Problems Of Source Study: Documents In Reconstruction Process Of Deportation Of Peoples

Abstract

In national historiography the topic of peoples’ deportation during the Great Patriotic War was forbidden for a long time. The problem study began only from the second half of the 80s of the XX century. The researchers did a great job to find and identify secret documents and materials on the deportation of the Chechen people during the Great Patriotic War. The main set of documents on the deportation of the Chechen people is stored in central state archives of Russia - the Storage Center for Contemporary Documentation, the State Archive of the Russian Federation. They contain Party and Government decrees, orders, directives on the preparation of the eviction of the Chechen people, elimination of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. All main materials on the eviction of the Chechen people, the stay in exile are located in the State Archive, in the funds of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affair (NKVD) – the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The materials were also in the Information Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and in the Archives of the Republics of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create our own archival bank of the peoples on the deportation history; concentrate all remaining sources, memoirs of repressed citizens, collect the most complete data on people who experienced the tragedy. This is actual because we are at risk to be left without them due to the gradual passing away of the older generation.

Keywords: DeportationChechensarchivefunddocumentsanalysis

Introduction

One of the means of solving problems at the state level, which was in the arsenal of the Soviet power, was the forcible relocation of peoples. For the first half of the XX century, more than a dozen nations were subjected to deportation, both on the basis of national and ideological principles for one reason or another. A separate group of peoples subjected to forced relocation during the Great Patriotic War was also deprived of the national statehood, including the Chechen people.

Considering the deportation process on the example of the Chechen people, we can distinguish three stages: the eviction operation itself, finding it in a special settlement and its returning. Based on this information, at the present stage in the reconstruction process of the peoples’ deportation, conducting a source study analysis, it is necessary to classify three topical blocks of sources of various species origin.

Problem Statement

The subject of the nations, including the Chechen ones, which was carried out in the 1940s by Stalin's regime, was forbidden and remained in our national historiography a "white spot" until recently. In the late 80s of the XX century, there were favorable opportunities to study this tragic history of the Chechen people. Today, after almost 75 years of deportation, it is more important than ever to examine thoroughly the surviving historical evidence of that period to have an objective understanding of the scale and nature of the crimes committed by the totalitarian regime during the Great Patriotic War. We can adequately design and implement a set of political and social measures aimed at strengthening the country and consolidating the society only with a real picture of the past.

Over the past decades, native and foreign scientists have published quite a few works. However, the deportation issues related to the totalitarian regime in the USSR should be investigated more thoroughly, including the deportation history of the Chechen people. It should be noted that in the context of globalization, the relevance of studying this problem increases many times for both the Chechen Republic and the world community on the whole. At present, various ethnic groups live harmoniously in the Chechen Republic, and the special merit in this aspect belongs to the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov. His policy is aimed at preserving and strengthening peace in the region, developing customs, traditions and religious values of the peoples of the Chechen Republic within the one and undivided Russian Federation. This activity is becoming even more relevant against the background of exacerbations of the international relations in some republics of the former USSR.

Thanks to the discovery of many archival documents, as well as the publication of collections of documents and materials, researchers were able to give a true assessment of the repression and deportation scale of the peoples of our country during the Great Patriotic War, including the Chechen nation.

Research Questions

The basis of this article is the work of Russian scientists - historians N.F. Bugay (Bugay, 1990; Bugay, 1998), Kh-M.A. Sabanchiev (Sabanchiev, 2013), E.F. Krinko & Kropachev (Krinko & Kropachev 2012), Maksimov, K. N., Lidzhieva, I. V. (Maksimov & Lidzhieva, 2014), S.S. Tsutsulaeva (Tsutsulaeva, 2011), Ya.S. Patiev (Patiev, 2004), L.M. Parova (Parova, 1994) and others, dedicated to the peoples’ deportation of the North Caucasus, including the Chechen people.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is to study the source base on the problem of deportation of the Chechen people based on the analysis of documentary materials from the funds of the State Archive of the Russian Federation and already published materials.

Research Methods

The methodological basis was the principles of objectivity, science and historicism, involving the study of facts and phenomena in all diversity, in historical conditions of their origin and development, which allow to highlight both positive and negative aspects of the analyzed historical literature. On the basis of the principle of historicism, we examined the views of the Russian scholars in a specific historical setting and the chronological order. The author applied the methods of source analysis.

