A Soviet Ethnic Cleansing? The Polish-Soviet Population Exchange and the Making of Modern Ukraine, 1944–1947

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Dmitry Halavach Postdoctoral Fellow, The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, Higher School of Economics (HSE) Moscow Russia

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The article examines the population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union in 1944–1947, its role in the shaping of modern Ukraine, and its place in the evolution of the Soviet nationality policy. It investigates the factors involved in the decision-making of individuals and state officials and then assesses how people on the ground made sense of the Soviet population politics. While the earlier scholarship saw the transfer as punitive national deportation, the article argues that it was neither punitive nor purely national nor was it a deportation. The article shows that the party-state was ambivalent about the Polish minority and was not committed to total national homogenization of Western Ukraine. Instead, the people themselves were often eager to leave the USSR because of the poor living conditions, fear of Sovietization, and ethnic conflict. Paradoxically, one of the largest Soviet nation-building projects was not the product of coherent nationality policy.


The article examines the population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union in 1944–1947, its role in the shaping of modern Ukraine, and its place in the evolution of the Soviet nationality policy. It investigates the factors involved in the decision-making of individuals and state officials and then assesses how people on the ground made sense of the Soviet population politics. While the earlier scholarship saw the transfer as punitive national deportation, the article argues that it was neither punitive nor purely national nor was it a deportation. The article shows that the party-state was ambivalent about the Polish minority and was not committed to total national homogenization of Western Ukraine. Instead, the people themselves were often eager to leave the USSR because of the poor living conditions, fear of Sovietization, and ethnic conflict. Paradoxically, one of the largest Soviet nation-building projects was not the product of coherent nationality policy.

1 Introduction

The Polish-Soviet population exchange of 1944–1947 was one of the largest Soviet social engineering projects. The total war was a time when “whole empires are walking,”1 but in many places, the population exchange displaced more people than the Second World War itself.2 Over 800,000 people left Western Ukraine for Poland in 1944–47, including 105,000 from Lwów/L’viv.3 Paradoxically, the Soviet state that had carried out this project also had some of the most tightly patrolled borders in the world and would later restrict freedom of travel even with its socialist satellites in Eastern Europe.4 During the implementation of this project, the party-state generated a vast archive documenting conditions in the borderlands, the mood of the population, and the process of resettlement. These sources allow us to examine the impact of the war on society, evolution of the Soviet governance, and the experience of the people who lived through the Soviet-sponsored national unmixing.

Where does the Polish-Soviet population exchange fit into the trajectory of Soviet nationality policy? In contrast to the old view of the Soviet Union as the Russian empire redux, contemporary scholarship posits that the USSR was committed to creation of ethno-territorial units: it was the “affirmative action empire,”5 the “communal apartment” structured along ethnic lines,6 and the regime practicing “state-sponsored evolutionism.”7 At the same time, some works assert that in the 1930s, the Soviet Union abandoned the national “affirmative action,”8 started to victimize entire nations,9 and practice “racial politics without the concept of race.”10 Most of the works that have touched upon the population exchange treat it as an example of Soviet nation-breaking: a repressive policy that was directed at a disloyal nation with cross-border connections. Timothy Snyder writes that the Polish-Soviet population exchange amounted to the Soviet recognition of defeat in the quest to change human nature: even the pretense that some individuals could be reformed was abandoned, and instead, the incorrigible part of the population was cast out from the Soviet Union.11 Other studies assert that there was a similarity between different nationalizing regimes that governed the borderlands and that all pursued policies of ethnic classification.12 On the other hand, Amir Weiner argues that while the Soviet regime started to attach more importance to ethnicity and wartime conduct in its governance, it never practiced exclusion informed by biological racism the rejection of which was an unwavering part of Soviet ideology.13 The only work that specifically focuses on the population exchange is Catherine Gousseff’s groundbreaking study of the making of the new border between Poland and Ukraine.14 Her book reconstructs a rich texture of the situation on the ground but largely eschews questions of the place of the exchange in the trajectory of Soviet nationality policy.

As the article will demonstrate, the Polish-Soviet population exchange was one of the largest Soviet nation-building projects, even if some of this impact was due to the unintended consequences of Soviet actions and to the desperate attempt of Polish communists to colonize the “recovered territories.” The population exchange shaped modern Ukraine and Poland. It had profound and long-lasting consequences, comparable in their impact only to the national delimitation of Central Asia in the 1920s.15 Indeed, it took place during the resurgence of the Russocentric rhetoric in propaganda16 when, allegedly, the Russians became a “state bearing nation” in the USSR.17 However, in the long run, the chief beneficiaries of this gargantuan project were Ukrainian nationalists who saw their dreams of national unification fulfilled. This fulfillment took place simultaneously with the ruthless suppression of the anti-Soviet armed resistance. Paradoxically, in Western Ukraine, the Soviet party-state carried out the program of the Ukrainian integral nationalists by removing the Polish population. Volodymyr Kubiyovych, the head of the Ukrainian Central Committee in Krakow (also known as Hauptausschuss), argued during the war that population transfers were necessary to create “pure Ukrainian territories,”18 but the Ukrainian insurgents lacked the capacity to conduct this massive resettlement.19 How can we explain the puzzle of the Soviet state colluding with its archenemies? And what can it tell us about Soviet nationality policy? While the earlier national deportations can be explained to some extent by “Soviet xenophobia,” this explanation does not fully apply to the transfer: it was carried out when Poland was devastated by the war and when the Moscow-controlled Polish communists were taking power.20 The article suggests a way to address this puzzle by exploring how the Soviet rule facilitated nation-building without explicit commitment to nationalization.

The article argues that although the Soviet party-state facilitated the resettlement of Poles from Ukraine, this national homogenization resulted not from a coherent nationality policy but from the combination of unintended consequences, local circumstances, and the agency of the people. The evidence suggests that the demographic de-Polonization of Western Ukraine was achieved without Soviet commitment to ethnic cleansing and Ukrainian nation-building. The Soviet regime was ambivalent about the Polish presence in this territory, and this casts into doubt the historiographical thesis about the Soviet transition to ethnic categories in its rule in the 1930s and 1940s. The Soviet officials faced conflicting impulses: they had to resettle the potentially troublesome Poles but were also unwilling to lose the desperately needed labor force. Crucially, this was not just a conflict between ideology and pragmatics of the state power: Soviet officials were ambivalent in the normative evaluation of the Polish presence. Soviet propaganda did not proclaim the Poles a “traitor nation” but, on the contrary, praised the Poles leaving the USSR as patriots. Unlike in the punitive deportations, the population exchange did not aim to scatter and denationalize members of the national group it targeted. The article suggests that the primary actors in the ethnic cleansing of Western Ukraine were Poles themselves. The story of the Polish flight from Ukrainian nationalist terror is well known. Less known is the numerically more significant mass registration of Poles for population transfer from the USSR to Poland. The people of the borderlands were familiar with the techniques of Soviet rule from the 1939–1941 period, and, in addition to the fear of Ukrainian nationalists, the fear of violent Sovietization was a major factor that induced people to leave after the war. The Soviet party-state and the Ukrainian and Polish nationalists put pressure on the population and the resettlement was not voluntary—as the official documents suggested. However, the form the compulsion took varied: the party-state and nationalist guerillas of all stripes both forced people to leave and prevented people from leaving, depending on the circumstances. This opened up a space of limited autonomy in which people could exercise their agency. The Polish “self-deportation” was crucial in the national homogenization of Western Ukraine in 1944–1947.

2 Disentangling populations: Security, Identity, and Ethnic Conflict

Stalin’s incessant quest for the security of his empire made Poland the centerpiece of Soviet foreign policy.21 The evidence about Stalin’s wartime designs for Poland is inconclusive. The minimum for which he was prepared to settle was a “democratic” Poland friendly to the USSR and a confirmation of the Soviet territorial gains in 1939–1941. The Soviet stance on Poland was open-ended and constantly evolving, but by the end of the war, Stalin settled on the communization of this country.22 In December 1941, Stalin outlined to Anthony Eden his vision of postwar Europe. He envisaged a continent organized into spheres of influence and divided between the UK and the USSR.23 This was part of the strategy forced on him by international politics: construction of a protective belt, an outer Soviet empire from the states that the Red Army managed to occupy during the war.24 The Allies were unable to prevent the Soviet domination of Poland, but continued to insist on free and democratic elections. Faced with the inability to prevent the Soviet incorporation of eastern Poland, against which the Polish government in London protested, the Allies reluctantly embraced the transfer as a face-saving measure. The intellectual climate of the time was very receptive to the idea of population exchange as a uniquely beneficial solution to international problems.25 Stalin exploited this sentiment of Western politicians, the near-universal consensus on the population transfer as an effective tool of governance, and the technology of population management to address his geopolitical concerns. In doing so, Stalin tackled one of the persistent factors of Russian foreign policy: the permeable and difficult-to-defend western frontier.26 The Russian empire had a long history of anti-Polish measures in its western borderlands. Yet, the Soviet approach to the intractable “Polish question” was highly specific: no Russian imperial statesman had suggested resettling all Poles from western provinces and dividing these lands between Lithuanians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians.

