Summary of the Report on Deported Nations

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Karman
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Summary of the Report on Deported Nations

Post by Karman » 12 May 2005 15:43

The figures of the nations and peoples deported under Stalin are given from the Report of the KGB to the Committee of Politburo on Investigation of Materials Connected With Repressions in the Period Stalin’s Rule published in Vestnik Arkhiva Presidenta Rossijskoy Federatzii (Bulletin Of the Archive of President of Russian Federation) 1996 N 1 pp 137 – 139). The report was signed by the Chair of KGB Victor Chebrikov and is dated on 23.09.1988.

The report said that on December 5 1939 The Soviet of People Commissars approved the decision to deport from the territory of the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia the officers of Polish Army, police, gendarmerie, landlords, high officials of the former Bourgeois Poland and the members of their families. The appropriate steps on deportation of the above people were performed in February 1940.

In May – June 1941 following the instructions of the Central Committee of the SU Communist Party and the Soviet of People Commissars the following categories of people were deported from the territory of Baltic States, Western Ukraine, Western Belorussia, Moldavia: active members of counter-revolutionary parties; members of anti-soviet nationalist and white-guard organizations; high officials of the bourgeois governments, personnel of punitive agencies; former officers of Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Russian-White armies against whom any discreditable documents are available; landlords; bourgeois industrialists; merchants and members of their families; persons repatriated from Germany; Germans who are suspected to have connections with foreign intelligences; criminals who continued their criminal practices.

In the after-war period under circumstances of active practices of nationalist and terrorist underworld, network of enemy agents the following categories of people were deported from the Eastern parts of USSR to wit: landlords, white-guard people, members of fascist and pro-fascist organizations, repatriated from UK former servicemen of the Anders Army, supporters of bandits and supporters of Germans, kulaks, active Jehovah Witnesses and their families and also members of families of OUN, chiefs and active members of nationalist gangs.

The categories listed above were arrested and sent to camps for the period from 5 up to 8 years with the following exile for 20 years. Members of their families were deported to distanced areas of the Soviet Union. Their property was confiscated.

The total number of people deported from the Western Regions of the Soviet Union in the pre-war and post-war periods constituted 618,084 people, 49,107 people of them were arrested among them in the Republics:
Latvia – 57,546 people, 7.682 were arrested (1941 – 15,171, 1949 – 42.322, 1951 – 53.
Lithuania – 108,034 people, 11.308 arrested (1941 – 15.851, 1948 – 39.766, 1949 – 29.180, 1950 – 1952 – 22.084 people)
Estonia – 30.127, 4.116 people arrested (1941 – 9.156, 1949 – 20.702, 1951 – 269)
Ukraine – 250.376 people, 11.121 arrested (1940 – 121.996, 1941 – 41.645, 1947 – 77.751, 1951 – 8.984)
Belorussia – 105.275 people, 9.401 arrested (1940 – 73.521, 1941 – 31.754)
Moldavia – 66,726 people, 5.479 arrested (1941 – 29.839, 1949 – 34.270, 1951 – 2.617)

The deportation was performed by NKGB-NKVD forces with participation of communist party members, representatives of local soviets (unions) of working peoples deputies. The deported people were allowed to take money, values, clothes, food, small farming implements of the total weight up to 1,5 thousand kg per a family.

The above listed people were deported to the regions of Kazakhstan, Bashkirskoy, Buriatskoy and Komi Autonomous Socialist Republics, Kransnoyarsk Krai, Archangelsk, Irkutsk, Novossibirsk, Omsk and other regions to be supervised by local militia offices.

In addition to the above listed people the following people were exiled to distanced areas of the country: Soviet Germans – 815 thousand people, kalmyks – 93.139 people, Crimean Tartars – 190 thousand people, Chechens – 387.229 people, Ingush – 91.250 people, Balkar – 37.103 people, Karachaev – 70.095 people, Turks-Meskhetines – more than 90 thousand people.

That said the total number of deported people for the period from 1940 up to 1952 constituted around 2 million 300 thousand people.

The review of the archive materials proves that deportations were extraordinary measures subject to the existed domestic and international situation, activities of foreign intelligences agents and the remarkable number of persons fighting against the Soviet Power. As it set forth in the Report.
Last edited by Karman on 12 May 2005 16:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by David Thompson » 12 May 2005 16:11

Karman -- Thanks for those figures.

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Post by viriato » 14 May 2005 19:07

To the numbers referred to Karman one should have added also the thousands of Finns/Ingrians/Karelians, Poles, Germans and Koreans deported from so-called border regions before 1/9/1939. And further thousands of Armenians and Greeks (I believe Bulgarians too) both before and after that date. All of them were of course a dangerous bunch of spies and/or agents of the foreign powers that might have been involved... 8O

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Post by Human beaing » 14 May 2005 22:04

Hi Karman,

what does the russian population think about these deportations? Have the russian a feeling of culpability like the germans?

