Paperback / softback
October 9, 2003
1.31 Pounds (US)
$25.95 USD, £19.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Against Their Will

The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR

During his reign over the former Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin oversaw the forced resettlement of six million people — a maniacal passion that he used for social engineering. The Soviets were not the first to thrust resettlement on its population — a major characteristic of totalitarian systems — but in terms of sheer numbers, technologies used to deport people and the lawlessness which accompanied it, Stalin's process was the most notable. Six million people of different social, ethnic, and professions were resettled before Stalin's death. Even today, the aftermath of such deportations largely predetermines events which take place in the northern Caucasus, Crimea, the Baltic republics, Moldavia, and western Ukraine. Polian's volume is the first attempt to comprehensively examine the history of forced and semivoluntary population movements within or organized by the Soviet Union. Contents range from the early 1920s to the rehabilitation of repressed nationalities in the 1990s dealing with internal (kulaks, ethnic and political deportations) and international forced migrations (German internees and occupied territories). An abundance of facts, figures, tables, maps, and an exhaustively-detailed annex will serve as important sources for further researches.

About the Author

Pavel Polian is senior researcher at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and at the NS-Documentation Center in Cologne, Germany. Geographer, historian and philologist, Polian is top authority on forced migrations, forced labor and the prisoners of war during the WWII, as well as Jewish emigration from the USSR.


"This big book is a milestone in he publication in English of materials relating to the forced displacement of population in twentieth century Russia. ... Polian covers a huge amount of ground. His impressive scholarly compendium will be an important resource for students of the subject who wish to obtain reliable information on deportations and to analyze it in order to reach their own conluisons. To this extent Polian's careful study has placed scholars of modern Russian history considerably in his debt." - European Review of History
"The sheer magnitude, inhumane nature, and geographical layout of the deportations documented in Polian's book are mind-boggling. The following historical parallel from a 1923 article by Osip Mandel'shtam, quoted in the book, comes in handy: "Egyptian builders treat the human mass as the material that has to be sufficient and supplied in any quantity" (90). Polian's book is a must for all those interested in the nature and quintessential inner workings of totalitarian political regimes." - Slavic review
Central European University Press

9789639241732 : against-their-will-polian
Paperback / softback
444 Pages
$25.95 USD

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