The deportation of Balkars. Photo: a public domain image

08 March 2021, 23:57

On anniversary of deportation, Balkar people describe their lives in exile

In Nalchik, more than 200 people from Kabardino-Balkaria and neighbouring republics attended memorial events on the 77th anniversary of the deportation of Balkars. The people who survived the deportation shared their memories of how their families were living in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that a year ago, participants of a memorial action complained that the victims of the deportation of Balkars received only unimportant benefits and that the support from the authorities is incomparable with the hardships experienced by the victims during the years of the repression.

The operation to evict the Balkar people took place on March 8, 1944. Out of 37,000 deported, 52% were children, and 562 people died during the 18 days of the way to the destination.

84-year-old Mariyam said her family was evicted from the village of Lashkuta when she was seven years old.

"Old people died on the way. The train was stopped for a short time, and the dead bodies were taken out and left on the road ... We had nothing to eat or wear. We arrived at the place, and there was even worse: we had no shelters to live in. I had no clothes to go to school," the woman shared her memories.

80-year-old Askhat Uzdenov from the village of Bylym does not remember the eviction, since he was only three years old then. In exile, he was engaged in grazing cattle. His family ended up in Pavlodar, a city in Kazakhstan, where the weather was very cold. The parents died, and four children were left homeless.

By the time of the eviction, a father of Akhmat Gekkiev was fighting at the war. He returned disabled: he lost an eye during the war. Akhmat Gekkiev remembers from the stories told to him by women that during the deportation, women and men were placed together in carriages, which created inconveniences for women who were embarrassed to relieve themselves in the presence of men and there were cases when some women suffered from bladder's burst.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on March 8, 2021 at 05:28 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Lyudmila Maratova; Source: CK correspondent

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