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Balkar man seeks to hold Stalin criminally responsible for Soviet deportations

28 February 2024
A memorial dedicated to the victims of the Soviet Union’s deportation of the Balkars in Nalchik. Image via TASS.

A resident of Kabardino-Balkaria has requested that the Russian authorities investigate Joseph Stalin’s deportation of North Caucasians in the 1940s as a crime.

Oleg Kelemetov, a Balkar man from Kabardino-Balkaria, requested that Russia’s Investigative Committee investigate the Soviet Union’s Defence Committee’s deportations of populations as a crime and a violation of the country’s constitution.

Kommersant reported that Kelemetov seeks to hold specific senior Soviet officials criminally responsible for the deportations, accusing them of abuse of power. Those accused include Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Georgy Malenkov, Lavrenty Beria, Nikolai Voznesensky, and Lazar Kaganovich.

The Soviet Union forcibly deported the entire population of Karachays, Balkars, Chechens, Ingush, and Kalmyks, as well as several other ethnic groups, to Central Asia in the 1940s.

Kelemetov has argued that the forced deportations were in violation of the Soviet Union’s constitution, which guaranteed the rights of citizens regardless of their nationality or race. 

Kelemetov’s father was among those deported to Kazakhstan in 1944. However, Caucasian Knot cited Kelemetov as saying that he was submitting his request ‘not as the son of a repressed person, but as a citizen who wants to punish those guilty of breaking the law’.

‘The deportation was of a repressive, indiscriminate nature with the use of physical violence, a threat to life and health, and mass episodes of death among the deportees. Violent actions by government officials were widespread and systemic, which indicates signs of genocide’, read Kelemetov’s statement to the Investigative Committee.


Kelemetov has stated that if the Investigative Committee refuses to process his request, he will appeal their decision in court and at the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Read on CivilNet in Armenian
Read in Georgian on On.ge.
Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
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