Regards

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Post by Karman » 18 May 2005 10:41

Human beaing wrote:Hi Karman,

what does the russian population think about these deportations? Have the russian a feeling of culpability like the germans?

Regards
Hi Human being:

The communists did not establish the communist paradise for the Russian nation but for the international proletariat. In the summary one can find the white-guard anticommunist organizations as the target of persecution. That means Russians.

As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).

Suffering not less than the rest of the Soviet population Russians do not suffer of any sense of guilt.

Regards.

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Post by Molobo » 18 May 2005 12:23

As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).
Should we then addres all blame on Reich on Austria ? After all Hitler was an Austrian, yet he used German nationalism, while Stalin used Russian one
As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).
Suffering not less than the rest of the Soviet population Russians do not suffer of any sense of guilt.
Well If I recall, USSR used Russian nationalism quite openly.It also was dominated by Russian language and ethnic group, while certain groups were persecuted based on their ethnic background-such as Chechens. If Russians suffered so much, why is their so much pride in USSR, Stalin and celebration of Soviet victories.
There is a strong, and I think justified opinion in studies on SU, that it was just a Russian dominated empire, which served the interests of Russian imperialism.
For example:
Russia was relatively rich compared to the Central Asian republics of
the USSR, and its people dominated the union culturally. While the three
Baltic republics were indisputably the most developed, Russia was among
the most developed of the rest in terms of key indicators. For example,
Russia’s retail commodity turnover in 1988 was 1,400 rubles per capita,
significantly higher than Central Asia’s figures, which ranged between
Kazakhstan’s 1,070 and Tajikistan’s 340.32 The Russian Republic boasted a
population of more than 147 million, nearly triple that of Ukraine, the
second most populous republic. In addition, some 25 million ethnic
Russians lived in other Soviet republics. In terms of territory, Russia was
about six times larger than its nearest rival, Kazakhstan.33 As if this
advantage were not already enough, the Soviet regime conducted many
“Russification” initiatives over the years and overtly favored Russians to
advance to the most sensitive posts. One listing of the 100 most powerful
Soviet officials showed that in 1986 Russians occupied 46 percent more
positions than their share of the population would have dictated. 34
In defeating the coup, however, Yeltsin’s Russia seemed to many
observers to be bent on taking over Soviet institutions for itself, essentially
cutting other republics out of the most important decisionmaking
processes. Boosted by new power realities and the new moral authority
deriving from Yeltsin’s heroic stand, Russia’s representatives dominated
the new temporary institutions set up to govern the USSR. For example,
Yeltsin’s Prime Minister, Ivan Silaev, became the head of the new
temporary government. While Kravchuk did not trust Gorbachev, these
events gave cause for him to trust the seemingly unpredictable and
volatile Boris Yeltsin even less. Thus, at a press conference on 30 August
1991, the Ukrainian leader called attention to the post-putsch “euphoria”
in Russia and the attendant “exaggeration of the merits of some one
individual or one people.” He pointedly declared:
This is already taking concrete forms. Let’s say [that] all state
structures should be based on the Russian ones and that the cadres should
only be Russian. You see that now a committee has been formed headed
by [Russian Prime Minister Ivan] Silaev and other representatives of
Russia. Right now I do not want to pass judgment on the work of this
committee, but as chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine I have my
doubts whether this committee, which is composed of representatives of
one republic, can defend the interests of other republics. 80
http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/w ... a/ch16.htm
The idealisation of Tsarist annexation still goes on ...

In 1954 elaborate festivities were organised for the 300th anniversary of the signing of the agreement at Pereyaslav between the Ukrainian Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitski and Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich by which the two states were united. On the occasion Pravda wrote:

Oppression by the Polish state of the gentry and the unrestricted and arbitrary rule of the Polish nobility became the greatest brake on the economic and cultural development of the Ukraine. The population of the Ukraine also suffered from the constant brigand raids carried out by the Turks and the Crimean Tatars.

In a prolonged and selfless struggle against the Tatar and Mongol and other foreign enslavers, the Russian people overcame feudal disunity, upheld their national independence, and created a powerful centralised state with its capital in Moscow. Moscow became the foundation and the initiator of the formation of the Russian state and the political, economic and cultural centre of that state.

The centralised Russian state played a paramount role in the historical development of the Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and other peoples of our country. From its very inception it became a centre of attraction and a mainstay for the fraternal peoples fighting against foreign enslavers.

