Sunday, November 30, 2008

Russian-Koreans in Karlag

Russian-Germans were not the only nationality called up into the labor army to work in Karlag. In February 1942, the Soviet government began the conscription of Russian-Koreans into labor army detachments. From Kazakhstan alone they mobilized some 20,000 Russian-Korean men (64). A recorded 2,141 of these men worked in the mines at Karaganda from 1942 to 1945 (63). Other Russian-Korean labor army conscripts worked in mines, construction projects, and tree felling throughout Uzbekistan and Russia (pp. 65-66). To date comparatively little research has been done on the subject of non-German nationalities conscripted into the labor army.


Valeriy S. Khan, "Uzbekistani Koreans in the Labor Army during W0rld War II (Historiography of the Problem)", International Journal of Central Asian Studies, Vol. 11, 2006, pp. 59-71.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blog Type

According to this website Otto's Random Thoughts is the following type of blog.

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever. The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work in their own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

Another Best Blog Darts Thinker Award

The Best Blog Darts Thinker Award for today goes to Russell Arben Fox at In Medias Res. He has a lot of interesting essays on modern communitarianism. Having lived in Arivaca Arizona for two years I am a big fan of communitarianism.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Political Science Blog for Best Blog Dart Thinker Award

Today's Best Blog Dart Thinker award goes to Laura McKenna at 11D. I have now given out nine awards. I have six left to go.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Blogs Named After Frogs for the Best Blog Darts Thinker Award

The next three Best Blog Darts Thinker Awards go to a trio of related blogs on East Asian History. They are Frog in a Well Japan, Frog in a Well China and Frog in a Well Korea. These three blogs have a lot of interesting short academic pieces of an historical bent.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Three Best Blog Darts Thinker Awards for Writing on the Middle East

I have grouped these three blogs together because they all deal with the Middle East. In particular, they focus on the problems stemming from Israel's continued denial of national self determination, justice and human rights to the Palestinian people. The first award goes to Mark Elf and crew at Jews sans frontieres, the second to Philip Weiss at Mondoweiss and the third to Leila Abu-Saba at Dove's Eye View.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's Best Blog Darts Thinker Award

This is the second blog in my list of fifteen to get the Best Blog Darts Thinker Award. Today the award goes to Peteris Cedrins of Daugavpils Latvia for his very thoughtful blog Marginalia. It has a wealth of insightful essays on various aspects of history, politics and literature as it relates to Latvia. Although Latvia is a small country, it has a very rich and interesting history.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Best Blog Darts Thinker Award

Fear and Loathing in Georgetown has awarded my blog with a Best Blog Darts Thinker Award. This is the first time in over four years of existence that this blog has won any award. I am supposed to acknowledge the award and pass the award on to fifteen more blogs. However, I have not seen any requirement that I list all fifteen of these blogs in a single post. Also, FLG himself only named eleven blogs. Which I believe sets a precedent for procedural flexibility. I will name one blog that deserves the Best Blog Darts Thinker Award each day for the next fifteen days. The first one is Kristina Gray's excellent Kazakhnomad's Weblog. See the entry below and click on the links to see some of the reasons why she deserves this award.

Karlag NKVD

My friend Kristina Gray has a series of posts on her blog about Karlag, the labor camp complex that operated in Karaganada Oblast, Kazakhstan from 1931 to 1959. She visited Dolinka, the administrative capitol of this section of the Gulag Archipelago. Karlag prisoners engaged in a wide variety of economic activities including agriculture, coal mining, limestone quarrying, glass manufacturing and food processing. At the end of 1943, a contingent of Russian-Germans mobilized into the labor army arrived at Karlag. By January 1944 they numbered 1,280 people including 488 women versus 50,080 convicted prisoners of which 20,572 were women. The labor army colonies in Karlag primarily worked in coal shaft no. 4. In January 1946, the NKVD demobilized the Russian-Germans working in the labor army at Karlag and reclassified them as special settlers. However, they still remained legally obligated to remain working in coal shaft no. 4 and other Karlag enterprises. The corrective labor camp complex in Karaganda Oblast continued to house prisoners for another thirteen years.

Source: A.A. German, "Sovetskie nemtsy v lageriakh NKVD v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny: Vklad v pobedy," Voenno-istoricheskie issledovania v Povolzh'e , Sb. Nauch., (Saratov: Izd-vo: "Nauchnaia kniga," 2006), Issue no. 7, p. 297.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AUCA Professor Murdered in Bishkek

An unidentified man stabbed Maciej Chowaniok two nights ago in Bishkek resulting in Chowaniok bleeding to death. A citizen of Poland, Chowaniok taught journalism at the American University of Central Asia and Kyrgyz National University. He was 28 years old.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Article on Anti-Nazi Sudeten Germans: There were over 200,000 of them

A very large number of the Sudeten Germans forcibly expelled from Czechoslovakia actively fought against the Nazis. This article from a Czech source suggests that the number was certainly over 200,000. The expulsion of the Sudeten Germans included not only Germans who actively fought against the Nazis, but also German speaking Jews. Like the Soviet deportation of the Russian-Germans to Kazakhstan and Siberia and the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians it was a racially based policy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Bishkek Blackouts

The government promised that there would be no more power cuts after 1 November 2008 until spring 2009. This promise has already been breached several times. Last night the power went out at my flat. Over fourteen hours later when I left for work this morning it still had not come back on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Unionize It!

