On 28th August 1941, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 21-160. This decree ordered the deportation of all the Volga Germans to Kazakhstan and Siberia. Unlike most deportation decrees this one was published soon after its approval. On 30 August 1941, the two largest newspapers in the Volga German ASSR, Nachrichten and Bolshevik, printed the deportation order in its entirety. Below I have reproduced a translated version of the decree as found in N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii, “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), doc. 3, pp. 37-38. The translation from Russian to English is my own.
“On Resettling the Germans, Living in the Region of the Volga”
28 August 1941
According to reliable reports received from military authorities among the German population living in the region of the Volga exist thousands and tens of thousands of diversionists and spies who are now awaiting a signal from Germany that they should conduct sabotage in the region settled by Volga Germans.
On the presence of this large number of diversionists and spies among the Germans, living in the region of the Volga, nobody informed the Soviet authorities, therefore the German population of the region of the Volga concealed amongst themselves enemies of the Soviet people and Soviet authorities.
In the case that diversionist acts are conducted, according to orders from Germany by German diversionists and spies in the Volga German Republic or its adjoining regions, bringing about bloodshed, the Soviet leadership would according to the laws of wartime be required to bring punitive measures against the entire German population of the Volga.
In order to avoid this undesirable occurrence and to prevent serious bloodshed the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet deemed it necessary to resettle the whole German population, living in the region of the Volga, to other regions, with the provision that the resettled will be allotted land and rendered state assistance for settling in their new regions.
Those to be resettled are to be assigned to areas of abundant arable land in the regions of Novosibirsk and Omsk oblasts, Altai Krai, Kazakhstan and other neighboring localities.
In connection with this the State Defense Committee is directed to quickly undertake the resettlement of all Volga Germans and allot those resettled – Volga Germans land in their new regions.
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR