Day of the Revival of the Karachay People in Karachay-Cherkessia Date in the current year: May 3, 2024

Day of the Revival of the Karachay People in Karachay-Cherkessia The Day of the Revival of the Karachay People is an official observance in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic of the Russian Federation. It was established to commemorate the return of the Karachay people to their native land after the deportation to Central Asia during World War II.

The Karachays are a Turkic people mostly living in Karachay-Cherkessia, a constituent republic of Russia located in the North Caucasus. They are believed to have descended from the Alans, an Iranian nomadic people of the North Caucasus. The endonym “Karachays” is derived from the name of their legendary leader, Khan Karachay. The first written mention of the Karachays dates back to the first half of the 17th century.

In 1828, the region where the Karachays lived was annexed by the Russian Empire. After the October Revolution, many Karachays were opposed to the Soviet regime and even started two rebellions: the first took place in 1920, during the Civil War, and the second in 1930, during the collectivization of the agricultural sector. Both were quelled by the Soviet authorities.

During World War II, the Karachay Autonomous Oblast was occupied by Nazi Germany from August 1942 to January 1943. When the occupation was lifted, the Karachays become one of the eight ethnic groups to be expelled from their native lands, alongside the Balkars, the Chechens, the Crimean Tatars, the Ingush, the Kalmyks, the Meskhetian Turks, and the Volga Germans.

Collaborationism and banditry were cited as the official reason for the deportation, but in reality the forced deportations during World War II were part of Stalin’s campaign of political repression. The Soviet authorities held entire peoples collectively responsible for the crimes committed by their individual representatives and used this as an excuse for the deportation.

On October 12, 1943, the Karachay Autonomous Oblast was officially dissolved. Two days later, the Council of People’s Commissars issued a decree ordering the deportation of the Karachays from the former Karachay Autonomous Oblast on charges of collaboration with the enemy and banditry. Since most of the male population of the Karachay region were serving in the Red Army, most of the deportees were women, children, and adolescents, who were involved in neither collaboration nor banditry.

On the night of November 12, 1943, several thousand NKVD officers surrounded Karachay villages. Over the next four days, the Karachays were deported to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. A total of 34 echelons of 2000-2100 people each were dispatched to Central Asia. After the war, demobilized Karachay officers and soldiers were also sent to Central Asia and denied entry into the former Karachay Autonomous Oblast.

After Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the ethnic deportations and rehabilitated the evicted ethnic groups. On May 3, 1957, the Karachays returned to their native land. The anniversary of this day is now celebrated as the Day of the Revival of the Karachay People. It was officially established by the head of Karachay-Cherkessia in 1997.

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Day of the Revival of the Karachay People, holidays in Karachay-Cherkessia, holidays in Russia, deportation of the Karachays