DIRECTOR, SBU STATE ARCHIVE (UKRAINE)
Andriy Kohut is a Director of Branch-Wise State Archive of Ukrainian Security Service. He is Former Acting Director of Center for Research on the Liberation Movement and Head of the “Digital Archive of the Ukrainian liberation Movement avr.org.ua” project. Kohut is one of the experts of the “Policy of National Remembrance” working group of the “Reanimation Package of Reforms” civic initiative.
Operation “Zapad” (“West”):
The Forcible Deportations of Ukrainians
as an Instrument of Soviet Counterinsurgency
The Communist regime had started using forcible deportations even before the Soviet Union was created. Since then, forcible deportations were applied, at first, against so-called hostile elements in accordance with the “class criterion”. In the 1930s, ethnicity was added to the toolbox of forcible deportation criteria. The opening of the KGB archives made possible to research the little-known deportation operation. On October 21, 1947, the operation under the code name “Zapad” (“West”) began. Operation “Zapad” resulted in 26,332 families forcibly deported to Siberia – 77,791 civilians in total. Among them: 18,866 men, 35,685 women, and 23,240 children under the age of 15. Research findings relevant to these issues allow to confirm research hypothesis that Operation “Zapad” was the first attempt of using forcible deportation as an instrument of the fight against the post-WWII anti-communist movement that was repeatedly used by the Soviet security agencies in the Baltic states and Moldavia. The success of the operation affected the change in the deportation policy of the communist regime and contributed to the transformation of the deportation campaign. The new deportation campaign of 1948-1953 was organized on a regular basis. The unplanned consequence of the operation was the growth of collectivization process. As a result, the other purpose of the deportation campaign of 1948-1953 was not only counterinsurgency, but the pushing of collectivization.