Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Ingermanlanders – A Punished People Moscow hasn’t Rehabilitated or Stopped Persecuting

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – The Ingermanlanders are the only nation subjected to total deportation by the Soviets that has not been rehabilitated even now. Any reference to them unlike to the other punished peoples was in fact banned until 1991, Moscow still hasn’t recognized the genocide it conducted against them, and it still persecutes the nation’s leaders.

            On the Russkaya semerka portal, historian Yaroslav Butakov discusses who the Intermanlanders are, why the Soviets persecuted them to the point of mass murder, and something about the status of this nation at the present time (

            The Ingermanlanders are sometimes confused with the Izhors, but the only reason they are sometimes considered related is that their names derive from the Swedish name for the reason in which they live.  The Izhors have been known since the end of the 12th century when they were part of the Novgorodian state until that entity was absorbed by Muscovy in the 15th.

The Izhors have retained their language which is closely related to Finnish, Butakov says; but they converted more or less en masse to Orthodoxy.  In the 17th century, the Swedes settled among them two ethnic groups, the Evremeys and the Savakots, who became the ancestors of the Ingermanlanders.

They too spoke and speak a Finnic language, but they remained separate from the Izhors because they were Lutherans.  After the 1917 revolution, there lived approximately 16,000 Izhors and about 160,000 Ingermanlanders. In addition, there were about 1,000 Ingermanlanders in Siberia to which they had been exiled after a rising in 1804.

The Ingermanlanders were powerful affected by the rise in national self-consciousness during the Russian Civil War. Because of their links to the Finns and anti-Soviet White Russian forces, “Lenin and the Bolsheviks were suspicious of the attitudes of the Ingermanlanders, who lived in a compact mass next to Petrograd,” the historian continues.

In May 1919, he Bolsheviks began the forced mobilization of Ingermanlanders into the Red Army. In response, the Ingermanlanders rose and in July 1919, they proclaimed the North Ingria Republic. The Finns supported that effort but in October 1920, Finland concluded a peace treaty with Moscow. The republic collapsed and many of its supporters fled to Finland.

Other Ingermanlanders joined the anti-Bolshevik White Army of General Yudenich; but after his defeat, they settled in Estonia. The total demographic losses of this nation during the Russian Civil War – deaths and emigration -- amounted to about 50,000 people. But worse was to come.

For Moscow, the Ingermanlanders were “an unfavorable people,” and the Soviet regime deported them over the course of several actions.  The first wave, which carried off 18,000 Ingermanlanders hit at the time of collectivization. The second, which occurred in 1935-1936, deported 41,000 more.

In addition, 10,600 of them were condemned as “Finnish spies” – and Butakov adds that 80 percent of these people were simply shot. Moscow organized plans to deport all remaining Ingermanlanders away from the northern capital, but the speed of the German advance in 1941 prevented the Soviets from carrying this out.

At the end of the war, more than 63,000 Ingermanlanders fled to Finland, but Soviet pressure on Helsinki meant that “more than 43,000” of these were forced to return to the USSR, where many of them were forcibly resettled away from their historical homelands. As a result of these persecutions, fewer than 25,000 Ingermanlanders now live near Petersburg.

Despite this oppression or perhaps also because of it, the Ingermanlanders have articulated their own national movement. They have created several Internet portal, including, but Moscow has worked to shut this down and has forced its editor Pavel  Mezerin to emigrate to Lithuania.

But that Russian pressure may be backfiring on Moscow. Mezerin has taken the leader in forming ties with the Russian liberal emigration, something that gives up that the Ingermanlanders will obtain justice because they now have more people speaking up on their behalf. (See and

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