Enemies within the Gates: Evidence from Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing Campaigns
Talk by Julia Zimmermann (FU Berlin) as part of the Research Seminar Series of the IOS Economics Department.
This research investigates the impact of the forced relocation of 2.8 million Soviet citizens from the border regions of the Soviet Union to Central Asia between 1937 and 1944 on local labor markets, education, and political decisions. The deportations targeted nine ethnic groups, who were denied their political and administrative rights and forced to work. In 1953, five of these groups were rehabilitated and allowed to return to their former homeland, while the other four remained in internal exile until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The study uses the rehabilitation decree as an instrument to analyze the effects of the deportations on these outcomes. The findings indicate that those in the host regions who did not benefit from labor market complementarities had significantly higher levels of education two generations later, which is not due to institutional inertia or a skills mismatch between non-settler locals and Slavic population. The study also finds that descendants of deportees who returned to their origin regions had higher levels of education, suggesting that these ethnic groups were able to hedge against further negative shocks. Finally, the research shows that descendants of deportees had a higher approval of Soviet rule in the 1991 referendum and displayed complex protest behavior in the late 1980s.