Staunton, June 27 – There are so many phenomena of Soviet and Russian life that are at odds with patterns in other countries but that are treated as givens not only by Russians but by others. That gives them the appearance of inevitability and allows some to consider that they are beyond the moral choice of individual leaders.
One of those, Tamara Eidelman says, is the mass deportation of people during Soviet times, a crime that deserves examination not only because it was massive and collective and thus affected whole peoples and groups but also because it involved the transfer of them from one place to another (youtube.com/watch?v=Mvl8FRqxD98).
In a two-hour video, the Russian historian and commentator who since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine has been living in Portugal suggests that deportations were part and parcel of Soviet life but reflected a broader pattern in Russian history of treating people not individually but collectively and forcibly moving them from one part of the country to another.
But despite this, Eidelman argues, Soviet deportations of entire nationalities were crimes, the specific choice of individual leaders to treat the citizens of their country in this way and must be evaluated as such rather than as is far too often the case accepted as something inevitable or justifiable in any way.