DEPORTATION OF 1937 AS PRODUCT OF RUSSIAN AND SOVIET NATIONAL POLICY
The deportation of 1937 is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and focal topics in the history of the Koreans of Russia , the Soviet Union and the modern post-Soviet Central Asia. The deportation of 1937 divided the history of the Korean minority into two periods: before and after.
For more than a century the topic of forced, total resettlement of all the Far Eastern Koreans to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has remained under a very strict ban in the Soviet historiography. The western authors or Soviet dissidents and fighters for the rights were the first to write about the deportation. Gorby's perestroika and glasnost' caused an avalanche of newspaper and magazine publications, articles, memoirs and books. An explosion of interest in their historical past alongside with the restoration of justice has led to a bouquet of false stereotypes of the deportation as a spontaneous and unexpected decision of Stalin to resettle Koreans.
The analysis of the archive materials and other historical sources has brought about the conclusion that the deportation of 1937 is a logical final of the policy of the tsarist autocracy and of the Soviet government in the Russian Far East. The deportation was prepared and some attempts were already made on the eve of the Russian-Japanese war and during Lenin's reforms and during Stalin's collectivization. Besides, it should be noted that the deportation of Koreans was much desired by both the chauvinistic burghers and the local administration and higher government leaders.
Thus, in the article we are trying to solve two tasks:
1. criticism of the formed false stereotypes and approaches to the study of the topic;
2. scientifically based proof of the fact that the deportation of 1937 was the continuation by other means of the national policy of the tsarist and Soviet Russia in the Far East.
These two tasks are ,in my opinion, closely connected as one of the most widely spread false stereotypes is that the deportation is considered as a result of Stalins spontaneous decision who thus wanted to put an end to the foreign/Japanese/ spies. The solution of these tasks demands to make an excursus to the previous periods as without knowing the past one cannot understand the present.
The beginning of the new history of the Korean immigration to the Far East is considered to be the first half of the 60ies last century.The deficit of the labor in the first decade after including Pre-Amuriye and Premoriye into the Russian possessions coincided with the first wave of immigrants from the Northern provinces of Korea< who had run away from the severe exploitation of the feudal-monarchial regime, abuse and unlawful actions of the landowners, bureaucrats and moneylenders, to the bordering regions of Russia and Manchuria.(Gosudarstvenny arkhiv Khabarovskoy oblasty (GAHO), pech. F. Љ 2744, Sputnik po Sibiriy, Manchjuriy i Ussuriyskogo krau. 1911, otd.2, s.14)
At the end of the 70-ies - beginning of the 80-ies the tsarist government paid a lot of attention to settling Russians in the Southern -Ussuriyskiy region and took steps to stimulate the settlers' movement with extraordinary privileges. The law of June,1st ,1882 envisaged annually during three years to send 250 families from the Southern regions of Russia to the Far East by sea at the expense of the state. The settlers weregranted loans of 600 roubles for 33 years per family, 15 desyatins of land per male adult but not more than 100 desyatins per family. They were free from any land fees for three years and for 20 years from all state taxes and payments.(See: Alekseev A.I., Morozov B.N. Osvoenie russkogo Dalnego Vostok. End XIX v. - 1917g. Moscow, Nauka, 1989, p. 7-10) Such measures led to the fact that the total number of the Russian population in Premorskaya oblast increased from 8 385 in 1882 to 66 320 in 1902. It means that the Russian colonization of the Ussuriisky krai actually started only in 1883. The number of the Korean population of the oblast increased during that period from 10 137 to 32 380.(Grave V. Chinese, Koreans and Japanese in Priamury. Spb. 1912, p.130)
In connection with the mass Russian colonization more and more often arose the "Korean question" or the issue of expediency of the Korean immigration. In 1886 in Khabarovsk was convened the second congress of governors and other representatives of the local authorities of Preamurskyi krai. At the Khabarovsk congress a report of the commission on the Korean question in the Premorskaya oblast and Amurskyi krai was presented. The resolution of the congress concentrated on not permitting further migration of the Koreans and to settle those who had migrated earlier deep inside the territory of the krai. The Korean settlers had to abandon the lands cultivated by them and which had passed from them to Russian farmers -settlers. (See: Nadarov I. Materials k izucheniu Ussurieskogo krai. Vladivostok,1886, p.26)
The resolution of the congress on the Korean question and the corresponding
appeal of the general-governor of the Preamurskyi krai Korf A.N. were approved by the Committee of Ministers in Petersburg which resolved: " From now on to prohibit to those coming to Russia Koreans and others from
Chinese and Korean territories to settle in the territory bordering on China and Korea". (Sbornik pogranichnyh treaties , signed by Russia with neibor governments. Spb., 1891, p. 292)
The Russian - Korean convention on border relations signed on the 8 /20/ of
August, 1888 in Seoul between Veber K.I. and the President of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs Kim Yun Seekh and also their oral agreement served as the foundation for measures of the Russian authorities aimed at establishing legal status of the Koreans who got settled in Russia and at regulating the issues of the Korean immigration.(See: Pak B. D. Russia and Korea. M., Nauka, 1979, p.61-74)
In accordance with the directive of Preamurskyi general-governor Korf A.N.
all the Koreans in Russia were divided into three categories. The first category numbered Koreans who moved and settled in Russia before the Russian-Korean agreement of 1884. They were allowed to stay in the Ussuriyskyi krai and they were to get the Russian citizenship. To the second category belonged the Koreans who migrated and settled in Russia after 1884 but those willing to adopt Russian citizenship and undertaking to follow the rules established for the first category. To the third category belonged the Koreans who temporarily lived in the Preamurskyi krai, i.e. those who came to earn some money. They had no right to settle on the state lands. They could stay in Russian only after getting Russian residence permit. (See: Pesotskyi B. D. Korean question in Preamurie. - Works of komandirovfnnyh po Vysochaishemu povtleniu Amurs expedition. T. XI, Khabarovsk, 1913, p.2-5)
Liberalization of the policy of general-governors Dukhovskoi S.M. and Grodekov N.I. towards Korean settlers contributed to the fast increase of the number of Koreans migrating to Russia.(See: Kim Syn Khva Ocherki po history of soviet koreans. Almaty, Nauka, 1965, p. 31). Actual number of Koreans who crossed the Russian -Korean and Russian - Chinese borders many time surpassed the number of those who passed through the passport-visa control or got a Russian residence permit. The majority of Korean immigrants came to the Russian Premoriye illegally through the river Tumangan. The Koreans got settled in the suburbs of Vladivostok, along the seashore of the Amurskyi and Ussuriyiskyi bays etc.
The Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 and establishing of the Japanese protectorate over Korea led to the more active Korean migration to Manchuria and the Far East. The main determining factors of the migration remained economic ones, such as: mass loss of land by the Korean farmers, Japanese economic dominance, deterioration of living conditions in Korea. With the loss of independence emigration started to bear a pronounced political character. Among the emigrants there were many participants of the anti-Japanese, national-liberation movement.The severe military-police terror of the Japanese colonial regime in Korea forced many Korean patriots
to leave the country and to transfer their activity to the territory of Russia. (See: Yun Byong Sok, The National Movement and the New Korean Village in Russian Territory, - Hanguk Minjok Undongsa Yonky, No.3, 1989, pp.165-186; Kim Pang The Anti-Japanese Struggles Adroad by Lee Dong Hwi (1911-1916), - Kondaesahfk, Љ8, 1993, pp.221-254: Pak Hwan. A History of Nationalist Movements among Koreans Residing in Russia, Seoul, 1995)
The number of Korean emigrants only in Premorskaya oblast according to the data of Preamurskyi general - governor Unterberger P.F. increased from 34399 in 1906 to 50 965 in 1910. But those data reflect only the number of registered Koreans. For instance, in 1907 besides 46 430 of registered Koreans according to the calculations of the official for special mission of Preamurskyi general-governor Kazarinov A.M. who in 1906-1907 conducted the census of the Korean population in Southern Ussuriyiskii krai, in Premorskaya oblast there were 30% more than the indicated number of the registered Koreans and the total number of Koreans in Premorskaya oblast in 1908 can be 60 000. (Kazarinov A. M. Poisnitelnay zapiska k map pereseleniy koreans in South-Ussuriyskiy krai Primorskoy oblasty in 1906-1908 years Zit. po: V. V. Grave. Chinese, Koreans and Japanese in Priamurie, p.140)
Considerable size of the Korean immigration to Russia after the defeat in the Russian-Japanese war caused the great power chauvinist reaction on the side of the tsarist autocracy. Unterberger P.F. appointed in 1905 the Preamur general-governor was a very active supporter of settling in Preamuriye exclusively Russian population and an opponent of " the yellow colonization". He considered that the Koreans who had been living in Southern Ussuriyisk for 40 years were still aliens and could not be trusted because they constituted an ideal basis for spies. And thus he concluded - "I prefer a desert but a Russian desert to the land cultivated but Korean ".(The works of Amurs expedition. Vol. XI. Khabarovsk, 1913, p.172)
Those words were followed by tough measures aimed at limitation of the Korean immigration and at moving them out of bordering regions to the western regions of Siberia and to the North. In 1905 about 500 Koreans working in the mines near Khabarovsk were sent to Perm. Later on the directive of Unterberger 200 Koreans of the Amur oblast and 5 000 in the Udskyi uezd of the Premorskaya oblast were forced to move out from the mining territories. ".(The works of Amurs expedition. Vol. XI. Khabarovsk, 1913, p.176) Unterberger also practised deportation of the Koreans - members of the anti-Japanese movement. In 1907 at his order 38 Korean political emigrants were sent to Korea, on December,5th ,1909 15 Korean patriots were deported to Korea, among them Kim Yuon Ju, Jen Bon Khen and Park Kyn Kho executed by the Japanese authorities.(ZGA DV, f.1., op.11, d.73, ll.78, 208)
Under Unterberger a very strict control and supervision of their political reliability was established over the Koreans as they all were suspected of being Japanese spies. Such suspicion turned into an integral part of the policy of the tsarist autocracy regarding Koreans.
But despite such a suspicious attitude of the local governors, the determining factor of the tsarist policy remained the same - using Korean immigrants as cheap labour for the economic reinforcement of Russia along the Far Eastern borders.
II. October 1917 and the Russian Koreans.
In 1917 on the eve of the October revolution there were about 100 000 Koreans in Russia. In the Premorskaya oblast there lived 81 825 Koreans -nearly one third of the total population of Premoryie. (Collection of materials on political and economic state Far East. Chita, 1923, p.64-65) Besides, during the Civil war and foreign military intervention against the bolsheviks' power in the European part of Russia there were up to 7 000 and in the western Siberia about 5 000 Koreans.(Boiko V.S. Korea workers in western Siberia in 20years of XX century (Istochniki and osnovnye aspects issledovaniya of problem).- Istochnikovedenie and historiography of Easts countries: problems of theory. Vol. 3, M., 1991, p.126)
Korean workers living in the Far East, in Siberia and other regions of Russia thought that the Soviet power defended and fought for the rights, freedom and independence of all oppressed peoples and because of that when the Civil war and foreign intervention started the most patriotic and revolutionary part of the Korean population rose with arms in their hands at its defence. Participation of the Korean workers in the struggle for the power of the Soviets was motivated first of all by their desire to liberate their Motherland from the colonial rule. The Koreans thought that the victory over the Japanese occupants in the Far East would contribute to the restoration of the independence of Korea. After a very tough suppression of the First of March movement of 1919 in Korea the military anti-Japanese actions of the Korean patriots who formed in Manchuria and Siberia guerrilla detachments, became especially active. (See: Lee V. F. The Korean emigration in Russia and revolutionary movements of 20 years.- Actual problems of Russian oriental studies. M.,1994, pp. 231-283; Pak Hwan. A History of Nationalist Movements among Koreans Residing in Russia, Seoul, 1995)
The Soviet power did not improve the situation of the Korean immigration in the Russian Far East. On the contrary, a turbulent whirlpool of the Civil war and the foreign intervention, change of the government, lack of control over immigration led to the situation when no measures were taken at regulating vital issues of immigrants' accommodation.
