Life Activities Of Chechens And Ingush In Special Settlements


The article deals with the complex problems of Soviet history – the deportation of peoples – on the example of Chechens and Ingush. During the Great Patriotic War, the government developed a plan for the deportation of the peoples of the North Caucasus, despite the fact that the adult population of the deported peoples were defending the motherland. The right of ownership, although stipulated in official documents, was not secured. The economic life was disrupted; family ties were broken. During the deportation, many families were separated. A whole range of measures were aimed at the economic arrangement of the resettled families. However, it was difficult to implement these measures due to both objective and subjective reasons. The difficult living situation of special settlers was affected by the lack of material and economic resources, harsh climatic conditions, and the negligent attitude of local authorities. As a result, morbidity and mortality led to demographic losses. Scattered across the territory of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, having settled in deserted, climatically harsh areas, the Chechens and Ingush were forced to engage in heavy types of labor. Overcoming all the hardships of the first years, the deported peoples, including the Chechens and Ingush, debunked the myth of the “traitor peoples” with their selfless work and contributed to the development of the national economy

Keywords: Chechens, deportation, Ingush, Kazakhstan, special settlement


In 1943–1945, Kalmyks, Chechens and Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Karachais and Balkars were repressed with the abolition of the autonomy of the republics. In October 1943, about 500,000 Chechens and Ingush were deported (200,000 were deported to Novosibirsk region, and 35,000–40,000 to the Altai, Krasnoyarsk and Omsk regions) (Bugai & Gonov, 1998). However, as Polyan put it, “according to the plan presented by L. Beria in December 1943, the Chechens and Ingush were distributed between the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSRs” (Polyan, 2000, p. 120).

Up to 19,000 NCSS officers, about 100,000 NCIA officers and soldiers from all the regions participated in "exercises in mountainous areas" (Bugai, 1995) under the personal leadership of Beria. On January 31, 1944, the State Defense Committee approved a decree on the deportation of Chechens and Ingush to the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSR; on February 21, the order of the NKVD was issued; on March 7, 1944, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the liquidation of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was issued. Most of the Chechens and Ingush were resettled in Kazakhstan. They were joined by several thousand Chechens and Ingush, dismissed from the Red Army after February 1944. Families of the Heroes of the Soviet Union were sent under escort. (Ermekbaev, 2016).

The deportation of Chechens and Ingush from their historical homeland was accompanied by irreparable losses of tens of thousands of lives of women, children and the elderly, who could not stand the living conditions in special settlements.

Problem Statement

Due to the emergence of a new direction in modern historiography – the history of everyday life, whose main object is an ordinary person with his everyday problems (food, clothing, housing, labor, etc.) – the issue of Chechens and Ingush deported to Kazakhstan and Central Asia is relevant. Staying in a different ethnic environment forced them to adopt to new conditions, to prove their innocence in the crimes that they were charged with.

Research Questions

Mass repressions, terror, deportation of peoples became an integral part of the totalitarian system that took shape in the USSR in the 1930s. Deported Chechens and Ingush became innocent victims of lawlessness and arbitrariness, which were part of the official policy of the totalitarian regime.

Soviet citizens who were forcibly evicted by the whole family to the uninhabited corners of the country, where they were kept under police supervision, were called special settlers. In the USSR, administrative repressions involved the collective punishment of certain social, religious and national groups of the population that posed a “threat” to the socialist system (Brandes et al., 2013, p. 74).

Migration processes, which were accompanied by profound upheavals in public life, affected the fate of the majority of the population, caused one of the most painful crises – an identity crisis that gave rise to the uncertainty of representatives of the deported peoples about the future of their children, about the expediency of existence of the ethnic groups with different cultural and cultural backgrounds, confessional orientations, traditions, languages (Abulkasova, 2001)

Purpose of the Study

The purpose is to analyze the daily life of deported Chechens and Ingush in places of special settlement.

Research Methods

The historical-genetic, reconstructive, ideographic, informational-statistical methods used in the article made it possible to determine the features of the historical era under consideration, the national mentality and personal traits of the Chechens and Ingush in special settlements.


