Friday, October 14, 2016

Soviet Kurds and Assimilation

In 1926 the Soviet census counted 242,000 Kurds. A little over two generations later in 1989 the Soviet census only counted 153,000 Kurds even though the total Soviet population had almost tripled. So in 63 years the Kurdish population declined by almost 100,000 when it should have increased to at least 700,000. This massive decrease in population was due mostly to assimilation into other ethnic groups such as Azeris or Meskhetian Turks by many Kurds. Officially assmilation did not exist in the USSR since nat'sionalnost' was a permanent, immutable, and transgenerational category similar to race in South Africa. Nonetheless, the Soviet census figures provide solid evidence of massive assimilation out of the Kurdish nationality in the USSR between the middle of the 1920s and the late 1980s.


The secondary source I used initially for this post, N.F. Bugai, T.M Broev, and P.M. Broev, Sovetskie Kurdy: Vremia Peremen (Moscow: "Kap'", 1993), p. 45 was incorrect. The 1926 Soviet census does not count 242,000 Kurds, but only 69,184. There was still a lot of assimilation, however, the numbers are not so stark. I'll leave up the original mistaken post to show the dangers of using secondary sources even for blog posts rather than primary ones.

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