Two thirds of the Korean population did not have Russian citizenship. Being
foreigners they were not given land and had to rent it from Russians and Koreans - Russian citizens. Immigrants had to buy residence permits foe each of age member of the family at 7 roubles 50 kop. in gold. Those without the permit were fined and those without passports were sent back to Korea. For instance, the Nikolsk-Ussuriyisk police sent back to Korea for not having passports 45 former partisans. On their arrival there they all were arrested and took to prison. (See: Pak B. D. Koreans in Soviet Russia (1917 - end of 1930 years). Moscow - Irkutsk, 1995, p.119)
All regions of the Premorskaya gubernia where Koreans got settled at the beginning of the 20ies suffered from famine. The worst situation was in the Posyetskiyi region where for two years / 1922-1923/ there had been poor harvest. In 1922 30 000 Koreans living in that region lived only on vegetables and herbs.(RGIA DV, f. P-242, op.1, d.1488, l.16-17)
All these circumstances made many of the Korean farmers move to the Chinese territory as they saw no prospects for improving their living conditions. In spring of 1923 500 families left Premoriye. Totally 5 000 Koreans moved to Manchuria.(RGIA DV, f. R-242, op.1, d.1488, l.19)
After expulsion of the interventionists from the Far East Korean guerrilla detachments which numbered 1200-1600 members were disbanded. This fact took its toll painfully on the political mood of the Korean population. Many of them were refused residence permit, no money was allocated for material assistance, no loans granted to former partisans who wanted to shift to rice plantation cultivation. (See: Pak B. D. Koreans in Soviet Russia (1917 - end of 1930 years). Moscow - Irkutsk, 1995, p.119)
Part of the Korean partisans who moved to the Russian Far East from the territory of Korea and China rendered serious resistance to the disarmament not willing to stay in Premoriye in order to continue their struggle against Japanese imperialists in their Motherland. In Premoriye the relations between the Russian population and armed part of the Korean population were tense. (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. The book first. M.,1992, p.62)
Under the circumstances the Eastern Department of the Executive Committee of Comintern, People's Commisariate on Nationalities together with Primorsk authorities undertook a number of political, social and legal measures to lessen the tension and to stabilize the situation in the Far East.
In August,1922 was held a meeting of representatives of gubispolcoms and
secretaries of gubcoms of the Workers' and Farmers' Party devoted to the Soviet construction and party work among national minorities and locals of the Soviet Far East. One of the main issues was the Korean question, on which a resolution was adopted which became a basis for sovietization of the Far Eastern Koreans. (See: RGIA DV, f. R-87, op. 1, d. 827, l.57-61)
III. Sovietization and Problems of the Korean Population.
The Sovietization of the Korean population started first of all in the field of the administrative-legal status. In 1923 in Premorskaya gubernia elections were held to village, volost, uezd and gubernia Soviets. In those places where Koreans-Russian citizens lived / Pos'etskiyi, Borisovskiyi, Nikolsk-Ussuriyiskyi regions/ only 70 Korean village Soviets were elected including 32 regional and 19 mixed Soviets. In the places where the Korean population was up to 30% of the total population Korean representatives were made members of the volost executive Committees.(RZHIDNI (Russian centre of keeping and studying of new historys documentation ), f.17, op 68, d.191, l.173.)
In the middle of 1924 re-elections to the village Soviets started. Formerly practised. limitations of the rights to participate in the elections were eliminated and the Korean population elected their organs - village Soviets on par with the Russians. As a result of the re- elections of village Soviets in 1924 out of the total number of increased village Soviets 105 constituted the Korean village Soviets instead of the former 87 and in 1925 their number was 122.(Anosov S.A. Koreans in Ussuriyskom krae. P.30.)
One of the major political actions of the Soviet Power in the solution of the Korean question was establishing in 1923 of an institute of authorised persons for Korean affairs under Dalrevcom and local revcoms.(See: Polojenie about upolnomochennom po koreiskim delam pri Prizidiume Far Eastern revolutionary komiteta. - The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. The book first. M.,1992, pp.37-39)
In March, 1923 were introduced positions of authorised persons for Korea affairs under Premorsk gubispolcom and uezd ispolcoms of the Soviets. One of the main tasks of the institute of the authorised persons for Korean affairs was to study and work out the most important questions related to the Korean population of the gubernia: recors of the Korean population, getting single agricultural tax , land arrangement. As it turned out the most burning issue for the Korean population was related to getting the Soviet citizenship.(RGIA DV. F. R-1, d. 1095, l.126)
The legal basis for solving the problem of citizenship for Koreans was resolution of Dalrevcom of the DVK of December,8th,1922 on coming into force of the decrees of All Union Central Executive Committee and Sovnarcom on granting the Russian citizenship to foreigners on the territory of the DVK.(See: Sobranie uzakoneniy and enactment Rabochego and Krestyanskogo government. M.,1921, Љ62, l. 103-108)
From the first days of the Civil war Koreans in mass started to submit applications for citizenship of the RSFSR.. (See: Kim Syn Hwa Essay on history of soviet koreans. Almaty, 1965, p.142). However, the bureaucratic obstacles , extreme suspicions of political unreliability of the Koreans hindered the process of getting the citizenship. It was considered that "even Koreans , long-term enemies of the Japanese who are forcing them out from their lands, can some day turn into a tool of intrigues of some imperialist state against the USSR".(Arkhipov N. B. USSR on regions. Far Eastern region. M., 1926, p.43) In 1923 out of 6 000 Koreans who applied for the Soviet citizenship only 1 300 got it and in 1924 out of 4 761 - 1 247.( RZHIDNI, f. 372, op.1, d.1095, l.113)
The land issue was the most important and on it depended the territorial distribution of the Korean population. Though one of the first slogans of the Soviet Power was: " Land to the People", the land problem was not solved and as a result there was antagonism and hostility between the Russian and Korean population in the Far eastern krai. Koreans turned out to always be the guilty, the suffering and the accused as a rule. In the regions where Koreans lived there appeared banditism which was aimed not only at robbery but also at forcing the Korean population out from the Russian territory by terror.(Kuzin A. Far Eastern koreans: life and tragedy of destiny. West-Sakhalin, 1993, p.59
The Premorsk Settler's Party was in charge of land arrangements and settlement of the Koreans. Having taken as a basis the total number of the Korean population in the okrug in 1926 being 95 422, the Settlers' Party made the following plan -40 661 people were to remain in the regions and the rest 54 761 were supposed to be living outside the okrug.( RGIA DV, f.2441, op.1, d.511, l.10ob.) However, this plan which was not based on exact calculations or financial means or willingness of the Koreans themselves to move from the places they were living at, was not realised.
