10 March 2012, 10:00

Tyrnyauz commemorates victims of Balkars' deportation

On March 8, in the centre of the city of Tyrnyauz, the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, a memorial board was opened in memory of the victims of deportation of the Balkar people.

"The today's event – the opening of the memorial board – is dedicated to the 68th anniversary of deportation of our people," said Aslan Malkarov, the head of the administration of the Elbrus Municipal District. "This is our memory of those who perished in the years of exile and of those Balkar nationals who died defending their homeland in the Great Patriotic War."

He noted that from the start of that War, 16,300 Balkars, at that time 30 percent of the whole nation, took part in the fight against Nazis.

The mass deportation of Balkars was undertaken on March 8, 1944, and took only two hours. Deportees were loaded into Studebaker trucks, prepared in advance, and taken to the railway station of Nalchik. At least 37,713 Balkars were deported by 14 trains to their new residence in Middle Asia. Of the total deportees, 52 percent were children, 30 percent – women and 18 percent – men.

Despite the fact that many Balkar villages were located in remote areas, the eviction of the nation took three days, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was told by Ruslan Boziev, Doctor of Pedagogic. "Residents of two villages in Upper Balkaria, difficult to reach even by horses, were burned down in the stable: Beria's agents gained the experience, when evicting Vainakhs," said Boziev.

"All the hardships of life in exile fell mostly on women's shoulders. Almost the entire male population of our nation was drafted – since the early days of the Great Patriotic War – into the Red Army," Mr Boziev continued. "My mother Maryam was 11 then. Her elder brother was killed at the front in the first year of the war. Her two elder sisters also received funeral messages on their husbands. Their parents died almost at once in exile. In order to somehow survive, the women dug a dugout. Children aged 10-11 worked in the fields. My mother still has all her fingers scarred – without due skills, it was very hard to harvest cotton without injuring fingers against sharp edges of cotton boxes."

"68 years have passed since Balkars had been expelled from their homes. When they returned, many had to buy out their houses back from those who occupied them in 1944. Of course, there was pain and resentment. But you cannot go forward with your head turned back," said Ruslan Boziev. "However, we should also remember what our people had to endure during the hard years of exile. We must only remember that evil begets evil, while the good has a long-lasting light."

Author: Tatyana Gantimurova Source: CK correspondent

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