Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet “Concerning Policy Direction in the Special Settlement, Completing the Punishment of Convicts and Family Members Found in the Special Settlement” (March 11, 1952)

“Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet ‘Concerning Policy Direction in the Special Settlement, Completing the Punishment of Convicts and Family Members Found in the Special Settlement’ (March 11, 1952).” Translated and Edited by Eric J. Schmaltz, Istoriia rossiiskikh nemtsev v dokumentakh, (Moscow: MIGUP, 1993).

Translated and edited by Eric J. Schmaltz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Co-Executive Director of the NWOSU-Masonic Institute for Citizenship Studies, Department of Social Sciences, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva.

The original Russian source: “Ukaz Prezidiuma Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR (Mar. 11, 1952),” in Vladimir A. Aumann and Valentina G. Chebotareva, eds., Istoriia rossiiskikh nemtsev v dokumentakh (1763-1992 gg.) (Moscow: MIGUP, 1993), pp. 176-177.


On March 11, 1952, during the final year of Joseph Stalin’s dictatorial rule, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet elaborated further on the terms of the November 26, 1948 exile decree when it issued the new law “Concerning Policy Direction in the Special Settlement, Completing the Punishment of Convicts and Family Members Found in the Special Settlement.” This decree also targeted the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who on religious grounds were long noted for their distrust of state authority.

Here the Soviet regime resolved to punish the “enemy” social classes and nationalities—including the so-called wealthy peasants or “kulaks,” Karachai, Ingush, Chechens, Kalmyks, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Iranians, Turks and Germans—for committing “various felonies” during World War II as “the contributors and accomplices to the nationalist-cutthroat underground.” After a “certain period of punishment” in the “corrective-labor camps, reformatories, and prisons” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the Ministry of State Security of the USSR (MGB) was to transport these groups to the “special settlements” set up for them in Soviet Central Asia and Siberia. Many from these targeted groups, as the decree made clear, had been residents of the western regions of Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova, and the Baltic states, as well as other border regions, falling now under close supervision.

In short, this law elaborating on the policy of “special settlement” was intended to keep these so-called “nationalist-cutthroats” or “internal state enemies” away permanently from their former homelands and places of residence. Perhaps this new mass relocation from MVD camps to “special” areas of confinement signified something of lesser punishment, compared with hard-labor prison sentences, but it was meant to serve as a punishment, nonetheless—that is, for these people to live in “permanent” exile. The decree reads:

The Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet resolves:

1. To complete the punishment for various felonies in corrective-labor camps, reformatories, and prisons of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR [MVD], the Karachai, Ingush, Chechens, Kalmyks, Balkars, Germans, Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Iranians, Turks, and kulaks residing in the western regions of Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova SSR, and the Baltics, the contributors and accomplices of the nationalist-cutthroat underground, the Jehovah’s Witnesses [iegovistov], and other persons and family members who, owing to their previous place of residence, are evacuees in perpetual deportation according to the special decree of the government of the USSR, are to make their way by transport after a certain period of punishment toward the special settlement under the supervision of the Ministry of State Security of the USSR [MGB].

2. To distribute persons transferred under Article I, the action of the Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet from November 26, 1948, “Concerning the Criminal Responsibility for Escape from the Place of Mandatory and Permanent Settlement of Persons Removed to Distant Regions of the Soviet Union at the Time of the Great Patriotic War.”


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