Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR

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Central European University Press, 2004 - History - 425 pages
2 Reviews
During his reign over the former Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin oversaw the forced resettlement of six million people -- a maniacal passion that he used for social engineering. The Soviets were not the first to thrust resettlement on its population -- a major characteristic of totalitarian systems -- but in terms of sheer numbers, technologies used to deport people and the lawlessness which accompanied it, Stalin's process was the most notable. Six million people of different social, ethnic, and professions were resettled before Stalin's death. Even today, the aftermath of such deportations largely predetermines events which take place in the northern Caucasus, Crimea, the Baltic republics, Moldavia, and western Ukraine. Polian's volume is the first attempt to comprehensively examine the history of forced and semivoluntary population movements within or organized by the Soviet Union. Contents range from the early 1920s to the rehabilitation of repressed nationalities in the 1990s dealing with internal (kulaks, ethnic and political deportations) and international forced migrations (German internees and occupied territories). An abundance of facts, figures, tables, maps, and an exhaustively-detailed annex will serve as important sources for further researches.
 

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This short book is a succinct and comprehensive account of the appalling forced deportations of peoples and communities from soviet territories from the beginning of the USSR until some years after the end of WWII.
I found one striking omission, however. Virtually no information is included about just what happened to these innocent people at the end of their dreadful journeys; those who survived, that is. Many were deported to areas where the climate was harsh, no proper shelter was provided and no employment was available. Some, probably, were somewhat more fortunate. But we really need to know how these communities coped and survived, and indeed how they were received in those cases in which the communities were returned, or allowed to return, to their homelands.
One of the most notorious cases was that of the Crimean Tatars: the entire population was deported by Stalin in 1944 on the pretext that they has been Nazi sympathisers.
Some of the worst crimes of Stalin and his brutal colleagues are represented in these stories. Making due allowance for the omissions referred to, this book still deserves a wide reading so that a better understanding of these events may result.
Dr Alan N Cowan, Canberra Australia
 

Review: Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR

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This is a must-read for those who are interested in Soviet history. Mass population transfer worked in concert with network of Gulag Archipelago, feeding the system with fresh labour. The history of ... Read full review

Contents

FORCED MIGRATIONS BEFORE THE SECOND WORLD WAR 19191939
59
Dekulakization and kulak exile 19301931
70
Kulak exile and famine repercussions in 19321934
84
Frontier zone cleansing and other forced migrations in 19341939
92
FORCED MIGRATIONS DURING AND AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR 19391953
115
Total preventive deportation of Soviet Germans Finns and Greeks in 19411942
123
Retributive total deportations of the peoples of the North Caucasus and Crimea in 19431944
140
Preventive forced deportations from Transcaucasia and other deportations during the last stage of the war in 19441945
153
Internment of Germans in Southeast Europe
249
Internment of Germans on the territory of the Third Reich
260
Some outcomes of the operation for the internment of Germans
265
EMPLOYMENT OF LABOR OF GERMAN CIVILIANS FROM EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN THE USSR AND THEIR REPATRIATION
277
Beginning of repatriation of internees and new labor reparations
285
Further repatriation process and its completion
290
GEODEMOGRAPHIC SCALE AND REPERCUSSIONS OF FORCED MIGRATIONS IN THE USSR
305
AFTERWORD
321

Compensatory forced migrations in 19411946
157
Ethnic and other deportations after the Second World War 19491953
164
PATTERNS OF DEPORTED PEOPLES SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION PROCESS
181
Patterns of deported peoples settlement at the destinations
185
Rehabilitation and internal repatriation of Kalmyks and peoples of the North Caucasus
194
Rehabilitation of Germans
201
Rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars
210
Rehabilitation of Meskhetian Turks
216
Repressed peoples and ethnic conflicts on the territory of the former USSR in the 1990s
223
INTERNATIONAL FORCED MIGRATIONS
239
INTERNMENT AND DEPORTATION OF GERMAN CIVILIANS FROM EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO THE USSR
241
Repressive forced migrations in the USSR
327
Chronology of official legislative acts issued by the state and party bodies of the USSR and its successor states concerning forced migrations or their c...
335
Report No 800 On planned resettlement from the Kursk Oblast 20 March 1938
373
USSR Supreme Soviet declaration On the recognition as unlawful and criminal of the repressive acts against peoples who were subjected to forced res...
375
BIBLIOGRAPHY
377
GLOSSARY OF RUSSIAN TERMS
399
ABBREVIATIONS
401
INDEX OF PERSONAL NAMES
407
INDEX OF GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES
413
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About the author (2004)

Pavel Polian is senior researcher at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and at the NS-Documentation Center in Cologne, Germany.

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