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Genesis: Historical research

Demographic factor of integration of the territories of the deported peoples (on the example of the Volga Germans and Kalmyk ASSR)

Taktasheva Flyura Anvarovna

ORCID: 0000-0002-0960-8288

PhD in History

Taktasheva Flyura Anvarovna, PhD in Historical sciences, Associate Professor, Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University

400005, Russia, Volgograd region, Volgograd, ul. V.I. Lenin Ave., 27






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Abstract: The article is devoted to the problem of economic and economic strengthening of territories disbanded as a result of ethnic deportations of the Kalmyk ASSR and the ASSR of Volga Germans in the 1940s. Based on the extensive historical literature on the problems of deportations, it is proved that the topic of integration of the territories of deported peoples has been little studied. The author shows the administrative and territorial changes that occurred in the Stalingrad region in connection with the annexation of the districts of the former republics. It is proved that the successful integration of the territories of the former republics into the economy of the Stalingrad region was based on the demographic factor. Based on the documents of the archives, the dynamics of the population, as well as the activities of regional authorities to replenish the human potential of these territories are analyzed. The novelty of the study is determined by the lack of a comprehensive study of the problems of integration of the territories of the Volga and Kalmykia German republics, most of whose population were deported, into the economic system of the Stalingrad region in the 1940s. For the first time, unpublished historical sources are introduced into scientific circulation, including statistical information and documents of the Stalingrad Regional Party Committee. As the main conclusion, it was established that by the beginning of the 1950s, the restoration of the pre-war population level did not occur, as a result of which the territories of the former republics remained economically inefficient.


deportation, The Great Patriotic War, Kalmyk ASSR, ASSR of Volga Germans, kalmyks, Volga Germans, Stalingrad region, population size, demographics, integration

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Ethnic deportations, being one of the most ambitious projects of Soviet national policy, which influenced not only ethnic culture and consciousness of ethnic groups, but also interethnic relations, remain one of the most popular topics of discussion in modern Russian society and science.

In Soviet historiography, the topic of deportations of peoples was the most ideologized and taboo. Sources on the problems of deportations were classified and inaccessible to researchers. In view of this, this topic was omitted in Soviet historical science and was not in the attention of researchers.

With the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s, many archival documents became available to researchers, interest in the problem of deportations of peoples made it the most discussed in modern Russia [1],[5],[17],[19],[24]. Since that time, we can talk about the formation of historiography on this topic as a whole and for each of the peoples subjected to deportation. At the same time, one of the aspects in the historiography of the problem was the period of the Great Patriotic War, when a large number of peoples were subjected to deportations.

In the 1990s 2000s, serious scientific publications appeared on the topic of ethnic deportations, concerning both individual peoples [2],[9],[26], as well as issues of a theoretical nature [32], as well as in line with the study of Soviet national policy in general [4]. These works raised issues such as the causes of deportations, regulatory frameworks, implementation of deportation policy, transportation, adaptation and assimilation of peoples, their accommodation, conditions of stay, legal restrictions, demographic losses and consequences for the national culture of deported ethnic groups [7],[19],[20],[18],[21],[23],[26].

Despite the extensive layer of modern works on the topic of deportations in the USSR and the wide range of aspects raised in them, issues related to the subsequent fate of the territories of the deported peoples, their economic development and integration into the economy of other subjects of the RSFSR remain little studied. N. F. Bugai in his historiographical article on the example of the Volga Germans Republic designates this speaking about the tasks of preserving the economic component of the territories of the former republic in the overall potential of the state [3]. In this regard, the question of administrative-territorial transformations also emerges, which is also slightly represented in modern historiography [22].

The subject of the study is the problem of population size as one of the fundamental factors of integration of the territories of the disbanded republics of Germans of the Volga region and Kalmykia, most of whose population Germans and Kalmyks were deported to the economic system of the Stalingrad region in the 1940s.

The novelty of the research is determined by the lack of due attention in Russian historiography to this problem, as well as the introduction of unpublished sources into scientific circulation.

The methodological basis of the research was both the methods of historical science historical-comparative, historical-genetic, and methods of statistical analysis. Their use made it possible to show in a complex the problem of lack of human resources and the attempts of the regional authorities to solve it for the successful integration and economic strengthening of the territories of the deported peoples.

