Abstract

Greeks began to settle the shores of the Black Sea in antiquity. The historical home of Pontic Greeks, now occupied by the Turks, was on the Black Sea littoral. The last wave of Pontic Greeks settled in Russia at the time of the genocides of 1916–1924, and Greeks participated in the events that took place in the Soviet Union.

Thus, many of them resisted totalitarianism in a novel way by refusing to accept citizenship of the Soviet Union, hence incurring the wrath of the new authorities. In the inter-war period Greek culture flourished and demands were made for autonomous Greek regions. This progress stopped in 1937–1938. Pontic Greeks, as other ‘nationalities’, underwent the Stalinist policy of Russifying small ethnic groups.

Subsequent persecution brought about the death of 50, 000 victims, the decline of Greek culture and abolition of the autonomous Greek regions. Persecution culminated in the 1940s with displacement of successive waves of Greeks to the steppes of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia and Siberia. Later, some of these displaced persons returned to their homelands on the Black Sea.

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