October 21: 70th anniversary of Soviet Operation Zapad

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History, Ukraine

Operation Zapad (West) was one of the most massive and short-term deportations of the civilian population of Western Ukraine by Stalin and his regime in order to destroy the “social base” of the Ukrainian liberation movement. Members of OUN and UPA families and partisans were forcibly evicted and deported from their homes. Their property was confiscated and all their personal belongings, livestock and crops were taken away by the Soviet authorities.

Trucks2

The main organizers and executors of the deportation were the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR. The operation was led by a specially created Operational Headquarters in charge of deportation, headed by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mykola Dyatliv. The headquarters were located in Lviv. Operation Zapad was carried out by the operational group of the Ministry of State Security – 6,859 persons, the armed forces (internal troops of the Ministry of State Security and the State Security Guard Corps, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and border guards) – 46,509, Soviet paratactical troops – 15,556, and military drivers – 1,227. Trucks, vehicles, armoured vehicles, tractors, and railway transport were used during the Operation.

Serhiy Savchenko, Minister of State Security of the Ukrainian SSR (1946-1949)

Serhiy Savchenko, Minister of State Security of the Ukrainian SSR (1946-1949)

The deportation included Volyn, Drohobych and Stanislavsky (now Ivano-Frankivsk), Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil and Chernivtsi regions.

Operation Zapad was one of the most massive deportations of Ukrainians organized by the communist regime. It is a crime commensurate with the deportations of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 or the expulsion of Ukrainians within the framework of Aktsiya Wisla organized by the Polish communist authorities.

The Operation was prepared in complete secrecy. Secretaries of district committees and heads of security departments learned about it two to three days before the scheduled date; other participants were advised on the spot. Soviet security services scheduled the deportation on October 21, 1947.

In most regions, the Operation was launched at 6:00 in the morning, but Soviet operatives had already started breaking into people’s homes in Lviv at 2:00 a.m. Inhabitants of Rava-Ruska, Zhovkva, Buzka, Horodok and Yavoriv were herded onto waiting trucks from 2:00 to 4:00 a.m.

The Operation was halted in Stanislavsky and Chernivtsi regions due to difficult weather conditions. A strong snowstorm, which had picked up the night before, covered the roads with two metres of deep snow. The Operators were forced to use tanks and armoured vehicles. In Chernivtsi region, the deportation had to be postponed until October 23. In most cases, the Pperation was successful and was terminated by the evening of October 21. The fastest operators worked in Rivne region, where the perpetrators of this criminal action managed to gather all the people and take them to the dispatch point in 3-4 hours.

Train

Trains were used to transport the unfortunate families from 87 stations. At 6:38 on October 22, 1947, the first convoy travelled from Kovel, Western Ukraine to Usyaty station in Tomsk region, where 1,293 people were left to live and labour in the Siberian wasteland. The last convoy travelled eastward on October 26. Operation Zapad was completed.

Most of the trains carrying “special settlers” arrived at coal companies in the eastern regions of the USSR. In addition, “active Ukrainian nationalists” were sent under escort to Omsk region (southwestern Siberia) to work in local mines and kolkhozes.

Train3

In the “Report on the Number of Families of Active Participants …” dated May 27, 1948, about 26,332 families – 77,791 persons are listed as deportees – 18,866 men, 35,685 women and 23,240 children under the age of 15 years. The Ukrainian partisan movement listed over 150,000 people who were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to work in Siberian mines and on collective farms.

Hundreds of children and elderly people died during transport.

Deportation to Siberia

Deportation to Siberia

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Ukrayinska Pravda

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  • focusser

    I doubt this story will make the headlines on RT this weekend!

    • Fortranz

      We should send this to all known trolls of the St. Petersburg trill factory.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Ironically, even Nikita Khrushchev as the leader of the Soviet Union got into the act of denouncing Joseph Stalin’s crimes in regards to the mass deportations of Ukrainians to Siberia and elsewhere in the aftermath of WWII. He did this despite his strong disapproval of Ukrainian nationalism during his “secret speech” at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956. In this speech Khrushchev unequivocally stated that Stalin wanted to deport the entire Ukrainian nation but that “there were too many of them and no place to put them”. Even so, the Soviet (later Russian) Gulag Archipelago was never disbanded and continues to this very day under the watchful eye of Pompous Putin the Pederast.

  • Screwdriver

    Obviously this would be one of the valid reasons to hate Soviet regime.

    • Fortranz

      No, it’s a valid reason to hate Russians not just Soviet Russians useful-idiot.

      • Screwdriver

        Serhiy Savchenko, Minister of State Security of the Ukrainian SSR – sound like Russian to you ?

        • Fortranz

          Who was he working for, USSR and Stalin or Ukraine Comrade useful-idiot?
          By the way, SSR was Ukraine branch of NKVD didn’t you know useful-idiot.

          • Screwdriver

            Stalin was not Russian. Beria was in charge of this operation – also not Russian.
            But even if they were Russians, blaming all the Russians for that is a PURE NAZISM, but no surprises here, this is who you are – typical Galitsian Nazi.

          • Fortranz

            “- But even if they were Russians, blaming all the Russians for that is a PURE NAZISM -”

            No it isn’t, it’s not buying into you Russian double-think of how you try and excuse Russians for the Human Rights crimes of Russians.
            It is too bad for you that not all people think like you and it’s not Nazism it’s justice.

          • Screwdriver

            Yea, right…
            you Nazis always trying to look like cute little bunnies

          • zorbatheturk

            The Nazis are in the Krumlin.

          • Микола Данчук

            This coming from a Bolshevik?

          • Screwdriver
          • Микола Данчук

            Not very original of you, making me out to be over 100 years old.
            Propaganda is what it is, no matter who wants to spin what. Those that believe it were and are fools because it is what they want you to believe, which you have devoted yourself to, no?
            Bolshevik and Nazi are one an the same, just different spelling for Fascist!

          • Ihor Dawydiak

            Both communists and fascists have always viewed the construct of ideologies in a linear fashion where they are at opposite extremes of the far left and the far right. However, in reality ideologies should be viewed as a circle where liberal and conservative democracies join at the top of the circle and where communists and fascists converge at the bottom of the circle. Why? There has always been one simple explanation. Whereas the principles of true democracy are found with liberals and conservatives who reject extremism, the exact opposite has always been the case in the totalitarian regimes of communists and fascists. Therefore, whenever Kremlin trolls try to label a democratic regime as fascist or communist, they completely discredit themselves as their claim(s) would be nothing less that a total contradiction in terminology.

          • Screwdriver

            You love to use 100 years old word “bolshevik ” which not used any longer, so you must be over 100 years old, good for you. :-)

          • Микола Данчук

            Was still used in the 1950’s but then you wouldn’t consider that relevant , mathematically speaking or for historic accuracy.

          • Screwdriver

            OK, you could be less then 100 years old, you convinced me. :-)

          • Микола Данчук

            All were Bolsheviks like you.
            You have no problem blaming others, do you?

    • Микола Данчук

      You mean the Bolsheviks?

    • Murf

      Funny how Russian lovers always claim the triumphs of the USSR as their own but not the tragedies.

      • Screwdriver

        Russia would have better triumphs then USSR. Communists destroyed Russia.

        • Murf

          That was my hope at one time.
          I hoped Togather Russia and the US would take mankind to the stars.
          Now Russia struggles to get satillites into orbit.
          Oh well that comes from a crony capitalism system and a people who grovel at the Alter of the Cult of Personality..
          Maybe they can get the next revolution right.

  • zorbatheturk

    Shows just how evil the Soviets were. And Putin admires this history.