Friday, October 09, 2009

Walt Richmond on the False Charges of Treason Against the Deported Peoples

My colleague Dr. Walt Richmond left the following comment on my last post, but its detail and importance certainly merit it having a more prominent place on this blog. I will post later on some additional evidence that the decision to deport the Balkars was made by the Stalin regime before they formulated the false charges of treason against the entire nationality. But, in the meantime please read Dr. Richmond's piece. The italicized part of this post is from Dr. Richmond.

There was also a lot of disinformation concerning the Balkars' deportation. From the original draft of my book, which unfortunately I had to significantly edit:It had long been assumed that the notion of deporting the Balkars was first proposed in January 1944. Additionally, in his memoirs Z. Kumekhov, First Party Secretary of Kabardino-Balkaria, asserted that he vehemently opposed the deportation, which he only learned of on 25 February. However, Balkar historian Khadzhi-Murat Sabanchiev has recently illuminated the process through which the decision to deport the Balkars was made. On 20 February NKVD Chief Lavrenty Beria arrived in Grozny to supervise the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush. At the same time two documents were prepared in Nalchik. The first described the location and numbers of the Balkar population. The second stated that despite the all the efforts made by the Communist Party to help the Balkars a portion remained hostile to Soviet power, and that agents had informed the Party of a counter-revolutionary movement among Balkar nationalists. Therefore, the note concluded, it was necessary to deport the entire Balkar nation. The notes were signed by Kumekhov, local NKVD Chief K. P. Bziava and local NKGB chief S. I. Filatov. Beria signed the second note on 24 February, and on the same day reported to Stalin that during the occupation “the Balkars were negotiating with the Karachays about the unification of Balkaria and Karachay,” 1227 “bandits” had been arrested, and that “362 people fled from Balkaria with the Germans.” It should be remembered first that 1227 represented three percent of the 1939 population of Balkaria (assuming all the arrestees were Balkars) and 362 was less than two percent of the entire number of people who fled the North Caucasus with the Nazis. It seems that Beria had already decided to have the Balkars deported and was merely looking for “a suitable cause,” as Stalin had phrased it a quarter century earlier prior to the deportation of the Cossacks. These three “facts” apparently suited Beria as sufficient, for in the same telegram he recommended the deportation of the Balkar nation as soon as the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush was completed. Stalin replied affirmatively the next day. On 26 February Beria issued Prikaz (Order) 00186 entitled “On Measures to Resettle the Balkar Population from the Kabardino-Balkar ASSR.” In the order he recommended transferring one raion to North Ossetia instead of Kabarda. This proposal was rejected; Elbrus and Prielbrus raions were transferred to Georgia and the remainder to Kabarda, which was renamed the Kabardin ASSR.


Bugai, Nikolai. "Deportatsiia: Beriia dokladivayut Stalinu," Kommunist 3 (1991), pp. 101-12.

Pohl, J. Otto. Ethnic Cleansing in The USSR, 1937-1949. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Sabanchiev, Khadzhi-Murat. “Vyselenie Balkarskogo Naroda v Gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny: Prichiny i Posledstviia,” Murad Esenov, ed. Tsentral’naia Asiia i Kavkaz. Online. Available HTTP: (Accessed 10 April 2006).

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