A Visit of the IDFI Research Team in the National Archives of Kazakhstan

News 16 November 2012

On 10-15 September 2012 a research group visited the National Archive of Kazakhstan (Almaty) on a scientific trip by the initiative of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the support of the European Center for Minority Issues (ECMI Caucasus). The goal of the visit was to find and study the documents reflecting deportations from Georgia that occurred in the Soviet period during the reign of Stalin.

A large volume of documents related to the details of deportations that occurred during the Stalin period and different aspects of the life of the deported population are preserved in the archives of Central Asia. The mentioned documents are have mostly been studied by Asian scientists and unfortunately up to this day Georgian specialists have not had access to these archive materials. The group that visited Republic of Kazakhstan included David Jishkariani (Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, IDFI) and Giorgi Sordia (European Center for Minority Issues, ECMI Caucasus).

During the research work at the National Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan number of important and valuable archival materials have been revealed, particularly decrees and orders of the Kazakhstan Central Committee of Resettlement regarding deportation policy of 1930s and 1940s. The revealed documents describe different state regulations in new settlements of deported population. Materials also include information on everyday life of deportees, their relationships with local communities and some secret documents highlighting different aspects of state policy on resettlement of population.

In addition to archival work in Almaty, the research team conducted consultation meetings with different Kazakh partners and stakeholders, particularly with the director and other staff of the National Archival Department of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazakh professors and researchers in the field of population resettlement and deportation and the administration of the Kazakh National Pedagogical University. It was agreed with the Kazakh partners that cooperation on study of deported people will be continued.

In the near future Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, along with its partner organization - European Center for Minority Issues ECMI, plans to start a research project spanning several years about the history of deportations in 1940-1951, which includes the description of several waves of deportation on ethnic grounds in the Stalin period - Germans, Meskhetians, Greeks and also other groups. A separate publication will be dedicated to each wave of deportations, which will be based on archival documents from both Georgian central and regional archives and archival materials found in foreign countries (mainly archives of Russia and Central Asia).

Several new visits to different archives by the research group and the Consultation Board of the project are planned in the frameworks of the project.

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