Staunton, October 16 – The head of the Kalmyk Republic says that Russians like all the other peoples who were deported by Stalin should be compensated, a proposal that some will see as an act of simple justice given how many ethnic Russians in fact suffered but that others will view as a move to downplay the entire problem.
In an interview in today’s “Kommersant,” Aleksey Orlov says that it is wrong to make invidious comparisons among peoples who were deported and that ethnic Russians who were repressed and deported individually or in groups should receive recognition and compensation as well (kommersant.ru/doc/2590556 and nazaccent.ru/content/13539-glava-kalmykii-vyskazalsya-za-priravnivanie-k.html).
After the Russian government adopted a 1991 law identifying 12 nations as repressed because they were deported as entire groups, Moscow initially supplied some funding to provide compensation. But after Vladimir Putin came to power, responsibility for such payments was transferred to the federal subjects.
As a result, Orlov says, some deported peoples are getting more money than others. For example, he pointed out, “the Karachays and Chechens are paid more” than the Kalmyks, “but are we worse” and less deserving. And he notes that “the Ingushes now receive even less than the Kalmyks.”
He says he isn’t calling for absolutely equal treatment, but the Kalmyk Republic leader argues that all those who were confined to the GULAG out to be recognized as “repressed peoples.” “Why should the Ingushes and Kalmyks receive such assistance while someone whose grandfather died in 1937 does not?”
“Russians and other peoples of Russia also suffered,” Orlov concludes, “and one should not divide people according to who suffered more or less.”