In the Liberation War of 1648-54 the Ukrainian people were fighting for liberation from the yoke of the Poland of the nobility, and at the same time for reunion with the fraternal Russian people in one Russian state.

The Ukrainian people who rose up to wage the war of liberation were headed by Bogdan Khmelnitski, an outstanding statesman and army leader. The historic service rendered by Bogdan Khmelnitski consists in the fact that Khmelnitski, expressing the age-old aspirations and hopes of the Ukrainian people for close alliance with the Russian people and directing the process of formation of Ukrainian statehood, properly understood its tasks and perspectives, saw that it was impossible to save the Ukrainian without their uniting with the Great Russian people, and persistently strove for the reunion of the Ukraine with Russia. [11]

It is interesting to note that until the middle of the thirties Soviet historians treated Khmelnitski in quite a different way. The first edition of the Large Soviet Encyclopedia, for instance, described him as a “traitor”, and “savage enemy” of the insurgent Ukrainian peasantry. [12]

On the annexation of the North Caucasus to Russia, the theoretical, organ of the CPSU said: “Not a single Soviet scholar doubts the progressive nature of the unification of the peoples of the North Caucasus with Russia.” [13]

During celebrations in 1957 on the 400 years’ anniversary of the occupation of Bashkiria by Tsarist Russia it was stated that “Most of the Bashkir tribes in 1554-57 willingly accepted Russian overlordship, which despite Tsarist colonial oppression was of progressive significance to the further development of Bashkiria.” [14]

At a conference of the intelligentsia of Uzbekistan in October, 1956, Mukhitdinov, First Secretary of the CC of the Uzbek CP, declared:

The economic, political and cultural contacts of the Uzbek and other people of Central Asia with Russia have a historical record of a millennium. The incorporation of Central Asia into Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century was a turning point in the history and the fate of the Uzbek and other Central Asian peoples. The most important factor determining the progressive nature of the unification of Central Asia with Russia consists, apart from other factors of an economic and cultural nature, above all in the contacts between the peoples of Central Asia and the working class of Russia. [15]

Again, a “Joint conference on the progressive significance of the annexation of Central Asia to Russia” sponsored by the USSR Academy of Sciences and those of the four Central Asian republics in May 1959, declared:

The annexation of Turkestan to Russia was deeply progressive and marked the beginning of a new stage in the history of the peoples of Central Asia. it had been prepared by all the preceding history of both the Russian and Central Asian peoples ... the progressive significance of the annexation of Central Asia to Russia lies in the fact that the indigenous population of Turkestan came into contact with the Russian people and its working class, the most revolutionary class in the world. [16]

In 1959 the victory of Tsar Peter the Great over the Swedes at Poltava in 1709 was commemorated.

During the March, 1962 elections to the Supreme Soviet Party propaganda made frequent references to the Russian tradition, connecting the deeds of Prince Yury Dolgoruky (the founder of Moscow in 1147) and Peter the Great with those of Lenin and Khrushchev.


Russification still goes on ...

The Russian language continues to edge out the national languages, even in the schools of the national republics. Thus in Uzbek schools, where the native tongue is used for teaching, the hours allocated for its study decrease in the more advanced classes, until in the eighth class the ratio is six to two in favour of Russian. It is therefore not surprising to find that “in a number of areas more than 60 per cent of pupils failed the Uzbek language examinations.” [17] Again, whereas the Buryats made up 49 per cent of the population of their autonomous republic, only 12 per cent of those at school were being taught in the Buryat language. [18]

Similarly as regards the Tatars we are informed: “The number of Tatar schools has recently been cut down ... they have gradually been converted first of all into Russo-Tatar schools and then into Russian ones.” [19]

Although non-Russians constitute about half the population of the USSR, the circulation of newspapers in non-Russian languages constituted in 1958 only 18 per cent of the total circulation of newspapers in the country. [20]

http://mitglied.lycos.de/cstmd/B_diana.html
The first years of the Soviet Union (from 1917 until Lenin's death in 1924) were marked by a very tolerant nationalities policy. The young Soviet State wanted to be seen by the non-Russian people in a different light than its predecessors. All ethnic groups had equal rights, some were even privileged. Just to mention some aspects of language policy: The key word at that time was "korenisatzia" (from the Russian word "korenj" = root). The aim was to root non-Russians into Russian culture. Nevertheless they should not be Russianized, but become "bi-national". Their native languages and cultures were promoted, linguists developed scripts for up to that time only spoken minority languages, at elementary schools lessons were given in the native languages, secondary schools and universities with native languages as language of instruction were installed, newspapers in non-Russian languages were edited.

