PECOB Portal on Central Eastern
and Balkan Europe
Università di Bologna  
Friday June 05, 2020
Testata per la stampa

This area collects and offers a wide range of scientific contributions and provides scholars, researchers and specialists with publishing opportunities for their research results

East, rivista internazionale di geopolitica
European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
Feed RSS with the latest puyblication in the PECOB's volumes series

The Socialist camp, the USSR, and the Greek Political Refugees. An unsettled historical issue

by: Maria Olimpia Squillaci
pp: 139
ISBN: 978-88-96951-22-4

In collaboration with:
MIREES Alumni International Association (MAiA)


One of the most controversial issues in contemporary Greek history has been the Greek Civil War and its consequences. The two sides at conflict were the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) headed by the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and backed by the Socialist countries and the Greek National Army, headed by the Greek government and backed by Great Britain and later the United States. The war caused approximately 45,000 casualties (Margaritis: 51-52, 2002) and 130,000 refugees (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof: 8, 2009). Up until the 1990s, the majority of Greek scholars who dealt with the topic had a strong politically influenced approach. In fact, a right-wing literature production dominated the Greek academic world until the dictatorship of the Colonels was overthrown (1974), while a left-wing approach emerged when the parties of the left came to power in the 1980s. Strongly politicized the Greek Civil War was recognized as such only in 1989. Until that moment it was considered a war between patriots and bandits, as the Communists were then named by the Greek government, or war between partisans and occupiers, as referred to by the KKE, hence a second resistance.
Although much research has been carried out with regards to the Civil War by both Greek and international scholars, little interest has been given to the consequences of such a war, particularly to the thousands of refugees that emerged as a result of this war. One hundred thirty thousand refugees, as previously mentioned, were forced to flee from Greece, and out of these approximately 56,000 fled to the Socialist Republics and the USSR. This latter group of refugees was constituted mostly of fighters of the Democratic Army of Greece, or its supporters who, having lost a war, were forced to leave their country to avoid being imprisoned, interned or sentenced to death. In 1949, according to directives given by the USSR, the refugees sheltered in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Eastern Germany, Poland, and in the Uzbek SSR.
My thesis focuses principally on the history of the refugees who were sheltered in Tashkent, the then capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan.This aspect of the Civil War consequences is largely unexplored by scholars in Greece, Russia and at the international level. Indeed, this thesis is only the second academic work to explore this particular topic, and it is the first for non Greek-speakers, on a scientific and systematic level. Therefore, the focus of my research has had to rely mainly on the research that I conducted in Greece and Russia from September 2011 to April 2012, which consists of interviews to the former refugees and consultation of archival documents. The aim of my work is to contribute in filling the gap in knowledge about this fragment of Greek modern history focusing principally on three groups of refugees: the Greeks in Tashkent, the refugee children, and the Slavo-Macedonian political refugees. To deal with these issues and to explore the important points in detail whilst having to stay within thesis requirements is indeed a great challenge. Therefore, what I hope to have achieved in this work is a general introduction to the topic, which also highlights individual arguments that can be open to further analysis and exploration.


Table of contents

Literature review
Research and methodology
Structure of the thesis
First Chapter
Patriots against banditos or partisans against collaborators? The Greek Civil War’s question in the academic literature
1.1 The Ochi Day and the beginning of the Second World War
1.2 “Of all the doctrines follies which communism has imposed on KKE, none was more fatal than the National Question”
1.3 “We will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks”: the Greek resistance
1.4 “They regard the Germans as a less enemy”: the first round
1.5 Did Stalin and Churchill divide Europe?
1.6 “When the people face the danger of the tyranny they choose either the chains or the arms”: Ta Dekemvriana
1.7 National-minded and Traitors: the White Terror of 1945-1946
1.8 The Greek Civil War
1.9 Stalin’s policy towards Greece
1.10 “The uprising on Greece must be stopped as quickly as possible” (I. Stalin): the end of the Civil War
Second Chapter
The refugeeism
Greeks in Tashkent
2.1 “The war must be stopped today”: the end of the Greek Civil War and the departure to the Eastern bloc
2.2 The necessary departure from Greece
2.3 “They welcomed us as heroes, who fought against the fascism”: the arrival in Tashkent
2.4 New state, new city, new home
2.5 From the agricultural world to the industrial
2.6 Who were the refugees, legally?
2.7 Social life in Tashkent: Uzbek, Russian, or Greek feasts?
2.8 The Greek Communist Party in Tashkent, its members and its citizens
2.9 The KKE organization in the USSR and its activities
2.10 The Greek small-scale civil war in Tashkent
The question of the children
2.11 Pedomazoma or Pedososimo?
2.12 Why did the Communist take the children out from Greece?
2.13 The first repatriation of the children
2.14 The children’s long travel to Eastern Europe
2.15 School, University, Institutes for everyone’s ambition
Third chapter
“Homeland is homeland”: The return
3.1 “And the next year in the motherland”
3.2 To return or not to return: this is a dilemma
3.3 Different generations, different inclinations
3.4 Not everyone returned to Greece
3.5 Home is not always as sweet as we image
3.6 Life in a capitalistic country
3.7 “They came back to take our jobs”
3.8 The pensioners
Fourth Chapter
The fatality of the ‘National Question’: the disputed fate of the Slavo-Macedonians political refugees
4.1 The Slavo-Macedonian fighters of the DSE
4.2 The Slavo-Macedonian children
4.3 The Slavo-Macedonians and their collaboration with the KKE
4.4 Slavo-Macedonians again exploited for national purposes
4.5 Where were you born?
4.6 Differences in affirming one’s own identity
4.7 The interviewees’ positions on the issue
Fifth Chapter
Memories of the past and comments for the future
5.1 Individual and Collective memory
5.2 Collective memory and generations
5.3 “This is the first time I tell someone this story”
5.4 Hesitations and omissions
5.5 Attitude towards the experience
5.6 Different approaches towards the arguments
5.7 Final comments
Annex 1
Author’s Biography


The initiative of:
University of Bologna, Vytautas Magnus at Kaunas, Corvinus of Budapest and St. Petersburg State University, together with University of Ljubljana and University of Zagreb

In collaboration with:
MIREES Alumni International Association (MAiA)
Institute for Central-Eastern and Balkan Europe (IECOB)

Selection coordinated by:
MIREES Faculty Academic Council

Editorial coordination by:

Prof. Francesco Privitera, MIREES Programme Director
Adriano Remiddi, President of the MAiA Executive Board
Giovanni Cadioli, MAiA Editorial Manager
Luciana Moretti, IECOB Editorial Assistant


Find content by geopolitical unit