Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Union of Repressed Peoples Calls for Shifting Russian State Holidays away from Deportation Anniversaries

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 8 – Chechens and Ingush have long been upset that Moscow continues to celebrate Day of the Defender of the Fatherland on the anniversary of their deportation by Stalin on February 23 and Balkars have been angry that Moscow insists on continuing to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 the anniversary of their deportation as well.

            Now, the Union of Repressed Peoples has called on the Russian government to move the two state holidays so that they do not conflict with the memorial days of these two peoples, an appeal certain to be welcomed by the punished peoples but unlikely to be accepted by Moscow (

            “Society cannot be fully health if it does not reflect among the priority of historical justice and respect the feelings of all the peoples of our country,” the appeal says. “In 1944 and for the next 13 years, the repressed peoples suffered unimaginable losses … and in the places where they were forcibly deported (Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Siberia), every third or fourth representative of these peoples died” (

            “In our democratic state, there must not be a contrast when one part of the multi-national people of the country laments its innocent victims … who were inhumanely and forcibly deported and another celebrates joyfully days which have been stripped of their ideological sacred meaning” and for which there are substitutes, the appeal continues.

            Because the Turkic Balkars number far fewer than most other deported groups and the Chechens and Ingush in particular, the anniversary of their deportation and the suffering they experienced has never attracted as much attention as have the others, although that may be beginning to change.

            This year, several hundred people from throughout Kabardino-Balkaria and neighboring republics came to Nalchik to commemorate the tragedy and to recall what happened to the more than 37,000 men, women and children whom Stalin sent to Central Asia near the end of World War II ( and


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