The initial period became especially difficult for the Chechens and Ingush. They were under direct administrative subordination to the commandant's offices of the NCIA. One of the most difficult to resolve was the issue of housing. They were supposed to be resettled in rural areas in empty buildings, to be employed in collective and state farms. However, there were no such buildings, and the housing problem was acute. By the autumn of 1944, in Kazakhstan, about 64,000 families at local people’s houses, and in the Kirghiz SSR, only every 6th family had individual houses. In the first half of the 1950s, in Kazakhstan there were 142,267 Chechens and 44,600 Ingush who were deported there. In Kyrgyzstan, 39,663 Chechens and 1,389 Ingush lived in 6 regions. In the Uzbek SSR, there were 120 Chechens and 108 Ingush in special settlements, in the Tajik SSR there were 50 Chechens and 13 Ingush. Several representatives of the deported North Caucasian peoples lived in special settlements in the regions and autonomies of Russia (Schneider, 2009). The adaptation period for the Chechens and Ingush was difficult. Harsh living conditions caused 146,900 deaths (24.2% of all the deported people) from starvation and diseases (Brandes et al., 2013).

Numerous information and reports from the places of household arrangements of special settlers, including Chechens and Ingush, testify that they were subjected to physical and moral humiliation. The memorandum of the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Kazakhstan N.A. Skvortsov on the economic structure and labor use of special settlers from the North Caucasus as of April 30, 1944 reports that “the special contingent was placed following the compaction principle – out of 4120 families, 2071 families lived in free premises. This shows that in order to create normal conditions for both special settlers and the local population, it was necessary to build at least 4,000 apartments. In the districts, due to the use of settlers in agricultural works, construction works were not performed. 1,276 families were employed at state farms, local food enterprises. 5,191 people were provided with food products through the rationing system. 4,915 families settled in collective farms where they were provided with food products according to the established norm of 100 g of flour and 50 g of cereal per person per day. Due to the fact that most of the special settlers did not bring any food with them, and the collective farmers did not provide them with sufficient food assistance, the difficult situation that arose caused deaths among the settlers. In the Dzhalagash district, the inspection by the NCIA revealed 237 sick special settlers due to the malnutrition. In the Chiilinsky district, no assistance was provided; there were diseases caused by exhaustion. For example, 15 people fell ill at the Enbekshi collective farms, 23 people – at Talaptan, 24 people – at Ashchi-Kuduk, 11 people – at Tonkurus, and 7 people – at Aktobe. In the Teren-Uzyak district, the inspection revealed 794 people whose diseases were caused by malnutrition. The instructor of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Kazakhstan Naplavkov reported that “they pay little attention to the welfare of workers, the special contingent is poorly accommodated and provided. In barrack No. 5, inhabited by Chechens, 45 people live. There are no trestle beds or bunks, people sleep right on the floor with a lot of holes and cracks. There are 2 patients on the floor right next to the doors, the building is damp and cold. Barrack No. 7 is inhabited by 25 old workers. The room is cold – it has not been heated for 3 days due to the lack of coal. There is no water, no washbasin, the workers have not washed for several days. Barrack No. 4 is inhabited by 20 regular workers. The room is not heated, there is no water, washbasin, bedding has not been washed. The mine has 1 laundry room, 2 baths and 2 dezo chambers; however, they all work with interruptions due to the lack of coal. As a result, workers' bed linen has not been washed or changed for months, and workers do not sanitize regularly. The territory of the mining settlements is dirty. Comrade Kiyashko, the head of the communal administration, does not deal with the sanitary conditions. There are a lot of complaints from the workers about the communal management of the mine. When dying, workers are buried only 8 to 17 days after. All these examples and facts show that neither the economic nor the Party organizations of the mines pay attention to the way of life of the workers.

