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Population movements in the USSR

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calvo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 12:44
The USSR was an era of large population movements, in which millions of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians were relocated to the Baltics, the Caucasus, the Central Asian republics, and the Russian Far East. Some had moved voluntarily, but far more were transfered under the orders of the government.
Stalin's era also saw the deportataion of nationalities such as Chechens, Volga Germans and Crimean Tatars to regions far away from their homeland.

After the fall of the USSR, large-scale migrations occurred once again, mostly involving ethnic Slavs moving back to Russia from other former Soviet Republics.
Most of the Caucasian and Central Asian republics have seen their Russian population diminished at a fast rate in the last 20 years.

In many cases, I would assume that the Russian population in many of these republics had been born and raised there. In other words, they'd have no ties to where their families originally came from. So why have so many returned to Russia? Was it for economic opportunities or the fear of political persecution? Or was it because that over the years they had always desired to return to Russia?


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Anton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 13:55
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

The USSR was an era of large population movements, in which millions of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians were relocated to the Baltics, the Caucasus, the Central Asian republics, and the Russian Far East. Some had moved voluntarily, but far more were transfered under the orders of the government.


This wasn't forced by the government. You confuse this with so called "raspredelenie" when graduates were offered jobs in different parts of the country. It wasn't voluntary but graduates had many different options -- say become a PhD student or something else. Besides, after three years of work people were allowed to change their jobs and their initial registration was preserved. They were also offered different social benefits and relocation money. The idea behind "raspredelenie" is to provide remote regions with required personnel, especially teachers, doctors and educated industry personnel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 21:51
What I read was that under Stalin many of the population transfers were involuntary, although not officially, because if you refused you could potentially be labelled as an enemy of the people. 
In the later era more people moved to remote regions for economic rewards, but what was certain was that most of those who moved tended to stay there until the collapse of the USSR. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 23:21
You are perhaps right. At least in postwar period, when USSR lost basically a generation, qualified people were required everywhere. This would make the government be tougher. I recall there was a book by Kaverin entitled "Open book" about Soviet microbiologist. A small episode describes similar problem. One of the students refused to accept offer as a teacher in biology in the middle of nowhere and student council discussed this issue. I do not remember what was their decision but I recall that one of the students suggested the poor guy to pay back 3000 rubles that the state spent on his education. This book is translated and if you are interested in history of USSR this may give you a flavour of how it was to be an intelligent person in early USSR:
http://www.amazon.com/The-open-book-V-Kaverin/dp/5050028116/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1334701079&sr=8-3
This is sort of Soviet version of Arrowsmith or The Citadel. It's a bit idealized though.

By the way, there were bunch of large scale project, such as Baikal-Amur mainline or Virgin Land campaign, which was supported by massive PR attack (or propaganda if you wish)  calling people to relocate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 01:51
My understanding is that many who have found themselves in some of the most northerly and remote cities are now are on the move back to more favourable climes, and parts of Siberia are now facing a population issue, particuarly as this area borders one of the most heavily populated regions on earth (China) something that may present an issue in the future. Is this accurate?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 02:19
The Korean in the Soviet Far East were relocated to Kazakstan in Stalin's time, if memory serves. One was an old Uibyeong (Righteous Army) general who had fought the Japanese from 1909 until 1924 or so, after which the Soviets stopped the Uibyeong from operating in their territories.

During WWII, an estimated 5,000 Soviet-Koreans served in the Red Army, providing the Soviet administration in post WWII North Korea with valuable talent for helping set up the DPRK.

This link gives some information on 'General" Hong Bom-do, however the statement that Stalin exiled him from Kapsan in in error. Kapsan is in North Korea, and the Soviets had no control of it until 1945. 

http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/1634.html


Edited by lirelou - 18 Apr 2012 at 02:25
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 14:14
Originally posted by Anton Anton wrote:

This book is translated and if you are interested in history of USSR this may give you a flavour of how it was to be an intelligent person in early USSR:
http://www.amazon.com/The-open-book-V-Kaverin/dp/5050028116/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1334701079&sr=8-3
This is sort of Soviet version of Arrowsmith or The Citadel. It's a bit idealized though.



Sounds like an interesting book. Thanx for the recomendation.

