Stalin Orders Volga Germans Sent to Siberia
Mass Removal of 390,000 due to Presence of Spies and Saboteurs
"Stalin Orders Volga Germans Sent to Siberia." Southern California Chapter Newsletter, Fall 2001.
Moscow, September 8 - (Associated Press). The Soviet government, declaring the lower Volga had become a haven for Nazi spies and saboteurs, directed Monday that some 390,000 persons of German extraction be uprooted from their homes in that area and resettled in various parts of Siberia.
Those affected by the mass migration order--descendants of German families whom Catherine the Great invited to settle along the Volga in part as a barrier to Tartar invasion--will be given land and state aid to start life anew, the government said.
The migration was decreed, it was explained, as the result of an investigation by military authorities which disclosed "tens of thousands of diversionists and spies among the German population of the Volga."
The government accused the population of "covering up enemies of the Soviet people" by failing to disclose the presence of these saboteurs who, it declared were "prepared to cause explosions in these regions at a signal from Germany."
To avert possible disorders and bloodshed which might force the government "to adopt measures of reprisal against the entire German population," it was decided to remove all persons of German descent from the region, the official announcement said.
The German Volga territory is an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union, situated about 300 miles north of the Caspian sea and about 500 miles east of the Dnieper river front where the Red army is engaged in death struggle with the Nazi invaders.
The migration decree provides that the Volga Germans be resettled some 1,600 to 2,000 miles farther east--in the Omsk and Novosibirsk regions of western Siberia, the Altai region of the Kazakhstan republic and "neighboring localities rich in land."
Defense Council Will Supervise Move
The decree--which was signed at the Kremlin August 28 by President Michael Kalinin--directs that the vast resettlement project be carried out as soon as possible under supervision of the national defense council headed by Premier Joseph Stalin.
The Germanic element in the Volga area represents about 65 percent of its total population, which, according to most recent estimates is about 600,000. The territory covers approximately 10,300 square miles.
Catherine the Great, whose invitation brought some 8,000 German families into the region, was herself the daughter of a Prussian field marshall.
She was wed in 1745 to Prince Peter of Russia, and became express in 1762 when he was dethroned by a conspiracy and later murdered.