Sunday, March 08, 2015

71 Years since the Deportation of the Balkars

Today is the 71st anniversary of the deportation of the Balkars from their homeland in the Caucasus to Kazkhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Stalin regime falsely accused the Balkars of mass treason and used this pretext to disperse them across the vast expanse of Central Asia. In total the NKVD loaded a recorded 37,713 Balkar men, women, and children onto 14 train echelons bound east during 8-9 March 1944. Like other mass deportations, the forced eviction of the Balkars coincided with a major Soviet holiday. In this case International Women's Day. The Balkars spent the next twelve years living under the special settlement regime as second class citizens.  During the first eight years they suffered over 7,000 excess premature deaths due to the harsh material conditions of their exile. The Soviet government only released the Balkars from the special settlement restrictions on 28 April 1956. After 1957, the Soviet government finally allowed the surviving deported Balkars and their children to return home to the Caucasus.

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