Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

To all my readers I wish you a Happy New Year. Like 2005 and 2006 my main goal in 2007 is to get a job. If I do not get one of the four university positions I applied to recently then I am going to seriously start thinking about a non-academic career. I am not sure what I could do, but I have been looking without success for a lectureship for over two years now.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I thought this blog was dying, but maybe I was wrong

I had thought that this blog was slowly dying. Its ranking on technorati has been rapidly falling and most of my incoming links have disappeared in the last few months. For a long time I have had a constant readership of about a half a dozen people. Half of those people are family members. But, in the last couple days I have found evidence that as many as ten people may have read my blog this week. That would mean that my readership has almost doubled in the last few days. I am still a long ways from the thousands of readers claimed by trendy blogs, but any new readers are greatly welcome here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

63 Years Since "Operation Ulusy"

Sixty-three years ago the Stalin regime deported the vast majority of the Kalmyk population from their historic homeland to Siberia. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 115/144 on 27 December 1943. This decree bore the ominous title, “On the Liquidation of the Kalmyk ASSR and the Formation of the Astrakhan Oblast as a Part of the RSFSR.” This decree ordered that “1. All Kalmyks living in the territory of the Kalmyk ASSR are to be resettled to other regions of the USSR and the Kalmyk ASSR liquidated.” The next day the Council of Peoples Commissariats issued Resolution no. 1432-425ss calling for “all Kalmyks, living in the Kalmyk ASSR to be banished to Altai and Krasnoyarsk krais and Omsk and Novosibirsk oblasts.” On the same day the NKVD began the systematic round up and deportation of the titular population of the Kalmyk ASSR to Siberia. During 28-29 December 1943, the NKVD and NKGB forcibly removed over 90,000 Kalmyks from their homeland leaving virtually none remaining in the territory of the former ASSR named after them. Code-named “Operation Ulusy” this ruthless ethnic purge followed in the tradition of the earlier deportations of the Volga Germans in September 1941 and the Karachais on 2 November 1943. The Kalmyks found themselves swept far from their homeland on the Caspian Sea and deposited in the freezing climate of Siberia.

The Soviet security forces loaded the Kalmyks into train wagons giving them only a couple of hours to gather a few possessions to take with them into exile. They lacked warm clothes, shoes, adequate supplies of food and medicine. The trek eastward by rail in the dead of winter killed thousands of the deportees. They perished from exposure, acute typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and other diseases related to poor sanitation. Upon arrival in Siberia this extreme deprivation and excessive mortality continued to afflict the Kalmyks.

The Stalin regime placed the Kalmyks under special settlement restrictions and employed them in agriculture, timber harvesting, construction projects, fishing and industry. Initially the majority of Kalmyks assigned to collective farms received no food. The NKVD housed many of the Kalmyks in barns and huts incapable of providing sufficient shelter. They lacked linen, clothes and shoes. In Novosibirsk Oblast only half of nearly 15,000 Kalmyk special settlers had proper clothes and shoes as late as 1945. These conditions all contributed to the high mortality of the deportees. The filth, cold and hunger they suffered from left them both more vulnerable to catching and perishing from communicable diseases. The Kalmyks proved especially susceptible to tuberculosis. In less than two years exposure, malnutrition and most of all epidemics had reduced the civilian Kalmyk population by nearly twenty percent. Live births only overtook deaths among the Kalmyks in 1949, more than five years after being banished from their homeland. For half a decade the material deprivation imposed upon the Kalmyks by the Stalin regime steadily reduced their population.

The Soviet government only allowed the Kalmyks to return from Siberia in 1957. For over 13 years they suffered in exile under the supervision of special commandants of the NKVD. No Soviet officials ever stood trial for this crime. Instead the USSR has retained a large number of apologists in the US and other countries.


Alieva, S.U., ed., Tak eto bylo: Natsional’nye repressi v SSSR, 1919-1953 gody (Moscow: Insan, 1993).

Bakaev, P.D., ed. Ssylka kalmykov: Kak eto bylo: Sbornik dokumentov I matrialov (Elista: Kalmytskoe knizhnoe izd-vo, 1993).

Bougai, Nikolai, The Deportation of Peoples in the Soviet Union, (Commack, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1996).

Bugai, N.F., ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, Fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Bugai, N.F., L. Beria – I. Stalinu: “Soglasno vasheumu ukazaniiu…” (Moscow: “AIRO XX”, 1995).

Bugai, N.F. and Gonov, A.M. “Po resheniiu pravitel’stva soiuza SSSR” – [deportatsiia narodov: dokumentov I materially], (Nal’chik: El’fa, 2003).

Conquest, Robert, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (New York: Macmillan, 1970).

Critchlow, James, “Punished Peoples” of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin’s Deportations, (Washington DC: Human Rights Watch, September 1991).

Maksimov, K.N., Vyslany – ostavleny navechno (Elista: Kalmytskoe knizhnoe izd-vo, 1993).

Milova, O.L., ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-e 1950-e gody), (Moscow: RAN, 1992).

Nekrich, Aleksandr, trans. Saunders, George, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation And Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War, (New York, W.W. Norton, 1979).

Pan’kin, A and V. Papuev, eds., Dorogoi Pamiati, (Elista: Dzhangar, 1994).

Ubushaev, V.B., Kalmyki: Vyselenie: Vozvrashchenie 1943-1957 gg., (Elista: Izd-vo “Sanan”, 1991).

Viktor Krieger's New Book On Russian-Germans

Viktor Krieger's book, Rein, Volga, Irtysh: Iz Istorii nemtsev Tsentral'noi Azii [From the History of the Germans in Central Asia] (Almaty, Kazakhstan: Daik-Press, 2006) is now out. It is a history of the Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. You can go here to see the book's cover, table of contents and some links to sample chapters. I am very much looking forward to reading it in its entirety. For more information on Dr. Krieger's recent scholarship on the Russian-Germans you can go to his website. He has done a lot of very important research on little known aspects of the history of the Russian-Germans under both Tsarist and Soviet rule.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Remziya Molbayli Died Yesterday

The founder and president of DOST Crimean Women's Humanitarian League of America, Remziya Molbayli, died yesterday. Her work to aid needy Crimean Tatar children, however, still goes on. Lots has been written about the recent deaths of Ford and James Brown, but in a real sense I think the recent work of people like Remziya Molbayli is more important.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Failure of Nationalism and the Rise of Political Islam in the Islamic World

In recent decades nationalism has largely been in decline in the Islamic world while political Islam has been on the rise. The success of nationalist movements in the Islamic world has been rather lackluster since the late 1970s. In contrast various strains of political Islam have seen several spectacular victories since that time. Both Shiite and Sunni Islamic parties have generally shown much more dynamism than nationalist ones in the Islamic world during the last two decades. The rise of political Islam has been largely to fill the vacuum left by the failure of nationalist orientated politics in many Muslim majority countries.

A key plank of both adherents to various nationalist visions and those advocating a political program based upon Islam in the Middle East, Africa and Asia is independence from foreigners. Although the opposition to foreign occupation is defined differently in both cases, the desire for self-rule is clearly articulated in both. Fifty years ago the nationalists clearly had the advantage in organizing effective resistance to foreign rule. Now it is clear that political Islam has the upper hand.

The most spectacular victory of the nationalists in the Islamic world in the years after World War II took place in Algeria. Here the nationalist FLN defeated the French at great cost and established an independent state. The FLN fought the Algerian Revolution to liberate the Arab population of the country from European colonial rule. The revolutionaries defined their struggle as one of national liberation not of overthrowing an un-Islamic government ruling over Muslims. The FLN established a secular nationalist Arab government upon achieving independence.

Almost as spectacular as the 1962 victory over the French in Algeria has been the failure of nationalists to liberate Palestine. Despite a great deal of rhetoric on the issue in the Islamic world in general and the Arab world in particular, the nationalists have failed to free the land and people of Palestine from foreign rule. The inability of the nationalists to reverse the 1948 and 1967 loss of Palestinian land to the Zionists represents a major failure on their part. Just as most of the rest of the Arab world as well as most of the Islamic world outside the communist bloc achieved independence, Palestine came under a new foreign occupation. Armed by the communist bloc, the Zionists not only seized 78% of the land of Palestine in 1948, but ethnically cleansed it of 80% of its native Arab population. Known in Arabic as Al-Nakba (The Catastrophe) this was a collective psychological blow to the entire Arab world. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the main actors fighting on behalf of the Palestinian cause were nationalists of various stripes. Unlike the nationalists in Algeria they were not successful in creating an independent Palestinian Arab state in the lands of the former British Mandate of Palestine.

In contrast to the nationalist failure in Palestine, the forces of political Islam can claim two major victories over foreign powers since the late 1980s. In Afghanistan, the proponents of Islamic jihad lay claim to victory over the Soviet Union, a superpower that no longer exists in part due to this defeat. Granted the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its puppet regime had a large number of factions, some more nationalist and less Islamic than others. But, the Afghan national struggle became entwined with global Islamic jihad through the efforts not only of native movements, but more crucially elements in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. The consequences of the involvement of these elements in the war against the Soviet Union include the Taliban take over of Afghanistan, the formation of Al-Qaeda and the proliferation of the idea throughout the Islamic world that Muslim jihadis can succeed where nationalists have failed.

The other military victory of political Islam against foreigners has been the success of Hizbollah against the Israeli army in Lebanon. Although a Shiite rather than Sunni movement, Hizbollah accomplished what many observers thought impossible not once, but twice. They forced the Israelis to withdraw from Lebanese territory. Given the overall history of military conflict between the Israelis and various Arab forces since 1948 this is an incredible victory for political Islam. Over half a century of nationalist resistance to Israel by the Arabs failed to defeat the Israelis. In contrast the Islamic orientated Hizbollah won twice on the battlefield against the Israelis in less than a decade.

One crucial reason for the recent rise of Islamic based political movements is that unlike the previous ascendant nationalists they have successfully delivered on the promise to roll back foreign rule over Muslim majority countries. This gives them a definite edge over the competing nationalist visions in the region. Much of the popular appeal of political Islam is the result of this success.