The problems of the territorial distribution of the Koreans worsened with the endless immigration from Korea and Manchuria to the Russian Far East. In January, 1925 the People's Commissariate of the Foreign Affairs decided "to take all possible measures to stop the flow of the Chinese and Koreans to the Soviet territory" and considered it necessary " to realise in the first turn, colonization from the inner gubernias of Russia" as chaotic settlement of the Far East by the Chinese and Koreans was " a serious threat". (See: Bugay N. F. Koreans in USSR: from history of question about national sovereignty. - East, 1993, Љ2, p.152)
The Soviet Power , thus, demonstrated full admission of the policy of the tsarist government regarding settlement of the Far East: prohibition for Korean immigration and stimulating migration of the Russian population from the central, Southern and Western regions of Russia.
At the end of the 20-ies the Far Eastern authorities again raised the issue of forcing Koreans out from the Vladivostok okrug. Out of the total number of Koreans of 150 795 they supposed that 51 761 would stay in the okrug / 31 731 farms/ and 99 000 would be settled during 5 years in the far from the borders regions - Kurdarginskiyi, Sindinskiyi regions of the Khabarovsk okrug and Birsko-Bijanskiyi region of the Amurskiyi okrug.(The plan of rasseleniya (settlement) of korean population from Vladivostok region during 4 year 1930-1933yy.- RGIA DV, f. R-2441, op.1, d.336, l.67-67 ob.)
By the fall of 1929 1 408 Koreans settled in Khabarovsk okrug and in 1930
only 1342 Koreans including 431 who were forced and with it , as it seemed,
the well-planned campaign failed. The reasons of the failure were the same: lack of money, poor preparations of the lands in places of destination and also unwillingness of the authorities of the Khabarovsk and Amursk okrugs to admit the Korean settlers. Koreans themselves neither demonstrated any interest in moving and often refused to leave to their places of destination and left for Korea and Manchuria instead. Some of them who were forced to move returned back to Premoriye in secret.
It should be noted that at the end of the 20ies amidst the preparations for the campaign of deportation a small group of Koreans found themselves in Kazakhstan. As is known, Koreans in Premoriye demonstrated great skills in rice cultivation and with every passing year increased the cultivated lands and increased the harvest of the very important crop.(See: Voenkov A. Uspekhi razvedeniya rice in Primorskoy oblasty. Vladivostok, 1921; Volodin V. Dokhodnjst risoseushikh khoziyastv of koreans (Analiticheskiy jcherk intensivnjsty and sostoaniy organisation truda in khoziyastve. - Trudy opytnykh ucherejdeniy Far East. 1931, Vol.2, pp.89-130; Vypasov A. Koreans in agriculture of Khabarovsk region. - Statobozrenie "Far East", Khabarovsk, 1929 Љ2, pp. 37-41; Panchenko M. Rice, its culture and uspekhi risosefniya in economic of Far East region. - North Asia. The book first, 1929, pp.41-49 and etc.)
As it was planned to develop rice cultivation in Kazakhstan " it was decided to invite Koreans to Kazakhstan to assist in organization of rice cultivation and sharing their experience". (Kan G. V. History of koreans of Kazakhstan. Almaty, 1995, p.37). The Koreans who moved from the Far East to Kazakhstan formed "Korean agricultural labour artel "Kazakskiyi rice".(ibid., p.38) Totally 220 Koreans came to Kazakhstan./117 families/.(RGIA DV, f. R-35, op.1, d.940, l.133 ob.; GAHK, f. 304, op.3, d.14, l. 315)
In October,1929 the Peoples' Commissariate of land cultivation of Uzbekistan turned to Vladivostok okrug land Department with a request to send to Uzbekistan 3-4 rice cultivating artels - 80-100 people. They assured that " the said artels will be working on the rice funds of the republic and they will be given sufficient assistance to organise their farms".(RGIA DV, f. R-236, op.2, d.234, l. 35 ob.) However, as Park B. Notes, " because of the considerable cut of the plan of the intra-republican settlement and cut of money allocated for settlement measures for 1930 the Uzbek authorities refused to admit Korean rice specialists any more".(Pak B. D. Koreans in Soviet Russia (1917 - the end of 30-years). Moscow - Ircutsk, 1995, p.212)
By the middle of the 30-ies Koreans whose number was approaching 200 000 went through the school of Sovietization, experienced the "total collectivization" which embraced nearly 80% of Koreans. Considerable success was achieved in liquidating illiteracy, education, development of the national culture and art. (See: Alee Zakir. For Lenins national policy in farms movement among koreans DVK. - Revolution and nationalities. 1931, ЉЉ2-3, p.76-81; Ten IA. Koreans of Soviet Union. - Revolution and nationalities. 1935, Љ7 p. 44-46; Sokolov B. Cooperation of people of Soviet Far East, - The Pacific Ocean, 1937, Љ1, p.51-58; The essays on history of soviet koreans. Almaty, 1965, p. 198-227). However, soon, in the fall of 1937 started the deportation of all the Koreans from the Far Eastern krai to Kazakhstan and Central Asia - thousands of miles away.
