Friday, April 23, 2010

More on Internal Colonialism and Deported Peoples in the USSR

The Stalin regime deported almost all the Russian-Koreans, Russian-Germans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks from their homelands in the USSR to internal exile in Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia. These nationalities collectively suffered from all four features of colonialism that Robert Blauner believed applied historically to African-Americans as an internal colony of the US. First their dispersed presence throughout Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia was a result of a forced transplantation similar to the removal of slaves from Africa. Second, this forced relocation in both cases greatly disrupted the social and cultural institutions of the displaced peoples. Third, these internal colonies came under the administrative control, largely through the use of police organs, of people belonging to the dominant ethnic group of the state. Whites in the case of the US and Russians in the case of the USSR. Finally, both African-Americans and the various deported nationalities became racialized by the state. That is the categories were defined as being inherited and immutable. The model of internal colonialism presented by Blauner thus closely fits the deported peoples of the USSR.


Robert Blauner, "Internal Colonialism and Ghetto Revolt," _Social Problems_, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Spring 1969), pp. 393-408.

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