Happy Boxing Day

For some reason the US does not observe Boxing Day. But, I know it is a big deal in the UK where I used to live for a while. It is also observed in Canada, New Zealand and most of Australia. My calender claims that South Australia celebrates another holiday on Boxing Day called Proclamation Day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everybody reading this has a Merry Christmas. My uncle and I still have no plans for the holiday weekend. But, it looks like the weather will be nice.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Oriental Winter Solstice Party

Yesterday, Chris and his two oldest kids came by the ranch to celebrate Winter Solstice. I went with an Oriental theme. I served mint tea, spicy chicken wings and apple shisha. The music covered much of the Islamic Orient and included selections from Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I have now finished my job applications for the year

I have now finished all my job applications for 2006. This year I only applied to four jobs. I applied to two post-docs and two overseas lecturships. In 2004 I applied to 75 academic positions and got one interview for a position overseas. Last year I applied to 26 posts and got two interviews from the same institution that interviewed me in 2004. I figure that academic job searches are like lottery tickets. The odds of me getting a job are so small that applying to one gives me about the same real world chance of winning as applying for a hundred.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Publishing Delays

I have now been officially informed that all three of my book chapters as well as the encyclopedia article that were previously scheduled to be published in 2006 will not come out until 2007. I finished writing the most recent of these pieces over a year ago. The oldest of the pieces will be over four years old by the time it is print. Academic publishing is truly on the opposite end of the spectrum from blogging when it comes to the time lag between submitting a finished piece of writing and seeing it published.

We Have Running Water Again. I Hope It Lasts.

Well, I think the water problem is solved now. The main pipe is no longer leaking and the new solar panels are pumping water from the well into the tank. This morning I even got to use the shower inside the house.

This is my 500th blog post here

Finally, after over 28 months of blogging I have broken the 500 post mark. Other than myself I do not think anybody has read all 500 posts. But, I would be interested in knowing how many posts my half a dozen readers have read. In the event that you do not want to count up the actual number of posts I will settle for knowing how long people have been reading this blog.

It has now been two weeks since we had running water

I really hope that we have running water soon. I am not sure I can take this much longer.

I always liked his croutons

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is Very Funny

Not having any running water is not funny. But, baiting Nigerian 419 criminals is very funny. Check out The Barrister Jubril Project if you want to laugh so hard it hurts.

Hat tip: Randy Barnett at The Volokh Conspiracy

I have now updated to Blogger Beta

Okay, I have now updated my blog to the Beta version. Primarily so that I can comment on other people's blogs and have them comment on mine. Now, I expect to get lots of comments.

Correction, We Had Water Again, But No More

Everything looked like it was going to work. The solar panels were pumping water into the house tank without any problem. But, then it got cold last night and the main pipe from the tank to the house broke again and we lost all the water pumped by our new solar panels. This was the original problem we had before the old solar panels died.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We Have Water Once More

The new solar panels did the trick. We now have water pumping from the well into the house tank. Given that the old solar panels were over 30 years old it is a miracle they lasted as long as they did.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The New Solar Panels Arrived Yesterday

Last night, Frank the UPS man delivered our new solar panels. I hope this solves our water problem.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Water Situation Update

We had Obe Sweetwater, the local solar power expert, come and look at the well. He said the solar panels are shot and we need new ones. He also suspects the motor is kaput, but we will deal with that potential problem after we get new panels installed. My uncle has now ordered new solar panels. They are quite expensive at $1000 for two.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Provisional Conference Schedule

I now have a preliminary timeline for the 10 March 2007 First Arivaca International Conference on International Borders and Migration. I have reproduced it below. The conference will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and is open to the public. It will take place at the Arivaca Community Center.

I. Introduction - J. Otto Pohl (Arivaca, AZ)

Coffee Break

II. Crossing the Borders into Fortress Europe -Richard T. Griffiths (University of Leiden)

III. Illegal Migration to the Netherlands: Causes, Consequences, Government Policies, and the Reactions of the Dutch Public - Chris Quispel (University of Leiden)

Lunch Break

IV. Undocumented Migration and Human Rights in Germany- Heide Castaneda (University of Arizona)

V. Discourses of Difference and Ideologies of Belonging: Writing Immigrants into Spain's Print Media- Maisa Taha (University of Arizona)

Coffee Break

VI. Smuggling Child Labor into the US - Greta Uehling

VII. Labor Migration from Uzbekistan to Russia and Kazakhstan - Dinora Azimova (UWED, Tashkent)

VIII. Conclusion

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You can live without love, but you cannot live without water

You can live without many things, but water is not one of them. We still have not got the well to pump any water for a second day in a row. This could get very desperate very fast. If anybody reading this knows how to fix solar powered wells could you come out to Serenity Ranch and take a look at our system?

Teaching Philosophy?

Right now I am applying for a job that requires me to submit a statement of my teaching philosophy. Since I have never taught I am having trouble with this. What else is there to say other than I will lecture, assign readings and assign papers? I do not think I can make that stretch for 1000 words. In the very unlikely event that somebody reading this knows any websites or books that might have useful hints or examples could you please either e-mail me or leave a comment below? It would be most appreciated.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We Still Have No Water

Despite repairing the pipe from the tank to the house we still have no water. Now the well is not working. We are not sure if the problem lays in the solar panels or the pump itself. If it is the pump then we are in big trouble. I took a shower outside today using a hose connected to the runoff cistern. I hope we get the water situation taken care of before it gets cold again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

We have no water again

Last night we again lost all the water in the tank connected to the house. The cold weather caused the t-joint that gave us trouble last year to disconnect once more. The thing actually broke this time. So this weekend my uncle and I will have to replace it with a straight piece of joining pipe. I have no idea why anybody would be so dumb as to put a t-joint on the main water line from the well to the house. The spur only goes about five feet and leads to nothing more than a spigot in the middle of nowhere. Surely it would have been easier to get another ten feet of hose to connect to the next nearest spout. A spout which is connected to the overflow cistren rather than the house tank by the way, making it an even better alternative. On the bright side of things, unlike last year we know where the pipe from the tank to the house is buried. We also have a pick so digging the thing up was much easier.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Exciting Life in Arivaca

In the last two days the weather has gone from perfect to near freezing. It is cold, dry and windy with the high less than 50 F and the low below 30 F. The meterologists on the radio say this weather will continue for the rest of the week. The strong winds make it feel even colder. This is the type of weather one expects in Kazakhstan not Arizona.

We have a bunch of events scheduled in town for the Christmas season. Tonight we have a dinner and fund raiser at Arivaca's newest eatery. The RV park on Universal Ranch has decided to open a restaurant. In fact tonight is its opening night. They are serving lasagna. Saturday there is a lecture on the drought of 1920-1941 and the annual Christmas Tea at the library. A week after that is the Winter Fest at the community center and the week after that there is another fundraiser at La Gitana hosted by Banjo Dave. After that I have lost track of the festivities between now and Christmas, but there are a few more.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving in Arivaca

Yesterday, my uncle and I went to the annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner at the community center. There were a lot of people there and a huge amount of very good food. I had dark turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, two kinds of gravy, salad, sweet potatoes, pickles, bread, pecan pie and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. It ranks as one of the best meals I have had this year.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Live at Otto's Chicken Shack

Yesterday, Chris came over to the Chicken Shack to visit. He brought along with him a fiddle and some very yummy homemade hummus. He added habernero and chipolte chilis to the hummus to give it a bit of a bite. We smoked apple shisha and talked about music, literature and film. He also played some Irish folk and Bluegrass tunes on his new fiddle. It was the first concert ever staged in the Chicken Shack. I hope to able to arrange some more live music at the Chicken Shack in the near future.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I need a new writing project

Now that I have finished writing the first draft of Catherine's Grandchildren there is a void in my life. I currently have no large writing project to work on. For the last week or so I have been giving this matter some thought. But, I have not come up with any exciting ideas for a new writing project. If anybody reading this blog has any suggestions please leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.

Breakfest meeting with a local notable

Today I had breakfest with Arivaca notable Mark Dresang at his house. I am hoping he can arrange for me to give a talk here. I am naming this project "The Little Idea" to differentiate it from "The Big Idea." Someday I will come up with "The Giant Idea." But, I suspect that day is still a ways off.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anniversary of the Deportation of the Meskhetian Turks

On 15 November 1944, the NKVD began the systematic round up and deportation of the Meskhetian Turks, Kurds and Hemshins living in Meskheti-Javakheti. By 18 November 1944 the Stalin regime had forcibly removed over 80,000 people from this region. The NKVD loaded them into overcrowded and dirty cattle cars bound for Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Between 25-28 November 1944, the NKVD completed the ethnic cleansing of Turks, Kurds and Hemshins from Georgia. During these four days the Soviet security forces deported almost 10,000 more people from Ajaria. Later, soldiers demobilized from the Red Army, individuals forcibly repatriated from Europe and others joined their kinsmen in exile. In total the Soviet government banished nearly 95,000 Meskhetian Turks, Kurds and Hemshins to Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Disease and other causes resulting from poor material conditions killed many thousands of the deportees both during the journey into exile and the years following. By 1948 the Meskhetian Turks had suffered some 15,000 such deaths. Like other deported peoples, the Meskhetian Turks lived under special settlement restrictions and in extreme poverty in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Unlike most other deported peoples in the USSR, they were never allowed to return to their homeland in the Caucasus. After their release from the special settlement restrictions in 1956, they remained banned from returning to Georgia. The issue of repatriation to Georgia still remains unresolved.

Today the Meskhetian Turks remain dispersed across Eurasia and other regions. Substantial Meskhetian Turk populations exist in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the US. The Meskhetian Turks in the US are refugees resettled from Krasnodar Krai in Russia. There is even a small community now in Tucson.


S.U. Alivea, ed., Tak eto bylo: Natsional'nye repressi v sssr, 1919-1952 gody (Moscow: Insan, 1993), vol. III.

N.F. Bugai, ed. , Iosif Stalin - Lavrentiiu Berii: "Ikh nado deportirovat'": Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba Narodov, 1992).

