Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A Black Day in History. Today in 1939.
On 23 August 1939, Molotov and Ribbentrop signed a "non-aggression pact" dividing up Central Europe between the USSR and Nazi Germany. This act led to the subsequent subjugation and colonization of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, eastern Poland, and the Bessarabian province of Romania. The Sovietization of these territories involved a great deal of violence directed by the Stalin regime against civilians. In terms of sheer numbers of victims the greatest acts of Soviet terror in this region were the mass deportation of Poles, Jews, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, and Moldavians to eastern regions of the USSR. The NKVD forcibly uprooted and dumped over 400,000 people from these nationalities in the Soviet Far North, the Urals, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and Siberia during 1940 and 1941. The Soviet government placed these deportees under special settlement restrictions in order to confine them to their new areas of settlement. The material conditions in these settlements proved to be deadly. Unable to leave the settlements, tens of thousands perished from malnutrition, disease and exposure. For a statistical analysis of the human losses involved see this post. Unlike their Nazi counterparts the Soviet war criminals responsible for these acts have never been brought to justice.