Findings

On November 14, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted the Declaration “On the recognition of repressive acts against the nations which were illegal and criminal against the nations forcibly relocated, and ensuring their rights”. This made it possible to remove the “secret” and “not for print” stamps from the USSR legislation, the decrees of the former USSR State Defense Committee, decrees in 1991, decrees of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and decisions of the USSR government concerning the Soviet peoples subjected to repression and forced relocation (The Ingush: deportation, return, rehabilitation, 2004, pp.474-476)

The repressive act against the Chechens, as well as other peoples subjected to resettlement in the eastern regions of the former USSR, was thoroughly conceived and carried out in the highest echelons of the state power. Therefore, as a documentary base of sources of the research, are (or may be, if funds of special storage are fully opened) the decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Decrees of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, the Decree of the State Defense Committee, numerous orders and instructions of the People's Commissars, mainly the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) – the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of State Security and the Committee for State Security of the USSR, regional executive committees and regional committees, memos, reports, directives, orders, materials and documents so-called. "Stalin's special folders", etc.

The main complex of the official documents on the deportation of the Chechen people is stored into the Central State Archives of the Russian Federation, in particular, in the Russian Center for the Storage and Study of Documents of Contemporary History and the State Archives of the Russian Federation. They contain Party and Government decrees, orders, directives of the highest bodies of the state power of the USSR on the preparation of the forced eviction of the Chechen people, the illegal liquidation of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, on its territorial and economic structure after the eviction. The main source on deportation issues is the Fund of Documents of the Department of Special Settlements of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, stored in the State Archives of the Russian Federation (the Fund 9479), which contains 1,269 cases. The complexity and uniqueness of the materials of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR consists of the copies and resolutions, orders of the Central Committee of VKP(b) and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, Decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on special immigrants, resolutions of the State Defense Committee, and documents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on work with special settlers.

The methods and conditions for conducting operations to evict the peoples were determined by orders of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) of the USSR. However, the analysis shows that the resolutions of the State Defense Committee preceded the orders of the NKVD and the Decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the peoples’ deportation. Thus, on January 31, 1944, the State Defense Committee issued a Resolution on the liquidation of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the resettlement of the Chechens and Ingush into the Kazakh and Kyrgyz SSR. On February 21, the order of the NKVD of the USSR was signed to the same question, and on March 7, 1944, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was adopted “On the liquidation of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and on the administrative structure of its territory”. In April 1944, the question of the resettlement of the Chechens and Ingush was already resolved at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the VKP(b). A preparation for the implementation of deportation was carried out very carefully. The plan development for the deportation of Chechens was carried out in the Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the USSR, and then these plans were discussed at an extended meeting of the chiefs of the NKVD of Altai and Krasnoyarsk Territories, Omsk and Novosibirsk regions in November 1943. The further refinement and detailing of the operation were carried out with the involvement of the government and party bodies of the republic and were established with decisions of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Regional Committee of the VKB(b) of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Bugay, 1990, pp. 38-39).

The resettlement operations were strictly controlled by the NKVD. The telegrams signed by Beria to the State Defense Committee addressed to Stalin, were informed in detail about the operation. In connection with the eviction of the Chechens from February 17 to March 11, 1944, seven telegrams were sent to him, which contained information on the preparation and conduct of operations, measures to curb attempts to resist, as well as information characterizing the participants in the eviction.

The documents of the Department of Special Settlements of the NKVD - the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR store information on how the special settlers' labor arrangement was carried out. These are the documents of the People's Commissars, the Committee for Accounting and the Distribution of Labor at the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, information on the decisions of the State Defense Committee and the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the issue. The mechanism for identifying special settlers in various industries has been sufficiently developed. People's Commissariats took orders and instructions that determined the use of labor from among the special settlers. In the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the head of the Secretariat of the NKVD of the USSR, General S.S. Mamulov (Mamulyan) personally collected them in the so-called “the special folder for Stalin” - Decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Resolutions of the State Defense Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, orders, instructions, report materials of various departments addressed to Stalin, as well as directives, orders and orders of the NKVD - the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR and etc. (State Archive of the Russian Federation, f. 9479, op. 1, d. 641). These folders contained copies of documents addressed to Beria, with a note of the Secretariat “by order ... a copy was made into a Special folder”. It concentrated all the basic information about the preparation and conduct of the eviction of the peoples, the participation of internal troops, army formations and security officers in the operations, as well as Beria’s reports addressed to Stalin on awarding NKVD employees for deportation operations.

The documents of the Department of Special Settlements of the NKVD – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR contain over 120 cases with references and statistical information on the status of special settlements. Special notebooks contain information on the number of special settlers, for example, by October 1, 1949, they had the information, including the nationality and locality from which the eviction was made, as well as the categories of special settlers. In addition, statistics is given on the number of settlers settled in the republics, territories and regions, characterized by nationalities, places of eviction and categories. Here there is information about the number of special settlers who are labor-intensive in corrective labor camps and special buildings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; on the employment of able-bodied immigrants and special settlers at work in the sectors of the national economy, with characteristics of the nationality and category; information about the escapes and the detention of special settlers in places of residence and contingents.

