Presentation of the collection of documents “Polish special settlements in the North Kazakhstan region (1936-1955)”

On March 17, 2023, the Chokan Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology of the Committee of Science of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan held a presentation of a collection of archival documents and materials “Polish special settlers in the North Kazakhstan region (1936-1955) (Almaty: Litera-M LLP, 2022. – 384 p.) within the framework of the program-targeted financing “Mass political repressions in Kazakhstan in the 20-50s of the twentieth century and rehabilitation processes: creation of a unified database”.

The collection of archival documents and materials recommended for publication by the Academic Council of the Chokan Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology covers a chronological framework – from 1936 to 1955. The collection contains resolutions, orders of the supreme leadership of the USSR and the Kazakh SSR, as well as local authorities, the rights and duties of special settlers, the rules for renouncing the citizenship of the USSR of Polish citizens, instructions on the relationship of local authorities with the representations of the Polish embassy in Petropavlovsk and the North Kazakhstan region. It includes documents that are valuable from the point of view of understanding the processes of adaptation and survival in the harsh conditions of the sharply continental climate of the North Kazakhstan region and difficult living conditions, administratively expelled Poles to Kazakhstan and their subsequent repatriation. A significant part of the documents are various lists of Polish families, children and the elderly, family members – members of the Polish Army, Poles who are in a special settlement.

After reading the published documents, readers can visibly imagine what policy was implemented in Kazakhstan by the Soviet government in relation to deported and evacuated Poles, what was the role of international public organizations in supporting the Polish population in Kazakhstan, what assistance was provided by the Polish government and its representative offices in various regions of the republic to Poles living in various settlements of the North Kazakhstan region and an attempt to resolve pressing domestic and social issues. Thus, the documents testify to numerous appeals to the North Kazakhstan Regional Committee of the Council of Workers’ Deputies of the representative of the Polish Embassy in Petropavlovsk V.E. Plosky and his deputy V.F. Matusevich.

The analysis of the documents showed that often the nationality of Poles deported to Kazakhstan was an aggravating circumstance when carrying out mass repressions and “revelations” of “sabotage” and “slander” against the state system, “counterrevolutionary” and “espionage and sabotage” activities. The declassified documents of the special archive of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan are unique, in which the statistics of repressed citizens in 1938 in the North Kazakhstan region are presented, where the national aspect is clearly visible. The percentage of repressed citizens along the “Polish line” and Poles was quite high, which indicates a special distrust of the Polish population on the part of the Soviet authorities.

The novelty of this collection is not only the identification and introduction into scientific circulation of documents on the legislative basis and methods of forcible resettlement of Poles to Kazakhstan, but also on the further repressive policy of the Soviet state towards the Polish population, the Representation of the Polish Embassy in Kazakhstan in the pre–war and war years, as well as on the participation of Poles in the fighting battles of the Great The Patriotic War on the side of the Soviet Army.

The more than 200 documents published in the collection from 10 different archives of 5 cities of Kazakhstan (Astana, Almaty, Kokshetau, Petropavlovsk, Kostanay) are intended to satisfy readers’ interest in the history of repression in Kazakhstan and Polish special settlers. The collection also includes the personal archive of the Chinishlov family – descendants of the Polish special settler.

The compilers are: Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan of the North Kazakhstan State University named after M. Kozybayev Grivennaya L.A. and Master’s student of the North Kazakhstan University named after M. Kozybayev Chinishlov V.V.

The opening speech was made by Ziyabek Ermukhanovich Kabuldinov, Director of the Chokan Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor. Then he gave the floor to the Consul General of the Republic of Poland – Jozef Tymanowski, who thanked the Kazakh historians for their prompt work in preparing a collection of documents related to the tragic pages of the history of Poles in the USSR. From the Polish side, the Vice-director of the Museum of the Second World War in In Gdansk, Dr. Dmitry Panto and Professor of the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw, Dr. Jerzy Rogozhinsky. Gave an assessment of the work done by archivists Kairat Shakarimovich Alimgazinov – Deputy Director of the Archive of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Doctor of Historical Sciences.

Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Grivennaya, associate professor of the North Kazakhstan University named after M. Kozybayev, Candidate of Historical Sciences, who was the compiler of the collection, highlighted her part of the work on identifying archival documents about Polish special settlers in the State Archive of the North Kazakhstan region.

More than 40 people took part in the presentation: scientists, public figures, including representatives of consulates of Western European states in Almaty – Poland, Lithuania, representatives of the Polish diplomatic community, etc.  The Lithuanian Consulate General was represented by First Secretary Radoslav Kazulis. Leading scientists of KazNU named after al-Farabi, Zhenpu, M. Kozybayev NCSU, Suleiman Demirel University and others took part in the discussion. universities; representatives of national cultural centers of Almaty. All participants of the event received a presented collection of archival documents so that the history of the past years would become closer to them, and the tragedy of the deported peoples would become a common pain for all Kazakhstanis.