country by the end of 1941. Along with the eastern exodus of civilians and industries, other unintended consequences of the German advances saw the execution of previously held western state civilians by Soviet NKVD units, the removal of Lenin's body from Moscow to Tyumen, and the relocation of the Hermitage Museum collection to Sverdlovsk, Kuybyshev, the alternative capital of the Soviet Union 1941-1943. Soviet towns and cities inland or in the east received the bulk of the new refugees and high priority war factories, as locations such as the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, received more than 140,000 refugees and many factories due to its location away from the front lines. Despite early German successes in seizing control of large swaths of the western USSR throughout 1943, and semi-prepared contingency plans by the Soviets in their mobilization plans to the east, Soviet industries would eventually outpace the Germans in arms production, culminating in 73,000 tanks, 82,000 aircraft and nearly 324,000 artillery pieces being dispersed throughout the Red Army in their fight against the Axis Powers by 1945.
Soviet Union authorities and leaders officially condemned nationalism and proclaimed internationalism, including the right of nations and peoples to self-determination. However, in practice they conducted complete opposite policies including but not limited to; systematic large-scale cleansing of ethnic minorities, political repression and various forms of ethnic and social discrimination, including state-enforced antisemitism and Polonophobia.
Estimates of the number of deaths attributable to Joseph Stalin vary widely. Some scholars assert that record-keeping of the executions of political prisoners and ethnic minorities are neither reliable nor complete, others contend archival materials contain irrefutable data far superior to sources utilized prior to 1991, such as statements from emigres and other informants. Those historians working after the Soviet Union's dissolution have estimated victim totals ranging from approximately 3 million to nearly 9 million. Some scholars still assert that the death toll could be in the tens of millions.
The deportation of the Soviet Greeks was a forced transfer of Greeks of the Soviet Union that was ordered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It was carried out in 1942, 1944 and 1949 and affected mostly Pontic Greeks along the Black Sea coast. By one estimate, around 50,000 Greeks were deported.
The Deportation of the Meskhetian Turks was the forced transfer by the Soviet government of the entire Meskhetian Turk population from the Meskheti region of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic to Central Asia on 14 November 1944. During the deportation, between 92,307 and 94,955 Meskhetian Turks were forcibly removed from 212 villages. They were packed into cattle wagons and mostly sent to the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. Members of other ethnic groups were also deported during the operation, including Kurds and Hemshils, bringing the total to approximately 115,000 evicted people. They were placed in special settlements where they were assigned to forced labor. The deportation and harsh conditions in exile caused between 12,589 and 14,895 deaths, at a minimum.