The particular value is a notebook with a list of contingents of special settlers with an indication of the grounds for their eviction, the content of the special settlement and the number as of July 1, 1950.

In addition to the documents listed above, the NKVD – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, there are materials in correspondence with the people's commissariats and departments about the employment of special settlers (State Archive of the Russian Federation, f. 9479, op. 1, d.110-112, 145-148, 209-211); reports and references of the NKVD of the Union Republics of the NKVD regions, areas on the status of special and labor settlements (State Archive of the Russian Federation, f. 9479, op. 1, d.77-82, 108-109); memoranda and special reports of the People's Commissars of Internal Affairs of the Republics and the heads of the NKVD regions and areas on the state of special settlers' labor and economic organization, the procedure for their maintenance, strengthening their living conditions and medical assistance for special settlers (State Archive of the Russian Federation , f. 9479, op. 1, d. 131-133, 164-167,290-295); the conclusions of the NKVD – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR on special settlers released from administrative supervision and lifting restrictions on special settlement from various categories of special settlers (State Archive of the Russian Federation , f. 9479, op. 1, d.197-198, 204-205, 306, 310).

As many of the documents do not have the heading of "secrecy" any more, they are increasingly being introduced into the scientific circulation. A large complex of documents is still unknown to a wide range of researchers. At our disposal there are a number of accounting documents for special settlers. The narrow practical value that had at one time, today these documents are the source of the most versatile and extremely valuable information about the eviction, the establishment and conduct of the right regime of special settlement, in other words, the life of special settlers in conditions of complete lack of rights.

These documents are stored in state and departmental archives and are still practically unknown. Meanwhile, they are valuable not only for researchers, but also, being documentary evidence of a criminal act, can be used and partially already used for practical purposes.

The National Archive of the Chechen Republic contained (before the outbreak of hostilities, that is, on December 1, 1994) two large sets of documents of the following nature: “The card file for the registration of special contingents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” and the “The collection of documentary materials on the personnel of the former special migrants”. The special contingent registration database was compiled by the NKVD Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic during the eviction of the Chechens and Ingush in February 1944, and only in 1989 was transferred to the Republican Archive. The card file consisted of 103073 cards for Chechen and Ingush families (Parova, 1994), evicted from regions of the republic, cities of Grozny and Malgobek, and the evicted Chechens and Ingushes from Aukhovsky, Babayurt and Khasavyurt districts of the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the city of Ordzhonikidze (Vladikavkaz) of the North Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

The information contained in the file, allowed us to give a complete social and demographic characteristics of the population. First of all, it allows to present mainly a picture of the composition and resettlement of the population of the republic in 1944. It reflects such a question as the participation of the Chechens in the Great Patriotic War. One can determine how many representatives of the Chechen people were during the eviction on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. Many cards have the marks “Killed at the front.” There is almost a complete lack of information about gangs that allegedly raged in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and served as a pretext for the eviction, shows the inconsistency of these accusations.

“Collection of documentary materials on the personnel of the former special settlers” is a large collection of documents about the life of the Chechens in exile. The collection consisted of the personal files of the special settlers, which were established in special teams for each adult of special settlers, beginning from 1944. In total, the collection included 257,905 cases transferred to the former State Central Archive of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1967.

Undoubtedly, these documents and materials are an invaluable treasure for the contemporaries. The value of accounting documents which contain the richest and most diverse information about the regime of special settlers, as well as other documentary materials, is eternal. Unfortunately, we have to admit that after the hostilities that took place in the republic, starting in December 1994, the National Archives of the Chechen Republic were almost completely destroyed. The funds concerning the deportation of the Chechen people were also destroyed.

It is necessary to note that most of the official documents found in the Central State Archives were published in a number of collections of documents and materials published in Moscow, Grozny and Magas.

In 1992, the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences published a collection of sources “Deportation of the USSR Peoples (1930-1950)” (Milova, 1992). The collection presents the main official documents on the problem of the deportation of the peoples of the USSR in the 1930-1950s, stored in the State Archive of the Russian Federation. Most of the documents were published for the first time as a result of the extensive work on declassifying documents in accordance with the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR of June 6, 1991 (Milova, 1992, p.7). The most important regulatory documents relating to the authorization of deportation, the progress of operations to evict repressed peoples, etc. were selected. Interesting documents were also published which contain statistical information on the status of special settlements in 1948, 1950 and 1953s. This collection has a number of official documents, references, and statistical data relating to the deportation and the legal status of the Chechen special immigrants.

In the same year, the following collection of documents and materials “They must be deported” were published in Moscow (Joseph Stalin to Lavrentiy Beria, 1992). The collection includes the previously classified materials of the NKVD and the People’s Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) of the USSR, which recorded the most dramatic events in the life of our country, the eviction of entire nations from their places of residence.

