Thursday, December 01, 2016

Still more on Soviet Kurds

Tomorrow I finish up my week on Kurds in the USSR for my History of the Middle East class. Unlike some other diaspora nationalities in the Soviet Union such as the Koreans and Germans the NKVD only deported a minority of the Kurds living in the Caucasus to Kazakhstan and Central Asia in 1937 and 1944. The first wave of deportees from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan effected a little over 3,000 Kurds and the second from Georgia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan entailed the uprooting of almost 9,000 Kurds. So close to 12,000 Kurds from the Caucasus initally ended up as special settlers out of a population of 76,000 (1939 census figure) in the USSR as a whole. The NKVD deported the Kurds in Georgia along with the Meskhetian (Ahiska) Turks and Hemshins. The three nationalities formed a single contingent on the NKVD rolls listing special settlers. This makes sorting out the exact number of Kurds condemned to be special settlers at any time after the initial deportation difficult. It is certain, however, that in addition to high mortality rates from 1944-1948 that a large number of Kurdish special settlers got reclassified as Turks or Azerbaijanis during the 1940s and 1950s.

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