Soviet policy towards its Kurds fluctuated and remained fragmented, ambivalent, and inconsistent throughout the existence of the USSR. On one hand the Soviet government provided for the material and cultural development of Kurds in Armenia and Azerbaijan during the 1920s and 1930s. On the other hand in 1937 it deported a number of Kurds from Azerbaijan and in 1944 an even larger number from Georgia to Kazakhstan and Central Asia as special settlers. The Soviet government freed Kurdish special settlers from the legal restrictions limiting their movement and other rights only in April 1956. Former Kurdish special settlers, however, could not return to the Caucasus. The Kurds remained a diaspora group in the USSR without any national territory and only limited cultural institutions. Only in the late 1980s did this situation change.