T.S. Kulbaev and A. IU. Khegai, Deportatsiia (Almaty: Deneker, 2000).

Arif Yunusov, Meskhetian Turks: Twice Deported Peoples (Baku: Institute of Peace and Democracy, 2000).

I do not have to walk to Tucson this month

I got a postcard in my mail box today. It was a small one. The return address was the Pima County Superior Court. It contained two lines of text. The first one read, "Your request to be excused from jury service is granted with regard to this summons." So for the time being I am off the hook. Of course I may get called again.

New Publication Out Now

My review of Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars' Deportation and Return by Greta Uehling is now in print. You can read it in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History vol. XXXVII (winter, 2007), pp. 457-458.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Catherine's Grandchildren

On Saturday I finally finished writing the first complete draft of Catherine's Grandchildren: A Short History of the Russian-Germans under Soviet Rule. It runs 152 pages. Upon reading the manuscript I was surprised by how well it flowed. I was anticipating it would need substantial editing. It looks like it will only need minimal editing. I should be finished with the first correction by the end of the week. Now I need readers to take a look at it and give me their opinions. If you would like to be one of my readers either send me an e-mail or leave a comment here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Unpaid Scholastic Production

I got another abstract for the Big Idea the other day. This one was on labor migration in Central Asia. Since the sender lives in Central Asia, I hope she can make it to the conference. It is a very long trip for a one day event.

The Woodrow Wilson Center has now given official approval for the book, Going Home. I have a chapter on deported peoples in the USSR in it. I am not sure when it will see print. I am told that the book being edited at SOAS on Central Asian cotton that contains my paper, A Caste of Helot Labourers, will probably be published before the end of the year. I think Border Changes in 20th Century Europe should also be out before 2007. It will contain my paper, Ethnic Erasure: Soviet Ethnic Cleansing and Return Migration. Also my paper, Suffering in A Province of Asia: The Russian-German Diaspora in Kazakhstan has been accepted for publication. It will appear as a chapter in a collected work on German diasporas to be published in Canada. In total that is four book chapters. Each one to be published in a different country. The first in the US, the second in the UK, the third in Germany and the last one in Canada.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Social Life in Arivaca

Arivaca's social calender has been rather full recently. Last Saturday there was the annual Day of the Dead celebration. Arivaca's observation of this holiday is always on a Saturday so that is why the party was two days after the actual day. On Sunday there was a wedding in the park next to the old school house. The school house was built in 1879 which makes it old by US standards. They stopped teaching classes there in 1953. Next Saturday there is a Mesquite pancake breakfest. Then things should return to normal.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Addition To The Blogroll

My good friend Abdulhadi has at long last joined the 21st century and started a blog. It is a good thing too. The absolute wretched state of blogdom in general recently makes every good blog a rare fine. Abdulhadi provides that extremely rare commodity, insightful commentary on the Middle East. Go over to Abdulhadi's World and check it out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One Single Day

On 2 November 1943, the Stalin regime rounded up and deported most of the Karachai population from their ancestral homeland in the North Caucasus to desolate areas of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Only those young men fighting in the Red Army against Nazi Germany avoided deportation for the time being. They would be demobilized and sent into internal exile after 3 March 1944. In a single day the NKVD uprooted nearly 70,000 people from their homes and loaded them into freight trains. More than three quarters of the deportees consisted of women and children. The sudden expulsion from their homeland proved to be a traumatic event that still haunts the survivors even today.

The trip into exile took on average between two and three weeks. Each wagon car held on average more than 50 Karachais. Food, water and sanitation as well as space all proved to be inadequate during this journey. Disease spread rapidly under these conditions and took a high toll among the exiles. Many of the survivors of the trip arrived in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in poor health.

In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the Soviet government placed the Karachais under special settlement restrictions and assigned them to work on collective and state farms. The Karachai special settlers came under the authority of NKVD special commandants. They could not leave their assigned places of work and residence without special permission from the NKVD. Every month they had to register with the NKVD commandants and they had to carry special identification documents noting their inferior and stigmatized legal status.

The Karachais encountered deadly living conditions on the cotton, tobacco, sugar beet and other farms where they worked in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. They endured severe shortages of food, lived in overcrowded and substandard housing, and had almost no medical care. Malnutrition, typhus, exposure and other maladies resulting from this deprivation killed almost one out of every five Karachais during the 1940s.

Only after 1957 did the Soviet government allow the surviving Karachais to return to their homeland in the North Caucasus.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This Week's Progress

First, I will give you the good news. I got another abstract for the Conference on International Borders and Migration today. I now have five abstracts, four of which deal with immigration in Europe. I also found out that a conference paper I presented a couple months ago has been selected for publication as part of a book. Finally, I have now verified 72 scholarly works that cite my published writings.

Now, here is the bad news. I have been selected for jury duty on 30 November 2006 in Tucson. Since I have no way to get to Tucson this is a problem. Not having any transportation was not listed as one of the reasons for exemption. I am going to write to them and tell them that they will have to send somebody to pick me up and take me to the court in order for me to discharge my civic duty. If that does not work I am going to have to start walking to Tucson on the 28th of November. That is unless somebody wants to give me a ride.

I also have been informed that only one of my three recs arrived for my recent post-doc application. I have written the other two letter writers about this. I hope they can get the letters off soon. I probably did not have much chance of getting it in the first place since I do not know the correct people or hold the correct political views. But, surely this does not help my case.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Secret Ingredients

I have now cooked about a half dozen different variations of fried rice. Two ingredients that greatly add to the dish are fresh serrano chilis and sultanas. I like the flavor and extra heat of the serranos better than jalapenos. The sultanas give the rice a really good sweetness.

The Big Idea Is Moving Along

I have gotten three abstracts for my Conference on International Borders and Migration since Saturday. Two of these abstracts came from overseas. So it looks like the conference will have some speakers besides myself after all. Despite the fact that the conference is taking place on the US-Mexican border in Arivaca it appears that most of the papers will deal with illegal immigration into Europe.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What I did today

Today I found another two scholastic books that cite me. My verified citation index is now up to 66 separate books and articles. When it gets to 75 I will write a special diamond jubilee post about it. I honestly do not believe that anybody with fewer citations than me should be allowed to work at a university. The citation index is one of the few semi-objective measures of the worth of research in the humanities. How is it that people who are cited once or twice have tenure track jobs and people like myself cited dozens of times are unemployed?

I also sent out a reminder to all of the people who expressed an interest in my Conference on International Borders and Migration that their abstracts are due 1 November 2006. So far I have only gotten one abstract. If I do not get some more by the middle of next week it might just be the two of us. Even I think that might be an awful long and agonizing eight hours.

The rest of the day was less productive. I walked into town, checked my e-mail, drank some coffee and otherwise wasted time. It is days like this I wish I could go someplace else other than Arivaca for a few hours. But, since I do not know how to drive even going to Tucson (36 miles) is an impossible dream. It has now been over two months since I have been out of Arivaca. It will probably be many more months before I leave again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Citation in Lituanus

I have now verified 64 citations of my work in various scholarly books and academic journal articles. I find on average about one to two a week. Most often the journal articles that cite my work are not available for public viewing without paying outrageous fees. Recently, however, I found an article citing me that is available on the internet for free. The article is L. Latkovskis, "Baltic Prisoners in the Gulag Revolts of 1953," Lituanus, vol. 51, no. 3 (fall 2005). It says very good things about my first book, The Stalinist Penal System, in the footnotes. Go here to read the article. It is quite good.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fun with Fried Rice

Last night I think I made one of my best dinners ever. I cooked fried rice influenced by a variety of Asian cuisines. Using my wok I fried cooked brown rice in olive oil with onion, apple, carrot, chili peppers, chicken and soy sauce. It was very easy to make and tasted outstanding. As a result of last night's dinner I am going to start experimenting with different variations on the fried rice theme. You can basically add any vegetable, meat or even fruit to the rice. I like sweet and spicy dishes so I am going to be playing with various fruit and chili combinations.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Is there a world outside of Arivaca?

Recently I have gotten no confirmation that I exist to the world outside of Arivaca. Or indeed that there is a world outside of Arivaca. I have a dim memory of leaving Arivaca a couple months ago but, surely with North Korea having nuclear weapons, the outside world could have ceased to exist in that time. I have gotten no personal e-mails, phone calls or letters to disprove the idea that the rest of the world no longer exists. I have not even gotten any comments on my blog. It is like being in an episode of the Twillight Zone. This must be how remote areas like Arivaca always felt in the old days before rapid communication became possible.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Other Germans

I have written quite a bit on this blog about the plight of the Russian-Germans during World War II. A number of ethnic German civilians from outside the USSR also found themselves deported to various areas of the USSR to perform forced labor. Over a quarter of a million German men and women endured this fate. More than 66,000 of them perished in less than five years as a result.

According to Pavel Polian, Against their Will (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004) the Soviet archives show the following figures.

Number of regisration cards of interned and mobilized civilians in GUPVI (Main Administration of POW Camps and Internees)

344, 671 (p. 267).

Mobilized German civilians sent to USSR Jan.-Mar.1945. (p. 266).

77,741 from Upper Silesia and East Prussia

67,332 from Romania

31,920 from Hungary

12,579 from Yugoslavia

189,572 subtotal

Added after filtration through NKVD camps 18,667.

208,239 Total

Arrested and interned foreigners in GUPVI (includes Poles and Japanese) March-May 1945 - 94,601. (p. 266).

These two catagories total a little over 300,000. But, not all of them were ethnic Germans. Out of those mobilized 10,983 ethnic Poles were repatriated by 1 Oct. 1946. Another 15,597 arrested Poles were repatriated by Feb. 1946.

As of 20 Dec. 1949 the Soviets still held 5,554 civilian Japanese and 7,448 Poles in GUPVI camps and had repatriated 3,968 Japanese and 6,942 Poles since 1945. (Polian table 1.7, p. 293).

Polian thus gives the number of ethnic German civilians sent to forced labor camps in the USSR as forced laborers as 272,000. (p. 293).

The number of recorded deaths among these internees by1949 was 66,468. (p.295). Thus about a quarter of the German civilians shipped from Central Europe and the Balkans to the USSR died in four years.