Did most of the relocations ocurr during Stalin's reign or afterwards? For those Russians who relocated to non-Slavic areas, did most of them keep themselves in a separate community or did they adapt to the local customs?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 14:15
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

The Korean in the Soviet Far East were relocated to Kazakstan in Stalin's time, if memory serves. One was an old Uibyeong (Righteous Army) general who had fought the Japanese from 1909 until 1924 or so, after which the Soviets stopped the Uibyeong from operating in their territories.

During WWII, an estimated 5,000 Soviet-Koreans served in the Red Army, providing the Soviet administration in post WWII North Korea with valuable talent for helping set up the DPRK.

This link gives some information on 'General" Hong Bom-do, however the statement that Stalin exiled him from Kapsan in in error. Kapsan is in North Korea, and the Soviets had no control of it until 1945. 

http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/1634.html


Soviet Koreans? were they Koreans who had always lived on soviet territory, or Koreans who had emigrated to the USSR?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 21:28
They started to immigrate in the end of the 19th century and in quite large number after Japan had established its rule over Korea. At one point the Koreans were the major ethnic group in the Russian Far East.

The reason for immigration was primarily economic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 21:33
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:



In many cases, I would assume that the Russian population in many of these republics had been born and raised there. In other words, they'd have no ties to where their families originally came from. So why have so many returned to Russia? Was it for economic opportunities or the fear of political persecution? Or was it because that over the years they had always desired to return to Russia?


They didn't desire "to return" to Russia. But after the collapse of the USSR Russians in many of those states were labeled as occupants and oppressors by newly established nationalistic governments even though many of them grew up there and contributed a lot to the development. That especially was rampant during the early 1990th. Russian were particularly severely discriminated in Turkmenistan and the government there forced literally all the Russian population out of the country. Most of the Russian who "came back" to Russia faced very tough welcome, not really friendly quite often, and they would never left their home should they have a choice...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 22:40
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Did most of the relocations ocurr during Stalin's reign or afterwards? For those Russians who relocated to non-Slavic areas, did most of them keep themselves in a separate community or did they adapt to the local customs?


The forced relocation occurred in Stalin's time. In case of large movement of populations, such as Chechens there were no intermixing with locals as far as I know. In all other cases, there were certainly lots of intermixing of local and Russian traditions and habits. But there was no forced assimilation of local people into Russian nation if this is what you ask. USSR usually cared to preserve local identities. For example pupils in local schools had few hours a week of local language, literature and history of the nation. Multinational and multicultural nature of the state was constantly emphasized, although Russians were the titular nations, of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 14:22
Originally posted by Anton Anton wrote:



The forced relocation occurred in Stalin's time. In case of large movement of populations, such as Chechens there were no intermixing with locals as far as I know. In all other cases, there were certainly lots of intermixing of local and Russian traditions and habits. But there was no forced assimilation of local people into Russian nation if this is what you ask. USSR usually cared to preserve local identities. For example pupils in local schools had few hours a week of local language, literature and history of the nation. Multinational and multicultural nature of the state was constantly emphasized, although Russians were the titular nations, of course.


Well, it could be wrong, but there are some speculations that Stalin transfered Russian population to areas populated by non-Russians partially for the purpose of "Russifying" the minority regions.
If it were true, then the attempt certainly wasn't very successful, with his native Georgia being a prime example.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 19:22
I don't think there was an idea of russification of the USSR. There wasn't even possible to assimilate Ukrainians and Belorussians (closest nations) how would you do that with Georgians or Armenians? By the way, population movements started way before USSR -- lots of people moved voluntary or not to different places, especially East during Russian Empire times...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 17:50
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

 

They didn't desire "to return" to Russia. But after the collapse of the USSR Russians in many of those states were labeled as occupants and oppressors by newly established nationalistic governments even though many of them grew up there and contributed a lot to the development. 

During Soviet times, did the Russian population in non-Russian republics generally have a higher social-economic status than the local population, or were they more or less on the same level?

After the disintegration of the USSR, was Russia willing to give out passports to these Russians returning from other CIS republics? Where did they mostly settle? In Moscow or where their families originally came from?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 18:47
Originally posted by Anton Anton wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Did most of the relocations ocurr during Stalin's reign or afterwards? For those Russians who relocated to non-Slavic areas, did most of them keep themselves in a separate community or did they adapt to the local customs?


