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ISSN 2415-8712 (Online)
   ISSN 1682-671X (Print)

Turkic-Speaking Population of the Donbas in the Soviet Indigenization Policy

Heading: 
1Martynchuk, I, 2Otzemko, O
1PhD (History), Associate Professor of the Department of History of Ukraine and Special Branches of History Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University 2, Hrushevskyi Str., Vinnytsia, 21050, Ukraine vikusha.im@gmail.com
2PhD (History), Associate Professor of the Department of History of Ukraine and Special Branches of History Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University 2, Hrushevskyi Str., Vinnytsia, 21050, Ukraine otzemko@gmail.com
Shodoznavstvo 2021, 88:133-156
https://doi.org/10.15407/skhodoznavstvo2021.88.133
Section: History
Language: English
Abstract: 

The article studies aspects of the Soviet indigenization policy of the 1920s – early 1930s regarding the Turkic-speaking population of the Donbas region, namely its two groups – Tatars and Urums (Turkophone Greeks). The Donbas was formed as one of polyethnic regions of Ukraine covering the territory of modern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The research is based on a wide range of sources, primarily documents of the Communist Party (as it fully controlled the implementation of indigenization), record keeping of authority bodies, statistical and reference materials. We have analyzed indigenization measures aimed at the Tatars living in the region and a large ethnic Turkic-speaking community of Greeks from the Azov region (Urums). The principal focus is on the issues of administrative-territorial zoning and the attempts to solve the language problem of the Turkic-speaking population in the Donbas. We have also touched upon ideological and organizational principles of indigenization. The discussion deals with three national Greek districts created in 1926–1931, for instance Mangushsky district with Urums population and 14 Urums village councils. However significant shortcomings in their activities led to low voter turnout of the local population. The article concludes that the language issue became crucial for Tatar and Urum population of the Donbas due to the need to create an administrative apparatus on the national grounds and conduct office work in national languages. The solution of the language problem was also of political importance: the governing bodies wanted to make favorable conditions for the spread of the Soviet way of life, anti-religious propaganda and promotion of the “international education” of the Turkic-speaking population. Generally speaking, the problems of the Turkic population of the Donbas were not solved with indigenization. At the same time, it contributed to their involvement in the accelerated processes of Soviet modernization of the Donbas which became more severe and repressive in the early 1930s.

Keywords: administrative-territorial zoning, indigenization, Tatars, the Donbas, Turkic-speaking population, Urums

Повний текст (PDF)

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