IV. Stereotypes and new approaches in the study of deportation.
The Far Eastern Koreans were the first of all the peoples of the Soviet Union who experienced the hardships of deportation, later dozens of others followed - Germans, Crimea Tatars,Kurds, Polish, Chechens and etc. The deportation was not a forced measure aimed exclusively at the Koreans, so it is worth asking the question - what were general reasons for deportation of many peoples in 30 - 40ies? We can approach this question from two sides: firstly, taking the deportation of Koreans as a separate phenomenon with its specific features and motives and secondly, taking the policy of deportation of Stalin as a phenomenon. (Khan S. M., Khan V. S. Stalinism: to the question of reasons of deportation policy. - Izvestiya o koreevedenii in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Љ4, 1993, p.7)
A well-known researcher Bugai N.F. on the basis of many documents belonging to the Departments in charge of the deportation classified those reasons according to five groups of those deported and the Koreans were included into the second alongside with Germans, Kurds, Turks - Meskhetins, Khemshins and Greeks who were forced as a preventive measure. (Bugai N. F. The tragic events must not repeat (To question of koreans status in USSR in 30-y ). - The actual problems of Russian oriental studies. M., 1994, p.115)
We cannot but admit the statement of Bugai N. related to the preventive character of the deportation, the more so because the idea of the Korean deportation had a prehistory, when in at the end of 20ies - beginning of 30ies the Soviet leadership was making plans to force Koreans to move from the border areas of Premoriye to the remote territories of the Khabarovsk region.
The directives of the Political Bureau of the CC of the All Russia Communist Party on the deportation of Koreans of August, 18, 1927 passed to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk became the basis for a number of acts, the meaning of which was that the Korean population was to be deported.
On the 25th of February 1930 the Political Bureau headed by Stalin again discussed the issue of deportation of the Far Eastern Koreans. (RZHIDNI. F.17, op.21, d.5442, l.164)
At last on the 10th of July 1932 the Political Bureau again turned to the issue " On Koreans" and reconfirmed its directive on mass administrative deportation of the Korean population from the bordering regions of Premoriye.(RZHIDNI. F.17, op.3, d.773, l.3)
Thus, the resolution of the communist Party and the Soviet government found its logical development in a joint resolution No. 1428-326cc of the Soviet of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR and the Central Committee of the Communist Party on the 21st of August 1937 " On Deportation of the Korean Population from the Bordering regions of the Far Eastern Krai" signed by Molotov V. and Stalin I. According to a brief preamble of this resolution the deportation of Koreans was planned with the aim " to prevent the infiltration of the Japanese spies to the Far East". (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. The book first. M.,1992, p.64).
On the 28th of September 1937 the Sovnarcom of the USSR adopted the signed by Molotov and Petrunichev N. additional resolution No. 1647-377cc " On Deportation of Koreans from the Territory of the Far Eastern Krai" on the total deportation of Koreans from all without any exception territories of the DVK including non-bordering, remote regions and neighbouring oblasts. (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. The book first. M.,1992, p.80). On the basis of that government decision they revealed, detained, arrested and deported those Koreans who lived or studied in many cities of the central part of Russia where Koreans could as well be suspected in spying for the Nazi Germany, fascist Italy etc. In this connection the words "prevention" and " stopping the foreign espionage" as a main or single reason for deportation is not, in my opinion, convincing and sufficient.
The main reason for the deportation of Koreans and all other special settlements one should search in the nature of the totalitarian regime itself which had been formed in the USSR by the end of 20ies and which developed to the full extend in 30 - 40ies. On Stalin's order and under the leadership of the obedient Party and state apparatus, punitive bodies and means of propaganda in a separate country they were building socialism on the basis of the principle: a purpose justifies everything; economic and military superpower was being constructed and a new type of the human community - Soviet people and a new type of a human being - homo soveticus was being formed.
A well-known Stalin's thesis on a direct proportion of the sharpening of the class war inside and outside the country to the success in the socialist construction opened the era of a tragic mass terror in the huge country. All the time and everywhere the people were brainwashed with the image of a dangerous and cunning enemy, moreover the enemy was not separate persons or social groups or classes but whole nations. So it was only logical that terror and ruthless fight against nations hostile to socialism, Motherland and the leader was necessary.
