Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sixty Years since Operation "Priboi" (25 March 1949)

Sixty years ago the Stalin regime embarked upon the massive deportation of people from occupied Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia accused of being kulaks, bandits and nationalists as well as members of their families. Between 25 March and 30 March 1949, the MVD rounded up and placed on train echelons bound for Siberia over 90,000 people. According to one report by MVD chief Kruglov of 18 May 1949, the exact number of people deported during this operation reached 94,779 of which 25,708 were adult men, 41,987 women and 27,084 children. The largest contingent of deportees came from Latvia with 42,149 people (13,624 families) followed by Lithuania with 31,917 people (9, 518 families) and Estonia with 20,173 people (7,488 families). The Soviet government classified these exiles as special settlers and placed them under the same legal restrictions they had earlier imposed upon the Russian-Germans, Karachays, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks. The MVD dispersed these deportees to work on collective and state farms, mining gold and felling trees in Krasnoyarsk Kray, Novosibirsk Oblast, Tomsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Irkutsk Oblast and Amur Oblast.

Initial Location of Deportees

Krasnoyarsk Kray- 13,823 people (3,671 families)

Novosibirsk Oblast - 10,064 people (3,152 families)

Tomsk Oblast - 16,065 people (5,360 families)

Omsk Oblast - 22,542 people (7,944 families)

Irkutsk Oblast - 25,834 people (8,475 families)

Amur Oblast - 5,451 people (2,028 families)


N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin-Lavrentiiu Berii: "Ikh nado deportirovat'": Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: "Druzhba narodov", 1992), doc. 19, pp. 201-203.


Tadhg Ó Muiris said...

REUTERS, 16 March 2009:

RIGA, latvia – Several hundred veterans, relatives and supporters of a Nazi SS division formed from Latvians during World War II held their controversial annual commemoration today in defiance of a ban.

Riga city authorities had banned all marches for fear of a repeat of riots triggered in January by Latvia's economic crisis, but a column of veterans and supporters filed through the city anyway amid tight security.

Holding Latvian flags and singing patriotic songs, they laid flowers at the Freedom Monument, a statue symbolizing the Baltic state's independence.

Four people were detained from a group of about 12 mainly Russian-speaking protestors, who shouted "Hitler kaput" as the veterans walked by. Police quickly moved in to confiscate a Red Soviet-era flag. Another eight people were detained on a street away from the main march area.

The March 16 event has caused tensions every year since the veterans began to mark it soon after Latvia regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russia calls it a glorification of fascism, and the hecklers are mainly from Latvia's large Russian-speaking population.

J. Otto Pohl said...

The Latvian Legion was cleared of any criminal activities by the Western Allies (US and UK). It was strictly a military unit dedicated to fighting against the USSR. It should be noted that the USSR invaded Latvia and the other Baltic states and illegally annexed them in 1940 in alliance with Nazi Germany. From 23 August 1939 to 22 June 1941, the Soviet Union was an ally of Nazi Germany. As an ally of the Nazis it participated in aggression not only against the Baltic states, but Finland, Poland and Romania.

The later acceptance of German arms to fight against Stalin by Latvian legionaires can in no way justify the Soviet invasion and occupation of the Baltic states. It certainly can not justify the brutal 1949 deportation of nearly 100,000 people of which over 27,000were children. Thousands of these innocent children died in Siberia as a direct result of the actions of the Stalin regime.