The Great Farmers' Deportation (1930-1935)

The Great Farmers' Deportation (1930-1935)


The mass deportation of farmers, this "farmers' plague" (Gulag Archipelago, part 6, chapter 2) fell upon our region at the very beginning of the year 1930. And these were not only streams from other regions but also deportations of different dimensions: some with mass character but also comparatively uncoordinated ones, within the region, as well as beyond.

In the USSR this specific internal exile was officially named "the Kulak deportation." The exiles themselves were called "kulaks", although kulaks (rich peasant landowners) had not existed since the 1920s. But the Communists talked of "kulaks" and felt hatred for these farmers (and not only farmers) because they were able to provide for themselves and their families by their own labor without any "support" from the State. Such people were considered by the Soviet power as its worst enemies during the whole period of its 70 years’ existence.

An act of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars dated 01.02.1930 served as "legal basis" for the repression although mass deportations had already started in 1929.

The directions of these exile streams stood in close connection with Siberia's territorial partition. In the summer of 1930 the Bolsheviks got the idea of dividing the Siberian territory into a western part, with Novosibirsk as its center as before (including the Autonomous Region of Khakassia and the provinces of Achinsk and Minusinsk), and an eastern part with Irkutsk as its center. (In our region the traces of this partition can be still be seen in the postal codes: 662 - West Siberia, 663 - East Siberia). And since that time the exile streams from west and east Siberia almost never crossed each other.The deportations took place within the boundaries of these regions (one exception: the exile stream from the Altay to the settlements of Muntul and Imba on the Angara River in 1931, as well as the displacement of farmers from the province of Kansk to Narym in 1933). However, this is only true for our region: In 1933, they deported farmers and Cossacks from the present Chita district (at that time east Siberian territory) to the west Siberian part (to Narym and Vasyugane) and in large numbers even to Kazakhstan.

The internal exile of farmers was indefinite. It is another matter that a certain number of the farmers of that period were also sentenced to a "defined" term of internal exile, which was usually legalized by decision of the "Special three-member Boards." The group they sent into internal exile for a defined period was not less than 1,000 farmers from west Siberia to the "Turuchansk district." But when the sentence expired, they usually were not allowed to select their future residence themselves but were kept as "kulak labor resettlers."

At the very end of the 1930s (1939-1940), in Igarka, Yenisseysk, Maklakovo, Kansk and Krasnoyarsk, they started to release those farmers who had already been taken into internal exile when they were still under age (in accordance with a decree of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium of 1938). But this did not happen in the rural districts.In 1942 many exiles (by far not all) who were fit for active duty were released and immediately sent to the front. In some places they afterwards discharged their families; in others they did not.

In our region the release of farmers happened during the summer-autumn of 1947. In some places of exile the dismissed exiles were given certificates about their release. This procedure was applied in all towns but also in the districts situated on the Angara River. In other places, on the Chulym River for example, they were not. As a rule, these certificates led to the immediate issue of passports. Then in many cases (not everywhere, we are aware of exceptions) the certificates again were taken away from the released exiles.

Reliable information about any later (after 1947) release of exiled farmers is not available concerning our region. It has to be taken into consideration that in those places, where the release was not officially made public and the corresponding certificates were not being issued, the internal exiles could not know about their definite release. For that reason, the former exiles, who lived in the settlements on the Chulym River and in the regions of Tukhtet and Birilyussy, in 1954 suddenly and completely unexpectedly received passports. It seems to be quite natural that they interpreted this event as their release from internal exile.

In many other regions the exiled farmers were released later than in ours. In the Tomsk region a portion of them was released in 1948 and the remaining in 1950. At the very end of the 1940s they also released the exiled farmers in the region of Tyumen. In the Kemerovo region, particularly in the Kuzbas (Kuznetsk Basin), they were kept in internal exile until 1954 inclusive.