About The Deportation Of The Kalmyk People During The Great Patriotic War


The article is devoted to the analysis of the works of Kalmyk researchers on the deportation of the Kalmyk people during the Great Patriotic War The article pays attention to the damage of resettlement in demographic, cultural, social, economic, and mental terms. During the war and in the first post-war years, almost nothing was said about deportations in Soviet historiography. The criticism of the "cult of personality" that had just begun after the 20th Congress of the CPSU caused significant changes in the development of the historiography of the deportation of the peoples of the region. Following N.S. Khrushchev, Soviet historians began to oppose the Leninist and Stalinist approaches in the national policy of the USSR. The forced resettlement of the Soviet peoples was assessed as a violation of "socialist legality" and "Leninist national policy", and their reasons were personally associated with I.V. Stalin and, especially, with L.P. Beria. In the 1960s–1980s, there were no special studies on this topic. There were no special sections or articles devoted to deportations in new fundamental works and reference publications on the history of Soviet society, the Second World War, and the Great Patriotic War, and generalizing regional works, as a rule, provided brief information. And only in the mid-1980s did the study of the deportation of people in our country begin. The article traces the development of the historiography of the problem, indicating the most characteristic publications on the history of the deportation of the Kalmyk people.

Keywords: Deportation, Great Patriotic War, Kalmyks, Kalmyk historiography


Deportation is a measure that offered exile of a certain group of people or people. The departure noticeably evolved under Stalin's totalitarian regime. From a means of "unloading" ethnic tension, it is gradually turning into a powerful lever for resolving ethnic conflicts.

At that time, few people thought about the damage that violent deportations could bring to the interethnic relations of peoples, their national consciousness, and the legal structure of the state. Criminal actions against the deportation of people were carried out spontaneously and were not backed up legally. On the contrary, for each of them, decisions were prepared, decisions were made by the highest bodies of state power and administration, plans were drawn up, funds were allocated, and the secrecy of ongoing events was ensured. The documents testify to how and by whom the decisions on the deportation of people were made, which often did not have the name "Law". The will of the "supreme legislator", namely, Stalin, was put here.

All this happened at a time when the USSR, under pressure from the world community, joined the most important documents of international law condemning all forms of political repression in the world.

On December 9, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide", which was signed by the representative of the USSR and ratified by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 18, 1954. It defines genocide as actions committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, any national, ethical, racial, or religious group as such (Collection of Legislative and Normative Acts of Repression, 1989).

Discrimination against individual peoples in the USSR was in blatant contradiction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reached its apogee when the systematic search and persecution of the so-called "enemies of the people" went over to the discovery of entire "enemy peoples". In the context of the general unfavorable development of events in the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, the identification of the so-called "enemy peoples" to a certain extent could serve as a false justification for such a development of events.

This tragic fate of the "enemy people", "traitor people" befell the Kalmyks and other small peoples. Their forced deportation from their native places led to incalculable physical, material and moral suffering, trampling on their human dignity.

Discrimination of entire peoples based on nationality, as well as massive violations of human rights in the USSR served as a statement in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For a long time, the tragedy of the evicted peoples remained a taboo topic. In Russian historiography, this problem was not the object of special study until the early 1990s. For several decades, even the very fact of the deportation of repressed people was hushed up.

Problem Statement

New approaches to the study of the history of our state became possible in the late 80s of the 20th century, during the period of the so-called perestroika in the country. In connection with the transformations that began in the USSR, scientists have begun a comprehensive review of the state's national policy, including previously unstudied aspects of it. Kalmyk researchers also paid attention to the topic of deportations of peoples and various social groups of the population.

