Alain Blum and Emilia Koustova – To Exclude and to Integrate: Intertwining of Registers of Action and Actors of Stalinist Deportations in the WWII Aftermath in Lithuania and Ukraine

 

Event Dates: 13 – 16 September 2015
College Court Conference Centre
Knighton Road,
Leicester LE2 3UF

The Carceral Archipelago: Transnational Circulations in Global Perspective, 1415-1960

Alain Blum (EHESS, Paris) & Emilia Koustova (Strasbourg) – To Exclude and to Integrate: Intertwining of Registers of Action and Actors of Stalinist Deportations in the WWII Aftermath in Lithuania and Ukraine

To specify and to understand a given deportation requires taking it as a whole, as a set of different stages, articulated altogether. Each stage doesn’t necessarily characterize this expression of State violence or doesn’t give to it its specific dimension.

For example long journeys in cattle cars characterized many forced displacements in the 20th century in Europe, whether they were used to send to Nazi extermination camps, or to the Gulag or to special settlements in Siberia. Such a journey has become, in Western Europe, the very symbol of tearing, violence and almost certain death. In the USSR such journey is not limited to persons deprived of their liberty, but can also concerns the evacuation in the first weeks of WWII.

Another example, the way the labour is organized does not always distinguish in the USSR deportees displaced to rural areas and peasants who have been there since several generations: forced labour for some but mandatory for others, nonwage and insufficient compensation for many of them, not differentiating free and exiled people in collective farms, etc.

Finally, as many other components, the way things are going during the liberation, cannot be separated, from the entire phenomenon of a deportation, to understand it.

We therefore propose to show in this paper how the articulation of all the steps implemented by the legal, political, bureaucratic, and human components of the overall machine, gives specificity to the deportation from the Western territories of the USSR to Siberia and other distant territories, and not each technique or each component of this machine. We will focus on the period which precedes deportation, on the displacement itself, as well as on the condition of deported people and the slow process of liberation and return.

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