The deportation of the Soviet Greeks was a forced transfer of Greeks of the Soviet Union that was ordered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It was carried out in 1942, 1944 and 1949 and affected mostly Pontic Greeks along the Black Sea coast. By one estimate, around 50,000 Greeks were deported.
The 1926 Soviet census registered 213,765 Greeks in the country and 286,000 in the 1939 census. On 9 August 1937, NKVD order 00485 was adopted to target "subversive activities of Polish intelligence" in the Soviet Union, but was later expanded to also include Latvians, Germans, Estonians, Finns, Greeks, Iranians and Chinese.
Some sources claim that there was no widespread counter-revolutionary activity among the Soviet Greeks, though there were exceptions in Constantine Kromiadi, an anti-communist of Greek origin, who became second in command in Andrey Vlasov Abwehr detachment during the Nazi German occupation of the Soviet Union in World War II.
Soviet Greeks were deported in three waves as part of the population transfer in the Soviet Union.
- on 29 May 1942, Stalin ordered a deportation of Pontic Greeks and other minorities from the Krasnodar Krai. 1,402 Greeks, including 562 children up to the age of 16, were deported to the east.
- shortly after the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, on 2 June 1944 the State Committee for Defense issued the decree N 5984 SS to extend the deportation to other people from Crimea. 15,040 Soviet Greeks were consequently deported from the peninsula (this included 3,350 Greek foreigners with expired passports). Many were sent to the Uzbek SSR. Simultaneously, additional 8,300 Greeks were deported from the Krasnodar Krai and Rostov Region: this operation was perpetrated by Lavrentiy Beria's deputy, Ivan Serov, who arrived from Kerch, and G. Karandadze. A further 16,375 Greeks were relocated from Georgian SSR, Armenian SSR and Azerbaijan SSR and sent to Kazakh SSR and Russian SFSR.
- on 29 May 1949, the Soviet Council of Ministers issued the decree N 2214-856 that ordered the relocation of the remaining Greeks, Turks and dashnaks from the Black Sea coast, specifically the Georgian and Armenian SSR. Many were sent to the Kazakh SSR and registered as special settlers. The total number of all these three groups deported by June 1949 was 57,680. Greeks made up 27,000 or 36,000 individuals among this deported groups. The property they left behind was placed under the control of the administrative bodies.
One of the deported Greeks who was born near Sukhumi and sent to the Pahtaral region of Uzbekistan in 1949, recalled the events:
The whole village, almost 200 families, was deported, here, to the Pahtaral region in 1949 .... Nobody had explained to us why we were being exiled or where we were going. We had two hours to collect our things... From 16 June to 10 August we were travelling. About eight or ten families in each cargo train, with the animals .... Once we arrived, I remember I was still a child, most people were dying from diarrhea. The water was fetid. My sister, who was much older, died from consumption at the age of 27, about one year after we arrived.
On 25 September 1956, MVD Order N 0402 was adopted and defined the removal of restrictions towards the deported peoples in the special settlements. Afterward, the Soviet Greeks started returning to their homes, or emigrating towards Greece.
Officially, the 1949 deportation was explained by the USSR as trying to cleanse the border areas from "politically unreliable elements". Russian historian Alexander Nekrich assumes that the Greeks were deported in 1949 because of the alliance of Greece with the UK. Others consider it as a collective punishment because the Greek communists lost in the Greek Civil War during 1946-1949.
In 1938, 20,000 Soviet Greeks arrived to Greece. Between 1965 and 1975, another 15,000 Greeks emigrated from the Soviet Union and went to Greece. Unlike many other 'punished' ethnic groups, the Soviet Greeks were never officially rehabilitated either by the Soviet or the post-Soviet legislation.
Books and journals
- Bugay, Nikolay (1996). The Deportation of Peoples in the Soviet Union. New York City: Nova Publishers. ISBN 9781560723714. OCLC 36402865.
- Kaya, Bülent (2002). The Changing Face of Europe: Population Flows in the 20th Century. Council of Europe. ISBN 9789287147905. LCCN 2007397168.
- Kubiiovych, Volodymyr; Struk, Danylo Husar (1984). Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume 2 (revised ed.). University of Toronto Press.
- Marshall, Alex (2010). The Caucasus Under Soviet Rule. Routledge. ISBN 9781136938252. LCCN 2010003007.
- Olson, James Stuart; Pappas, Lee Brigance; Pappas, Nicholas Charles (1994). An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313274978. LCCN 93018149.
- Polian, Pavel (2004). Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR. Budapest; New York City: Central European University Press. ISBN 9789639241688. LCCN 2003019544.
- Popov, Anton (2016). Culture, Ethnicity and Migration After Communism: The Pontic Greeks. Routledge. ISBN 9781317155805. LCCN 2015034247.
- Richmond, Walter (2008). The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, Future. Routledge. ISBN 9781134002498. LCCN 2008001048.
- Thomas, Nigel (2015). Hitler's Russian & Cossack Allies 1941–45. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472806888.
- Voutira, Eftihia (2011). The 'Right to Return' and the Meaning of 'Home': A Post-Soviet Greek Diaspora Becoming European?. LIT Verlag Münster. ISBN 9783643901071.
- de Waal, Thomas (2010). The Caucasus: An Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199750436. LCCN 2009052376.