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Lynne Viola - "Stalin's War Against the Peasantry"

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Each year, one day of Holocaust Memorial Week at OSU is set aside to focus on an episode of genocide or mass murder other than the Holocaust. In 2005, this program dealt with the extirpation of the Russian peasant class known as the kulaks. In his classic work, The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote of the vast network of concentration camps that Stalin built to house "enemies of the people." These were institutions of slave labor and isolation where millions of people died. Yet there was another archipelago of the gulag, a peasant archipelago, that developed in tandem with the concentration camps. This archipelago existed beyond the gaze of foreign observers and long remained hidden from historians. Even Solzhenitsyn could only hint at its existence. But it was vast, stretching across the enormity of the Soviet Union's empty hinterlands. This archipelago of the gulag was an internal diaspora of peasant families, the so-called kulaks, who were "liquidated as a class" in the early 1930s during Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture. Those who were not killed outright were forcibly uprooted from their homes and villages and deposited in the desolate open spaces of the far north, the Urals, Siberia, the far east, and Kazakhstan. In 1930 and 1931, the highpoint of the peasant deportations, the Soviet regime sent close to two million people into internal exile, accounting for the largest contingent of prisoners in the Soviet Union through the mid-1930s ...
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