June deportation

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The June deportation (Estonian: juuniküüditamine, Latvian: jūnija deportācijas, Lithuanian: birželio trėmimai) was a mass deportation by the Soviet Union of tens of thousands of people from the territories occupied in 1940–1941: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, occupied Poland (mostly present-day western Belarus and western Ukraine), and Moldavia.

This mass deportation was organized following the guidelines set by the NKVD with the USSR Interior People's Commissar Lavrentiy Beria as the senior executor. The official name of the top secret operation was “Resolution On the Eviction of the Socially Foreign Elements from the Baltic Republics, Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and Moldova”. The Soviet police, called "militsya", carried out the arrests with the collaboration of local Communist Party members.[1][better source needed]

The deportations[edit]

The deportation took place from May 22 to June 20, 1941,[2] just before the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany. However, the goal of the deportations was to remove political opponents of the Soviet government, not to strengthen security in preparation for the German attack.[3]

The deportation took place a year after the occupation and annexation of the Baltic states and Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and targeted "anti-Soviet elements" – former politicians, military personnel, policemen, wealthy industrialists and landowners, etc.[4] In occupied Poland, it was the fourth wave of mass deportations[5] and was intended to combat the "counter-revolutionary" Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.[4]

The procedure for the deportations was approved by Ivan Serov in the so-called Serov Instructions. People were deported without trials in whole families.[5] Men were generally imprisoned and most of them died in Siberian prison camps (see Gulag); women and children were resettled in forced settlements[3] in Omsk and Novosibirsk Oblasts, Krasnoyarsk and Altai Krais, and Kazakhstan.[2] The mortality rate among the Estonian deportees was estimated at 60%.[3]

Number of deportees[edit]

The number of deported people include:

Number of deportees
To forced settlements[6]
(from official NKVD reports)
To prison camps and
forced settlements
Estonia 5,978 10,000 to 11,000[3]
Latvia 9,546[7] 15,000[7]
Lithuania 10,187 17,500[8]
Poland 11,329 (Western Ukraine)
22,353 (Western Belarus)

24,412 (Western Belarus)[9]
200,000 to 300,000[6][5]
Romaniaa 24,360 300,000[10]
a Moldavia as well as Chernivtsi Oblast and Izmail Oblast of the Ukraine

In media[edit]

Memorial event in Tallinn in 1989

The June deportation has been the subject of several Baltic films from the 2010s. The 2013 Lithuanian film The Excursionist dramatised the events through the depiction of a 10-year-old girl who escapes from her camp. Estonia's 2014 In the Crosswind is an essay film based on the memoirs of a woman who was deported to Siberia, and is told through staged tableaux vivants filmed in black-and-white. Estonia's Ülo Pikkov also addressed the events in the animated short film Body Memory (Kehamälu) from 2012. Latvia's The Chronicles of Melanie was released in 2016 and is, just like In the Crosswind, based on the memoirs of a woman who experienced the deportation, but is told in a more conventional dramatic way.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lithuania". Lithuania | Communist Crimes. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  2. ^ a b Bloxham, Donald; Moses, A. Dirk (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 403. ISBN 9780199232116.
  3. ^ a b c d Rahi-Tamm, Aigi; Kahar, Andres (2009). "The deportation Operation "Priboi" in 1949" (PDF). In Hiio, Toomas; Maripuu, Meelis; Paavle, Indrek (eds.). Estonia Since 1944: Report of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn: Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. p. 310. ISBN 978-9949183005.
  4. ^ a b Lovell, Stephen (2011). The Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the present. John Wiley & Sons. p. 218. ISBN 9781444351590.
  5. ^ a b c Lane, Thomas (2004). Victims of Stalin and Hitler: The Exodus of Poles and Balts to Britain. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-349-51584-4.
  6. ^ a b Statiev, Alexander (2010). The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands. Cambridge University Press. pp. 167–168, 184. ISBN 9780521768337.
  7. ^ a b Õispuu, Leo (2014). Name list of persons deported from Estonia 1945-1953 (PDF). Vol. R8/3. Estonian Repressed Persons Records Bureau. p. 16. ISBN 978-9985-9914-6-6.
  8. ^ Stravinskienė, Vitalija (2012). "Lietuvos lenkų trėmimai: 1941–1952 m." Istorija. Mokslo darbai (in Lithuanian). 87. ISSN 2029-7181.
  9. ^ Hryciuk, Grzegorz (2007). "Victims 1939–1941: The Soviet Repressions in Eastern Poland". In Barkan, Elazar; Cole, Elizabeth A.; Struve, Kai (eds.). Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-occupied Poland, 1939-1941. Leipziger Universitätsverlag. p. 193. ISBN 9783865832405.
  10. ^ Brezianu, Andrei; Spânu, Vlad (2010). The A to Z of Moldova. Scarecrow Press. p. 117. ISBN 9780810872110.
  11. ^ Priimägi, Tristan (2016-11-29). "The Chronicles of Melanie: The dear deported". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2017-02-05.