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The Poles

The Poles live mainly in Moscow, St.Petersburg, and Siberia (Tomsk, Omsk, Irkutsk Oblasts and Altay Krai).
Language: Polish, belongs to Slavic group
Religion: Catholics
Poles are the titular nation of Poland. Significant diaspora communities are found in: Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraina, Latvia, USA (3,8 million), France, Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Czech republic, Slovakia, Belgium.

Poland was an independent state for centuries until Prussia, Russia and Austria-Hungary partitioned the country among themselves in the 1790s. The following century a number of Poles migrated east, into Belarus and Ukraine, searching for land.
Poland was reestablished as a state after World War I, including substantial areas of western Ukraine and western Belarus and south-eastern Lithuania. Many Poles moved to these "new areas" to take administative jobs.
Thus, after Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland once more, following the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, there were between 1,5 and 2 millionPoles in the Soviet Union in 1940.
To avoid rebellion from this proud, nationalistic people, Stalin deported hundreds of thousands of them to Siberia, the Urals, ad Kazakhstan. Those who were not deported, suffered during the Nazi occupation of 1941-44. At the end of World War II, many emigrated into the new post-War Poland.
Among the Poles in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, assimilation tendencies have been quite strong, so their numbers have declined.
After Gorbachov introduced his Glasnost policies in the 1980s, it has been possible to get figures on the destiny of the Poles deported. It seems that between 1939 and 1953, a total of more than 1,5 million Poles were deported to Siberia, of which as many as 500.000 died during the deportations. Branches of Polish human rights groups have been formed among the Poles in Russia over the last years, demanding more information on what happened.

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