The deportations of Kalmyks and Volga Germans during the Great Patriotic War became one of the components of the history of the Stalingrad region.

As a preventive measure, the eviction of the German population from their territories was carried out. On August 28, 1941, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR "On the resettlement of Germans living in the Volga region" was published. The preventive nature of the measures was explained by "the presence of tens of thousands of saboteurs and spies", communication with Germany, the suppression of possible sabotage in the rear of the country, etc. Already in September 1941, the transportation of the German population by echelons to the east of the country began to Kazakhstan, as well as to the Krasnoyarsk and Altai Territories, to the Novosibirsk and Omsk regions. The works of Volgograd researcher N. E. Vashkau contain detailed information about how the deportation took place, what were its mechanisms and legal norms [10],[11].

Germans left their homes, left the whole household: "Everyone was gathered in the club, Stalin's decree was read out, without explaining why and why, they were given a week to gather. It was announced what could and could not be taken with you. The one who went first was more lucky: they managed to hand over the cattle and get certificates so that they would be at least partially compensated for losses in their new place. But there were few such families who were able to take out part of the property. A week later, everyone else was herded together, and only the most necessary things were allowed to take with them. They loaded everyone and everything onto cars and took them to the station. And from there they were sent in freight cars to unknown Siberia" [13].

In total, 949829 Germans were deported across the USSR during the Great Patriotic War [25, p. 168]. 446480 people were deported from the disbanded ASSR of Volga Germans [25, p. 168], which was about one-third of the total population of the republic according to the All-Union Census of 1939.

The territories of the Volga Germans' Republic were divided between the Saratov and Stalingrad regions. The latter included the Gmelinsky, Ilovatsky, Pallasovsky, Staropoltavsky, Frankish, Erlenbach, Lower Dobrinsky cantons. In five of them, the entire German population was completely evicted [29, L. 9]. During the following years, the boundaries of these districts were reorganized. Only Ilovatsky district remained unchanged. Gmelinsky district in 1950 became part of Staropoltavsky. Pallasovsky district was enlarged, it included Kaysatsky and Eltonsky districts in 1950 and 1953, respectively. Franksky district was renamed Medveditsky in 1941, and Zhirnovsky in 1959. Erlenbach district was renamed Remennikovsky in 1942, was liquidated in 1948, and its territories were incorporated into Zhdanovsky and Kamyshinsky districts. Dobrinsky district was renamed Nizhnedobrinsky in 1942 and partially became part of Kamyshinsky in 1950. Such border transformations were due to the fact that the territories of the former Republic of the Volga Germans without a sufficient population turned out to be economically and economically disadvantaged.

December 27 , 1943 By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the eviction of Kalmyks to the Altai and Krasnoyarsk Territories, Novosibirsk and Omsk regions began as a measure to counteract a large number of betrayals and treasons on the territory of the Kalmyk ASSR during the Great Patriotic War. The whole ethnic group as a whole was recognized as criminal. Operation "Uluses" went very fast [6]. By January 1944, 93,139 people had been deported from the republic.[8]

V. B. Ubushaev in his work "Kalmyks: eviction and return. 1943-1957." cites many memoirs of contemporaries about the deportation, among whom was the writer A. G. Balakaev: "Old women and old men, women and children, like prisoners, soldiers, armed to the teeth, are pushed out of their homes, native homes where their ancestors lived and from where sons, husbands and fathers went to the front. Everyone is ordered to get into cars, but no one can get up and climb over the high sides of a foreign car. Then the soldiers grab the arms and legs, throw them into the back. I have never seen such savagery, rudeness, cruelty before" [33].

The Kalmyk ASSR was abolished, and its territories became part of the Stavropol Territory, Astrakhan, Rostov, Stalingrad regions. Sarpinsky and Maloderbetovsky districts, in which previously about 2/3 of the population were Kalmyks, were part of the Stalingrad Region until 1957, when the Kalmyk Autonomous Region was formed by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Sarpinsky district, enlarged in 1950 at the expense of Maloderbetovsky, was returned to a new administrative unit.

However, the solution to the problems of integration of the deserted territories into the economic system of the Stalingrad region was based on the demographic factor - the problem of replenishing the population, mainly ablebodied.