Research Questions

1990s of the twentieth century there was a formation of historiography for each of the people subjected to deportation, including the Kalmyk. At the beginning, these were publications that considered the problem either in a general way, or specifically for each person or nationality. At the same time, the first scientific works on the rehabilitation of deported people appeared. As is known, these processes occupy an important place in the state policy of the Russian Federation, and, undoubtedly, their detailed study is not only of scientific but also of practical importance. Therefore, these publications not only revealed the legal side of the problem but also showed specific measures for the rehabilitation of the "punished" peoples, revealing the difficulties of these processes, related to territorial rehabilitation.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the article is to present a consistent analysis of the works devoted to the history of the deportation of the Kalmyk people in Kalmyk historiography.

Research Methods

The methodological basis was the principles of objectivity, scientific character and historicism, which involve the study of facts and phenomena in all their diversity, in the specific historical conditions of their emergence and development and allow showing both the positive and negative sides of the problem under study.


Estimates of the problem of deportation of the peoples of the Lower Volga region and the North Caucasus refer to the time immediately preceding the deportation itself and are formulated in the Decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In an extremely generalized form, they can be represented as follows: during the Great Patriotic War, many Russian Germans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, and Crimean Tatars betrayed their homeland.

This assessment reflected the position of the then Soviet leadership on this issue and was called upon to solve not a scientific but a quite definite political task. This task is to explain and justify the liquidation of the autonomy of the peoples of the Lower Volga region and the North Caucasus and the total forced eviction of these peoples to the eastern regions of the country. She determined the assessments of the deported peoples in all subsequent documents of the Soviet leadership at various levels up to the XX Congress of the CPSU.

A turning point in the Soviet historiography of this problem was outlined after the death of Stalin because of the decisions of the XX Congress of the CPSU and the work undertaken by the new Soviet leadership to debunk the personality cult. Among these events, one of the first places belongs to the report of Khrushchev "On the cult of personality and its consequences" at the XX Congress of the CPSU on February 25, 1956. It was recognized that the authorities no longer consider the eviction of repressed people legal and correct. Nevertheless even though the report by Khrushchev showed the role of I.V. Stalin in organizing repression in the country, nevertheless, no accusations were made. This explains the half-heartedness of the resolution "On overcoming the cult of personality and its consequences," which did not allow the full rehabilitation of the victims of the personality cult of Stalin to begin (Khrushchev, 1989).

In the 1960s–1980s, several works by foreign authors and Soviet political emigrants devoted to the deportation of the peoples of the USSR were published abroad. The most important source for them was eyewitness accounts.

In addition to historians-scientists, various emigrant organizations and committees were also involved in collecting materials on the deportation of peoples, and the greatest activity came from among the Kalmyk emigrant diasporas.

A certain contribution to the study of the topic during this period was the monograph of the Soviet historian, who emigrated in 1976, Nekrich (1978) "Punished peoples", although the manuscript of the book was written in the spring of 1975 in the USSR.

Information about the vices of the totalitarian system and the cult of personality in the USSR, repressions, and genocide, we find in the works of Professor Avtorkhanov (1987, 1991, 1992) who emigrated from the USSR.

A new reading of the history of the Soviet state became possible in the late 80s during the period of perestroika. In connection with the transformations that began in the USSR, scientists have begun a comprehensive review of the state's national policy, including previously unstudied aspects of it. At the same time, domestic researchers turned to the topic of deportations. The first works on the topic of deportation are characterized by memoir content without documentary sources. The works of the late 1980s were staged.

A kind of the positive impetus for the development of research in this direction was the legal documents adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR: the Declaration "On the recognition of illegal and criminal repressive acts against peoples subjected to forcible resettlement and ensuring their rights" dated November 14, 1989, and the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR "On the abolition of resolutions of the former State Defense Committee of the USSR about the Soviet peoples subjected to repressions and forced resettlement.

The gradual opening of the relevant funds in the central and regional archives of Russia and other CIS countries aroused great interest in this issue and numerous publications, especially against the general background of studying the topic of Stalinist repressions.

The scientific development of the problem of the deportation of the Kalmyk people and their rehabilitation could begin only after the restoration of Kalmyk autonomy, in connection with the preparation for publication of a collection of documents and materials "Kalmykia in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945".

