As the armed opposition of West Ukrainians to the Soviet rule after WWII did not subside, Stalin decided to neutralize the situation in this area by deporting the families of Ukrainian insurgents to Siberia. In 1944-1945, 14,728 families of Ukrainian patriots were taken to Siberia.
However, the Soviets stepped up their efforts to quash the uprising in West Ukraine and more patriots and their families were sent to Siberia on Oct. 21, 1947.
The operation, code-named Zakhid (West) started at 2 a.m. when NKVD agents burst into the homes of Ukrainians letting them to get a bag of essentials, Ukrinform writes Oct. 21.
The property of the deportees was confiscated. In one day, 26,682 families or 76,192 Ukrainians were forcefully resettled.
Many of the deportees ended up as slave workers in the mines and kolkhozs.
In total, between 1944 and 1953 over 500,000 persons were persecuted, 134,000 of them arrested, 150,000 killed, with 200,000 Ukrainians resettled to Siberia for life.