Among real reasons for the deportation of the Soviet Koreans from the Far East the internal political factor played an important role. Stalin and the Soviet leadership aware of the coming World war and their unreadiness for it, were trying to manoeuvre among imperialist opponents and to approach Germany in the West and the imperial Japan in the East. To get close to Japan compromises were necessary one of which was selling at a very low price of the rights to the KVZHD. Another compromise , in the opinion of Professor Park M.N. could be total deportation of anti-Japanese oriented Koreans from the DVK. " In our opinion, - he writes, undoubtedly there was a certain agreement on total deportation of the Korean population from the Far East; but there remains a question - whether it was reflected in any document".(Pak M. N. About reasons of violent deportation of soviet koreans of The Far East to Central Asia. - Dorogoi gorkih ispytanii. K 60-letiu deportation of koreans of Russia. M., 1997, p.31)
Earlier Kan G.V. pointed to a more " big scale reason for deportation, the meaning of which is that the Soviet Koreans were hostages of the Far Eastern policy of the USSR on the whole". Stating it he refers to the rapprochement of the main political forces in China: the Communist Party and gomindan with the Soviet Union which ended in signing on the 21st of August 1937 of a Soviet-Chinese treaty on non-attack. " The deportation of Koreans under the pretext of " preventing Japanese espionage",- thinks Kan G.- should be viewed as one of the moments of " big politics", as a demonstration by the Soviet Union of its stable relations with China, its relations with Japan / Korea was under the colonial rule of Japan and Koreans were the Japanese subjects / its position in the Far Eastern policy.(Kan G. V. History of koreans of Kazakhstan. Almaty, 1995, p.46-47)
The idea of Koreans being " political hostages of a preventive action" for the first time was expressed in the detailed commentaries of Professor Lee V.F. on the resolution No. 1428-326cc of the SNK of the USSR and Ccof the Party of August 21st,1937 but was not developed any further. (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. The book first. M.,1992, pp.65-66).
Among other reasons for the deportation of the Koreans existing inside the country but playing a second fiddle, one can mention the following: (See: Kim G.N., Men D.V. History and culture of koreans of Kazakhstan. Almaty, 1995, p.8-9)
1. By 1937 the Korean population was to a considerable degree integrated into the social-political, economic and cultural life of the Far Eastern krai. However, the character of their space distribution - rather compact regions with considerable or prevailing number of the Korean population caused concern and did not correspond to the principle - " devide et impera".
2. In the opinion of many foreign researchers (See: Kim G. N. The koreans of Kazakhstan and Central Asia in foreign researches. Referativnyi sbornic. Vol.32, Almaty, 1990), establishing of a Jewish autonomous oblast could cause demands on the side of the Koreans of the Far East of their national - state autonomy. As is known, the existence of the national state autonomy of the Soviet Germans was not an obstacle for the decree of 28th of August 1941 which liquidated the Volga autonomous German republic and on the basis of which hundreds of thousands of Germans were deported to Kazakhstan, Siberia, Altai and other regions of the country.
3. The forced deportation of Koreans inside the territory had also certain
political and economic aims. One can assume the following: firstly, deportation to the Central Asia and Kazakhstan, the area of which was hundreds times more than the territory of the DVK automatically meant dispersion and living in fragmented groups for the Korean population in the regions of settlement.
Secondly, in Kazakhstan and Central Asia millions of people died and hundreds of thousands left their republics and countries as a result of a criminal methods of mass forced collectivization. During 1931 -1933 from famine, epidemics and other hardships only in Kazakhstan 1 700 000 died. 1 030 000 people left the republic including 616 000 who never returned.(See: Abylgojin J.B., Kozybaev M.K., Tatimov M.B. Kazakhstans tragedy.-The questions of history. 1989, Љ 7, pp.53-71) Thus, there was a sharp deficit of labour which partially could be covered with settlers - Koreans. One can assume that bringing Korean settlers mainly to the Southern regions of Kazakhstan and Central Asia meant that they could be engaged in their traditional agricultural activity: rice and vegetable cultivation.
Thirdly, deported Koreans had left behind infra-structure, houses and other buildings which were given to the military units of the Red Army deployed to the Far East.(See: Kim G.N. Social-cultural development of koreans of Kazakhstan. Nauchno- analiticheskiy obzor. Almaty,1989, pp.10-11)
However, those reasons, as it has been mentioned above, are not the main ones. The main reason lies in carrying out the Great Power policy both in home and foreign policy of the totalitarian regime.
The historic research of the last decade and also memoirs of the Koreans of elder generations revealed many fragments of the general picture of the deportation and upset the original false stereotype of the spontaneous character of Stalin's decision and the process itself. Neither can we agree with the opinion that Stalin wanted all Koreans who were forcedly deported, to die. The deportation of the Koreans, in my opinion, was a planned, organised and thoroughly controlled big scale action of the totalitarian regime which tested the mechanism of mass forced migration.
It is known that before the fatal resolution No.1428-326cc of the SNC of the USSR and CC of the Communist Party of 21st of August 1937 several waves of the Party cleanings and repressions took place which embraced all echelons of power including the Party apparatus, Army, punitive and force bodies, intelligentsia and dozens of thousands of simple workers.Those executed, taken to Gulags, forced to commit suicide were substituted by a new nomenclature which did not have any experience of joint work with the Koreans and because of that able to fulfill their task in a tough and even ruthless way. For instance, prior to the announcement of the deportation in order to carry out the operation as the head of the Far Eastern Department of the NKVD was sent the head of Rostov NKVD Lyushkov G.S. who was invited to the Kremlin for a confidential talk with Stalin and was given the instructions on the deportation of Koreans. (See: Alvin D. Coox. Laffaire Liushkov, - Soviet Studies. 1968, Vol.XIX, p. 408)
To avoid any obstacles in the process of the deportation of Koreans the totalitarian regime deprived them of their leaders. The NKVD falsified a regional Korean riot centre which allegedly was preparing a military resurrection with the aim to separate the DVK from the USSR.(See: Suturin A.S. Delo kraevogo mashtaba. Kabarovsk, 1991, p.188). It was this reason that was written in the capital punishment sentence of the First Secretary of Pos'etskiyi regional committee of the Communist Party Afanasiy Kim on the 25th of May 1938. As Lyushkov admitted during the deportation 2 500 Koreans in the DVK were arrested. A heavy roll of repressions pressed Koreans in all Russian cities and kept ironing them after the deportation to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.(See: podrobnee private memoirs of koreans who survived deportation, arrests and Gulags: Dorogoi gorkikh ispytaniy. M.1997; Kurenkov I. Iz plena let i ljivykh navetov.(Evidence of eyewitness), - Niva, 1997, Љ4, p.23-36)
In order to justify the unlawful deportation in the DVK shortly before it began the propaganda machine started to work at full speed which was creating the atmosphere of spy-mania. It started with two articles published in the main organ of the country - newspaper Pravda in April,16 and April,23 about the Japanese espionage in the Soviet Far East and which stated that the Japanese spies were active in Korea, China, Manchuria and the Soviet Union and that as spies they use the Chinese and Koreans who pretended to be locals.
