On November 14, 1989, the Supreme Soviet issued a declaration on “recognizing the illegal and criminal repressive acts against the peoples subjected to forcible resettlement and ensuring their rights.”
In the late 1980s, with the beginning of perestroika, the subject of national deportations had emerged into open debate in the Soviet Union. The declaration passed on this day explicitly condemned the Stalin regime's forced deportations as the gravest crime and approved the historical rehabilitation of the repressed nationalities.
Mass deportations of peoples began in the Soviet Union even prior to World War II. Chief victims were Poles, Kurds, Koreans, Buryats (a Mongolic people) and many other nationalities. One of the most tragic pages from the history of World War II were deportations to Kazakhstan, Siberia and other eastern areas, of people accused by Stalin's regime of aiding and abetting the enemy.
The estimated number of people repressed since the middle of 1940s to early 1960 is three and a half million. By force, under the threat of being shot, persons of German nationality were banished from the Volga region, Moscow and Moscow regional areas. Other people displaced from their places of birth were Kalmyks, Crimean Tatars, Karachays (of the North Caucasus), Chechens, Ingush and Balkar. In many ways, not a single republic, or a single nationality, was spared from the lawlessness and arbitrariness.
The rehabilitation of the victims of political repression in the Soviet Union began in 1954. In the mid 1960s, the process was discontinued and resumed only in the late 1980s.
The declaration signed on this day was just the first of several legislative acts aimed at rehabilitating the victims of Stalin's crimes.
On April 26, 1991, Boris Yeltsin's government passed the long-awaited law “On the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples”.