Nutag – homeland

6 minutes

Painted frame by frame, a vivid animation restores a history lost to deportation

In 1942, Nazi forces captured a portion of the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, home to the Kalmyks – an ethnic group with a language and heritage rooted in Mongolia, most of whom were Tibetan Buddhists. While Kalmyks were predominantly loyal to the Soviet Union throughout the Second World War, and many fought in the Red Army, a small group volunteered to join the Nazi army. Following the Soviet Union’s recapture of Kalmyk territory in December 1943, Soviet authorities declared all Kalmyk people guilty of cooperation with the Nazis and ordered their deportation and exile to Siberia. By the time they were allowed to return home in 1957, roughly half of the Kalmyks had died. The Montreal-based animator Alisi Telengut’s short film Nutag – Homeland is a requiem for the many lives lost during the widespread displacement of the Kalmyk people. Using imagery hand-painted frame by frame, the aching visual poem reflects on a largely forgotten tragedy by blending symbolic motifs with a timeless, mournful folk overtone.

Director: Alisi Telengut

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on

‘Aeon is what readers and writers dream about. It is wide in scope, without ever being shallow. It offers stimulating issues, yet never seeking to be tantalising.

Publishing at its best. I love it.’

Professor Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford

‘Aeon’s combination of intelligence, integrity and flair is vanishingly rare – and I am very grateful for it. It is becoming an indispensable presence in the digital world for those who believe that ideas matter.’

Tom Chatfield, writer and commentator on digital culture

‘Aeon is one of the liveliest, most wide-ranging and imaginative sources of good content on the web.

A fabulous resource for the intelligent and curious.’

Professor Barry C. Smith, University of London

‘I read one article and decided that I wanted to support an organisation that promotes critical thinking around ideas that affect our everyday lives.’

John T, Canada, Friend of Aeon

‘Every morning I look forward to seeing what’s in your email and there isn’t a day that goes by without reading or watching something you guys have published.

It’s like an oasis of sanity in a world gone mad.’

Jack D, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Politics & Government
How nations stay together

Nations come with a vast array of peoples, languages and histories, but the strong ones share three simple things

Andreas Wimmer

Poverty & Development
What good is religion?

International development has focussed on material goods, but religion has an important role to play in human flourishing

Manini Sheker