A vivid evidence that the Far Eastern authorities and first of all the punitive bodies were secretly working for the deportation is a report " On the Number of the Korean population in the bordering regions of Ussuryiskaya, Premorskaya and Khabarovskaya oblast", (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. M.,1992, p.67-80). which was sent to Moscow by the commanders of the border guards and internal units of the NKVD of the DVK dated August,21,1937, i.e. the date Stalin and Molotov signed the first resolution on a big scale action against the Korean population.The words in parentheses " exact data" gives grounds to suppose that it was not the first report of the NKVD regional bodies to Moscow about the number of Koreans as such data were needed for preliminary calculations of financial and material expense, necessary transportation, schedule, timing of deportation etc.
Memorandum No.516 of August 24th,1937 signed by Ezhov and addressed to Lyushkov is the first document which reveals the activity of the NKVD in
realization of Stalin-Molotov directive. (The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. M.,1992, p.68-71) The directive sent to the Khabarovsk and Premorsk regional Party commitees, executive committees and UNKVD signed by the secretary of kraicom Vareikis and the head of the UNKVD in the DVK Lyushkov mainly repeated the text of the memorandum, however, it contained a number of additions related to the organization of the deportation of Koreans. Firstly, it concerns the terms of realization - the memorandum says, -" To start the deportation immediately and to finish it by January,1st 1938" and the directive says - "... the deportation will start on October,25th and end on October,15th ./ 1937 /.Secondly, in the regions three people were in charge of the deportation in the regions: authorised by the Dalkraicom of the Party, authorised by Kraiispolcom and authorised by the UNKVD. Thirdly, the order of appraising the property left behind by the Koreans and settling accounts with them was made more concrete. Fourthly, it was ordered that all the data on the process of the deportation should be reported to the Kraicom and Kraiispolcom every five days. (See: History of koreans of Kazakhstan. Collection of archive documentation. T.1, Almaty-Seoul, 1998, p.57-58)
Following the model of oblast troika / three authorised persons / for the deportation of the Korean population regional troikas and kustovoi troikas in the places where Koreans lived were formed. The lower troikas bore all the burden of executing the operation, regional and oblast troikas regularly held meetings which were attended by representatives of all Departments: Army, Transportation, agriculture, finance, post, health care, culture, education etc., however, among them there were no Koreans. (See: protokoly zasedanii oblastnykh and raionnykh "troik po pereseleniu korea citizens", History of koreans of Kazakhstan. Collection of archive documentation. T.1, Almaty-Seoul, 1998, pp.59-64, 68-70, 88, 92 and etc.)
The plan of the deportation of Koreans from the DVK envisaged three turns", moreover, the first turn was mentioned in Stalin-Molotov resolution of August,21st, 1937: " The deportation will start with Pos'etskiyi region and the area next to Grodekovo".The second and third turns the krai leadership defined after a number of resolutions of the SNK of the USSR was adopted at the beginning of September on "deportation of Koreans" without mentioning the bordering regions and led by the criterion of remoteness of the regions of deportation from the external borders and the chronology of realization.
According to the established turns of the deportation the krai and oblast troikas at their meetings worked out plan-schedule for trains and their departures, defined places of meeting and waiting for those deported, railway stations and points of departure.
The main work related to the operation was done at the regional level and was carried out in the following directions:
- record of the Korean population and making lists,
- making and realization of a plan-schedule of the deportation,
- making and ensuring a plan-schedule of transportation by cars and horses to bring people to the meeting and departure places,
- organization of the record and appraisal of the left property and
preparation of the documents for settling accounts with the Korean farmers
and others. (See: Dokladnye zapiski ob itogakh peresrlrniay korean people, - GAHK, f.P-2, op.1,d.1552, l.1-4; ibid., f. P-399, op.1, d.336, l. 42-44)
Each echelon was given a special number and the place of landing and time of departure was indicated. Each echelon had a head who controlled responsible persons for each carriage from reliable Koreans. The analysis of the secret documents which now are accessible gives the following general data on the technical side of the transportation: each echelon consisted of 50 carriages for people, one "class" carriage,one sanitary carriage, one carriage-kitchen, 5-6 covered wagons and 2 open platforms. Freight cars for cargo and cattle were equipped with 2-storey plank-beds and stoves .In one carriage there were 5-6 families /25-30 people /.It took approximately 30-40 days to get from the DVK to the points of destination in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan. (Podschitanj po materialam: The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. M.,1992, p.90-92; 94, 103-104; 106-112; GAHK, f. P-355, op.1, d.5, l.5; Grafic otpravleniya echelons s pereselenzami po Khabarovskoy oblasty, - History of kreans of Kazakhstan. Collection of archive documentation. T.1, Almaty-Seoul, 1998, p.107)
The preparation and realization of the deportation included a very strict, permanent, all-embracing control both vertical - by the Party, punitive and other state organs and horizontal - on the territory of the whole krai.
