Meskhetian Genocide by Russia
Posted in the Russia Forum
#1 Jun 17, 2008
What happened to the Meskhetians?
The Turkic peoples of the Meskhetian Range have had a long and sad history of conflict with neighboring Georgian, Russian, and Sunni Muslim peoples. Fierce repressions and violence broke out throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, culminating in Stalin's deportation of 115,000 Meskhetians in 1944 to the wastes of Central Asia, followed by 40,000 Meskhetian Red Army troops in 1945. The Meskhetians were deported to the last person - apparently none were left in Georgia. About 50,000 are thought to have died in this repression, from executions, starvation, cold and thirst. Many ended up in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan, in Kazakhstan, and in Kyrgyzstan, where they remained as refugees and outsiders.
Why were the Meskhetians deported? Nobody knows for sure. Stalin's secret police deported entire nationalities in this period, usually on charges of collaboration with the Germans. But the Meskhetians were hundreds of miles from the front lines, and thousands of Meskhetian soldiers were in the Red Army. There is some speculation that Stalin was clearing the ground for an invasion of Turkey. More likely, this tragedy was the product of some atavistic impulse within Stalin and Beria, the KGB chief. Both were Georgians, and seemed to harbor some deep antagonism towards the Islamic peoples of southern Russia (although they also deported the Buddhist Kalmyks!).
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