Interestingly enough no rehabilitation can legally be granted by the Russian government to people repressed outside the USSR. In all cases the point of deportation is considered the legal location of such acts not the destination within the USSR. (Polian, p.297).

The glacier melts a little bit

Today is much better than yesterday. The wind is still pretty strong, but I think it blew all the pollen in Pima County over into Sonora Mexico. Unlike yesterday, I did not spend all day today sneezing. As a result of this improved health I was able to accomplish something today. I finally finished and mailed off the post-doc application due next month. I had forgotten how much work these things require. This one wanted four course descriptions as well as a research proposal. That seems like a lot of teaching for a one year post-doc position.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Moving at the speed of a glacier

Things are still moving slowly here in southern Arizona. I intend to finish and mail off the post-doc application this week. Other than that I have not done much productive in the last couple of days. Today the wind is horrible and my allergies have almost incapacitated me. I hope it lets up soon.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quick Update

My life is moving pretty slow right now. I have an application for a post-doc position due next month which I still have to complete. Other than that I do not have any pressing deadlines. I recently got asked to peer review another article. I e-mailed them back and told them I would do it and asked when my evaluation was due. I have yet to hear back on the due date. My current writing project is moving ahead slowly. Catherine's Grandchildren is now up to 145 pages. I hope to finish up the first draft soon. I had one person drop out of my Conference on International Borders and Migration. But, I think enough presenters will still show up to make the conference viable. I will have a better idea about the number of participants after 1 November 2006. By then I should have all the abstracts of the presenters.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Return of the Toads

Yesterday I finished filling in all the trenches containing our newly fixed powerlines. I had to move a lot of dirt from big piles by wheelbarrow and build a couple of berms to protect the pipes containing the wires. The mounds of dirt I moved had a lot of little toads burrowing in them. I think they were getting ready to hibernate. Elsewhere on the ranch I have also noticed the return of the toads. I had to expel one clever toad from my bedroom twice. I have no idea how he got up the stairs to the second floor. I think maybe he caught a ride on the dog. I was worried that with the monsoons being so late that we were not going to get many toads this year. Like everybody else in Arivaca they just showed up late. Which is a lot better than never.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Very Perceptive Comment

I got this comment recently on one of my older posts. It was on the 1 August 2006 post providing a timeline of the Soviet deportation of the Russian-Germans. I thought it was worth putting it up front where it would enjoy a larger readership. I have reproduced the comment below.

Dear Otto, Viktor and Carla,thank you very much for your articles about the history of Russian Germans.

This tragic event in the History of WWII is hardly mentioned in Mainstream media. Most left-wing ideologists still believe that there was no racism or ethnic cleansing under the communist dictatorship and that the only victims of the Soviet Regime were the Jewish "Refusniki", persecuted in Brezhnev period of Soviet history. When it comes to the history of Russian Germans and their sufferings under the Soviet Regime most people would say: "Hey, they were Germans and the Soviet Union fought a war against Germans. Germans were the "bad guys" and got what they deserved". This logic is very schizophrenic. On the one hand these modern ideologists say that Communists were not racists and that makes the difference between Communism and Nazism. On the other hand they talk about a war between Russians and Germans (not between Communism and Nazism). Ilja Ehrenburg talked abut "Killing the Germans" (not the Nazis). Well, some events in human history are really very schizophrenic and it is nice to know that there are people who tell the truth.



Big Idea Update

Last week I sent out a reminder to those people who expressed interest in the Conference on International Borders and Migration I will be hosting on 10 March 2007 that their abstracts are due 1 November 2006. Today another scholar expressed interest in attending. I was quite pleased to note that his proposed paper deals with migration from Central Asia to Russia. I look forward to reading his abstract and hope he can attend the conference.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Labor Situation at the Serenity Ranch Dirt Mine

I have not gotten much work done on Catherine's Grandchildren done in the last few days because I have been moving a lot of dirt around the ranch. Digging trenches and filling them back up again is very low on my list of possible careers I would like to pursue. There is a reason regimes like those of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot forced intellectuals to dig trenches as a form of punishment.

On the other hand I did some more immigration work this week and it did not involve any sore muscles. It was nothing so exciting as another political asylum case. This case was just a work visa extension. All it involved was translating a letter from German to English. But, I did get paid for it. I have yet to see any checks for any of the articles I have written for peer reviewed academic journals.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Current Book Project

I started writing on Catherine's Grandchildren again. I got two pages done this morning. I am now up to 142 pages. I should be able to finish the first draft in the next couple of weeks. I do not anticipate it being much longer than 150 pages. Most of what I need to write will go into the 1917-1920 chapter. After I complete that section I will finally have written a narrative history of the Russian-Germans under Soviet rule from 1917 to 1987 without any large gaps in it. Then I need to send the manuscript out to readers for some feedback. I am still looking for readers by the way. If any of my half dozen blog readers are interested in reading the manuscript and willing to critique it for me please send me an e-mail.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Slow Blogging Ahead

I probably will not be doing a lot of serious blogging in the next couple of weeks. I have other things I would like to do instead. I am going to concentrate on finishing Catherine's Grandchildren. The manuscript has stalled for the last few months. But, I think I can get it restarted this week. I keep finding new things to add.

Other than finishing the book manuscript I would also like to get my Ph.D. dissertation published. I stalled on this project over a year ago when I decided to concentrate on sending in applications for university teaching positions instead. I am greatly limiting these applications this year and hence have more free time.

I am not sure about other writing in the near future. I have a few shorter pieces scheduled for publication this fall. I am not sure if it is worth writing anything other than book manuscripts right now. Books seem to have much larger and more importantly longer lasting audiences than journal articles.

After I finish Catherine's Grandchildren I am not sure what my next major writing project will be about. If the book does better than my last two books then I think I will continue writing in a popular rather than an academic vein. I am open to suggestions on this matter.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why there is no deportation post today

I had another post on Russian-German deportations written, but I could not get the disk I put it on to open. I think there is something wrong with the disk. So nobody will get to read it today. I might try another day with another disk. The post was on the 65th anniversary of the deportation order regarding the Russian-Germans from the Kuban and North Caucasus. I am not sure if I am going to write any more historical posts for a while. I spent two hours writing this last piece only to have a technical problem prevent me from posting it. I could have used that time better working on my book manuscript.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Don Flowed Quietly Past German Villages Until 65 Years Ago

On 15 September 1941, the NKVD began the forced round up and deportation of the Russian-Germans living in Rostov Oblast in accordance with GKO order 636ss signed by Joseph Stalin nine days previously. In a mere three days the Soviet security forces packed over 38,000 men, women and children into cattle cars bound for Kazakhstan and Siberia. The Russian-Germans living along the Don River joined their ethnic kin from the Volga as special settlers living in Soviet Asia. Like the Volga Germans they suffered from a lack of proper shelter, food, clothing and medicine in their new areas of settlement. Many of them died from the resulting exposure, malnutrition and disease. Their traditional homeland along the Don had been lost forever.

Lutheran settlers from the Black Sea colonies established most of the German villages along the Don in the 1880s and 1890s. A few Catholic and Separatist communities also existed among the Don Germans. These settlements maintained their existence as German cultural islands until 1941.

The Russian-German settlements in Rostov Oblast represented just one of the many German diasporas deliberately annihilated during World War II because its inhabitants were of the wrong blood. The Stalin regime persecuted the innocent Russian-Germans because they shared a distant ethnic relationship with the leadership of the Third Reich. Stalin’s destruction of the Russian-German communities and the mass mortality they suffered due to their persecution deserves no less recognition than the Nazi crimes against the Jews.


N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “ Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow, Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Alfred Eisfeld and Victor Herdt, eds. Deportation, Sondersiedlung, Arbeitsarmee: Deutsche in der Sowjetunion 1941 bis 1956 (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1996).

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR v trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

O.L. Milova, ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-1950-e gody). Chast’ 2. Deportatsiia nemtsev (Sentiabr’ 1941-Fevral’ 1942 gg.) (Moscow: RAN, 1995).

Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlement in the United States (Fargo, ND: North Dakota Institue for Regional Studies, 1974).

V.N. Zemskov, Spetsposelentsy v SSSR, 1930 –1960 (Moscow: Nauk, 2003).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guess who came to dinner?

Chris and Sara have moved back to Arivaca. They came over to Serenity Ranch the other day for dinner. They brought chicken drumsticks marinated in garlic and lime with them to throw on the grill. We ate the chicken with rice and salad. It was really good. Before dinner they got to try out my new hookah and we smoked the last of my high quality mint tobacco. Chris agreed that it was a superior blend to the normal stuff. This Friday we will all be going to see the weekly live music at the Gadsden Coffee Shop. I have never been before because it takes place too late to walk back home.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Week

I am very glad to find out that this blog actually has some readers other than my family. I realize that I write about subjects with a pretty narrow audience. I do not imagine there are that many people interested in either life in Arivaca or Stalin's ethnic cleansing of various stigmatized nationalities. Right now, however, I am going to take a short break from writing about Stalinist deportations. The break will probably last at least a couple of days. It might even go a whole week. The subject was starting to depress me.

I finished editing the conference paper and sent it off for consideration as a book chapter. Now the only deadline I have is for the one postdoctoral application I am currently working on. It is not due for another seven weeks, so I have some time. I really do not think I have any chance at getting it. But, I feel I should be sending in at least some applications. When I figure out a viable use for my Ph.D. other than working at a university I can cease using the post office as an OTB. I doubt that I will apply to more than a half dozen positions this fall anyways.

I have been doing a lot of reading of Ottoman history recently. Currently I am reading three books that relate to the subject. I have only been to Turkey once and I had to spend most of my time there in Ankara. Istanbul is a city I have only seen at night and then mostly from the windows of moving buses. I would really like to go back to Turkey and spend at least a week in Istanbul. For westerners it is probably the city that most represents the urban side of the Islamic Orient.