While making record of the population passports were taken away and guns were confiscated. A wide network of agents was following every word and action of Koreans.In the Far Eastern archives there are unique documents -the so- called number special reports on the process of deportation and political mood in the regions where Koreans were supposed to be deported. (ZGA RDV, f. R 2413, op.2, d.804, l.219-224; GAHK, f. P 2, op.1, d. 1316, l.33-34) It is clear from the documents that " the Korean population was not at all dumb victims of the deportation. The most courageous and honest of them openly were against the unlawful actions and made appeals to leave for abroad, to kill the cattle and destroy the cultivated fields, to disobey". (Lee V. F. Komentarii k spetzsoobsheniu Љ1, - The White Book about deportation of korean peoples of Russia in 30-40-years. M.,1992, p.134)
Control over every step of the Koreans did not finish with their deportation from the DVK, the proof of it is one sentence in the section " Agents in the echelons" - "In the echelons which departed there are agents"/ see report on this issue / in the document entitled " Summarising report on the deportation of Koreans of the Khabarovsk region" signed by the regional troika. The deported people were watched all the way to Kazakhstan and Central Asia and afterwards.
During the process of the deportation of the Korean population because of " soft nature", "negligence", " lack of discipline", "political shortsightedness", " for failure to...", " for the mistakes made.."etc. hundreds of communists lost their Party cards, nomenclature officials lost their positions, many of them were arrested and sent to Gulags. For instance, on decision of the Dalkraicom of September,10th 1937 " for breaking the terms of the first turn of putting Koreans in the echelons the first secretary of the Pos'etskiyi region was fired and taken to court, a number of krai and oblast leaders were warned strictly and oblast and regional troikas were told " that in case of not fulfilling the tasks of the CC in time related to the deportation of Koreans and poor preparation for the deportation very severe measures will be taken".(GAHK, f. P-399, op.1, d.336, l.25-33)
On the 25th of October 1937 Narcom of the internal affairs of the USSR Ezhov reported to the Kremlin that "the deportation from the DVK was over" and 36 442 families - 171 781 people in fantastically short time were deported to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The remaining Korean population from Kamchatka and other remote regions who were fishing in the sea, on business trips etc. Were to go by a mixed echelon before November,1st 1937. (Pak B.D. Koreans in Soviet Russia (1917- the end of 30-years) Moscow-Ircutsk -Spb., 1995, p.234)
The emotional recollections of the elder Koreans, numerous newspaper and magazine publications of sometimes too energetic journalists, some weak scientific articles formed a false stereotype about mass human loss suffered during the deportation. This point should be clarified, in my opinion.
The analysis of the archive documents, statistic data and evidence of the eye-witnesses make it possible to assume that shortly before the deportation and during it there was no considerable migration from the DVK and when the resolution on the deportation was adopted the borders were strengthened with additional border guards and NKVD detachments and no Korean could escape.
The number of died during the transportation including victims of the tragic accident of the echelon N 505 which occurred on September,13th 1937 at Verino station near Khabarovsk (See: ZGA RK, f. 1208, op.1, d.23, l.3-5; ibid. D. 109, l.66) is in all probability several hundreds. The exact figure of those dead is difficult to define, undoubtedly the two opposite age groups suffered most of all - the old and the children.
A lot is known now about the deportation to Kazakhstan and Central Asia, however, we neglect and do not study the history of the deported Koreans to Astrakhan and Rostov oblasts of Russia.(See: kolarz W. The Peoples of the Soviet Far East. London, 1954, p.42; Stephan J. The Korean Minority in the Soviet Union, - Mizan ( Central Asia Review). 1970, Vol. 13, No.3, p. 138-147) Documents say that 520 Korean families - 2 871 people were sent to Gosrybnadzor to be settled.(Kan G.V. Koreans of Kazakhstan. Almaty, 1994, p.68) They were recorded as settled in Kazakhstan. From the recollections of Tyu P.S.,1927, Lyan I.L,1925. and Tyo Bun Sen,1926 who live now in Astana we know that a whole echelon with Koreans came to Astrakhan and later they were settled in the villages of the fishermen. In the middle of December 1941 all Koreans were sent to Kazakhstan and several days before the departure " men were allowed to leave the Labor Army who were digging ditches and anti-tank trenches near Stalingrad".( Evidence of eyewitness, - Niva, 1997, Љ4, p.24,27,29)
It is already considered to be a good form to mention " hospitality and kindness of the Kazakh or Uzbek people who gave shelter to the Korean settlers and who despite the directive from the top shared bread and houses with the people suffering from cold and starvation". Representatives of dozens of deported peoples also always stress that the Kazakh shared their last piece of bread with them. However, a different approach is more appropriate, in my opinion, it was formulated by Kazakhstani professor - historian Beimbet Irmukhanov : " At that time the Kazakh were preoccupied with other things but not with the help to other peoples, they themselves not long ago came through famine and themselves needed a piece of bread". It should be noted that the topic " fraternal help and friendship of the local and deported population" is not sufficiently studied which has been repeatedly noted by many researchers. My personal experience from the archive materials and talks with the informants-Koreans of the elder generation did not bring any evidence of conflicts or frictions between the local Kazakh and deported Korean population.
Professor of the Women's Pedagogical Institute Kerekhan Amanzholov is even more categorical in his judgement. He thinks that from the deportation ofKoreans suffered the Kazakh. Firstly, in the opinion of Amanzholov, Koreans occupied the most fertile lands which formely were inhabited by the
Kazakh. Then instead of the Kazakh auls Korean farms were organized. Secondly, the Kazakh intelligentsia suffered a big loss as many prominent and talented Kazakh state figures, Party leaders, writers and poets were accused and executed as Japanese spies. Such accusations were directly connected with Koreans deported to Kazakhstan from the Far East as " traitors and Japanese spies".Thirdly, financial and material means allocated for the development of the Kazakh farms, construction of schools, hospitals and houses for the local population were spent on Korean settlers. Such statements are at first sight absurd but actually they demand new approaches to the scientific analysis of these aspects.
Thus, we may conclude that the empirical basis of the topic of deportation of Koreans in 1937 has been considerably widened. Many documents which were unaccessible and secret were discovered and published. A number of general and special historic studies devoted to the deportation appeared. However, besides mere a narration of facts and description of the events a theoretical comprehension, new approaches breaking the formed false stereotypes are needed.