On September 9, 1944, Nikita Khrushchev and Edward Osóbka-Morawski signed the agreement about the population exchange between Poland and Ukraine.27 The text was similar to the documents signed by the representatives of the Polish Committee for National Liberation (PKWN) with Lithuania and Belarus. These agreements were modeled on the 1939 Soviet-German treaty about the transfer minorities. The agreement designated the exchange as “reciprocal evacuation.” The registration for resettlement was scheduled for September 15, 1944–October 15, 1944. The actual resettlement was to start on October 15, 1944, and last until February 1, 1945. The dates for registration and resettlement had been extended several times and finally the end of the transfer was scheduled on August 1, 1946. The transfer targeted the territory of former Eastern Poland incorporated into Soviet Ukraine which was divided into 7 provinces (oblast’): Volyn (Wołyń), Rivne (Równe), Ternopil (Tarnopol), Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanisławów), L’viv (Lwów), Drohobych (Drohobycz), and, partly, Chernivtsi (Cernăuți, Czernowitz). These provinces comprised 18 districts (raion). Every district had its regional representative who was subordinated to the Soviet Ukrainian authorities and a representative of Poland (plenipotentiary of the Polish Committee for National Liberation).

The resettlement agreement stated that only “Poles and Jews who were Polish citizens before September 17, 1939, who lived in the western provinces of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and who wanted to resettle to the territory of Poland“ were eligible for transfer.28 In practice, both the Polish representatives and the Soviets routinely violated this point in favor of other considerations: ethnicity, loyalty, the need for the labor force, hopes to obtain a bribe or seize property. The agreement made an exception to the citizenship requirement for the Poles of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz/Cernăuţi) who were now living in Ukraine and who had Romanian citizenship before the war. The agreement also stated in article 2 that the “evacuation was voluntary, and no compulsion can be applied either directly or indirectly,” and, importantly, that “a wish to evacuate can be expressed either orally or in writing.” The latter clause provided the little-needed excuse for bureaucratic arbitrariness in determining who would go to Poland. Furthermore, the eligibility was not equal to automatic permission to go to Poland. The guiding documents were silent on whether self-identification or the national identity registered in documents was more important. The Polish representatives, eager to resettle as many people as possible, insisted that self-determination was more important. The Soviet side usually favored the evidence of nationality from identity papers. In 1939–1941, the Soviet imposition of passports was widely believed to offer some protection from deportation, but the “passportization” facilitated travel restrictions—such as prohibition to stay in cities.29 In 1944–47, the Soviet passports would serve as primary identification documents, but many people had not received them by the beginning of the registration for resettlement.30

What is striking about the Polish-Soviet population exchange is how conspicuously absent institutionalized ethnographic expertise was in its implementation. Of course, the very fact that the decision-makers considered minorities a problem reflects the ideational power of nationalism. However, the workings of the so-called mixed commissions tasked with separating Poles from non-Poles were a world away from the academic discussions about ethnicity. Most of the time, little effort went into this procedure. The party-state officials usually relied on what can be called a vernacular ethnographic knowledge and used very crude markers of ethnicity such as a Polish-sounding last name or Catholic religion. Nonetheless, there were also attempts to disentangle Polish identity and Catholic religion (just as in Belarus, where this approach was used to keep the people in).31 A representative of the Ukrainian government explained to his subordinates that “religion does not determine nationality—nationality stays the same irrespective of religion.”32 “The religion cannot serve as a criterion for establishing nationality, especially in relation to people who had changed their religion after September 9, 1944,” the chief representative of the Polish republic for repatriation declared on February 14, 1946.

The Soviet plan was to entice people to resettle by forgiving tax arrears, issuing credits, and providing a liberal allotment of property that could be transported—up to two tons per family.33 However, similarly to Belarus, where the Soviet authorities attempted to keep the labor force in the republic, the authorities in Ukraine frequently created obstacles for people willing to leave. Declarations about resettlement could be arbitrarily rejected, and the people who made them were punished by arrest or imposition of additional taxes. To deter the people from leaving, the evaluations of their property (for which there was supposed to be compensation) could be artificially lowered and the necessary documents withheld. Resettlement was sometimes made conditional on the repayment of the taxes imposed specifically for the occasion by the head of the local village council (sel’sovet). The most blatant way to prevent Polish peasants from leaving was simply to confiscate their horse and horse-driven carriage—a crucial means of transportation either to a railway head or, sometimes, all the way to Poland.34

The stance of the Soviet state toward the Polish community living in what was now Western Ukraine was ambivalent. Before the war, Poles were over-represented among the victims of the Great Terror, Polish peasants were more likely to be deported as “kulaks” during the collectivization, and the NKVD murdered thousands of Polish prisoners. However, after the war, Soviet propaganda did not proclaim the Poles a “traitor nation,” unlike Crimean Tatars or Chechens. In addition, the Soviet bureaucrats faced conflicting incentives: they had to carry out the resettlement and restore the economy, remove the Poles, and keep the peasants, workers, and qualified specialists. Hrushetsky, the secretary of the L’viv obkom, described the city’s Polish intelligentsia as collaborators with the Germans and generally anti-Soviet, but also stated that its progressive part was pro-Soviet.35 “All honest Poles would voluntarily choose their state, with the free will to decide their fate,” Hrushetsky told the meeting of the Polish intelligentsia in L’viv in December 1944. He added to this exhortation a threat to deport east everyone who behaved in an anti-Soviet fashion or was not employed.36 Mokrousov and Martynov, who commanded the Soviet partisans in Crimea, reported that some of the partisans had a regretful tendency to conflate loyalty with nationality which “has nothing to do with our nationality policy.”37 As late as May 1945, a report by the Party Committee praised the Poles of L’viv for subscribing to the state loan.38 According to Soviet documents, “some Soviet officials expected Poles to stay, reporting their pro-Soviet sympathies and deep hatred of Germans and Ukrainian nationalists.”39 The report even noted that Poles welcomed Soviet forces.40 In 1951, the Soviet report on the Polish collective farmers in L’viv province described them as thoroughly loyal.41 Similarly, the Polish communists referred to the Poles from the USSR as “patriots” and did not see them as exiles, deportees, or undesirable outcasts from the only socialist country in the world. The resettled also adopted this narrative, especially when they were claiming property in the “recovered territories,” such as abandoned German houses and estates.42 There were also concerns that population transfer would permit those people who had collaborated with the Germans to escape.43 At the same time, many Soviet officials treated all Poles as nationalists who were obeying the orders of the Polish government in exile.44

Polish communists played a crucial role in the de-Polonization of Ukraine. They staffed the resettlement commissions and party organs. For instance, in one of the districts of Tarnopol province, 113 out of 207 party propagandists were Poles.45 While the contest for power in Poland was still undecided, the Polish communists were already carrying out the most consequential rearrangement of the country’s territory since the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They consistently pushed for the comprehensive demographic de-Polonization of Ukraine because they needed to populate the “recovered territories” that had been taken from Germany. Securing these new lands was their main hope of winning popularity.46 Matwyn, Poland’s plenipotentiary in the USSR, handed over a note to Molotov on August 16, 1946, in which he urged speeding up the resettlement of Poles because of the removal of Germans from Western Poland and the urgent need to colonize new territories. He proposed to move at least 600,000 people from Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, and Lithuania, mostly peasants, to provide the labor force for the spring sowing of 1947 in Silesia. Other Polish politicians also used their influence to argue in favor of population transfer. On August 25–30, 1944, Stanisław Grabski visited Lwów and had several talks with notable Poles from the city—professors, lawyers, teachers, and representatives of the workers. Although Grabski was a National Democrat, he worked with communists to create a homogenous and westward-looking Poland. Grabski accepted the new border as a fait accompli and attempted to salvage as much human capital from the kresy (eastern borderlands of Poland) as possible. On August 25, 1945, he declared in Lwów that “we are giving to Russia 1800 square kilometers of the territory where 4 million Poles used to live, and in return, we are getting 1000 square kilometers where 8 million people used to live. Western lands are much richer than the eastern ones and our task is to appropriate this ancient Polish land as quickly as possible.”47 On the other hand, if Poles stayed outside the new borders of the Polish state, they “would be lost as a cultural force.”48 Grabski’s visit to Lwów, Hrushetsky concluded, brought disappointment to the “reactionaries” and increased the willingness of the Polish intelligentsia to leave.49 The role that the Polish resistance groups and the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) played in the resettlement was twofold. On the one hand, they appealed to the Poles to resist the transfer and stay in what they claimed was ancestral Polish land. On the other hand, in a fateful miscalculation, the AK also encouraged the Poles to register en masse in the hope that the registration would become de facto plebiscite and draw the world’s attention to the Polishness of these territories.