The wild flowers are in full bloom here now. We have lots of pretty yellow, purple and orange ones. It is like some sort of fantasy jungle at Serenity Ranch. I feel like I am in a painting when I walk through it. It certainly contrasts greatly with my recent writings on the deportation of the Russian-Germans to Kazakhstan.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who reads this blog?

In college I was taught to write for your intended audience. Of course it helps to have an idea who comprises that audience. In regards to this blog I am not real sure. I know the audience is small and includes my parents and one of my uncles. Beyond that I do not have much information to go on. In fact I think they may be my only regular readers. A few other people have e-mailed to tell me that they read it every so often. Others have e-mailed me to note they have read certain posts after I have informed them that I have written on particular subjects of their interest. I suspect that the number of people who find posts on my blog on their own, however, is almost nil. Unlike most blogs I have almost no readers that are themselves bloggers. This means I get almost no feed back via comments or links to other blogs.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I Will Be Doing This Fall

In the next few weeks I am going to try and figure out some sort of plan for my future. I have to revise one conference paper for consideration as a chapter in a book in the next two weeks. But other than that I have no looming deadlines. So I have time to devote to this project. I hope to have figured something out before the end of the year. I also hope to finish writing Catherine's Grandchildren: A Short History of the Russian-Germans under Soviet Rule soon. I would also like to find a publisher for my Ph.D. thesis, but that may take a bit longer. Unlike the last two years I will not be wasting a lot of time applying to university positions. I will apply to a few postdoctoral positions, but I have absolutely zero optimism that any of them will even consider me. I should never have listened to the people who urged me to spend another year applying to university posts. All it did was set my life back by another year. The time I wasted filling out those applications would have been far better spent doing just about anything else. Just thinking about the dozens of books I could have read during that time makes me sad.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"On Germans, Living on the Territory of the Ukrainian SSR."

On 31 August 1941, the Soviet Politburo issued a resolution entitled “On Germans, living on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR.” This decree ordered the mobilization of all Russian-German men aged 16-60 in Ukraine into construction battalions. The NKVD rounded up these men under the pretext that their ethnicity made them “anti-Soviet elements.” By 3 September 1941, the NKVD had formed 13 forced labor battalions with a total 18,600 men. The NKVD sent these Russian-German men to the Ivdel, Solikamsk and Bogoslav labor camps in the Urals without trial. In Ivdel they felled trees. In Solikamsk and Bogoslav they built large factory complexes. These men formed the first wave of Russian-Germans forcibly inducted into the labor army (trudarmiia).

The legal conditions of the Ukrainian born Russian-Germans mobilized into construction battalions rapidly deteriorated during the fall of 1941. On 11 September 1941, the NKVD reorganized these battalions into work colonies and assigned responsibility for their supply and organization to GULag. By 20 November 1941, they had come under GULag discipline. The NKVD housed them in barracks and prohibited them from leaving their assigned labor columns. They had to carry special ID cards noting this legal prohibition. On 2 January 1942, the NKVD again intensified the regimentation of these forced laborers. They issued new instructions for organizing the life and work of the mobilized Russian-Germans. These instructions created a special zone around their barracks patrolled by armed guards and dogs to prevent escapes. They also established a minimum ten-hour workday with only one day off every ten days. A large part of the instructions dealt with punishment for failure to fulfill work quotas, violating discipline or damaging state property. Administrative punishments ranged from a verbal dressing down to ten days of solitary confinement with only a half hour exercise break each day under armed escort. Men in solitary confinement had to sleep on the naked floor. Special NKVD boards tried serious and habitual offenses. These boards had the authority to impose the death penalty. The men in what later became the labor army occupied a social and legal position in the USSR not significantly above that of convicted prisoners.

Material conditions in the labor camps for the mobilized Russian-Germans proved to be deadly. They lacked warm clothing, blankets, shoes, bedding and sufficient food. Frostbite and exposure afflicted and even killed many men working outside during the winter. Malnutrition related maladies such as scurvy and pellagra became common due to a lack of protein and vitamins. Overpopulated, damp and unsanitary barracks led to epidemics of typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and other diseases. These poor material conditions led to massive excess mortality. Between January and July 1942, the NKVD recorded the death of 17.6% of the mobilized Russian-Germans in Solikamsk and 12.6% in Bogoslav. Many of the men sent from Ukraine to the camps in the Urals in September 1941 never returned.


N.F. Bugai, ed., Mobilizovat’ nemtsev v rabochie kolonny…I. Stalin” : Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR v trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ukaz no. 21-160

On 28th August 1941, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 21-160. This decree ordered the deportation of all the Volga Germans to Kazakhstan and Siberia. Unlike most deportation decrees this one was published soon after its approval. On 30 August 1941, the two largest newspapers in the Volga German ASSR, Nachrichten and Bolshevik, printed the deportation order in its entirety. Below I have reproduced a translated version of the decree as found in N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii, “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), doc. 3, pp. 37-38. The translation from Russian to English is my own.

“On Resettling the Germans, Living in the Region of the Volga”

28 August 1941

According to reliable reports received from military authorities among the German population living in the region of the Volga exist thousands and tens of thousands of diversionists and spies who are now awaiting a signal from Germany that they should conduct sabotage in the region settled by Volga Germans.

On the presence of this large number of diversionists and spies among the Germans, living in the region of the Volga, nobody informed the Soviet authorities, therefore the German population of the region of the Volga concealed amongst themselves enemies of the Soviet people and Soviet authorities.

In the case that diversionist acts are conducted, according to orders from Germany by German diversionists and spies in the Volga German Republic or its adjoining regions, bringing about bloodshed, the Soviet leadership would according to the laws of wartime be required to bring punitive measures against the entire German population of the Volga.

In order to avoid this undesirable occurrence and to prevent serious bloodshed the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet deemed it necessary to resettle the whole German population, living in the region of the Volga, to other regions, with the provision that the resettled will be allotted land and rendered state assistance for settling in their new regions.

Those to be resettled are to be assigned to areas of abundant arable land in the regions of Novosibirsk and Omsk oblasts, Altai Krai, Kazakhstan and other neighboring localities.

In connection with this the State Defense Committee is directed to quickly undertake the resettlement of all Volga Germans and allot those resettled – Volga Germans land in their new regions.

Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
M. Kalinin

Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
A. Gorkin

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Citation Bibliography is now up to 60

The number of scholarly books and journal articles that cite me that I can verify is now up to 60. That is pretty good considering I wrote the two books most of them cite with nothing more than a BA degree. I wonder how my citation list stacks up against those 100 people who got hired instead of me for lectureships in the last two years.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More on Chechens and Navajos

Here is my review of Margaret Ziolkowski’s, Alien Visions: The Chechens and the Navajos in Russian and American Literature (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005). This book consists of an introduction, three chapters on the Chechens, three chapters on the Navajos and a conclusion. The book is a comparison of the depiction of Chechens in Russian literature and the Navajos in American literature. As such its main focus are the literary images of these two peoples rather than their history. Nevertheless, the book provides a very good historical background on both Chechen-Russian and Navajo-Anglo relations.

The Chechen half of the book deals first with the construction of the “evil Chechen” stereotype in 19th century Russian literature. Lermontov in particular is credited with insinuating the Chechens as the archetypical “oriental savages” and “bandits” into the Russian mindset. Lermontov, Pushkin, Tolstoy and others wrote about the Chechens in the shadow of almost constant warfare by the Russian Empire against Chechen guerillas from 1785 to 1859. This literature created a racial image of the Chechens among Russians that has remained remarkably constant to this present day.

Ziolkowski next deals with the 1944 deportation of the Chechens and the one significant Russian novel tackling the subject, Anatolii Pristavkin’s Nochevala tuchka zolotaia (A Golden Cloud Spent the Night). This book appeared in 1987 at the start of a brief interlude in history when it looked like it might be possible for the Russian people to come to terms with Stalin’s crimes against the Chechens and other deported peoples. Alas a Russian Vergangenheitsbewaltung regarding the ethnic cleansing of the Chechens, Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars and others did not take place. This chapter provides a very good summary of Chechen history under Soviet rule. It also has a great title, “Sympathy for the Devil: Anatolii Pristavkin and the Chechen Deportation.” It is very rare that one sees allusions to Rolling Stones songs in scholarly works on the Caucasus. In this case it is wholly appropriate.

The last chapter on the Chechens deals with the resurrection of the almost unaltered 19th century stereotype of the “evil Chechen” in Russian literature since 1994. This racial image has been used to justify the two brutal wars launched against the Chechens since this time. The Chechen still remains a “savage” fit only for extermination in Russian popular literature.

The first chapter on the Navajos deals with novels that deal with the issue of boarding schools and assimilation into Anglo culture. Written during the first half of the 20th century these books had largely abandoned the 19th century stereotype of the Navajos as incorrigible “savages” that only understood military force. Thus already a hundred years ago, US depictions of the Navajos in popular fiction had evolved into a more positive series of images than the current Russian literary stereotype of the Chechens. Instead these works took a variety of opinions on the policy of boarding schools. These opinions ranged from support of total assimilation to an advocacy of combining Anglo knowledge with Navajo values to opposition of the policy as alienating the children from their own culture without integrating them into Anglo society.

The second chapter on the Navajos deals with literature that pertains to the Union Army’s round up of the Navajos and their forced march to Bosque Redondo where they spent four years in captivity. In contrast to the dearth of Russian novels on the Chechen deportation the 20th century produced a number of fictional works that refer to Bosque Redondo. American writers have grappled with how to describe and explain this crime against humanity in a variety of ways. Some have even gone so far as to admit that Bosque Redondo was little more than a concentration camp. In many ways Bosque Redondo resembled the special settlements where Stalin banished the Chechens eighty years later.

The final chapter on the Navajos looks at the phenomenon of mysteries set on the reservation with native protagonists. In particular it examines the novels of Tony Hillerman and Aimee and David Thurlo. Here Anglo writers treat Navajo characters both as fully human and expressing that humanity through their own cultural traditions.

