The Balkars of Southern Russia and Their Deportation (1944–57)*

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9780878086276: The Balkars of Southern Russia and Their Deportation (1944–57)*

The deportation of entire ethnic groups of the North Caucasus region of southern Russia was an immense operation of the Soviet government during World War II. The Balkarians, or Balkars, were forcibly taken from their native homelands and deported to distant lands within the Soviet Union. They remained in exile for thirteen years. The third generation of Balkars since that horrible experience continues to live in the shadow of the atrocities committed against their people. This book applies comprehensive research to the facts of the deportation. More importantly, it examines lingering resentments and current sentiments of the Balkarians through extensive personal interviews with those who experienced the deportation.
 
Indelible events are often stamped into the consciousness of a nation. These events shape individuals, and often entire societies, in the way they view social, cultural, political, ethical, and especially spiritual realities.
 
In Karen’s many interviews woven throughout the book, we learn of several Balkarians who come to faith because of the Deportation, such as Ibrahim Gelastanov. Ibrahim recounts his memories about the deportation years. He cried as he recalled the details of his mother’s death within twenty-four hours of arriving in a special settlement where she died of starvation. Ibrahim tells of the horrors of his capture, the fifteen-day train ride, the forty-eight-hour boat ride, the twenty-four-hour walk to an unknown destination, and the starvation and indignities that he suffered. But Ibrahim always attributes his deportation as the means to his salvation into God’s family. He was the first Balkarian Christian, and he remained the lone Balkar Christian for thirty-six years.
 
The tiny region of Balkaria is tucked into the largest mountain range of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains, in southern Russia. The Balkarians live in the shadow of unthinkable cruelty by the Stalin regime, the deportation of their entire people group. The deportation was concealed until the late twentieth century due to the secrecy of communism. It was also hidden behind the terrors that occurred in Europe during World War II. The Balkars have suffered greatly in the last century, and they desperately need the peace of God in their hearts. This book will bring awareness to the Caucasus peoples and bring more involvement in promoting the work of the Gospel in this unstable area to the unreached peoples.

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About the Author:

Karen Baker's enthusiasm for other cultures has prompted a lifetime of travel with her husband, Verne, to many countries for mission and humanitarian purposes, as well as pleasure. Finding that friendships with people of other cultures is not limited to traveling, Karen has been a volunteer with refugees and immigrants, teaching English to foreign speakers and helping to assimilate them to the American culture, as well as editing university papers for international students. These relationships have enriched her life and ultimately led to the research and writing about other cultures. The opportunity to research historical, cultural, spiritual, and political issues on-site and to interview individuals in order to present a balanced perspective has resulted in the series of the Hidden Peoples of the World. Striving to be accurate, fair, and sensitive to both individuals and people groups is a challenge Karen enjoys, and hopefully, you, the reader, will appreciate this approach as you read books from the Hidden Peoples of the World series.

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Baker, Karen
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