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Deportation of 23 February 1944: Operation Lentil

Publication time: 22 February 2010, 15:04

On February 23, 1994, the 50 anniversary of the Bolshevik deportation of Chechens to Siberia, the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), Dzhokhar Dudayev, said at a rally in the capital of Ichkeria that henceforth the Chechen people would no longer celebrate the funeral, as the enemies want it. The Chechen people survived in incredible conditions of Russian terror and demonstrated that it has a will and determination to stand up for themselves and for their religion.

"Our enemies would like to see the Chechen people in perpetual mourning, but this will not happen. From now on, this day will be Day of the Revival of the Chechen Nation, the Day of fortitude and faith that saved our nation from elimination..." Dzhokhar Dudayev said at that memorable meeting.

On the 23rd February, 1944, the Kremlin regime committed a monstrous crime against humanity. The Chechen people, like some other peoples of the Soviet Empire, were all, to a single man, deported to Siberia. In February's fierce frosts hundreds of thousands of people were loaded into freight trains for cattle transport and sent to death to the steppes of Kazakhstan.

The deportation was explained by Stalin by the fact that Chechens "... voluntarily joined formations organized by Germans and stood up with weapons against the Red Army..."

Meanwhile, as a well-known Chechen political analyst, Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, writes: "Before finding explanation for Stalin's decisions, which killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, it would not be a bad thing to look at the war maps in the Caucasus in 1942-1944 to see that the Chechen-Ingush territory was never captured by the Germans. For that reason alone, there could not be a mass collaboration with the Germans" (A. Avtorkhanov. The murder of the Chechen-Ingush people. Moscow, 1991, p.3-5).

 

The reasons were quite different. As Avtorkhanov notes, the reasons for the extermination of the mountainous people were:

 

1. Continuous struggle of Chechens and the Caucasian highlanders for national independence. An actual rejection of the oppressive system of the Soviet colonial regime;

 

2. Moscow's desire to secure the Caucasus as a rear in future confrontations with the West against an imminent national all-Caucasian Front against the Soviet metropolis;

 

3. [...]

 

4. Not only to keep the Caucasus as a strategic base, free of internal risks and vulnerability, but also to transform it into a reliable base for future expansion against Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India.

 

These purposes were not declared but they are the real motivation of the Kremlin's policy for extermination of the Caucasian peoples. The first victims of this beasty policy were one million highlanders - Chechens, Ingushs, Karachayevs and Balkarians ..." (op. cit. p. 66).

 

6 thousand Chechens who could not be deported because of snowfalls and bad roads were executed, burned alive and drowned in the Galanchozh Lake. More than 700 Chechens, among whom the overwhelming majority were sick, elderly, pregnant women and children were burned alive in the village of Khaibakh, Galanchozh District.

In crowded frosty vans Chechens were sent to Siberia. The voyage lasted for 3-4 weeks or more. As a result, dozens thousands Chechen died en route from typhus, cold and starvation. Most of them were children (they accounted for a half of all deported Chechens), sick persons and the elderly. The Russians didn't allow to bury the bodies en route, so they were to be brought in the same vans to the final destination.

In new settlements, the displaced persons had no livelihood and housing, which led to an increased death rate. Only in the first months of the deportation about 200 thousand Chechens died, not counting those who died on the way.

 

Colonists from other places of Russia settled in the houses of deported Chechens and other Caucasians. For example, in September 1956 more than 200 thousand people from central Russia, Dagestan and other regions were living on Chechen and Ingush lands.

A Grozny paper, "The Republic", published in its issue dated 17, 1994 an article about the demolition of a Chechen mountainous village during the deportation. The name of the village was Khaibakh-Aul. The village ceased to exist. Here is an excerpt from that historical material:

 

"In February1944, troops of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (the so-called NKVD) burned alive a few hundred civilians in a small mountain village of Chechen-Ingushetia.

 

In the night of February 27, 1944, snow fell in the mountains making a bad road to highland villages even worse for the troops under a "special task" of the Soviet government. Nearly half a million people of the plains in the republic were herded to a railway station, loaded into wagons and sent to certain death to distant Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

In the mountains, where the Russians couldn't come with their Studebaker trucks that the US delivered to them during the war, people lived in ancient stone huts and knew nothing about events on the plain. How to deal with them? Send new troops? It was extremely difficult. In addition, the troops already reported to their superiors about a successful completion of the operation. Some healthy people were sent down to the plain to join the others. The remaining people who can not go down alone - sick persons, children, the elderly - were to be burnt alive by the Russians.

A few days later, columns of troops came to the mountains. They gathered the remaining residents from all farms of Nashkhoyev County in the village of Khaibakh, under the pretext of forming a convoy to further transportation to the plain. Sinking to their knees in snow, lines of people under military escort were slowly moved to the stables of a kolkhoz named after Lavrentiy Beria. The stables were previously prepared and filled with hay and straw, so that "people waiting for carts with horses do not get cold". The sick, children and old men were accompanied by healthy adults who did not want to leave alone the beloved ones. When all of them gathered in the stables (more than 700 people), the gates were locked. The chief of the Far East regional management of the NKVD, colonel Gvishiani, who was headed the massacre, ordered to start the burning.

The stable laid with straw on all sides immediately caught fire. When it was enveloped in flames, the huge gates collapsed under the pressure of storming people, and the frenzied crowd poured out. Terrible cries of children, the groans, the horror on the faces of those who have already managed to jump out from the ashes, burning living people with cracking and pealing skin. Gvishiani coolly commanded: "Fire!". Bursts of automatic fire came from hundreds of barrels. People fell under a hail of bullets, blocking an exit with their bodies. A few seconds later a mountain of corpses formed, which prevented anyone from leaving. No one could escape.

 

Khatyn, Lidice ... Chechen village of Khaibakh, which already ceased to exist on the maps, should be added to these names.

 

Gvishiani was awarded for his job for the government by Beria and elevated in rank. He became a general. And Stalin praised all the participants of the operation The Mountain "for a successful completion of important government tasks in the North Caucasus".

The Kremlin regime is still hypocritically mourning the victims of Khatyn (Belarus), where, as the Russians claim, 149 civilians were died in fire, but it is silent about their heinous crime in Khaibakh. The Kremlin keeps silence and continues the genocide of the Chechen people that was started by the Tsarist Russia.

 

P.S.: According to Chechen historians, the total losses of the Chechen nation during the deportations of 1944 to 1957 make 50% of the total Chechen population. The Chechen losses in 1994 to 2004 amount to about 30% of the total population.

 

Akhmed Sardali,

for Kavkaz Center


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