Ziolkowski explains the divergence in the US literary representations of the Navajos and other indigenous peoples of North America and the Russian depiction of the Chechens in an oversimplified manner. She claims that it is the fact that the Navajos have been completely subdued and no longer posed any perceived threat to Anglos that allowed American writers to portray them in a more positive light. In contrast continued Chechen opposition to Soviet rule followed by an active attempt to become politically independent of the Russian Federation reinforced Russian racial stereotypes. It is true that since 1868 the Navajos have kept their promise to maintain peace with the US government. They have also not asked for political independence. But, it is very doubtful that Russian racism towards Chechens would have evaporated to the same extent if the Chechens had acted in a similar manner. The Russian treatment of other deported peoples who have remained committed to pacifist agendas and never advocated independence strongly indicates that this is the case.

The plight of the Meskhetian Turks in Krasnodar Krai is another vivid example of Russian racism in practice against a Caucasian people deported by Stalin. After 1989 around 15,000 settled in the region after fleeing a pogrom in Uzbekistan. The local government has systematically denied them legal residency and subjected them to a reign of official harassment and discrimination. It has even turned a blind eye to Cossack violence against the Meskhetian Turks. The local media routinely depicts all Meskhetian Turks as criminals in a manner similar to the national portrayal of Chechens. Unlike the Chechens the Meskhetian Turks never militarily resisted Soviet or later Russian rule. Instead their struggle to return to their homeland followed the example of the Crimean Tatars and eschewed all violence. Also like the Crimean Tatars they merely desired an autonomous territory in the USSR similar to that enjoyed by the Chechens after 1957. This moderate political stance has not dissipated Russian racism towards them to any appreciable degree.

Despite her failure to adequately explain the divergence in US depiction of the Navajos and Russian images of the Chechens, Ziolkowski’s book still is well worth reading. She provides very good summaries of both Chechen and Navajo history. Although the 1864 removal of the Navajos to Bosque Redondo and the 1944 deportation of the Chechens to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have a lot of apparent similarities the differences in the history of the two peoples in the last half a century are immense. They are so immense that attempting to explain them may be an impossible task.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Public Apology to my Readers

For some reason blogger has only sent me e-mail notification of one comment recently. It was the one by Susan. When I approved her comment I noticed I had four comments awaiting publication that I did not know about. I have published them all now. Two were to my 1 Aug 2006 post on the 65th anniversary of the Russian-German deportations. They were left by Dr. Wills-Brandon and Dr. Krieger. Another one was to the letter from Beirut sent to me by Eugene. It was left by Ms. Welcker of Columbia. Finally, the last one was on the recent Long March post. Chris left that one.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Many Deportees Can Dance on the End of a Bayonet?

Pinpointing the exact number of Russian-Germans deported in the fall of 1941 is impossible. This is not because the Soviets did not leave any statistical evidence in the archives. On the contrary it is because they left too much. There are numerous documents all giving precise figures on the number of deportees. These multiple precise figures do not correspond with each other. Part of the problem is inaccurate counting including double counting. Another problem is differing dates. A problem intensified by the existence of undated documents. Finally, it is not at all clear when some of these counts took place. It is probable that some of the higher figures refer to the Russian-Germans counted at the point of round up and deportation and the lower ones to those arriving alive in the regions of special settlement. Deaths due to typhus and other causes in the trains would then account for much of the difference between these figures. For instance A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin state that they believe the figure 856,168 refers to a count taken before the deportation and the figure 799,459 to a count taken upon arrival. (p. 37). The difference in these two figures is 56,709 (6.6% of the first count) a loss in line with that endured by other deported nationalities during transit. Since I was trying to give a sense of the number deported rather than the number to survive the deportation I used this first number in my post of 1 August 2006. The following numbers come from several document collections and serve to illustrate this problem. This is only a partial sample of the archival material that has been published on this problem. All these figures are accurate in the manner I have portrayed them both here and in earlier posts. They are numbers officially reported by the NKVD.

28 October 1941 NKVD report reproduced in Bugai, doc. 33, pp. 65-66 and Eisfeld and Herdt, doc. 102, pp. 111-112 see also Milova, doc. 8, pp. 47-51.

Total number of Russian-Germans resettled by 15 October 1941


Number from the Volga German ASSR


13 December 1941 NKVD report cited in document reproduced in Milova, doc. 8, pp. 47-51.

Total number of Russian-Germans resettled


Number from the Volga German ASSR


25 December 1941 NKVD report cited in document reproduced in Milova, doc. 9, pp. 63-69.

Total number of Russian-Germans resettled


Count of resettled Russian-Germans as of 25 December 1941 from Collected Materials of the KGB of the USSR for the May 1990 Commission of the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for the planned press conference on the History and Current Situation of the Germans in the Soviet Union. Reproduced in Eisfeld and Herdt, doc. 131, pp. 132-133.

Total number of Russian-Germans resettled by 25 December 1941


Number from the Volga German ASSR


Undated report by NKVD on the number of resettled Russian-Germans from September 1941 to 1 January 1942. Reproduced in Bugai doc. 44, p. 75 and Eisfeld and Herdt, doc. 137, pp. 138-139.

Total number of Russian-Germans resettled by 1 January 1942


Number from the Volga German ASSR


Undated NKVD document on the number of resettled Russian-Germans 1941-1945, Bugai, doc. 45, pp. 75-76 and Eisfeld and Herdt, doc. 260, p. 282.

Total resettled as a result of state deportation orders





N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “ Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow, Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Alfred Eisfeld and Victor Herdt, eds. Deportation, Sondersiedlung, Arbeitsarmee: Deutsche in der Sowjetunion 1941 bis 1956 (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1996).

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR v trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

O.L. Milova, ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-1950-e gody). Chast’ 2. Deportatsiia nemtsev (Sentiabr’ 1941-Fevral’ 1942 gg.) (Moscow: RAN, 1995).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

65 Years Since the Uprooting of the Crimean Germans

At 10:00 pm 14 August 1941, Stavka issued Directive VGK No. 00931 under the signatures of Stalin and Shaposhnikov. It ordered, “Purge quickly the territory of the peninsula of all local residents – Germans and other anti-Soviet elements.” The next day the NKVD began the rapid and chaotic removal of the Crimean Germans by train to Ordzhonikidze (Stravopol) Krai and Rostov Oblast. The vast majority of the Crimean Germans, more than 50,000, found themselves initially sent to Ordzhonikidze Krai in the North Caucasus. Many families became separated during the evacuation. The NKVD only allowed the forced evacuees three to four hours to pack and limited their baggage to a maximum of 50 kg per person. Many people could not manage to bring much more with them into exile than some summer clothing a few days worth of food.

Most property had to be simply abandoned without compensation. Unlike deportees from other regions, the Crimean Germans did not receive any vouchers or receipts for the loss of their homes, buildings, livestock and most importantly grain stockpiles. The lack of these documents would make the later acquisition of food in Kazakhstan extremely difficult. The Soviet government was supposed to issue vouchers for abandoned and confiscated livestock, grain and other property to the resettled Russian-Germans. These vouchers could then be redeemed in their new locations. In Kazakhstan and Siberia the local authorities had orders not to issue any food to deportees without receiving vouchers in exchange. This situation left the Crimean Germans in an extremely desperate position.

In most cases the Soviet authorities failed to inform the Crimean Germans of their destinations or the fact that they needed to bring substantial amounts of food with them for the journey. As a result the majority of city dwellers completely ran out of food after only two to three days on the way to their new destinations. They also failed to pack winter clothing. This deficiency would later greatly add to their mass suffering and death in Kazakhstan.

The Stalin regime temporarily resettled some 50,000 Crimean Germans in Ordzhonikidze Krai and another 3,000 in Rostov Oblast. They remained in these locations only long enough to assist with the fall 1941 harvest. The NKVD then deported the Crimean Germans along with the rest of the Russian-Germans living in these territories to Kazakhstan and Siberia. The Soviet authorities carried out the deportations from Rostov Oblast during 15-20 September and those from Ordzhonikidze Krai between 25 September and 10 October. The NKVD assisted by the Red Army and regular police forcibly loaded these men, women and children into freight cars. The Crimean Germans had little other than what they had hastily packed in August. They arrived in their new locations hungry and totally impoverished.

Most of the more than 53,000 Crimean Germans deported by the NKVD from Ordzhnokidze Krai and Rostov Oblast ended up in Kazakhstan. Over 15% of the Russian-German deportees in Kazakhstan during World War II came from Crimea. The presence of such a large number of people without food and no legal means to immediately acquire any food created a serious humanitarian crisis. Many of them took to begging in an attempt to feed themselves and their families. Malnutrition and starvation quickly began to take a heavy toll among the Crimean Germans deported to Kazakhstan.

The Soviet authorities assigned the Crimean Germans to work on collective farms. Here they performed fieldwork including the harvest of beets. In exchange for their labor they received between 200 and 1000 grams of bread for each day worked. Family members who did not work including children got nothing. Some families had large numbers of minor children and only one or two workers. Many women capable of working did not receive work assignments further exacerbating the food shortage among the exiles. A lack of winter clothing prevented the Crimean Germans from working and earning bread during this season. The Stalin regime also placed the deported Russian-Germans under special settlement restrictions. These restrictions prevented them from leaving their assigned farms without special permission from the NKVD. Among other things these restrictions impeded the ability of the Crimean Germans to acquire food in Kazakhstan. During the fall and winter of 1941-1942, the Crimean Germans suffered from extreme hunger. It was a major cause of premature death among the group.

In addition to suffering from famine like conditions, the deportees also endured extremely poor housing conditions. The Soviet government housed the Crimean German deportees in already inhabited houses on the same collective farms on which they worked. They lived under extremely compact conditions. With few exceptions they shared these cramped quarters with ethnic Kazakhs. Many of the buildings used to house Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan had no glass windows or working doors. A shortage of construction materials prevented most necessary repairs. As a result the deportees lacked adequate shelter to protect them from the cold winter winds of Kazakhstan.

Poor nutrition and living conditions led to outbreaks of typhus, tuberculosis and other diseases that preyed upon the weakened immune systems of the exiles. Medical treatment for special settlers in Kazakhstan barely existed. Many Crimean Germans thus perished from the poverty related illnesses that thrived among the Russian-German special settlers.