Table 1.Population change in the districts of the Stalingrad region

(the former territories of the Germans of the Volga ASSR and Kalmyk ASSR) in 1939 1946. [12],[14],[16]

Attached area

Population census of 1939, people.

On 01.01.1943, people.

On 01.01.1946

Former cantons of the Volga Germans Republic





Dobrinsky (since 1942, Nizhnezhobrinsky)
















Franksky (since 1941, Medveditsky)




Erlenbach (since 1942 Remennikovsky)




Former districts of the Kalmyk ASSR









The data presented above show how the population has changed due to deportations in the territories annexed to the Stalingrad region. According to the 1939 census, these were demographically full-fledged areas populated mainly by representatives of the German and Kalmyk peoples. On the eve of the war, more than 160 thousand people lived here, whereas by 1946 the population had decreased by almost 3 times.

With the accession of the ASSR cantons of the Volga Germans in the autumn of 1941, the local leadership of the Stalingrad region was tasked with their integration and economic strengthening. However, the human potential of these territories was extremely low and required an increase, as evidenced by numerous references and reports. So, for example, in the Franksky district on the eve of deportation, the population of the district was 27144 people, and already on 18.09.1941 5595 families with the number of 26763 people were evicted, 35 families or 332 people remained not evicted [31]. In the memorandum on the organizational and economic strengthening of the Medveditsky, Remennikovsky, Nizhne-Dobrinsky, Gmelinsky and Pallasovsky districts of the Stalingrad region dated 10/30/1943, it was also indicated that almost the entire population of these districts had been evicted [29].

In 1944, the same tasks and problems faced the leadership of the region in connection with the annexation of the districts of the Kalmyk Republic. So, in the Maloderbetovsky district, during the period of deportation, all Kalmyks were evicted, according to archival statistics as of 01.01.1944, there were 6549 people in the district [30].

During the Great Patriotic War, the problem of development and settlement of the devastated territories was solved at the expense of the evacuated population. To a greater extent, these processes affected the former cantons of the Volga Germans Republic, where the population from the Oryol, Smolensk, Rostov, Voroshilov, Stalin regions and the Ukrainian SSR were located. So, for example, in May 1942, the largest number of the evacuated population arriving from Leningrad was placed in the former cantons: 3,500 people were sent to the Medveditsky district, N. Dobrinsky 3,000 people, Remennikovsky 1,500 people, Staropoltavsky 500 people, Pallasovsky and Gmelinsky 600 people each [28, l. 281]

The population evacuated from the western regions of the country temporarily made up for the lack of human resources, as evidenced by statistics on the areas of the former ASSR of the Volga Germans on 01.01.1943, reflected in the table above. However, the solution of the tasks of economic and economic strengthening of these territories was complicated by the specifics of the evacuated population, a significant part of which was not connected with agriculture. These were the families of Soviet and party workers, the families of Red Army commanders and the urban population, mainly Leningrad and the cities of Ukraine. In this regard, there was a shortage of collective farm population.

Table 2.The population of collective farms in the regions of the former Republic of the Volga Germans [29]


Total population in collective farms, people.

Out of the total population

Evacuated from other areas, people.

Local population, people.





















The collective farm population of these areas was represented mainly by evacuees from rural areas of the Orel region and Ukraine.

However, with the liberation of the territories and the end of the Great Patriotic War, the re-evacuation of the population began. This process was already outlined in 1943. Therefore, in the second half of the 1940s, there was a decrease in the population of the territories of the former republics (see Table 1).

After the end of the Great Patriotic War, one of the sources of replenishment of the devastated territories was repatriation. So, in August 1945, 2,742 people were distributed among the districts of the region, of which more than half were sent to Medveditsky 932 people, Remennikovsky 269 people, Pallasovsky 212 people, Nizhne-Dobrinsky 397 people [15].

Thus, the problem of integration of the territories of the deported peoples is another unexplored layer in the historiography of ethnic deportations. The leadership of the Stalingrad region, having accepted the territories of the former Germans of the Volga region and the Kalmyk Republics, were puzzled, first of all, by the issues of economic and economic strengthening of these territories. However, the lack of human resources, the Great Patriotic War and the difficulties of post-war development did not allow the economic potential of the districts to be restored. During the second half of the 1940s - 1950s, these areas remained economically unprofitable and during these years most of them were reorganized.