In 1994, a collection of documents and materials “Repressed peoples of Russia: the Chechens and Ingush” was published in Moscow by the compiler, N.F. Bugay (Bugay, 1990). It includes official documents and materials that were kept until the beginning of the 90s of the XX century, for the most part, classified as “secret” and “top secret”; therefore, inaccessible to researchers. The collection includes 240 documents from the state archives (State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian Center for the Storage and Study of Documents of Contemporary History), as well as documents from the republican archives of Chechnya, North Ossetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria. The vast majority of these legal documents have been published for the first time.

The documents of the collection are divided into sections: on the eve of the deportation, eviction, resistance to the regime of power, on a special settlement (working life of special settlers), rehabilitation and letters of remembrance of special settlers. The compilation is based on the thematic principle of submission of materials in combination with chronological and administrative and territorial. The bulk of the published materials are circulars of the NKVD of the USSR on organizing the eviction of the Chechens, memoranda and reports of the heads of local NKVD authorities on the economic, labor, household structure of Chechen special settlers, on the organization and supervision of them sent to the highest state departments of the country.

The compiler of the collection carried out painstaking, time-consuming work to identify, select and collect documentary materials in the archives of the country. N.F. Bugay reproduced the identified documents as accurately as possible, restoring the events themselves in the chronological order. Documents are published without cuts, the titles of documents are saved, or, if the document is incomplete, it is indicated in the title “From ...”; all the signatures on the documents are readable; indications of secrecy and indications of restrictions on publications have been retained; “litters” on documents, both typewritten and handwritten, are kept.

Despite the fact that, according to the content, the published documents in this collection are very valuable, fairly comprehensive historical sources for history study of the Chechen people during the deportation period, they still require a critical analysis, especially the ideological, political assessment of eviction events, in addressing the national question, the activities of bodies, etc. However, the author is not always critical of identifying and considering the documents. Even the name of one section of the collection says this: “a glacier between the mountains, that winter was leaking ...”: the forced relocation, the fate of autonomy ”. The author justifies the eviction of the Chechen and Ingush peoples, thereby ignoring government decisions related to the rehabilitation of the repressed peoples, including the Chechen ones, who recognized their deportation as criminal and inhuman.

Unfortunately, the uncritical interpretation of the documents of the NKVD was widely demonstrated by N.F. Bugay and in a joint monograph with A. Gonov “Caucasus: the peoples in the echelons (20-60s)” published in 1998 (Bugay, 1998). The authors are convinced that the archival data of the NKVD concerning gang formation, desertion, and anti-Soviet opposition cannot be falsified. It was these documents that later formed the basis for the publication of I. Pykhalov “The Caucasian Eagles” of the third Reich, published in the journal Otechestvo (Pykhalov, 2002)

Some material is also available in the collection: “The Ingush: deportation, return, rehabilitation 1944-2004” (The Ingush, 2004). The collection of documents is based on many acts previously published in various printed publications. There are a number of unpublished documents. In total, the collection includes 328 documents, which are distributed in seven sections. Historical sources published in this collection testify not only to deportation and the years in exile of the Chechen and Ingush peoples, but also compactly, in logical, chronological and historical sequence documents are published on the elimination of unjustified documentary charges, on rehabilitating people, restoring their statehood, national sovereignty.

To set the true picture, memories from the history of the eviction of the Chechens and Ingush play an important role. In 1991 the useful study “The White Book” was published. Its compiler is L. Yakhyayev (White Book, 1991). By the narration of his interlocutors, the author debunks the accusations made in February 1944 by the country's leadership against the Chechen people. It shows the ineradicable strength of the spirit, thanks to which the people, having gone through incredible hardship, loss and anguish, stood up and returned to their homeland.

Conclusion

Thus, the discovery of state archives, documents that have been kept for many years under the heading "top secret", "not to be disclosed", has expanded the ability for researchers to study this issue. The analysis of the published documents, the identification and study of archival sources allow one to reproduce true historical events, show the essence of the deportation policy, the course of the operation to forcibly evict the Chechen people and their consequences, as well as the impact of this policy on the development of society. In addition, the analysis showed that the documentary base of the issue is quite extensive. A comprehensive study of the available materials is necessary to reflect fairly the questions of the deportation of the Chechen people during the years of the Great Patriotic War. Meanwhile, it should be noted that many documents, unfortunately, are still kept in the funds of the Central Archives without access to them by researchers.

References

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29 March 2019

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Tsutsulaeva*, S. S. (2019). Problems Of Source Study: Documents In Reconstruction Process Of Deportation Of Peoples. In & D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1202-1210). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.139