Very few of the deported Crimean Germans ever managed to return to Crimea. The survivors remained exiled to Kazakhstan during the Soviet era. Their former homes, farms, churches and cemeteries lost forever.


V.M. Broshevan and V.K. Renpening, Bol’ i pamiat’ krymskikh nemtsev: 1941-2001 gg. Istoriko-dokumental’naia kniga (Simferopol: Tarpan, 2002).

N.F. Bugai, ed., Deportatsiia narodov kryma: Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Insan, 2002).

O.L. Milova, ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-e-1950-e gody). Chast’ 2. Deportatsiia nemtsev (Sentiabr’ 1941 – Fevral’ 1942 gg.) (Moscow: RAN, 1995).

A. Shtraus and S. Pankrats, eds., Svidetel’stva prestuplenii (Bishkek: Ilim, 1997).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Long March

This fall I will again not be starting work at a university. Instead I will remain in Arivaca for at least another year. Since I have no teaching experience there is no way I can ever get a job in academia even as an adjunct. This is an insurmountable obstacle. I have found that it can not be overcome by publishing scholarly books and peer reviewed journal articles. So I am going to completely forget about the idea of ever teaching at a North American University. Nobody will ever give me even an interview no matter how much I publish.

Instead I am going to rethink my future. I am also going to try and improve my mind, body and soul a little bit each day. I am going to keep writing. I am almost finished writing Catherine's Grandchildren. I much prefer the idea of writing for real people rather than academics. I am really looking forward to seeing what type of feed back the manuscript gets when I send it out.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Drug Bust Update

Another Arivacan who has lived here much longer than me gave me some information about the owners of the Grubstake and tire shop that sheds some light on yesterday's DEA activity. He said that the owner of the tire shop used to own the Grubstake, but lost it to his ex-wife in a divorce. The tire shop was run by his father, but was really just a front to launder money generated by his drug smuggling operations. Apparently the owner of the tire shop is a long time major smuggler of marijuana from Mexico into the US. In related news I noticed in the newstories today that a man arrested in Arivaca in February will be tried in October on drug and weapons charges. They found two tons of marijuana at his place and a sawed off shot gun. He faces life imprisonment.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Big DEA Busts in Arivaca Today

This morning the DEA raided the Grubstake Saloon and the tire shop here in Arivaca. I am quite sure the raids were related to the meth trade. The murder here last Thursday is also most likely connected with meth. People in the community have been expressing concern over what appears to be a recent influx of tweakers here. The other day I saw a sign up at the post office announcing "Tweakers you are not welcome here." It was signed by Mothers and Fathers Against Tweakers. The Orientalists in Arivaca are also against the presence of tweakers here. I hope the recent DEA raids will reduce the presence of these unwanted elements.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Great Arivaca Ocean

This weekend I took my little bass boat out on the pond that has filled up on the ranch due to the recent monsoon rains. The pond is about 20 feet by 50 feet now and over five feet deep in the center. It has a lot of tadpoles belonging to different types of toads and frogs swimming in it. I am thinking about stocking it with catfish so I can go fishing without leaving home.

Another Publication Due in October

It appears that my paper "A Caste of Helot Labourers: Special Settlers and the Cultivation of Cotton in Soviet Central Asia: 1944-1956" will be published in October by SOAS as part of a book.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chechens and Navajos

One thing that the magic of Google book search lets you do is find citations to yourself. For more than two years now I have been trying to keep a current list of all the publications that cite my work. I wish I could say I came up with the idea, but it was suggested to me by Mari-Ann Kelam. The list has grown to several pages. Today it just grew by two more entries.

My first book, The Stalinist Penal System will be 10 years old next year. It is still, however, cited fairly frequently in scholarly literature. I just found a citation for it from two years ago. Emma Gilligan, Defending Human Rights in Russia: Sergei Kovalyov, Dissident and Human Rights Commissioner, 1969-96 (London: Routledge, 2004) has an end note to my book. I think the fact that my work is still cited after so many years is a really good sign.

My second book, Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999) seems to get cited more frequently. I recently found a very interesting book that cites my chapter on the Chechens and Ingush extensively. The book is Margaret Ziolkowski, Alien Visions: The Chechens and Navajos in Russian and American Literature (University of Delware Press, 2005). This book quotes me at least half a dozen times. I am not exactly sure of the exact number since out of the three pages of end notes with citations to my book Google only lets me view two of them. These two pages cite my book five times. Aside from the fact this book cites me, I think the concept of comparing Soviet and American victims of ethnic cleansing is fascinating.

Both the ethnic cleansing of the Navajos and the Chechens took place during "Good Wars" at the hands of the "Good Guys." The Union Army marched the Navajos to Bosque Redondo during the Civil War and the USSR deported the Chechens to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan while fighting against Nazi Germany in the course of World War II. Since the victors write history there is of course very little published on either of these atrocities compared to Southern slavery and the Holocaust. I am quite sure that Ziolkowski's book is the first lengthy study comparing one of Stalin's national deportations with the earlier removal of Native Americans from their homelands. I like the research premise so I am going to try and find a copy of the book. When I do I will put a review of it up here.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This Blog Is Now Two Years Old

This blog is now two years old. It has been composed in England, Virginia, California and Arizona. During this time this blog has served several functions. First, it has allowed me to articulate all my random thoughts in a place where I won’t lose them. Second, it has provided me with an easy means of informing my family and friends of my doings. Finally, I have some evidence in the form of comments and e-mails that it has proven to be informative and entertaining to at least a few people. I have gotten positive feedback of this nature from about a dozen people in the last two years. If you are one of these people I would like to take the time now to thank you for your time and effort. Please feel free to continue to respond to the content of this blog. In the unlikely event I have any other readers I also encourage them to drop me a line. I am always happy to find out I have a new reader.

In the upcoming year this blog will continue to be a mixture of posts on my life in Arivaca and historical posts on politically incorrect peoples. I will of course be doing a series of posts to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Germans from 15 August to 21 November. I will not be posting much on my quest to get a job in academia. Primarily, because I am radically scaling back the quest. Other than post-docs and some overseas positions I am not going to send out any more applications for jobs at universities. I have concluded it is a waste not only of my time and effort, but also the time and effort of other people. I can no longer in good conscious request that they make these sacrifices for a cause that literally has no hope. I will be posting on my various other projects.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This Month is the 65th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Russian-Germans

This August marks the 65th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Germans to special settlements in Kazakhstan and Siberia. I will be doing a whole series on the ethnic cleansing of the Russian-Germans from European Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus during the summer and fall of 1941. The official day of commemoration of the deportations is 28 August. On that day in 1941 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz 21-160 ordering the deportation of all ethnic Germans living in the Volga region. This region included not only the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, but Saratov and Stalingrad oblasts as well. In total more than 400,000 Russian-Germans lived in these territories prior to their deportation during 3-20 September 1941. I will be in transit on 28 August so my post for the official commemoration will probably be on the 29 August. The deportation of the Russian-Germans, however, neither started nor ended with the Volga Germans. The ethnic cleansing of the Russian-Germans started in Crimea on 15 August 1941 and continued up through November. I will be posting on the deportation of each of the various Russian-German communities west of the Urals on the anniversary of their exile. I will start with the Crimean Germans on 15 August and finish with the Russian-Germans in Koshinsk Raion, Kubishev (Samara) Oblast on 21 November. I am trying to publicize these posts to as many people of Russian-German descent in the US as possible. If you know one or more of the more than one million Americans of Russian-German heritage please pass the address of this blog along to him or her. Below I have posted a time line of the deportation of the Russian-Germans during the summer and fall of 1941.

15 August 1941 – NKVD begins evacuation of Russian-Germans in Crimea to Ordzhonikidze Krai and Rostov Oblast. Over 53,000 Crimean Germans forcibly relocated.

28 August 1941 – Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issues Ukaz no. 21-160 ordering the deportation of the Volga Germans to special settlements in Kazakhstan and Siberia.

31 August 1941 – Soviet government orders all able-bodied Russian-German men in Ukraine sent to labor camps in Urals. NKVD rounds up and interns 18,600 men aged 16 to 60.

3-20 September 1941 – NKVD records deporting 446,480 (Other figures 376,717 and 438,280) Russian-Germans from the Volga German ASSR, 46,706 from Saratov Oblast and 26,245 from Stalingrad Oblast.

6 September 1941 – Stalin orders the deportation of Russian-Germans from Moscow and Rostov oblasts.

7 September 1941 – Soviet government dissolves Volga German ASSR.

8 September 1941 – NKVD issues Prikaz no. 35105 removing all ethnic Germans from the Red Army and Soviet military academies and sending them to labor battalions.

10-15 September 1941 – NKVD records deporting 7,020 Russian-Germans from Moscow Oblast.

15-18 September 1941 – NKVD records deporting 38,288 Russian-Germans from Rostov Oblast.

21 September 1941 – Stalin orders the deportation of Russian-Germans from Krasnodar Krai, Ordzhonikidze Krai, Tula Oblast, the Karabardino-Balkar ASSR, and the North Ossetian ASSR.

22 September 1941 – Stalin orders the deportation of Russian-Germans from Zaporozhia, Stalin and Voroshilov oblasts in Ukraine.

25 September – 10 October 1941 – NKVD records deporting 76,361 Russian-Germans from Ukraine and 125,118 from the North Caucasus.

8 October 1941 – Stalin orders the deportation of Russian-Germans from Voronezh Oblast and Transcaucasian republics.

15-30 October 1941 – NKVD records deporting 5,125 Russian-Germans from Voronezh Oblast and 46,633 from Transcaucasian republics.

22 October 1941 – Stalin orders the deportation of the Russian-Germans from Daghestan and the Chechen-Ingush ASSR.

25-30 October 1941 – NKVD records deporting 7,306 Russian-Germans from Daghestan and Chechnya.

2 November 1941 – SNK issues resolution on the deportation of the 5,706 Russian-Germans recorded as living in the Kalmyk ASSR.

21 November 1941- SNK issues resolution on the deportation of the 8,787 Russian-Germans recorded as living in Koshinsk Raion in Kubishev Oblast to Kazakhstan.