The forced relocation occurred in Stalin's time. In case of large movement of populations, such as Chechens there were no intermixing with locals as far as I know. In all other cases, there were certainly lots of intermixing of local and Russian traditions and habits. But there was no forced assimilation of local people into Russian nation if this is what you ask. USSR usually cared to preserve local identities. For example pupils in local schools had few hours a week of local language, literature and history of the nation. Multinational and multicultural nature of the state was constantly emphasized, although Russians were the titular nations, of course.
 
Not only there were no intermixing between the relocated populations and CA natives, there were riots, massive bloody riots against the Caucassians, Meskhetian Turks, Armenians etc. in the late 80s.
 
As for Russians, established Russians like those in Kazakhstan where most of them were there for hundreds of years remained and are quite integrated into society to the extent that the Kazakhs refuse to switch alphabets like other central Asian countries.
 
Settlers who came with the Soviets (especially Ukrainians and Belorussians) were not that welcome from what I gather. Indeed the Ukrainian population of central Asia has all but dissappeared.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 22:49
There is no difference between Ukrainians, Belorussians and Russians in Central Asia. They all started to arrive there at the same time. And there is enough of them there, especially in Kazakhstan.
 
As for the bloody violence against the resettlers. There was none, except Meschetian Turks in the 1980th in Uzbekistan. Only the immediate and effective involvement of the Soviet Army saved Turks from the blood thristy Uzbeki mobs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2012 at 10:25
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

There is no difference between Ukrainians, Belorussians and Russians in Central Asia. They all started to arrive there at the same time. And there is enough of them there, especially in Kazakhstan.
 
As for the bloody violence against the resettlers. There was none, except Meschetian Turks in the 1980th in Uzbekistan. Only the immediate and effective involvement of the Soviet Army saved Turks from the blood thristy Uzbeki mobs.

WHat was the reason behind the riots?

I thought that Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan had lost most of their Russian populations, only in Kazakhstan have they remained, largely because of the country is official billingual.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2012 at 13:13
Kyrgyzstan has Russian as its official language. Many Russians, it would be indeed properly to say "Russian-speaking" people migrated from Uzbekistan, but there is still a sizeble minority there. Even some Russians in the government.
 
However, most of the Russian speakers left Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
 
The reasons of the riots against Turks was grassrot nationalism. An actual event that triggered the violence was some kind of "improper" behavoir of Meschetian Turkish youth at a local nightclub.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2012 at 21:23
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

 
Not only there were no intermixing between the relocated populations and CA natives, there were riots, massive bloody riots against the Caucassians, Meskhetian Turks, Armenians etc. in the late 80s.


I don't know about population that were forcefully moved, but people who moved by their own will or by job quota certainly intermixed quite a lot. 


Quote
Settlers who came with the Soviets (especially Ukrainians and Belorussians) were not that welcome from what I gather. Indeed the Ukrainian population of central Asia has all but dissappeared.


Currently, Kyrgyzstan has 7% Russians, Uzbekistan ~5%, Azerbaijan - 2% (compare that to 4% in 1989) and so on. So, yes, Russian population in former Soviet CA republic dropped down by, say, 50% but didn't vanish. The number of mixed families varied in different republics. For example in Kazakhstan it reached 23% in Brezhnev's time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 09:51
According to Wikipedia, in Kazakhstan most of the Russians who have left were those who had emigrated there as adults, while most Russians who were born and raised there have chosen to stay. 

In Central Asia, does the so-called "Russian-speaking" population include many other nationalities whose first language is Russian? Such as the relocated Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Russified locals?

Regarding Azerbaijan. Baku was a cosmopolitan city with large Slavic populations right until the fall of the USSR, but since then most of the minorities have left and the city has become overwhelmingly Azeri. Considering it is an economic boom town attracting a large number of western investors, why has this happened? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 10:07
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

In Central Asia, does the so-called "Russian-speaking" population include many other nationalities whose first language is Russian? Such as the relocated Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Russified locals?
 
That is exactly what it means, and not only in Central Asia, but also elsewhere in the former USSR.
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