The population exchange also involved Lithuania and Belarus.50 Ukraine experienced the most comprehensive national unmixing compared to other republics.51 Several factors can explain this variation. First, the attitude of the Ukrainian party-state officials towards the de-Polonization of cities and rural areas was different. After the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the UPA, many Poles fled from villages to cities or straight to Poland. The urban Polish population of Ukraine was more concentrated and thus more accessible to pressure. Second, the Ukrainians moving from Poland put pressure on Poles in Ukraine. While Belarusian and Lithuanian minorities in Poland were small, the Ukrainian minority was very numerous. The stream of Ukrainians from Poland put pressure on the authorities in Ukraine to find housing for newcomers by forcing Poles to leave. Third, and perhaps the most important difference, was in the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).52 Poles in Lithuania and Belarus did not experience a comparable level of violence. Because of the interethnic conflict, many Poles either left Ukraine themselves or welcomed the news about resettlement. The Ukrainian-Polish ethnic conflict and the Holocaust raised the salience of ethnicity during the Nazi occupation, making it a matter of life and death.53 Many Poles initially welcomed the Soviet liberation. One woman from Lwów, according to a Soviet report, called the Soviet soldiers “savior angels” after the terrible experience of the occupation.54 Another Pole from Galicia recollected that when he learned that

the interim Polish Government will take us … we kissed the newspaper, as we had already asked the Polish delegate to take us with him so that we could eat once a day, sleep well at night, and feel no fear of Bandera guerillas attacking and murdering us. The Government of the People’s Republic of Poland took care of us and remembered us.55

The Polish representative in Luck reported that local villagers begged to be resettled as soon as possible because of the terror perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists.56 Cases as the one cited above suggest that the ethnic conflict made the Poles in Ukraine flee for their lives and register for resettlement en masse. The UPA issued threats to Poles in several cities and villages, giving them a choice: move to Poland or be killed.57 However, the dynamic of the resettlement does not entirely support this story. Until the end of 1944, most Poles in Ukraine were unwilling to leave. Although approximately 100,000 Poles had fled Ukraine on their own before the beginning of the transfer, many more Poles stayed.58 In 1944, only 15,500 Poles had left Ukraine as a part of the transfer, most of them women and children, survivors of the UPA terror.59 Only 946 Poles had left Lwów by December 1944.60 By February 1, 1945, this number had increased to 35 thousand, but it still constituted only a small fraction of all Poles in Ukraine.61 In part, this happened because much of Poland was still under German control until the Vistula-Oder offensive of the Red Army in January-February 1945. In 1944, the PKWN representative complained that they could not accommodate the Poles arriving from the Soviet Union because a large part of Poland was still under German occupation.62 Many people were also unwilling to travel in winter.63 However, the repatriation authorities in Soviet Ukraine did not pay much attention to the troubles of evacuees once they were in Polish territory. The trains often unloaded their human cargo immediately they crossed the border, leaving the people to track to their destination on foot. Furthermore, the flight was not the only response to the UPA terror. Poles in Ukraine were not passive victims. While many were going to Poland to escape death at the hands of the nationalist guerillas, others wanted revenge. For instance, a Soviet report concluded that in the Tarnopol province in November 1944—when the memories of the UPA atrocities of 1943–44 were still fresh—most of the Poles did not want to go to Poland.64 After the initial confusion, the Poles in this area fought back the Ukrainian attacks and committed atrocities of their own in retaliation. A Soviet officer reported that the Poles in Kałusz refused to leave because they wanted to settle their scores with local Ukrainians.65 The anti-Polish terror was also spatially limited. Even in Wołyń, the UPA killed or displaced “only” 20 percent of Poles in 1943–1944.66 In Galicia, where the bulk of the Poles in new Ukrainian territories lived, the ethnic cleansing did not assume the proportions of the Wołyń massacre. Poles there were more numerous and better organized, and local Ukrainians were less willing to go along with murderous UPA plans.67 City-dwellers also had much less reason to fear for their lives. In short, while the nationalist terror resulted in a more comprehensive national unmixing, it was not enough to force most of the Poles to leave the now-Ukrainian territories of former eastern Poland.

3 Responses to the Population Transfer and Flight from Sovietization

The population exchange was more similar to an exodus of refugees from the Soviet Union than to deportation. Faced with the prospect of living in Stalin’s Soviet Union, many people apparently chose the “exit” option and voted with their feet.68 Tellingly, there was a black market in identity papers that allowed people to go to Poland, not the other way round.69 The evidence from other areas involved in the population exchange also suggests that the fear of Sovietization was sufficient to make resettlement attractive even in the absence of nationalist terror.70 Many Ukrainians who moved from Poland to Ukraine during the exchange also attempted to go back because of the poverty and starvation they faced in the USSR.71 Such attitudes were hardly surprising given the experience of 1939–1941. The information about the Katyn massacre was common knowledge by the end of the war. The flight of refugees from the Soviet Union occurred in other border regions too. In 1942–1943, collective farmers in Tajikistan crossed the border to Afghanistan to avoid the draft into the Red Army and labor battalions. The NKVD and border guards managed to stop over 4,000 of them.72

Any ascription of motives to the people on the move is tentative: most of them did not leave behind a written record. However, the few surviving voices of the people moving west provide evidence of anti-Soviet attitudes. The Soviet secret police, the NKVD/NKGB, drew evidence about the mood of the population from the intercepted letters. The passages from letters that censors judged noteworthy made their way into the reports (svodki) about the situation in Ukraine. In addition to that, the network of informers reported subversive statements by the local Poles to the NKVD. Thus, most of the voices of the people who had to live through the Soviet ethnic unmixing were preserved only in mediated form. Judging by these sources, the Polish reaction to the resettlement was a mixture of despair, fear of the Soviet regime, wishful thinking, misperception of the international situation, misguided faith in international law, anti-Semitism, and grudging recognition of Soviet strength. Of course, it is impossible to speak of the Poles as a monolithic community—the hopes and aspirations of different people were vastly different and subject to change. Still, the initial response of some members of the Polish community to the coming Soviet forces was joy and gratitude for liberation from the Nazi occupation.73 The news about the resettlement and the Sovietization measures quickly reversed the attitude. Słowo Polskie, a newspaper published by the Home Army in Lwów, declared that the arrests carried out on August 3–4, 1945 were an attempt to force the Poles to leave the city en masse.74 The number of people signing up for transfer increased tenfold after the arrests of the “anti-Soviet elements”—from 30–35 to over 300 per day.75 Anna Kisel from Tarnopol province wrote to her relative in January 1945: “Some people go to the west with joy, others, on the contrary, in tears. There is a terrible panic in our village, people are as if mad. The priest tells us not to go, and that there we will starve to death.”76 In rural areas, the biggest bugbear was the looming introduction of collective farms. The negative reputation of the kolkhoz led the Soviet officials to downplay this part of the Soviet order in their propaganda materials and in conversation with the locals.77 Some people told stories of how the Poles were well received in the west—with an orchestra, driven in cars to “good houses with all amenities,” houses in the country where “finally all Poles will be together and soon our Poland will be an independent state with access to the sea.”78

One of the most common hopes among Poles from all walks of life was that the kresy would remain a part of Poland.79 This mood was reflected in the typically vague but widespread rumor, according to which “something will happen in Lwów, something beneficial to the Poles and harmful to the Soviet power.”80 Lwów, in particular, was an object of strong emotional attachment and the center of a powerful historical myth. Ukrainians and Poles fought a war over the city in 1918–1919. The siege of Lwów and especially the “eaglets of Lwów” (orlęta Lwówskie)—Polish teenagers who volunteered for the defense of the city—were a powerful symbol among the kresy Poles. Leaving the city, supposedly, betrayed their memory. “Some people say that Polish children defended Lwów, and now we must leave,” stated a letter from this city that was intercepted by the military censorship department and included in the report on the mood of the population.81 The Polish deputy representative in Stanisławów declared in 1945 that the war was over and, therefore, the resettlement was over too. His boss openly stated that the Polish government had made a mistake when it signed the population exchange agreement.82

The Soviet analysis of the initial unwillingness of many Poles to go west singled out three factors: the hope to retain Western Ukraine in new Poland, expectations of the coming war between the Allies and the USSR, and the poor conditions in the liberated Poland, combined with distrust of the PKWN.83 Khrushchev wrote to Stalin that the Polish émigré government in London ordered its organizations in Western Ukraine to halt the population transfer and promised a revision of the border so that Lwów would be a part of the Polish state. To dispel such illusions and to speed up the resettlement, Khrushchev proposed a change in the language of instruction in universities and schools to Ukrainian and Russian and a renewal of the mobilization of Poles for labor in the factories in the Donbas.84 A possible Russification was indeed a source of concern. A rumor was making rounds, stating that “those who do not go across the Bug, will have to speak only in Russian and become Soviet citizens.”85 The Polish schoolchildren up to the 7th or 8th grade faced the prospect of going to the 1st grade to receive education in Russian or Ukrainian.86

