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.