Today I joined the new faculty union being organized here. It always felt weird to be working in a country that officially celebrates May Day and not have a union card. Workers of the World Unite!

Winter has Arrived

Last night it snowed again and today it is cold.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Strange Weather

Yesterday it rained hard. Last night it snowed. This morning it was cold. Now it is warm and sunny. Kyrgyzstan has even more radical weather changes than Arizona. At least there are no monsoons here.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

New Link - Moon Brothers

I have been working as an historical consultant for the film Under Jakob's Ladder since summer. In order to keep posted on the progress of this project I suggest you check out the Moon Brothers' own blog. I have added a permanent link to their blog to my blog roll.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Dollar is Up

In the last couple of weeks the dollar has been going up. It has risen from 34 to almost 39 som. This is very good news for me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Commemoration of Karachai Deportation

Here is a link to an article describing the recent activities in Karachaevo-Circassia to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the deportation of the Karachais.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More on the Karachai Deportation

For those interested in the ethnic cleansing of the Karachais 65 years ago here are some of my earlier posts on the subject. The first one is another post on the actual deportation. The next one is on the Karachai "special settlers" in Kyrgyzstan. The final post is on the Karachais sent to work in the Pakhta Aral region on cotton farms. From November 1943 to November 1944, the Stalin regime conducted a serious of punitive deportations against the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks. The Soviet government deported these nationalities in their entirety from their homelands to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and in the case of the Kalmyks to Siberia. Along with these wholesale deportations, the NKVD also ethnically cleansed Crimea of its Greek, Armenian and Bulgarian minorities and the border regions of Georgia of Kurds and Hemshins. I will try and cover the 65th anniversary of each of these deportations.

Monday, November 03, 2008

65 Years Since the Deportation of the Karachais

On 2 November 1943, Soviet security forces forcibly resettled almost the entire Karachai population of nearly 70,000 people from their North Caucasian homeland to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Soviet government then dissolved the Karachai Autonomous Oblast and divided its land among other administrative territories. It also changed many of the geographical place names of within the region. It completed this ethnic cleansing by sending the Karachais living outside their national oblast or serving in the Red Army to join the rest of their kin in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In exile in Central Asia the Karachais came under a series of legal disabilities that separated them from most other Soviet citizens. Classified as “special settlers” the Soviet regime imposed severe restrictions on the residency and movement rights of the Karachais. They also lived in conditions of extreme poverty and thousands died prematurely of malnutrition, disease and exposure. In the years after Stalin’s death there arose a movement by Karachai activists to lobby Moscow for the right to return to their former homeland. The Soviet government allowed the Karachais to return home to the Caucasus only after 1957. They, however, did not restore the borders of the Karachai Autonomous Oblast. Instead the Soviet government created a Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast by combining most of the former territory of the Karachai Autonomous Oblast with the Cherkess Autonomous Oblast. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the Karachai population in exile in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan opted to return to their ancestral homeland during the next few years. By 1960 over 80% of the Karachai population lived in this new administrative region. For more than a dozen years virtually the entire Karachai population lived as exiles and second class Soviet citizens in Central Asia far from their Caucasian homeland.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Mobile Phone

Ten months ago I purchased my first mobile phone. It was a used and older model Nokia. It cost me 1700 som. Yesterday it died. The battery refused to charge. My girlfriend said she could get me a brand new phone for less than 2000 som. I was skeptical, but sure enough while I was at work yesterday she found a brand new current model Nokia for 1800 som. So I am thinking that I got seriously ripped off on the first phone purchase. A lot of merchants here seem to have no moral compunctions about stealing from foreigners. It is a primary reason why there is so little foreign investment here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rashid Khalidi (Mein Doktorgrossvater)

I notice that Khalidi's name is all over the blogosphere. I do not know the man directly. He was, however, the Ph.D. supervisor of my own Ph.D. supervisor. Or as I like to call him, my Doktorgrossvater. I saw him speak once at SOAS. I thought his talk was very good. It was certainly not "radical" compared to many other speakers on Palestine at SOAS. Indeed, other than in the context of US politics, where any criticism of the State of Israel is taken as "radical" could Khalidi be considered anything, but a moderate. But, of course in the US even opposition to such extreme Israeli policies as torture and killing children is often denounced as "anti-semitism."

I have not read most of what Khalidi has written. But, what little I have read is quite impressive. For my Politics of the Middle East class this semester I assigned the piece below.

Khalidi, Rashid, “Observations on the Right of Return,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Winter 1992), pp. 29-40.