Khrushchev sanctioned mass arrests in Lwów on August 3–4, 1945. It is unclear if these arrests were a usual Soviet method of destroying societal opposition to the new regime or if they were intended as a signal to the Poles to leave. Whatever the motivation, the NKVD reports concluded that after the arrests people started to register for transfer en masse.87 In Równe province the NKVD arrested 218 Poles who were supposedly delaying the transfer by engaging in anti-Soviet activities.88 There is evidence that the people interpreted the arrests as a sign of what the Poles could expect from the Soviets in postwar Ukraine. The Soviet party-state official reported from Lwów that most of the local intelligentsia was in a “foul mood” after these events. “This is a strategic maneuver, its purpose is to make the Poles realize the impossibility of their existence here and to leave for Poland,” one unnamed person in Lwów reasoned.89 A Polish woman from Zdołbunów (Równe province) concluded that

The Poles who used to laugh when other Poles were signing up to leave, who used to accuse them of cowardice and lack of courage, [they] do not want to stay here after the arrests, and now they themselves want to go to Poland and are eagerly waiting for the echelon.90

A Pole from Tarnopol suggested in a conversation with a resettlement commission official that after these events he decided to go to Poland as soon as possible. Another Pole also made this connection: “they will arrest every Pole, that’s why I want to go to Poland as soon as possible … but the waiting list in the commission is very long.”91 A Ukrainian member of the Komsomol was recorded as saying “the Poles are being arrested now, they will see that life won’t be easy for them here in L’viv and they will go to Poland.”92 The Germans and the Soviets are similar—they both arrest Poles, a worker from the Lwów typography concluded. A student of the Lwów pedagogical college reportedly complained that the “NKGB was arresting honest people who were only fighting for their native city of Lwów.” A schoolteacher said the Soviets had arrested a lot of people because the “Poles claim Lwów as a Polish city; the Poles who have not been arrested yet will be deported to Russia.” Another teacher concluded that now was the time to leave. Professor Lesniansky publicly stated that “by carrying out these arrests, the Soviet authorities put pressure on the Poles to make up their mind—whether to go to Poland or stay here.”93 The Soviet officials concluded that after the arrests the Poles started to sign up for resettlement in much greater numbers.94 In Drohobycz province, after the arrests, the number of Poles signing up for resettlement increased from 30–35 a day to 300.95

However, terror against the people it considered unreliable was a usual modus operandi of the Soviet state under Stalin. It was not necessarily a special signal to the Poles of the borderlands.96 The soldiers and the police treated L’viv as a conquered enemy city. One of the NKVD’s reports gave the number of people arrested in Lutsk (75) and distributed them by categories: members of the Polish Insurgent’s Union (Polski Związek Powstańczy)—44, agents of the German intelligence—14, and people who worked in the German police—17.97 All these activities—whether real or invented during interrogation—would have been punished by the Soviet police regardless of the population exchange. The evidence against interpreting the arrests as a signal to the Polish community to leave is provided by the fact that the NKVD frequently apprehended the very people who were organizing the resettlement as well as the people who had already registered for transfer.98 Soviet documents mentioned “nationalist elements” penetrating the repatriation offices and mixed commissions.99 The situation in other republics involved in the transfer was similar. For example, on June 30, 1945, Stanisław Ochocki, the Polish representative in Lithuania, was arrested on Beria’s orders and sentenced to 15 years in labor camps. In the apparatus of the representative of the Polish government in Ukraine, the Soviet secret police also arrested three officials in just one month. Arrests in that organization continued, further disorganizing the carrying out the population transfer. On several occasions, Polish bureaucrats “disappeared” on their way to work and the NKVD refused to provide any information about them to the Polish plenipotentiary.100 The randomness suggests that the arrests of the Poles can be explained as the usual functioning of the Soviet security apparatus, and that the terror was not necessarily a calculated message to the Polish community of the borderlands.

Despite all the rumors and hopes, the mass resettlement from the east meant the final loss of the kresy. The war was experienced as a catastrophe, but only the transfer meant the final undoing of prewar Poland. Stanisław Lem, a celebrated Polish writer, recalled that for the Poles in Lwów, the resettlement was the end of the protracted collapse of the old world, the final step in the sequence of tragedies that started in 1939.101 This brought home the realization that the Polish government in exile could not, and western allies would not, do anything about the Soviet plans for Poland. “We should not object to the Bolsheviks, they are very strong, that is why they do what they can, and the only thing left to us is to go to Poland,” a hospital employee from Lwów reasoned in 1945. “The borders of Poland which have been published in a newspaper are not correct. But there is nothing to be done, the truth now is on the side of the strong”, another Lwów Pole concurred.102 “And we thought that here, where we have been living, we were in Poland,” observed with bitter irony a Polish woman from Kolomija, now a part of Western Ukraine.103 A doctor from Lwów told a Soviet official that the “signing of the treaty about the Curzon line border shows how great is the Soviet influence in Poland … there will be Soviet ways in Poland now.”104 For most of the Poles of the kresy, resettlement from Ukraine brought disillusion with Britain and the United States.105 What chance was there that they would prevent the Soviet control of Poland, the reasoning went, if they could not do anything about its eastern border? A Polish person from Stanisławów summed up this disenchantment:

We hoped that we, Poles, will not have to abandon our familiar places and that London and Washington will not let the resettlement of Poles to happen. It happened the other way around. The Soviets are strong, and they are carrying out their policy consistently.106

“England has already betrayed us once, [and] it will betray us again,” an unnamed Pole exclaimed.107 This interpretation was, of course, flawed, but the loss of the kresy and resettlement made this conclusion irresistible for many Polish nationalists. Thus began the myth of the “betrayal at Yalta,” even before the conference participants assembled in Crimea.

Judging by the Soviet reports, many Poles thought that the alternative to resettlement to Poland was deportation to Siberia.108 It seems that the Soviet authorities occasionally encouraged this rumor, although the evidence is inconclusive.109 Because of this rumor, the people who expected to be deported also did their best to stay away from the transfer. The experience of forced mobilization into the army also colored the perception of the transfer. In Lwów, at a Soviet-organized meeting, one of the local attendants stated the “Soviet Union wants to eliminate Poles and Jews, they will put them on trains straight to Germany” as cannon fodder.110 There was a very good reason to expect Soviet deception. In June 1940, the NKVD estimated that there were 35,000 refugees from all over western Ukraine who had arrived in Lwów in the hope of going to Germany. Serov, the People’s Commissaire of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, suggested to Beria that the NKVD should trick the refugees by spreading the rumor that the German commission would soon return. Those who signed up and boarded the specially provided trains would then be deported to the Soviet hinterland.111 The operation was carried out. On June 29–30, 1940, 57,774 out of estimated 63,559 refugees were deported from western Ukraine to the northern regions of the USSR.112 Where the deception failed, people understood what awaited them, and cases of suicide and armed resistance were reported.113 The NKVD of Irkutsk province, where some of them ended up, reported that people were arriving without warm clothes and sometimes too feeble to walk.114

In addition to the projection of personal hopes on international politics, there were other coping mechanisms that eased the decision to register and move west. One of the most common responses to the traumatic experience was to treat the resettlement as temporary.115 At one of the railway stations, in an act of desperation, people who were already on the train west shouted that “this land was and will be Polish” and that “we will come back in three months.”116 Some believed that they would travel to Poland only to vote in elections and would come back after that.117 Alternatively, a belief was expressed that the new government in Poland would change the treaty and negotiate a new border.118 The Poles of Lwów also took the urn with the (symbolic) remains of the defenders of the city with them when they were leaving.119 The religion was mobilized in this symbolic struggle, too. Miraculous images reportedly appeared in Lwów churches when the people started to leave the city, and the icons were supposedly weeping too. The Soviet investigation concluded that the images were produced with the help of an intricate projection mechanism. After the NKVD had arrested the suspects, the “miracles” stopped happening.120

Many of the people considering moving west did not have any illusions about life in Poland. The news from the people who were already there was not encouraging. A letter from Poland to relatives in Ukraine, intercepted by the censors, complained that people who had sold everything were now living in railway stations in dire conditions.121 “There is a terrible famine there; I feel scared every time I hear about it. Many people say that it is better to be killed by the Banderovites here, where we have bread, than to starve to death there [in Poland],” a Polish woman from Stanisławów wrote to her mother in 1945, explaining why she was still in Ukraine.122 Some asked whether it was possible to go to America instead of Poland.123 Poles in Stanisławów almost stopped signing up for resettlement after letters from Poland came. One of the most widespread rumors was that families would be broken up by deporting men and women to different places.124 Despite all these concerns, for many people, the perceived alternative was worse. A Pole from Stanisławów wrote to his son:

