Cruel Trivia: The 1916 Urkun

Whilst the Ottomans were gearing up to enact a genocide upon the Armenians (deportations began in 1915), Russia…

Whilst the Ottomans were gearing up to enact a genocide upon the Armenians (deportations began in 1915), Russia was busy enacting their own genocide on Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Turkmen. In 1916, Imperial Russia imposed a forced conscription of Central Asian men into labour battalions, sending the population of the region onto revolt. The rebels enacted some massacres of ethnic Russians, prompting Tsarist Russia to crack down. Hard.

Cruel Trivia: The 1916 Urku
Cruel Trivia: The 1916 Urku

Contemporary consensus on the numbers suggest that, on top of the tens of thousands of people who died on the trek to China via the treacherous Tian Shan mountains, hundreds of thousands of people died at the hands of the Russian Army. The massacres and forced marches caused between 100,00 and 270,000 deaths, with English academic Arnold J Tonybee suggesting that the number could even have been as high as half a million.

Similar to Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, Russia and China don’t recognise the Urkun as a genocide.

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