“Savage Minorities” and Paranoia

A Russian victory in World War II was necessary for the reassertion of their legitimacy. 70+ years have passed since the Russian defeat over Nazi Germany, resulting in economic, political, and social upheaval once again; aimed at those who were “different” than the political elites. Stalin also felt compounding stress from:

“[t]he Soviet Union, at least 27 million people had been killed (out of a total of 55 million fatalities in WWII), while many cities, towns and villages lay in ruins.”

Insecurity was rampant in society, from Stalin’s paranoia over consolidating power to suspicion of minorities, the war brought a new nationalism , but needed a scapegoat to back up his claims. As a result, Stalin issued Decree No. 5859SS which stated:

“Iosif Stalin, On the Crimean Tatars. May 11, 1944

Top Secret

State Defense Committee
State Defense Committee Decree No. 5859ss
May 11, 1944 Moscow, the Kremlin
On the Crimean Tatars

During the Great Patriotic War, many Crimean Tatars betrayed the Motherland, deserting Red Army units that defended the Crimea and siding with the enemy, joining volunteer army units formed by the Germans to fight against the Red Army; as members of German punitive detachments, during the occupation of the Crimea by German fascist troops, the Crimean Tatars particularly were noted for their savage reprisals against Soviet partisans, and also helped the German invaders to organize the violent roundup of Soviet citizens for German enslavement and the mass extermination of the Soviet people.”

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Deportation of Minorities Image

This Video demonstrates the power and pride of nationalism in Russia post World War II. Stalin harps on “exceptional nationality policies” that can be described as ethnic cleansing, not a well though out policy. His ability to homogenize the population validated the strength of Stalin, and is ability to act paradoxically to “unite the state” while simultaneously pulling the ethnic fabrics of the region apart.

This policy however, did not last indefinitely, but demonstrated the severe issues of social harmony and acceptance of those considered “other”. The reification of the minority groups continued to be repressed under a “party” that ORIGINALLY supported self-determination.

“In 1957 the government revoked the accusation of Nazi collusion and permitted all but the Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks, whose homes and lands had been occupied by Russian, Ukrainian, and Georgian settlers, to return.”

This horrific episode in post World War II Russia continues to demonstrate the need for a cohesive social landscape in order to be successful political and militarily.

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I Got 99 Problems and Census is 1

Russia history was filled with famine due to the destitute of food and resources, however, there was reported “increases” in population… which doesn’t follow sound logic; shortages does NOT equal increases in populace. In 1937, the Soviet Thirties were coming to a close, with a surprising twist: the death of Adamovich Kraval, the chief of the Central Statistics Department (CSD), followed by his comrades, for reasons cited as “crude violations of the principles of statistical science.”

Calculations of natural population growth had projected a population of 186.4 million, an increase of 37.6 million since the 1926 census; the actual increase turned out to be only 7.2 million. The population gap spoke so graphically of unnatural death, and so belied the image of a healthy happy society, that the census was squelched.”

After the debacle of the 1937 Census, the 1939 Census proved to be more statistically sound, but still lacked validity. Also, the countryside peasants were noted as hostile towards the census takers, due to the peasants low socio-economic level within society and their lack of accurate representation. They felt as though their depraved life was ignored and conflated for propaganda, and that their injustices were not accounted for.

censusSoviet Census Example

This video depicts the many interactions between the All-Union Census counters through documenting passengers in a train; and visiting multiple peoples demonstrating how they would account for the population. This was released from the Russian State Film and Archive, denoting definite bias in the “sound” practices of the counters.

A return to the isolationism from self-determination and an emphasis on exclusivity returned as “National self-determination was fundamental to Soviet being, yet by 1939 state ethnographers and anthropologists had compiled lists that categorized groups as major nationalities, ethnic groups or national minorities.” As a result, many minorities were consolidating into larger groups such as the “Uzbeks” and the “Tatars”, losing their individual political and social voices and their right to self determination that was promised under the Soviet regime.