Dear son, we have been waiting for transport for almost three months, and there is none in sight, just promises every day. It is going very badly, when spring comes, we will be starving to death. Everyone is eager to leave as soon as possible—we do not want to come back home because there are a lot of Banderovites there. Here, in the city, life is difficult. We do not know what to do—continue to wait here or return home and wait for the Banderovites to kill us.125

Another perceived alternative was deportation to Russia or the east of Ukraine for forced labor in industry and mining. The letters from the Poles who were “mobilized” to work in the factories in the Urals spoke about starvation, overwork, and imminent death.126 The Russians, one letter writer stated, “had starved to death their workers and now they want to send us to rebuild Donbas.”127 The Poles from the rural areas asked whether the Soviets were going to deport all of them to Siberia or only those able to work. Polish villagers came to the Soviet officials in the cities and asked for permission to send a few people to Siberia to pick a good place to be deported to. Another request was to postpone this imminent deportation until spring.128

The Polish community exhibited diverse and evolving attitudes toward resettlement. It is likely that the vast majority of the Poles who found themselves in Ukraine resented having to leave the kresy. Some 20,000 Poles in Lwów refused to take evacuation papers.129 At the same time, many were still eager to escape the Soviet Union as soon as possible. In December 1945, when the resettlement from the city stopped until May 1946, thousands of Poles asked to be moved west immediately. Grabski asked to speed up the transfer of 20,000 Poles who were already prepared to go.130 The Union of Polish Patriots in Lwów also urged the local authorities to speed up the resettlement of Poles.131 On the other hand, the Polish nationalist press treated leaving the kresy as treason to the Polish nation. “Leaving the Tarnopol province is tantamount to treason to the fatherland. It means that you give your own territory to the enemy without a fight”, a Polish underground newspaper proclaimed.132 In October 1944 a leaflet which was making rounds in Kolomija stated that “those who leave for Poland voluntarily forsake the right to the eastern lands of their fatherland.”133 The accusations of betrayal leveled by the Polish elites at the masses met with the appropriation of the language of national character and national dignity by the common people. An unnamed Pole from the west of Ukraine declared that the “real Poles will all go to Poland rather than live with the Bolsheviks.”134 Another Pole put it even more bluntly: “There are a lot of fools in the world, the 20th century is here, so much blood has been spilled—and here people are dreaming up all kinds of national ideas. If we need to go—we will go.”135 The concept of Polish patriotism also became contested by the communists: the London government urged the people to stay in what they argued was a part of Poland, while the communists redefined patriotic duty as a selfless abandonment of parochial commitments by moving to the new Polish territories in the west.

The resettlement put the people subject to it in a double bind: both reluctance to leave and too much willingness to go to Poland were suspect in the eyes of the Soviet power. In this situation, a considerable number of Poles expressed their desire to stay in terms of loyalty to the Soviet socialist system. Some compared the USSR favorably to interwar Poland. Others expressed a preference for the Soviets over the Ukrainian nationalists or gratitude for liberation from the Nazi occupation. One Pole from Lwów declared:

I will never go to Poland because I know that as soon as we get to Poland, they will give us to the landlords [pomeshchik], and I have worked enough for them before 1939. I have seen a good life under the Soviet rule from 39 to 41 and now I am free from the landlord’s yoke.136

A Polish engineer from Tarnopol also expressed his refusal to leave in the Soviet idiom, using the language of universalism: “I will not go to Poland because now the whole world exists for me…. only people who have committed serious crimes against the Soviet Union would go to Poland.”137 A worker from Równe claimed that “there will always be work under Soviet rule, unlike in Poland.” A certain Suslowski from Lwów refused to sign up for transfer because he did not want to go to Poland “as it used to be before 1939.”138 A Polish woman from Krasniansky district was particularly adamant: “Only if they kill me and carry my dead body to Poland—only then I will go there. I was born and I grew up here, Soviet power gave me land, I respect Soviet power, I know its laws, I submit to them, and I will live by them with honor.”139

Willingness to go to Poland and abandon the only socialist country in the world was not necessarily reprehensible, nor was it conceived as punishment. Conversely, professions of fierce loyalty could not save one from the pressure to register and leave if one happened to be Polish. It is unclear whether the fact that these people were “speaking Bolshevik” reveals their genuine preference for the Soviet order or whether it was simply a tactic of expressing dissent in the legitimate idiom, a performance meant to persuade the Soviets of one’s loyalty.140 The Soviets organized meetings and public lectures about the resettlement. When they asked the public to express their opinion, they were often met with silence.141 Ironically, the Soviet officials had to persuade the people to leave the only socialist state in the world. In one village, a speaker veered off from the official line and ended up saying “why are you going to bourgeois Poland, you need to work here.”142 Khrushchev wrote to Stalin in 1944 that “one part of the Polish population does not want to leave because they are better off in our Soviet state, and another is reactionary Poles who do not leave because they have received an order from the émigré government in London.”143 People who had sympathies for the USSR were often victimized for being too Soviet after they moved to Poland. One Polish woman whose husband was in the Red Army had to return together with the rest of her family from Lublin to Równe. In Poland, she was told that she was a “sovetka”, not a real Polish woman, and reproached for her refusal to use “pan” as a polite form of address. “It’s better in the Soviet Union, may the earth swallow up this Królewska Poland”, she told a Soviet officer. In a twist of bitter irony, after her return to Soviet Ukraine, she was arrested.144

Once the resettlement got underway, some Poles thought that they would have to move anyway, and therefore it was better to do it early because otherwise, all the good houses and positions would be taken. During a conversation with a Soviet official, a Pole from Luck remarked: “I have to hurry, otherwise, all good jobs will be taken, and I will be a janitor again.”145 As the number of Poles in Ukraine decreased, the psychological pressure to leave increased. “In a month, there will not be a single Pole left here, so the only thing to do is to leave,” wrote a Pole from Dubno. The situation was further complicated by the resettlement of Ukrainians from Poland. Overall, the Ukrainian-Polish exchange saw approximately 480,300 people resettled from Poland to Ukraine.146 The resettlement from Poland was usually more violent than the resettlement from the USSR. The Ukrainian newcomers put pressure on the remaining Poles and, by occupying the vacated properties and the land that used to belong to Poles, made the resettlement permanent. A similar scenario played out in the “recovered territories” where the arrival of Poles from the USSR made the expulsion of Germans inevitable and permanent.

The generally miserable experience of traveling weighed heavily in people’s calculations about resettlement. In its conception, the population transfer was a quintessentially modern technological solution to the old intractable problem of national conflict. It relied on modern tools of governance—expert knowledge and the machinery of the state. However, the hyper-modern technology of population management was intertwined with archaic means of transportation: the horse-driven cart served alongside the railroad cattle car as the instrument of the demographic re-ordering of Eastern Europe. The most common sight of the population transfer was a peasant family plodding along their horse-driven cart with what few belongings they had managed to salvage from their abandoned house. Travel by rail was also an ordeal. Sometimes, despite the cold or rainy weather, the evacuees were given open railway cars in which they had to travel for weeks.147 “I would rather die than travel like this. They put four families—22 people—with their belongings in one railway car, and you have to travel in such conditions for two or three weeks,” a Polish woman wrote.148 People often had to wait for their train for a very long time. In one quite common case, a train was 22 days late when it finally departed on February 24, 1945. A total of 150 families had been waiting all that time under the open sky. Before the train finally departed people were thrown off from the railway cars and told to board again several times.149 Cases in which people had to wait for two months or longer were reported too.150 At one station, Soviet officials reported, 700 people had been waiting for the train for weeks, suffering from typhus and scabies, and supposedly falling prey to “corrupting propaganda” against the resettlement.151 Once in Poland, the transports frequently dropped off their human cargo halfway to the destination point.152 Cases of people dying on the road to Poland were not infrequent, but the death toll was nowhere near as high as during the deportations of 1939–1941.153 The way the resettlement by railroad proceeded demonstrates how different the Polish-Soviet population exchange was from the earlier Soviet deportations.154 The evacuees negotiated, argued with, and sometimes even threatened the officials organizing the resettlement. Sometimes, when people got tired of waiting for a train, they simply picked up their belongings and left. One Pole whose daughter died on a train submitted a petition to the State Office for Repatriation (PUR) demanding to punish the guilty and threatening to send his story to a newspaper or to go to the prosecutor’s office—a response unthinkable in the Stalin’s era for the victims of the Soviet deportations from the kresy in 1939–1941 or for the Crimean Tatars or Chechens deported from their homelands.155 Nonetheless, that so many people set out on a difficult journey to an uncertain destination is a testimony to the force of the pressure put on people by poor living conditions in the wartime Soviet Union, Ukrainian nationalists, and, occasionally, functionaries of the party-state.

