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
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.”
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.