25 December 1941 – NKVD reports having deported a recorded 856,168 Russian-Germans from European areas of the USSR and the Caucasus to Kazakhstan and Siberia.


V.A. Auman and V.G. Chebotareva, eds., Istoriia rossiskikh nemtsev v dokumentakh vol. I, (1763-1992 gg.) (Moscow: MIGP, 1993).

N.F. Bugai, ed., Deportatsiia narodov kryma: Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow,
Insan, 2002).

N.F. Bugai, ed., “Mobilizovat’ nemtsev v robochie kolonny…I. Stalin”: Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “ Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow, Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Alfred Eisfeld and Victor Herdt, eds. Deportation, Sondersiedlung, Arbeitsarmee: Deutsche in der Sowjetunion 1941 bis 1956 (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1996).

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR v trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

O.L. Milova, ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-1950-e gody). Chast’ 2. Deportatsiia nemtsev (Sentiabr’ 1941-Fevral’ 1942 gg.) (Moscow: RAN, 1995).

One Year since I moved to the Desert

It has now been one year since I moved to the desert. The date is marked by the start of the monsoon rains. The region is again turning green with fast growing vegetation in the wake of the first substantial precipitation in 12 months. The toads can finally mate. Their loud croaking marks the start of a new cycle of life here. The renewal of life in the desert at this time seems a fitting marker to celebrate the anniversary of my presence here.

So I am taking this opportunity to assess my first year of living in the desert and to think about the upcoming next year. I must admit that I failed miserably at achieving the main goal I set for myself last year. For the second year in a row since receiving my doctorate I failed to get a job as a university lecturer. Both years only one institution even bothered to interview me. But, I am beginning to think that perhaps this is a case where I should be thankful to God for unanswered prayers. Two of the jobs I applied to in the last two years were at American University Beirut. There is no question that being unemployed and poor in Arivaca beats being killed by Israeli bombs in Lebanon. This is of course an extreme case. But, I think it might be an omen.

I have made good progress on all my other goals. My popular history of the Russian-Germans under Soviet rule, Catherine’s Grandchildren is almost finished. I should have a completed draft ready to send out to readers sometime this fall. I also completed a number of shorter pieces in the last year. These included one journal article, one book review and two book chapters in collected works. Not the most productive year true, but better than a lot of people manage with much better resources. Now that I will not be wasting my time applying to lectureships this upcoming year I expect to be able to be much more productive.

I have both expanded and deepened my intellectual horizons while living in the desert. I have read dozens of books on the history of Arizona, Mexico, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet, Russia, Pakistan and Chechnya in the last year. I must say that the library system for Pima County is much better than I expected. The librarians at the Arivaca branch of the TPPL are absolutely fantastic. They are extremely competent, knowledgeable and polite.

Finally, I have accomplished a feat I was not initially sure was possible. I have conditioned myself to walk ten miles a day in 110 degrees over unpaved roads without difficulty. Now the walk seems easy. But, there was a time less than a year ago when I considered it a tiring task. It was just a matter of will power and repetition to make the trek routine.

During my second year of exile in the beauty of the desert I intend to continue to exercise my mind and body. I plan to finish writing Catherine’s Grandchildren. On 10 March 2007 I will be hosting the Conference on International Borders and Migration, otherwise known as the Big Idea. Finally, I remain as always dedicated to helping free of charge anybody who feels they can benefit from my knowledge and expertise. You won’t get a better deal anywhere else. I hope my second year in the desert is as good as my first one.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Human Rights Review article finally in print

My article, "Socialist Racism: Ethnic Cleansing and Racial Exclusion in the USSR and Israel" has now been published in Human Rights Review vol. 7, no. 3 (April-June 2006). The article developed out of a conference paper I gave at Lebanese American University in May 2004. I got my author's copy of the journal issue in the mail today. If anybody reading this post has access to a university or other academic library I encourage them to go check it out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This Week's Modest Progress

This week so far I have managed to plod along and get a little bit done each day. Catherine's Grandchildren is up to 138 pages now. I finished the corrections on my book chapter, "Ethnic Erasure" and sent it by e-mail attachment to Estonia. I got the Conference on International Borders and Migration marked on the Arivaca Community Center's calender for next year. It is penciled in for 10 March 2007. So far I have gotten confirmations from six presenters including three from Europe. Unless something catastrophic happens in the next eight months, the conference looks like it is all set to go. I got everything including my letters of reference sent off to the overseas post-doc. Finally, I picked up an application for a part time job at the local post office.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I got another e-mail from Beirut

I got another e-mail from Beirut. Since the author gives permission to forward it to all interested parties I am posting it here. I have removed the contact information contained in the letter. Other than that I am reproducing it without any alterations.

Dear Friends and Family,

Dima and I were really overwhelmed by all the support and kindness we are literally receiving (by email and phone) from around the world! It does help a bit to take the edge off all the horrible images we are confronted with here daily.

(Just as a point of clarification, my wife Dima is doing OK, I only pointed out the visit to AUH last Monday to illustrate that one only ventures down to Beirut on important business. Please also feel free to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested.)

Life in the War

It has been a week since I last wrote and things have really gone from very bad to horrible. Not only have almost all bridges in the country been destroyed, but many mobile phone relay stations, TV broadcasting antennas (including the Roman Catholic church's own station), hospitals, refineries, bakeries, dairies, and other food processing plants. Refugee convoys have been targeted from land, sea and air and it has been difficult to transport fuel oil, natural gas canisters and gasoline. For the first time in ten days, the garbage truck came through to pick up the trash. At 1,000 meters we don't smell the burning city, but we do smell the stench of burning trash.

Bhumdoun, and the neighbouring mountain resort town of Aley, are now full of refugees from the south of Lebanon, the southern suburbs of Beirut and the Bekaa valley. Fortunately they haven't destroyed the highway up to Bhumdoun because the there are no bridges between us and Beirut. Lebanon's own "Europabrücke", the "Golden Gate Bridge" of the Middle East, was blown up on the very first day of the war, it's c. 7 kilometres up the hill from us; Dima and I were out for a walk and saw it happen. This was a very sad moment for this proud nation.

Dima and I have run into a lot of our former and current NDU and LAU students (Notre Dame Uni, Lebanese American Uni) up here, exclusively Shi'ias and Sunnis from the South and Dahia (the southern suburbs of Beirut). All of the Dabbous clan who were staying with us the first week have either moved on to Europe and North America, via Syria or Cyprus, or have returned to the wartime "normality" of life in Beirut. We are momentarily down to the regulars, i.e. those who live up in the family mountain house every summer. A lot of déjà vu here!

Our only really close call was the trip back up to Bhumdoun last Monday. We had just gone grocery shopping to stock up for the week and had loaded the car with food, beverages, (not to mention supplies for the cats, Sascha, Heidi and Elvis ;-) and 60 litres of gasoline (in the car's trunk for the mountain house emergency generator), when a huge burning object feel c. 500 metres beside the mall's parking lot. There was some speculation that it was a downed IDF fighter jet, but that proved not to be true.

Taking a Stand

I have received many mails expressing sympathy for us personally, but supporting the necessity of destroying Hizbollah once and for all. Some have even written that the Lebanese people deserve this collective punishment because they refused to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for the complete disarmament of all militias, i.e. the 1948 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Hizbollah.

From where I stand, i.e. married to a Ras Beiruti, Sunni-Muslim wife (NB: greater Ras Beirut is the Manhattan of Lebanon), and teaching political science and cultural studies at a Maronite (Lebanese Catholic) university for the last 6 years, the majority of the population views themselves as a third party in a war between two extremist forces, i.e. Islamism vs. Zionism.

As an Austrian-American Mennonite (Taufer or Anabaptist branch for the 16th century Reformation), I have always disagreed vehemently, both with my Hizbollah students and colleagues and with the "just war" and militarist Christians at my uni and amongst my friends. I see this war as a perfect illustration of the necessity and justification of my pacifist stance. This is indeed a war between two forces which, in their present form, are incapable of living in peace with the rest of the region. Tragically, it is only Hizbollah which is being called to task. Israel, which is responsible for at least 90% of the death and destruction during the last two weeks, enjoys the open support of the US, UK and Australian governments and the tacit support of Germany and many other EU member states.

Most of the international community agrees that Hizbollah must be disarmed. However, Israel, which has again displayed its total disrespect for the international norms governing military conflicts, human rights, respect for the Red Cross and especially for the protection of non-combatants, must be judged by the same yard stick.

The radical change that both the US, EU, UN etc, on the one hand, and the democratically elected Lebanese government, on the other, have called for, must include the total disarming of Hizbollah and the Palestinians, as well as an international tribunal to judge and punish the perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violations on both sides, i.e. also the Israelis!

What is to be Done?

Anybody reading this from outside the region can do two things.

1) Israel must be aware that the world is watching. NGOs and civil society in general should prepare to put pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the relevant human rights bodies to try both Hizbollah and the State of Israel for the crimes they have committed over the last few weeks.

2) Lebanon will be receiving huge amounts of international aid to rebuild the country. Following the 16 year Lebanese Civil War, between 1/3 and 50% of the aid received from abroad for reconstruction went into the coffers of corrupt war lords, corporate bosses and religious fanatics. Thus, foreign funding helped lay the foundation in the 1990s for the crisis we now have.

The EU, UN, US, KSA and other international donors should set up a monitoring body, to control and sanction every step taken by the Lebanese government during the reconstruction phase. This body should be a combination of the ERP (Marshall Plan) authorities, in place in Europe after World War II, and the European Union's accession monitors, which are now forcing Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria to clean up their respective acts.

Step one will help introduce respect for international rule of law, both in Lebanon and Israel. Step two will force rule of law onto the Lebanese political system and help foster good corporate governance.

The Coming Days

Dima and I are down in Beirut because she, as director of the Women's Studies Institute at LAU (IWSAW), has to take care of business, even during the war. We will be heading back up to Bhumdoun – InShallah – this afternoon and hope to be able to start teaching again ASAP.

Thank you very much for your best wishes, support, prayers, and thoughts.

[I have deleted his phone number here]

Best, Eugene