Although women constituted the majority of the resettled, officials presumed that men were the heads of the families.156 A husband could take his wife with him if he registered for resettlement but not the other way around. In addition to robbery and theft, women suffered from sexual violence. The common difficulties of moving across the Soviet-controlled border were amplified for them. The guards searched the belongings of the Poles passing through border control points and confiscated the most valuable items. Women were subjected to strip and cavity searches.157 A letter dated August 3, 1945, which was intercepted by secret police censors mentions the rapes of Polish women perpetrated by Soviet military personnel (“drivers”) stationed in Western Ukraine.158 Incidents of rape reported in the official documents are few, but the silence which commonly surrounds sexual violence and the tendency of survivors to keep silent suggest that such cases were much more numerous.

Despite all obstacles and all the misery, the transfer of Poles from Ukraine was carried out. Western Ukraine and especially its cities were deeply changed by the resettlement. In a letter to his friend, a Polish inhabitant of Lwów documented the people’s mood in June 1945:

The departures to the west show no sign of stopping, there is no coercion; among the first to leave, were the best Poles and Jews, the management, those who have relatives or friends there, people who want to hide their past, and those who like fishing in murky waters. Lwów has been emptied, the center of the city is occupied by Russians, the streets are empty. In the evening traffic stops, all people feel more secure at home. People are uncertain about everything. No one makes any investment, even ruins are not being cleared away. There is no money. The Polytechnic Institute is full of Russian teachers.159

The population exchange would not make the Soviet state feel secure in the borderlands. As late as 1950, Hrushetsky, the secretary of the L’viv obkom suggested re-registration of all people in the city and establishing 25 kilometers wide cordon sanitaire—all because the city was still “infected” with various nationalists.160 It also made fighting the Ukrainian insurgency more difficult because the Soviet state could not exploit tensions between different nationalists.161

While the Polish-Soviet population exchange was a crucial part of making Western Ukraine (especially its cities) demographically Ukrainian, most of this process took place in the postwar decades. It was a byproduct of industrial development and urbanization that the Soviet Union promoted, not the result of a conscious program of nationalization.162 The Soviet party-state indeed undertook some actions which can be seen as Ukrainian nation-building: renaming streets, promoting cadres, tearing down old monuments, and erecting new ones.163 However, much of these changes were reactive. In accordance with its nationality policy, the party-state had to “service” (i.e. educate, indoctrinate, and control) the population in its native language. The nationality policy responded to these demographic changes, for example, by closing the Polish newspaper Czerwony Sztandar and by changing the language of Communist propaganda and cultural work to the language that the majority of the population spoke. After the exodus of Poles and the migration of the labor force to the industrializing cities of Western Ukraine, this language happened to be Ukrainian. This response followed, rather than caused, the homogenization of Western Ukraine and its cities.

4 Conclusions

In the population exchange between Poland and Ukraine, almost a million people moved west. The Nazi-Soviet war, the ethnic conflict, the Holocaust, and the Soviet population politics profoundly changed historic Galicia. The Soviet- facilitated national unmixing was crucial in this process. While the Soviet declarations about the voluntariness of resettlement were false, the population exchange was different from the Soviet deportations in its design, implementation, and scale. The heterogeneity of coercion (which was used both to force and deter people from leaving) and the ambivalence of the Soviet functionaries about the Polish presence in Ukraine opened up a space of limited autonomy. Stalin’s pursuit of geopolitical security and the unintended consequences of Sovietization and mobilization for the war effort, coupled with the interethnic conflict, resulted in the mass exodus west even in the absence of the Soviet commitment to the total national homogenization of Ukraine. The usual measures which the party-state took to establish its rule and Sovietize the new territories were interpreted by the Poles as a signal of what to expect from the Soviet regime. This flight of refugees co-opted the people into the destruction of their own society and, at the same time, into building a new, more homogenous Ukraine and Poland.164 The national conflict was also a crucial factor in making Poles register for resettlement. It can explain the greater share of Poles resettled from Ukraine compared to Belarus and Lithuania.

Paradoxically, one of the largest Soviet nation-building projects was not the product of a coherent nationality policy. How the population exchange unfolded suggests a pattern that can help us to explain the formative impact of the Soviet nationality policy without imputing to the Soviet Union a “chronic ethnophilia”—an attitude that was alien to the universalist Soviet regime. Instead of viewing the Soviet state as a rational actor whose actions can be explained by discovering a principle or policy in which the reason of state was embodied, this approach focuses on concrete mechanisms of power: institutions, bureaucratic politics, social inputs, and unintended consequences. At the same time, the story of the Polish-Soviet population exchange demonstrates how the genealogies of nation-states were imbricated in the imperial projects even when the imperial governance was not unequivocally committed to nation-building.


Peter Gatrell, A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War I (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011).


Jan Czerniakiewicz, Repatriacja ludności polskiej z ZSRR 1944–1948 (Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawn. Nauk., 1987), 61. The official numbers did not take into account the people who fled immediately before or after the population transfer or who did so illegally during the organized resettlement. The real number of the displaced people was almost certainly higher.


Grzegorz Hryciuk, “Die ‘Evakuierung’ der polnischen und jüdischen Bevölkerung aus den Ostgebieten der Zweiten Polnischen Republik in den Jahren 1944–1947,” Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 55 (2007): 727; S. A. Makarchuk, “Pereselennia poliakiv iz zakhidnikh oblastei Ukrainy v Polshchu 1944–1946 rr.,” Ukrainsky istorychnyi zhurnal, no. 3 (2003): 104–5.


“As Vladimir Zubok observed, a Soviet intellectual living under late Stalinism had a greater chance of seeing a total solar eclipse than meeting a foreigner.” Quoted in Patryk Babiracki, Soviet soft power in Poland: culture and the making of Stalin’s new empire, 1943–1957 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 123. On the Soviet border regime, see: Sabine Dullin, La frontière épaisse: aux origines des politiques soviétiques, 1920–1940 (Paris: Éditions de l’EHESS, 2014).


Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).


Yuri Slezkine, “The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism,” Slavic Review 53 (1994): 414–52.


Francine Hirsch, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge & the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).


For an argument about the reversal of the Soviet nationality policy, see: Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001). A major work which criticizes the notion of break in the Soviet nationality policy in the 1930s is Francine Hirsch’s Empire of Nations.


Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (London: Macmillan, 1970); Alexander Nekrich, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation and Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War (New York: Norton, 1978).


Eric D. Weitz, “Racial Politics without the Concept of Race: Reevaluating Soviet Ethnic and National Purges,” Slavic Review 61, no. 1 (2002): 1–29.


Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 186.


Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004); Tarik Amar also argues that the Germans, Soviets, and Ukrainian nationalists all pursued policies of “ethnic unmixing.”‘ See Tarik Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015), 145.


Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).


Klein-Gousseff, Échanger les peuples: le déplacement des minorités aux confins polono-soviétiques (1944–1947) (Paris: Fayard, 2015).


As Francine Hirsch writes, the testament to the long-lasting impact of the Soviet nationality policy was that after the communism fell in Central Asia what emerged was Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and other Soviet-created republics, not the Emirate of Bukhara or other states from the pre-Soviet era. See Hirsch, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge & the Making of the Soviet Union. Similarly, the eastern borders of Poland did not change after 1991.


Brandenberger, National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931–1956 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).


Valerie A. Kivelson and Ronald Grigor Suny, Russia’s Empires (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 296.


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 128. Volodymyr Kubiiovych, Ukraintsi v Heneralnii Hubernii, 1939–1941: Istoriia Ukrainskoho Tsentralnoho Komitetu (Chicago: Vydavnytstvo Mykoly Denysiuka, 1975), 420.


The Polish underground also floated ideas of deporting all Ukrainians from the contested territories. Christoph Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press), 319.


For the analysis of “Soviet xenophobia” as a possible explanation of Soviet “ethnic cleansing,” see Terry Martin, “The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” The Journal of Modern History 70, no. 4 (1998): 813–61.


On the “Polish question” during the war, see: Antony Polonsky, The Great Powers and the Polish Question 1941–45: A Documentary Study in Cold War Origins (London: Orbis Books, 1976); Anita Prazmowska, Britain and Poland, 1939–1943: The Betrayed Ally (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).


Stalin “sought a postwar settlement that would depend less on the solution of the tricky German question, which required Western cooperation, than on the seemingly more straightforward Polish one, which he could hope to be better able to achieve on his own. He wanted a subservient, though not necessarily communist, Poland—or, as Moscow’s 1943 directive to party secretary Finder called it, “democratic” rather than “socialist”—but had difficulty finding “any Poles one could talk to.” To ensure their subservience, he insisted on territorial demands which he knew no Polish government could accept without appearing to its people as a Soviet puppet.” Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and The Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 19–20.


Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, 16.


“The Western representatives could not believe that Stalin would find it in his interest to impose unrepresentative governments in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, whereas he could not imagine how they could possibly expect him to do anything else.” Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and The Soviet Insecurity, 22.


Matthew Frank, Making Minorities History: Population Transfer in Twentieth-Century Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); Umut Özsu, Formalizing Displacement: International Law and Population Transfers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).


Alfred J. Rieber, “Persistent Factors in Russian Foreign Policy.” In: Imperial Russian Foreign Policy, edited by H. Ragsdale, 315–59. (Woodrow Wilson Center Series. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993).


