The Deportation of the Chechen and Ingush Peoples: A Critical Examination

  • William Flemming

Abstract

On 23 February 1944 the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) commenced an operation, in fulfilment of a decree of the State Committee for Defence (GOKO)2, to deport the Chechen and Ingush nations en masse from their homelands in the North Caucasus into exile. By the 1 March almost 500000 Chechens and Ingush had been loaded into special trains and sent off to Central Asia for ‘resettlement’. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR (Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic), set up in 1936, was abolished, its constituent parts being incorporated into Russia, Daghestan, North Ossetia and Georgia. Almost overnight the Chechen and Ingush nations ceased to exist: the republic disappeared from all maps and reference books, and there was almost no mention of its peoples in the Soviet press.

Keywords

Sugar Transportation Explosive Resi Malaria 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    J. Stalin, ‘Report on the Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question’, 10 March 1921, printed in English in J.V. Stalin, Works, vol.5 (Moscow: 1953), p.34.Google Scholar
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    Bugai,‘Posledstviia deportatsii narodov’, p.124. This ruling also included Uzbekistan; however there is no mention of it applying to other areas, where there were special settlements.Google Scholar
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    Bugai quotes the slightly different figure of 145 raion spetskomendatury and 375 settlement (poselkovyi) spetskomendatury with a total of 1358 employees (Bugai, L. Beriia-I. Stalinu, p.103). For more information on the functions of the spetskomendatur and how it fitted into the structure of other NKVD bodies, see ‘Polozhenie o spetskomendaturakh NKVD’, GARF, f.5446, op.48, d.3205, 1.27–8.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., pp.117–18. For an idea of the figures just for the Chechen-Ingush contingent, one should bear in mind that the latter made up 80.6 per cent of the contingent from the North Caucasus at the time of settlement. See below, note 76.Google Scholar
  38. 65.
    For information on the preparations that were undertaken in Kazakhstan and Kirgizia in anticipation of the arrival of the Chechen and Ingush special settlers, see Bugai, op. cit., pp.102–3Google Scholar
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    Bugai, op. cit., p.244.Google Scholar
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    Bugai, ‘40–50-e gody’, pp.135–7: ‘Report on provisioning difficulties among the deportees in the Kazakh SSR’.Google Scholar
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    Dzhurgaev, Krugi ada, p.28.Google Scholar
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    Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p.122. For an insight into the housing situation in the early years of resettlement, see Bugai, op. cit., pp.127–8 and 129–30.Google Scholar
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    Bugai, op. cit., pp.129–30: ‘Report on the situation of the economic administration of the special settlers settled in the Kazakh SSR’.Google Scholar
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    Zemskov, ‘Spetsposelentsy’, p.9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • William Flemming

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