Friday, June 10, 2011

Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan 1950

After the Second World War had already ended on 9 May 1945, the Stalin regime subjected the Russian-Germans already living in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan before 1941 to special settlement restrictions. Between 18 September 1945 and 6 November 1946 the Soviet government extended the special settlement regime to 105,817 Russian-Germans living east of the Urals during the war and therefore not subject to deportation (Berdinskikh, doc. 9, pp. 341-343). The largest concentration of these local Germans was in Kazakhstan. The new decrees placed 59,365 Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan under special settlement restrictions and exempted only 107 of the ethnic Germans living in the republic (Krieger, note 24, p. 155). The legal basis for these restrictions was quite weak even by the standards of the time. A 12 August 1950 top secret report from the Minister of State Security (MGB) of Kazakhstan to Abakumov, the head of the MGB for all of the USSR noted the unsound legal basis for placing these local Russian-Germans under special settlement restrictions. I have reproduced the relevant passages below. The translation from Russian is my own. The underlining appears in the original text.
In Kazakhstan the record of special settlers includes 56,972 local Germans, not subject to resettlement in the Period of the Great Fatherland War. These Germans were taken into the registration of special settlers in 1945 by a telegraphed decree by the deputy minister of internal affairs of the USSR c.(omrade) Chernyshev. There has been no kind of government decision about the extension of these restrictions establishing them as evictees.
The General Procurator of the Union of SSRs has clarified to the Procurator of the Kazakh SSR that it is illegal to take these Germans into the registration of special settlers and they are subject to liberation. Guided by these instructions, the Procurator of the republic, and also oblast and raion procurators of the Kazakh SSR refuse to sanction the arrest and arraignment on criminal charges cases of flight by these Germans from places of settlement and do not sanction their arrest by administrative order for the violation of the regime in places of special settlements (Tsarevskaia-Diakina, doc. 200, p. 657).
The position of the General Procurator did nothing to change the legal status of the local Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan. They remained special settlers until 1954, well after Stalin's death on 5 March 1953. But, the complete lack of any legal basis for their restricted status did not go unnoticed even among the officials of the MGB.


Berdinskikh, V.A., Spetsposelentsy: Politcheskaia ssylka narodov Sovetskoi Rossii. Moscow: Novoe literatunoe obozrenie, 2005.

Krieger, Viktor, Rein, Volga, Irtysh: Iz istorii nemtsev Tsentral'noi Azii. Almaty: Daik-Press, 2006.

Tsarevskaia-Diakina, T.V., ed., Spetspereselentsy v SSSR: vol. v of Istoriia stalinskogo Gulaga: Konets 1920-kh - pervaia polvina 1950-kh godov. Moscow: Rosspen, 2004.

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