In the Chiili district of Kzyl-Orda region, out of 1084 families, only 374 ones are provided with apartments, and the apartments are not repaired, do not have windows and doors. The labor organization in some collective farms is satisfactory. As a result, special settlers manifest a socialist attitude to work. The collective farm "Giant" has 17 Stakhanovites, Vanguards – 16, Algabas – 14, Tunkurus – 15. Comrades such as Kuraev are especially distinguished for their work (420 workdays). However, it should be noted that the organization of labor in some collective farms is unsatisfactory, there are no personal accounts of special settlers. In the collective farms “Ulguli,” “Kzyl Tu,” “Zhana Turmys” the workdays of special settlers have not been entered into personal accounts since July 1944. There are facts of cattle slaughter, caused by the fact that the special settlers do not have the opportunity to keep livestock. Only 524 out of 744 school-age children oaten schools. In addition, there are 55 homeless children who have not yet been assigned to any children's institutions. In the Chiilinsky District, there were beatings and bullying of special settlers by the heads of collective farms. In August and September, at the collective farm “Kzyl Tu,” the head Talmanov and his deputy beat up Chechen special settlers, including the foreman of the Chechen brigade. There are similar facts at the collective farms “Zhana Turmys,” “Ulguli.” It should be noted that in the Chiilinsky district, mass work among special settlers is poorly organized. “The district does not have any assistance for special settlers who are in dire need due to the fact that district organizations do not use all the opportunities available” (Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, APK, 2019, p. 5).

Beyond the brink of survival, the Chechens and Ingush used every opportunity to earn money and support their families. Almost all able-bodied special settlers worked. The head of the Kzyl-Orda regional department Khvorov reported that “in the Kazaly district, all 431 able-bodied people fulfill the norms of agricultural work. Special settlers working in the railway and other sectors exceed the daily norm, there are Stakhanovites who are rewarded by the administration. But there are shortcomings in the work of special settlers. Special settlers are physically weak and malnourished. 473 school-age children do not attend schools due to the lack of shoes and clothing. The boards of the collective farms do not provide any assistance to the exhausted and sick special settlers. The collective farms n.a. Abai, “Zhana Turmys”, “Communism” and “Urkendy” have no opportunity to provide food assistance to special settlers. In all the above-mentioned districts, it special settlers live in unsanitary conditions. Medical workers of the districts pay no attention to the sick from among the special settlers, do not treat them. As a result, there is an increase in mortality, especially among children.

There are a lot of materials that testify to the labor activity of Chechens and Ingush in places of special settlement. According to the archival sources, in August 1944, in Leninogorsk Mining Administration, there were 415 people from among the Chechens who fulfilled the norm, and 382 people who overfulfilled it. In the mining shop of the Zyryanov mine administration, out of 85 working Chechens, 23 were Stakhanovites and shock workers. In 1946, 332 Chechens completed the task by more than 200%. In Aktobe region, Chechens lived in 10 districts, in total 4,129 families, or 20,248 people, of which 7,536 people were considered able-bodied. 5,354 people worked in the production industry, 1,254 people – at collective farms, 435 people – at state farms, and 493 people – at industrial enterprises. In Pavlodar region, Gaibolt and Shakhtemir Bagashev, Altemir and Gaitemir Tasaev, Khavazhi and Bilal Dadaev, Khadi Akhmatkhadov, Khavazh Akhmadov, Usman-Solta Khasukhanov and others were listed as Stakhanovites (Isakieva, 2019). The work allowed them to improve their financial situation and overcame the moral depression.

Thus, the acute need for labor force contributed to the use of special settlers from the North Caucasus, including Chechens and Ingush. Their labor was used in the construction of new mines, coal mining, minerals, industrial and civil construction and other sectors of the economy. The joint work united the special settlers with the local population. Forced to remain in a foreign land, Chechens and Ingush have contributed to the economic development of Kazakhstan (Isakieva, 2015).


The Soviet state made successful attempts to socialize Chechens and Ingush in their new places of residence. They could independently earn living, their living standards gradually improved. Many families built houses, purchased livestock for personal use.


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23 December 2022

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Isakieva, Z. S., Akieva, S. I., & Abdulvakhabova, B. B. (2022). Life Activities Of Chechens And Ingush In Special Settlements. 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. 555-560). European Publisher.