Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bizarre Cotton Story

Most Soviet deportations involved sending people from the Caucasus or European areas of the USSR to eastern regions of the USSR including Central Asia. But, during the deportation of farmers branded as kulaks in 1930-1931 the Stalin regime deported about 6000 Central Asian families to southern Ukraine and the North Caucasus. These special settlers had the task of introducing cotton cultivation into these areas. Since these regions are unsuitable for growing cotton the experiment was a failure from an agricultural point of view. Mike Thurman mentioned this episode in the questions regarding my paper at the conference in London. I had read about this particular deportation in passing before he noted it. But, evidently there is a growing body of literature on the subject in Uzbekistan today. It is the only instance in the numerous deportations conducted by the Stalin regime in which people were sent out of Central Asia.

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