The first work specifically dedicated to the life, employment, and legal status of the Kalmyk people in places of exile was a small book by Nominkhanov (1967).

The books by Bugai “Operation Uluses” and Ubushaev "Kalmyks: eviction and return" (Bugai, 1991; Ubushaev, 1991). Based on valuable documents, the books give a strict, almost dispassionate presentation of the material and its interpretation by the new assessments of modern historical science. An important advantage of the works is a more or less developed scientific reference apparatus, references to the sources used in the book.

Professor Ubushaev, together with Ubushaev, published a fundamental study on the eviction and return of the Kalmyk people and their rehabilitation (Ubushaev & Ubushaev, 2007). When writing the work, various types of archival information were used, starting with laws and decrees and ending with memoirs (the authors relied on sources from the GARF and NARC). Attention was also paid to published sources and materials, while some of them were rethought. In the book, strict academicism and scientific apparatus are combined with a lively language and good journalism, and the material of the book, in our opinion, cannot leave indifferent anyone who picks it up and who is not indifferent to the fate of the Kalmyk people, and the fate of our entire country.

In 2004, a monograph by Maksimov was dedicated to the repression in Kalmykia from 1918 to 1940. The author, using extensive material, reveals the mechanism and anti-human essence of the repressive policy of a totalitarian state on the example of the history of Kalmykia. In the final section of the book, Maksimov (2004) considers the issues of deportation, rehabilitation, and restoration of the national statehood of the Kalmyk people.

Members of the Commission of the Council of Nationalities on the repressed and deported peoples in the 1990s Dordzhiev (1992, 2000) consider in detail the preparation and adoption of the Law of the RSFSR on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples, adopted on April 26, 1991.

In the works of Kalmyk researcher Oglaev analyzes various aspects of deportation and the processes of rehabilitation of the Kalmyk people. Oglaev introduced into scientific circulation the most important sources in the history of the deportation of the Kalmyk people, the reports of the special settlement department of the UNKD-UMVD in the Omsk region (Oglaev, 1992, 1993).

In the early 1990s, on the initiative of historians of Kalmykia, Russian and international scientific and practical conferences were held on the problems of repressed peoples (Ubushaev, 1992; 1993; 2003), Karachaevsk – 1993, Nalchik – 1994. In scientific reports and reports of conference participants, an attempt was made to show the participation of the repressed peoples in the Great Patriotic War, the liquidation of their national statehood, resettlement in new places of special settlements, socio-philosophical understanding of the causes of the genocide and the problems of development of the repressed peoples of Russia at the present stage.

The Kalmyk Institute for Humanitarian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences 2003 prepared a collection of scientific articles "Political repressions in Kalmykia in the 20–the 40s of the XX century." The collection dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the deportation of the Kalmyk people presents a wide range of problems related to one of the tragic pages in the history of Kalmykia (5 Political repressions in Kalmykia in the 20–the 40s of the XX century, 2003).

A special section of the history of the deportation of the Kalmyk people is fiction.

In the early 90s, one of the first to publish a large novel "Thirteen Days, Thirteen Years" was the People's Writer of Kalmykia Alexei Balakaev (1995). His novel is an epic canvas about the fate of the Kalmyks during the years of their deportation to the eastern regions of the country. As the writer writes in the novel, naked and barefoot, hungry, and miserable old men and women, children and women, teenagers and war invalids were loaded into American Studbakers and taken to railway stations, pushed into cattle cars for 50–60 people. The operation was carried out quickly and brutally. The Kalmyk people suddenly lost their freedom, and autonomy became an outcast and was doomed to extinction.

The domestic and foreign historiography of the topic under consideration is not limited to these works. Only an attempt has been made to highlight the development of historiography, indicating the most characteristic publications, from our point of view.

The works published so far on the topic of the deportation of certain peoples to the USSR and their rehabilitation are characterized by common features. Most authors deal with the history of deportation and rehabilitation of only one person, without linking its fate with others, without a comparative analysis, or references to documents testifying to the hardships and losses of other peoples.

