Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949

Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949

Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949

Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949

Synopsis

Between 1937 and 1949, Joseph Stalin deported more than two million people of 13 nationalities from their homelands to remote areas of the U.S.S.R. His regime perfected the crime of ethnic cleansing as an adjunct to its security policy during those decades. Based upon material recently released from Soviet archives, this study describes the mass deportation of these minorities, their conditions in exile, and their eventual release. It includes a large amount of statistical data on the number of people deported, deaths and births in exile, and the role of the exiles in developing the economy of remote areas of the Soviet Union.

Excerpt

"Ethnic cleansing" is a term that has gained recent currency with the war in Bosnia. The forced removal of national groups from their traditional areas of settlement by the state, however, is not a new phenomenon. The Assyrians deported large numbers of Jews from the Kingdom of Israel to Gozan and Media during the 8th century B.C.E. In 587 B.C.E., the Babylonians exiled a large number of Jews from the Kingdom of Judah to Babylonia. During the Middle Ages, many European nations expelled their Jewish populations: England in 1290; France in 1306 and 1394; Spain in 1492; and Portugal in 1496. In 1609, King Philip III ordered the expulsion of the Moriscos (Moors that converted to Catholicism) from Spain. During the 19th century, the U.S. military relocated numerous native American nations onto reservations far from their ancestral homelands. The most ruthless of these relocations occurred to the Cherokees and Navajos. In 1838, the U.S. Army forcibly removed close to 18,000 Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma, a distance of over 800 miles. During the trek, named the "Trail of Tears" by the Cherokees, almost 4,000 people died. In 1864, the U.S. Army deported over 8,000 Navajos more than 300 miles from their homeland east to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. Many Navajos died during this forced relocation. The Navajos refer to this tragic chapter in their history as "The Long Walk." In the 20th century, the development of transportation technology and political organization has facilitated the task of ethnic cleansing. A state with a powerful and well-organized apparatus of coercion and a functioning rail system could relocate whole nations in a matter of only a few days.

The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin perfected this modern style of ethnic cleansing between 1937 and 1949. From 1941 to 1948, the Stalin . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.