Circular Letter from the Orgburo TsK RK(b) Concerning Relations with the Cossacks

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Circular Letter from the Orgburo TsK RK(b) Concerning Relations with the Cossacks

introduction During World War II Stalin ordered the deportation of a large part of this population which was incorporated in Russia since 1654, accusing the Cossacks to sympathize with Germany.

24 January 1919

Circular. Secret.

The latest events on different fronts in the Cossack regions — our advance into the interior of the Cossack settlements and the disintegration among the Cossack hosts — compels us to give instructions to party workers about the character of their work during the reestablishment and strengthening of Soviet power in the said regions. It is necessary to recognize, based on the experience of the civil war with the Cossacks, that the most merciless struggle with all the upper layers of the Cossacks through their extermination to a man is the only correct policy. No compromises or halfheartedness whatsoever are acceptable.

Therefore it is necessary:

1. To carry out mass terror against wealthy Cossacks, exterminating them to a man; to carry out merciless mass terror in relations to all Cossacks have taken part in any way directly or indirectly in the struggle with the Soviet power. Against the middle Cossacks it is necessary to take all those measures which give a guarantee against any attempt on their part [to join] a new attack on Soviet power.

2. To confiscate grain and force [them] to gather all surpluses in designated points; this applies both to grain and all other agricultural products.

3. To take all measures assisting the resettlement of newly arrived poor, organizing this settlement where possible.

4. To equalize newly arrive Inogorodnie with the Cossacks in land and in all other relations.

5. To carry out complete disarmament, shooting those who after the time of handing over are found to have arms.

6. To give arms only to reliable elements from the Inogorodnie.

7. Armed detachments are to be stationed in Cossack stanitsas henceforward until the establishment of complete order.

8. To order all commissars appointed to this or that Cossack settlement to show maximum firmness and to carry out the present orders unswervingly.

TsK imposes the obligation on Narkomzem to work out quickly practical measures concerning the mass resettlement of poor on Cossack land to be carried out through the corresponding soviet institutions.

Central Committee RKP RGASPI f.17, op.4. d. 7, l.5.