In several works, repression against entire peoples is explained only by the abuses of I.V. Stalin and L.P. Beria. It seems to us that the deportation of people was a long-term party-state policy, and the reasons should be sought in the nature of the Soviet totalitarian regime.

The enormous tragedy of the repressed peoples of Russia in the 20th century is so complex in content and nature that it requires the combined efforts of historians, lawyers, sociologists, economists, and demographers to draw objective conclusions for future generations.


The literature published on this topic and the materials reproduced in them make it possible to talk about the mechanism for carrying out actions to deport people. Of course, the suffering of many people, including women, children, and the elderly, who traveled for weeks in overcrowded wagons, without water and food, dying of typhus and other diseases, often remained outside the brackets. Of course, allowance must also be made for the reliability of the digital data but overall, they give a correct idea of the dynamics of the deportation processes and the number of deaths. The documents cited in various works give us the opportunity to sort out this complex problem, avoid its misinterpretation and distortion, and to some extent will help restore the constitutional rights and guarantees of the deported peoples. And in conclusion, it is important to note that, having gone through incredible suffering, having suffered irreparable losses, decades later the Kalmyk people waited for the restoration of justice and the state condemnation of the repressive policies of the Soviet state and the Communist Party of the 40s and 50s of the 20th century.


  • Avtorkhanov, A. (1987). Mysteries of Stalin's Death. Frankfurt-am-Main.

  • Avtorkhanov, A. (1991). Technology of power. Moscow.

  • Avtorkhanov, A. (1992). Murder of the Chechen-Ingush people. Moscow.

  • Balakaev, A. (1995). Thirteen days, thirteen years. Elista.

  • Bugai, N. F. (1991). Operation Uluses. Elista: Sanan.

  • Dordzhiev, V. P. (1992). And the law was born. Journal Teegin girl, 4.

  • Dordzhiev, V. P. (2000). Life's work. Elista.

  • Khrushchev, N. S. (1989). About the cult of personality and its consequences. Proceedings of the Central Committee of the CPSU, 2.

  • Maksimov, K. N. (2004). Tragedy of the people. Repressions in Kalmykia in 1918–1940s. Moscow.

  • Nekrich, A. I. (1978). Punished nations. New York.

  • Nominkhanov, D. Ts-D. (1967). Add to Selected In a single-family. Elista.

  • Oglaev, Yu. O. (1992). Problems of the deportation of the Kalmyk people in Soviet historiography. In: Repressed peoples: history and modernity. Elista.

  • Oglaev, Yu. O. (1993). Memorandums of the OSP UNKVD as a source on the history of the deportation of the Kalmyk people (based on the materials of the archive of the Omsk Regional Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation). In: Repressed peoples: the abolition of their statehood and the problems of rehabilitation. Elista.

  • Ubushaev, V. B. (1991). Kalmyks: eviction and return. Elista: Sanan.

  • Ubushaev, V. B. (Ed.). (1992). Materials Russian Scientific and Practical Conference “Repressed Peoples: History and Modernity” (Elista, May 28–29, 1992).

  • Ubushaev, V. B. (Ed.). (1993). Materials All-Russian scientific-practical. conf. Repressed peoples: the abolition of their national statehood and the problems of rehabilitation. (26–27 Dec., 1993). Elista.

  • Ubushaev, V. B. (Ed.). (2003). Materials International scientific. conf. “National policy of the Soviet state: repressions against peoples and problems of their revival” (October 23–24, 2003). Elista.

  • Ubushaev, V. B., & Ubushaev, K. V. (2007). Kalmyks: eviction, return, revival 1943–1959. Elista: Publishing House of the Kalmyk State University.

Copyright information

About this article

Publication Date

23 December 2022

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Cite this article as:

Tsutsulaeva, S. S., Goryaev, M. S., & Avliev, V. N. (2022). About The Deportation Of The Kalmyk People During The Great Patriotic War. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1186-1192). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.12.152