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The Balkars of Southern Russia and Their Deportation (1944-57)

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Table of Contents



1. The Cultural History and Traditions of the Balkarians
2. Clocks and Calendars
3. Weddings and Funerals
4. Political/Societal Structures
5. Spirituality
6. The Cult of Stalin
7. Evolution of Nations or Affirmative Action?
8. The Piedmont Principle Collides with Soviet Xenophobia
9. Ethnic Cleansing or Genocide?
10. Predeportation: The Massacre of Sautu
11. The Deportation of the Balkars: Introduction
12: Russia’s Practice of Population Relocations
13. The Caucasus Experience: Entire Nations
14. Reasons Given for the Deportations
15. March 8, 1944
16. Personal Experiences of the Balkars
17. The Special Settlements
18. Balkars in the Special Settlements of Kazakhstan
19. Balkars in the Special Settlements of Kyrgyzstan
20. The Repatriation and Rehabilitation of the Deported Balkars
21. The Lingering Effect of the Deportation on the Successor Generations
22. Future Perspectives
23. Conclusion


Karen Baker

Hidden Peoples of the World

Indelible events are often stamped into the consciousness of a nation. These events shape individuals, and often entire socities, in the way they view social, cultural, political, ethical, and especially spiritual realities. The deportation of entire ethnic groups of the North Caucasus region of southern Russia was an immense operation of the Soviet government during World War II. The Balkarians, or Balkars, were forcibly taken from their native homelands and deported to distant lands within the Soviet Union. They remained in exile for thirteen years. The third generation of Balkars since that horrible experience continues to live in the shadow of the atrocities committed against their people. This book applies comprehensive research to the fActs of the deportation. More importantly, it examines lingering resentments and current sentiments of the Balkarians through extensive personal interviews with those who experienced the deportation.

In Karen’s many interviews woven throughout the book, we learn of several Balkarians who come to faith because of the Deportation, such as Ibrahim Gelastanov. Ibrahim recounts his memories about the deportation years. He cried as he recalled the details of his mother’s death within twenty-four hours of arriving in a special settlement where she died of starvation. Ibrahim tells of the horrors of his capture, the fifteen-day train ride, the forty-eight-hour boat ride, the twenty-four-hour walk to an unknown destination, and the starvation and indignities that he suffered. But Ibrahim always attributes his deportation as the means to his salvation into God’s family. He was the first Balkarian Christian, and he remained the lone Balkar Christian for thirty-six years. The tiny region of Balkaria is tucked into the largest mountain range of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains, in southern Russia. The Balkarians live in the shadow of unthinkable cruelty by the Stalin regime, the deportation of their entire people group. The deportation was concealed until the late twentieth century due to the secrecy of Communism. It was also hidden behind the terrors that occurred in Europe during World War II. The Balkars have suffered greatly in the last century, and they desperately need the peace of God in their hearts.

This book will bring awareness to the Caucasus peoples and bring more involvement in promoting the work of the Gospel in this unstable area to the unreached peoples.


  • This book will give you a greater glimpse of how the deportation of 1944 and attempted repatriation of 1957 have so drastically affected the lives of the Balkar people. You will also learn much about their rich cultural heritage and how it impActs their everyday life.
    Jonathan Groomspresident, Global Partners in Peace and Development, Blue Ridge, Virginia
  • I am deeply impressed with both the depth of Karen’s research and her love for this tiny people group. It is my hope that this book will contribute to more active involvement in promoting the work of the Gospel in this unstable and unreached part of the world.
    Andrey Kravtsevrector, North Caucasus Bible Institute, Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Russia
  • Karen has blended her personal experience with groundbreaking research of the Balkarians. This volume is a “must read” for both those studying the social dynamics of people movements and anyone wanting a better grasp of the devastation of a victimized and deported people group.
    David Slamp, DMinpastor, First Church of the Nazarene, Medford, Oregon
  • This book should be launched from the peaks of the highest European mountain, Mt. Elbrus.  This is a striking work which is and will be forever an unexpected recognition to the memory of those thousands of innocent victims of the Stalin-Beria genocide.
    Boris Ulakovteacher-methodologist, Köndelen, Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Russia

Additional Details

  • Pages: 202
  • Publisher: William Carey Library
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publish Year: 2013
  • ISBN: 9780878086276
  • Vendor: William Carey Library