This performative diplomacy presented the population exchange as an initiative of Soviet republics, but it was the project of the center. The limited autonomy which the regional officials had was not political, but practical: it resulted from Stalin’s focus on matters he considered more important.


TsDAVOU (Tsentral’nyy derzhavnyy arkhiv vyshchykh orhaniv vlady Ukrayiny, The Central State Archive of Higher Authorities and Government of Ukraine) f. 2, op. 7, d. 1420, l. 29.


In the 1930s, internal passport became the principal identity documents on which the Soviet governance relied. It also registered nationality of its owner, usually determined by nationality of his or her parents. See: David Shearer, “Elements Near and Alien: Passportization, Policing, and Identity in the Stalinist State, 1932–1952,” The Journal of Modern History 76, no. 4 (2004): 835–81,


In Lwów/L’viv, out of 400,000 planned passports, only 1,500 were issued in 1940, writes Christoph Mick. See: Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City, 269. However, many of those who refused to accept a Soviet passport were deported in 1940. Mick, ibid., 272.


Anatol’ Vialiki, Na Razdarozhzhy: Belarusy i Paliaki u Chas Perasialennia, 1944–1946 (Minsk: BDPU, 2005), 112.


TsDAVOU f. 4959, op. 2, d. 20, l. 4.


GARF (Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii, The State Archive of the Russian Federation), f.9401, op.2, d.105, l.63. Direktiva TsK VKP(b) “O poriadke pereseleniia v Pol’shu byvshikh pol’skikh grazhdan pol’skoi i evreiskoi natsional’nostei,”


AAN (Archiwum Akt Nowych, The Archive of Modern Records in Warsaw) GPRR, sygn. 9, k. 37–39; AAN GPRR sygn. 25, k. 21, 27–30. Cited in Stanisław Ciesielski, Przesiedlenie Ludności Polskiej z Kresow Wschodnich do Polski, 1944–1947 (Warszawa; Instytut Historii PAN: Neriton, 1999), 27.


DALO (Derzhavnyi arkhiv L’vivs’koi oblasti, The State Archive of L’viv Oblast’) f. P-3, op. 1, d. 63, ll. 22–28.


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 153.


However, they would be reprimanded for their “mistakes” after the decision to deport Crimean Tatars was taken.


RGASPI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii, The Russian State Archive of Social and Political History) f. 17, op. 88, d. 450, l. 40.


“A Kyiv Central Committee report of 1944 deplored that Poles were leaving L’viv noting their anti-Soviet attitude and estimating that sixteen thousand Poles taking orders from the government in exile in London. Nevertheless, the report recognized that Poles had helped fight Germans and obeyed the first Soviet local call-up no less than Ukrainians.” Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv, 154.


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 150–51.


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv, 147. However, according to Amar, this was because the few Poles who remained were poorly educated, mostly rural, and presented no political threat.


See, for instance, AAN, zesp. PUR, sygn. 15, k. 15–16.


The suspicion was especially strong towards the people moving to the USSR. In November 1944, Kalnenko, a Soviet representative who was resettling Ukrainians from Poland reported that several German spies attempted to use the transfer to infiltrate Soviet Ukraine. TsDAVOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 86. In Liskow district, 8 people were not allowed to move to Ukraine in December 1944 because of their alleged connections to the German intelligence. TsDAHOU (Tsentral’nyi Derzhavnyi Arkhiv Hromads’kykh Ob’iednan’ Ukrainy, The Central State Archive of Public Organisations of Ukraine) f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 192–193.


Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City, 330.


DATO (Derzhavny Arkhiv Ternopilskoi Oblasti, State Archive of the Ternopil Oblast’) f. 1, op. 1, d. 111, l. 16.


Michael Fleming, Communism, Nationalism and Ethnicity in Poland, 1944–50 (London: Routledge, 2010); Hugo Service, Germans to Poles: Communism, Nationalism and Ethnic Cleansing after the Second World War, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 2, d. 1464, l. 12. Grabski’s numbers are wrong, at least as they had been reported by the police agent.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1464, l. 14.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1464, l. 16.


On Lithuania, see Tomas Balkelis and Violeta Davoliūtė, Population Displacement in Lithuania in the Twentieth Century: Experiences, Identities and Legacies (Leiden: Brill, 2016); Violeta Davoliūtė, The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War, 2013; Theodore R. Weeks, “Population Politics in Vilnius 1944–1947: A Case Study of Socialist-Sponsored Ethnic Cleansing,” Post-Soviet Affairs 23 (January 1, 2007): 76–95. On Belarus, see Anatol Vialiki, Na Razdarozhzhy: Belarusy i Paliaki u Chas Perasialennia, 1944–1946; Anatol’ Vialiki, Belarus’ - Polshcha u XX stahoddzi: neviadomaia repatryiatsyia,1955–1959 hh.: (Minsk: BDPU, 2007).


In the final report about the population exchange the Soviet minister of internal affairs Sergei Kruglov gave the following numbers of people who had been registered as Polish and who had moved to Poland: for Ukraine, 872,217 and 789,982; for Lithuania, 200,000 and 169,244; for Belarus, 535,284 and 231,152. GARF (State Archive of the Russian Federation) f. P-9401, op. 2, d. 139, l. 299–303. Kruglov’s report does not mention the number of people registered as Poles in Lithuania, but other NKVD documents give a number of 200,000 persons. See LYA (Lietuvos Ypatingasis Archyvas, Lithuanian Special Archive) K-1/10/19/141. There were also more difficulties in registering as for resettlement in Belarus than in other republics. This suggests even greater variation in how the population exchange proceeded.


Timothy Snyder, “The Causes of Ukrainian—Polish Ethnic Cleansing 1943,” Past & Present 179, no. 1 (May 1, 2003): 197–234; Grzegorz Motyka, Od rzezi wołyńskiej do akcji “Wisła”: konflikt polsko-ukraiński 1943–1947 (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2011).


On the impact of Nazi occupation, see: Karel C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004); Ihor Kamenetsky, Hitler’s Occupation of Ukraine, 1941–1944: A Study of Totalitarian Imperialism (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1956); Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007).


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 150.


Quoted in Jerzy Kochanowski, Towards a Nationally Homogenous State: Poland 1944–6, 140. In: Pertti Ahonen, People on the Move: Forced Population Movements in Europe in the Second World War and Its Aftermath (Oxford: Berg, 2008).


Stanisław Ciesielski, Przesiedlenie Ludności Polskiej z Kresów Wschodnich do Polski, 1944–1947 (Warszawa; Instytut Historii PAN: Neriton, 1999), 66.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 177, 276 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


Czerniakiewicz, Repatriacja ludności polskiej z ZSRR 1944–1948, 46.


Piotr Żaroń, Ludność polska w Związku Radzieckim w czasie II wojny światowej (Warszawa: Państwowe wyd. naukowe, 1990), 334. Krystyna Kersten (Kersten, Repatriacja …, 226) gives a different number—22 000.


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian L’viv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 152.


AAN, zespół Urząd Rady Ministrów, sygn. 5/1097, k. 55–60.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 94 (Pis’ma na imia tov. Stalina, dokladnye zapiski, spravka i perepiska po voprosu evakuatsii ukrainskogo naseleniia. 26 avgusta 1944–28 dekabria 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 15 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.). A letter dated December 19, 1944: “It’s bad to travel in winter. They say that the resettlement is voluntary, and it is voluntary, but is it possible to travel in this time of the year, a good master won’t let his dog out in this time of the year, and they resettle us when there is frost outside.”


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 170. (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 270, l. 123 (Listuvannia v spravi rozselennia v skhidnikh oblastsiakh URSR pereselentsiv buvshikh hromadian Polshchi 5 lipenia 1944–4 grudnia 1944).


Viktor Polishchuk, Bitter Truth: The Criminality of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA): The Testimony of a Ukrainian (Toronto: Author, 1999), 271–72.


However, the murders of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists increased in frequency in 1943–1944, most likely because they wanted to settle the old scores before the arrival of the Red Army. Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City, 320.


The concept from the classic work of Albert Hirschman—Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970).


A report of the people’s commissar of state security of Soviet Ukraine Savchenko mentioned several cases of distributing false evacuation lists in exchange for bribes and of selling fake documents. TsDAHOU f.1, op. 23, d, 1466, l. 264–270.


In Belarus, people were offering bribes, threatening suicide, and even taking the office of the repatriation commission by storm demanding to be registered for resettlement. The chairmen of village councils frequently refused to issue certificates of Polish nationality because the whole villages were becoming depopulated. Ponomarenko, the party chairman of Soviet Belarus, had to intervene. He ordered to review the registration lists and cross out all “Catholic Belarusians” from them.


See, for instance, TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 348, l. 17 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia…. 1945 g.); TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 774, l. 15 (Listuvannia z Upravlinniam …); TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12, d. 594, ll. 80–82.


