Act of Return

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Act of Return was an act passed by the Russian government and approved by the governments of most other Snorist nations in 1947. This act called for relocation of people to the state of their respective ethnicity.

As the Russians reconquered Eastern Europe from the Germans and established snorist puppet states there. These states were officially meant to hold some ethnicity each and were called after that ethnicity (Lithuanian State, Latvian State, Estonian State, Skuodian State, etc.). As in many places the ethnicities of Eastern Europe were intermixed due to historical reasons (some cities had many ethnicities in them, exclaves of some ethnicities were existing in territories dominated by other ethnicities), the Russian government decided to relocate people to their home country. At first the people who moved in to some cities recently were relocated (for example, Lithuanians were relocated from the former Lithuanian port city of Miroslauje), but eventually it was planned (and to some extent the process started) to move the historical communities that happened not to be included into the borders of respective state as well.

In general, people of non-Slavic nationalities criticised the project greatly, as they had claimed that more territories were awarded to the Slavic states than Slavs actually lived at, thus creating a reason to deport many non-Slavic historical communities. Because more non-Slavs were deported than Slavs, the original project of "population interchange" (that is, to e.g. move a Lithuanian from Skuodian State to Lithuanian State and then move a Skuodian from Lithuanian State to the Skuodian State, exhanging their flats or houses) did not work and non-Slavs after the deportations had to live in crowded flats and houses as more families were moved to a single dwelling than lived there originally (usually, those families did not know anything about each other prior to the deportation and from then on had to share bath, toilet and other facilities).

The Act of Return was promoted by the Russian government as an act that will make "every nation to flourish" as supposedly the culture would flourish when solely people of one ethnicity are left in the State; its opponents however saw the Act rather as a mean to permanently increase the territory of the Slavic nations (as, of course, there could be little movement for reattachment of lost territories later if all people of particular nation were deported from them; there could be little inside pressure as well).

The implementation

At first, census was carried out in the occupied areas by the Russian authorities, but where the results would be used was kept highly in secret. It was a criminal offense to lie in the census and thus most people told the truth. Using the census results the purposefully established Return Committees were deciding on which people to deport first and from which areas. In generally, ones who were considered to be more dangerous for the government were deported first (such as former government workers), as well as criminals (especially from the Slavic countries). Also, those who had moved in recently would be deported sooner; in the first phase of the implementation of the act it was planned to deport those who had moved to the places they live at during their own lifetime, while entire traditional communities that happened not to be included into the newly created nation-state of their ethnicity would have been deported in the later phases. The deportees would be informed about the deportation in the last minute and permitted to take only minor things, such as ones needed for personal hygienne, as well money, gold and jewellery with them. They were not permitted to take any furniture, which was to be left for the new owners of their dwelling. After leaving their home, the deportees would be moved to a so-called Camp of Returnees in the nation-state of their ethnicity. These camps were like refugee camps, consisting of baracks and tents; due to harsh conditions there many people have died. The camps were always guarded by the army. In the camps the deportees were registered (their dwelling would have been registered and described at the time they were forced to leave it). The jobs they had and their education would also be regstered if it differed anyhow from one reported at census (e.g. if person had changed job since census). Then the local Returnees Committee would look for a similar (in terms of quality, size, place and such) flat or house in one of the cities, towns or villages of the country where the deportees were deported to. In some cases, a job for them would also be found. The new dwellings and jobs would be the former property of those deportees, who were deported from the recipient country according to the Act of Return, as the campaign was going on more or less actively in all the Snorist countries. Once this was done, the deportees were transported from the camp to their new homes; from then on, they would be considered owners of the new home, while the old home would be given to other people (those deported to the country where the people in question had been deported from). The transfer of houses however had been criticised as some people used to get much worse new homes than they had previously, in different place (for example small town when they had previously lived in a large city), without furniture (it was speculated that some soldiers who were doing the deportations were stealing furniture for themselves while the homes stood empty) and such. The stories of how some people managed to bribe officers to get a better flat than they used to have were also spreading. As well, in some countries (mainly non-Slavic ones) there were more people deported into them than deported out of them and this led to long waiting times in the "Returnee camps" and the need of partitioning larger houses and apartments into smaller dwellings; in some cases several families would have been forced to live in one flat.

This page was created by Abdul-aziz.
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