Return of the Meskhetians
Arvamus 19 Feb 2011  EWR
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G.E. | Tbilisi, Eastern Approaches, The
In November 1944, Stalin and his henchmen considered an offensive against Turkey. To eliminate a possible fifth column, they ordered the deportation of roughly 100,000 Meskhetians, Soviet citizens in southern Georgia suspected of Turkish ties, to central Asia. Thousands died en route. Officials dispatched the survivors to special settlements. Leaving without permission was a crime punishable by 15 years in a gulag.

It was far from unusual. By the time he died in 1953, Stalin had deported six million people to remote parts of the USSR, including eight entire ethnic groups.

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