RGASPI, f. 17, op. 117, d. 344, ll. 70–71.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, ll. 59–66.


TsDAHOU f.1, op.23, d.1691, ll. l - 4.


TsDAHOU f.1, op. 23, d. 1466, ll. 33–46.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 17 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


Quoted in: Babiracki, Soviet Soft Power in Poland: Culture and the Making of Stalin’s New Empire, 1943–1957, 61.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 14 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.). The emphasis on the performativity of the resettlement and especially “meet with an orchestra” motive is common in the letters and rumors—a figure of speech infused with desperate hope of the kresy Poles that finally somebody would take care of them.


For a description of these hopes in Lwów, see: Barbara Mękarska-Kozłowska, Burza nad Lwówem: Reportaż z Lat Wojennych 1939–1945 we Lwówie; Kartki z Pamiętnika (Lublin: Liber, 2000), 234–35.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 5 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 13 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.). Written 22.12.1944.


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 330, l. 164.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 212.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 138 (Pis’ma na imia tov. Stalina, dokladnye zapiski, spravka i perepiska po voprosu evakuatsii ukrainskogo naseleniia. 26 avgusta 1944–28 dekabria 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 163 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 2605, l. 224.


DALO f. 3, op. 1, d. 63, l. 14–15 documents the Soviet Ukrainization of Lwów. See also Christoph Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: violence and ethnicity in a contested city (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2016), 326–343, and George Liber, Total wars and the making of modern Ukraine, 1914–1954. (Toronto; Buffalo; London: University of Toronto Press, 2016), 254–272.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 23 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 1 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 24 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 34 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 3 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 4 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 37 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 38 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


For the argument that terror in the USSR functioned as a signalling mechanism, see: Terry Martin, “Interpreting the New Archival Signals,” Nationalities Policy and the Nature of the Soviet Bureaucracy, Cahiers du monde russe (40/1–2) 1999, 113–24.


TsDAHOU f.1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 176–195. The report also lists numerous cases of positive appraisal of the returning Soviet army by the Poles, as well as more critical comments.


AAN GPRRL 9/158–159.


AAN Główny Pełnomocnik Rządu do Spraw Repatriacji, 12/35–37.


AAN, zesp. GPRR, sygn. 12, k. 35–37.


Stanisław Lem and Tomasz Fialkowski, Świat na Krawędzi. Ze Stanisławem Lemem Rozmawia Tomasz Fiałkowski. (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2007), 49.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1630, l. 31, l. 36 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 14 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1630, l. 30 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia …).


There were exceptions, of course. A teacher from Brody speculated that “a lot of Poles live in Ukraine, and if there is no resettlement, Poland will be left without Poles. That is why America and England demanded the from the Soviet Union to sign the [resettlement] treaty to make Poland stronger”. TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1052, l. 41 (Politinformatsii, soobshcheniia …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 123 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 125 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.). It is unclear what exactly the unnamed Pole understood as the first “betrayal”—the failure to defend Poland in 1939 or to the failure to keep the Polish eastern border unchanged.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 790, l. 96 (Pis’ma na imia tov. Stalina, dokladnye zapiski, spravka i perepiska po voprosu evakuatsii ukrainskogo naseleniia. 26 avgusta 1944–28 dekabria 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 14 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1052, l. 42 (Politinformatsii, soobshcheniia …).


A report by Serov to Beria, June 4, 1940. HDASBU (Haluzevyi Derzhavnyi Arkhiv Sluzhby Bezpeky Ukrainy, State Archive Branch of the Security Services of Ukraine) f. 16, op. 1, d. 397, ll. 7–9 (Narodnomu komissaru vnutrennikh del SSSR komissaru gosbezopasnosti I ranga tov. L.P. Beriia—narodnyi komissar vnutrennikh del USSR komissar gos. Bezopasnosti 3 ranga Serov).


HDASBU f. 16, op.1, d. 460, ll. 227–228 (Dokladnaia zapiska. Itogi operatsii po vyseleniiu bezhentsev iz zapadnykh oblastei USSR).


HDASBU f. 16, op. 1, d. 460, ll. 229–232 (Dokladnaia zapiska. Itogi operatsii po vyseleniiu bezhentsev iz zapadnykh oblastei USSR).


HDASBU f. 16, op. 1, d. 460, l. 253 (Telegramma NR 12842, 27.7.1940).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 69 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 330, l. 164.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1466, l. 107 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1630, l. 33 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 2615, ll. 3–4.


DALO f. 3, op. 1, d. 63, l. 23 (Informatsii obkoma partii …).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 163 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 164 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 153 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAVOU f. 4959, op.1, d. 39, l. 58.


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 165 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 165 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 190 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 167 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


Czerniakiewicz, Repatriacja ludnosci polskiej z ZSRR 1944–1948, 39.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1472, l. 231.


Zaron, Ludność polska w Związku Radzieckim w Czasie II Wojny Światowej, 335.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 170 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 270, l. 123 (Listuvannia v spravi rozselennia v skhidnikh oblastsiakh URSR pereselentsiv buvshikh hromadian Polshchi 5 lipenia 1944–4 grudnia 1944).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 164 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 153 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 111 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 111 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 115 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 148 (Dokladnye zapiski, informatsii, spravki … 1944 g.).


The concept of „speaking Bolshevik” was introduced to describe the Soviet practices of subjectivity production. See: Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). The “Soviet subjectivity” literature adopted a more extreme approach and substituted Kotkin’s explorations of “little tactics of the habitat” with practicing a radical trust towards the professions of faith in Soviet socialism. See: Jochen Hellbeck, “Fashioning the Stalinist Soul: The Diary of Stepan Podlubnyi (1931–1939),” Jahrbücher Für Geschichte Osteuropas 44, no. 3 (1996): 344–73.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 892, l. 153.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 34 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.). The letter comes from a village in Tarnopol province.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1060, l. 16 (Dokladnye zapiski na imia tov. Stalina o sostoianii zapadnykh oblastei Ukrainy).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 21 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 793, l. 9 (Dokladnye zapiski. 19 avgusta 1944–6 ianvaria 1945 g.).


Eugeniusz Misiło, Repatriacja czy deportacja: przesiedlenie Ukraińców z Polski do USRR 1944–1946 (Warszawa: Archiwum Ukraińskie, 1996), 14. The Soviet report gives a slightly different number—468,747 people by June 15, 1946. TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 2611, l. 18.


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 203 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia); TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 330, ll. 164–165.


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 165 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia).


TsDAVOU f. 4959, op. 1, d. 36, l. 69 (Dokladnye zapiski …).


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1475, l. 36 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia o reagirovanii naseleniia zapadnykh oblastei USSR na pereselenie v Pol’shu. 1945 g.).


TsDAVOU f. 2, op. 12s, d. 347, l. 134 (Dokumenti pro pereselennia ukrainskoho naselennia z Pol’shchi i pol’skogo naselennia z teritorii URSR v Pol’shchu, T.1: Listuvannia z RNK SRSR, NKVS SRSR ta dovidki pro organizatsiiu ta khid pereselennia).


AAN zesp. GPRRL, sygn. 2, k. 12–14.


AAN zesp. URM 5/1097/55–60.


Alexander Statiev describes a typical Soviet deportation of late 1930s–1940s: “the police developed great skill in this job. Before the action, they registered all prospective deportees. Security troops encircled an entire region at night, turned off the telephone network, and began operations at dawn simultaneously in all villages. The police could round up and load into trains tens of thousands of people within one day.” Alexander Statiev, The Soviet Counterinsurgency in Western Borderlands (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 173.


AAN zesp. GPRR 42/571.


For an exploration of gendered experience of exile in the USSR, see: Katherine R. Jolluck, Exile and Identity: Polish Women in the Soviet Union during World War II (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002).


AAN, zesp. GPRRL, sygn. 14, k. 6–7.


TsDAHOU, f. 1, op. 23, d. 1630, l. 16–19.


TsDAHOU f. 1, op. 23, d. 1630, l. 16 (Informatsii, spetssoobshcheniia …).


TsDAHOU, f.1, op.24, d. 103, l. 187–192 (Dokladnaia zapiska sekretaria L’vivskogo obkoma TsK KP(b)U pro situatsiiu vo L’vove posle pereseleniia ukraintsev iz Pol’shi I poliakov iz L’vova. 11 April 1950).


Mick, Lemberg, Lwów, L’viv, 1914–1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City, 336.


On industrialization and migration to cities, see: Halyna Bodnar, L′viv: shchodenne zhyttia mista ochyma pereselentsiv iz sil (50–80-it roky XX st.), L’viv: Vydavnychyi tsentr LNU imeni Ivana Franka, 2010).


Amar, The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv: A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists, 156–66.


For a discussion of this mechanism during the Sovietization of Eastern Poland in 1939–1941, see: Jan T. Gross, “A Note on the Nature of Soviet Totalitarianism,” Soviet Studies 34, no. 3 (1982): 367–76.

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