The stronger Stalin's influence became, the more restrictive became the nationalities policy. After having taken over the leadership of the Soviet Union in 1924, he stopped "korenisatzia" completely and replaced it by a policy of Russification, justified by the explanation that nationalism is an instrument of the capitalists (used in order to distract the working class people from the fact that they were exploited), and should be abolished on the way to a better society.

Non-Russians and non-conformist Russians occupying leading posts in government, administration or other public areas were replaced by Russians supporting Stalin, learning of the Russian language at school became compulsory.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/w ... h09.htm#s3
The idealisation of the Tsarist Empire
The Stalinist bureaucracy cannot but give its approval to its forerunners in empire-building – Tsarist imperialism. For generations Russian socialists and democrats thought Tsarist Russia a “prison of the peoples” and Tsarist imperialist oppression of the Poles, Finns, Lithuanians, Esthonians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc. a most reactionary force. Stalinist Russia teaches differently.

Thus a Russian journal stated: “annexation by Russia represented the only path of socio-economic and cultural development and also the salvation of the national existence of the peoples of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus ... annexation by Russia was the only means of saving themselves, preserving their ancient cultures and developing economically and culturally.” [13]

Another journal wrote that from the sixteenth century onwards, the feudal monarchies of Turkey and Iran conducted a long and stubborn struggle to seize various territories in the Caucasus. Many Caucasian people, unable because of their dispersed character, to withstand foreign aggression, “sought salvation and intercession from the Russian state, turning to it for assistance and patronage.” [14] In the middle of the sixteenth century the Circassian (Karbadian) princes appealed to Ivan IV to give them Russian citizenship and to protect them from the raids and plunderings of Turkey and the Turkish vassal, the Crimean Khan. The Transcaucasian peoples established ties with Russia towards the end of the fifteenth century, and those ties were strengthened in proportion as the military danger presented by Turkey and Iran increased. By their actions against Turkey and Iran, “Russian troops often saved the peoples of the Caucasus from military danger.” How well put! The Tsarist troops which occupied the Caucasus saved it from military danger!

A Russian literary journal stated:

The annexation of Kazakhstan by Russia, which took place in the 18th century, was of profoundly progressive significance. This historic act was conditioned by economic and political causes, by the entire course of historical development of the Kazakh people tormented by incessant raids from the feudal states of the Moslem East. It created the conditions for the mighty impact of Russian economy and culture in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh people made their historic choice wisely and correctly. At that time, besides Russia, the Kazakhs could have fallen into the bondage of Central Asiatic Khanates backed by Britain. Not rejecting any means, British capital crept up on Kazakh lands and resources, calculating on rich gains. [15]

It said further:

the working people [of Kazakhstan] through their daily experience, comprehended the advantages of life in a mighty state, Russia. [16]

The Kazakh people chose to be annexed by Tsarist Russia! They preferred to be in “a mighty state”! Pravda underlined the point: “The Kazakh working people were vitally interested in the annexation of Kazakhstan to Russia.” [17]

Russian propaganda since Stalin’s death pursues the same line. The following slant was given to the occupation of Latvia by Tsarist Russia:

Many centuries have passed since the Latvians’ ancestors settled on the shores of the Baltic Sea ... During all these centuries the Russians have been good neighbours of the Latvians. The conquest and enslavement of the Baltic by the German knights is a gloomy history filled with killings, plundering and violence by the bloodthirsty Western invaders. The freedom-loving Latvian and Esthonian tribes were not strong enough to defend their freedom and independence. But proximity and friendship with the Russians enabled the ancestors of the Latvians to defend their lands from enslavement by turning for help to Russian princes.

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Post by Karman » 18 May 2005 12:47

Molobo wrote:
As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).
Should we then addres all blame on Reich on Austria ? After all Hitler was an Austrian, yet he used German nationalism, while Stalin used Russian one
As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).
Suffering not less than the rest of the Soviet population Russians do not suffer of any sense of guilt.
Well If I recall, USSR used Russian nationalism quite openly.It also was dominated by Russian language and ethnic group, while certain groups were persecuted based on their ethnic background-such as Chechens. If Russians suffered so much, why is their so much pride in USSR, Stalin and celebration of Soviet victories.
There is a strong, and I think justified opinion in studies on SU, that it was just a Russian dominated empire, which served the interests of Russian imperialism.
Well. I can advise you to study more the history of the Soviet Union after the revolution. For example: immediately after the revolution all studies of the Russian history were forbidden in the Universities. All Russian national celebrations were forbidden (including the tradition of Christmas trees) There were introduced quotas for Russian to enter high education institutions. There were also quotas for Russians taking managerial positions in the provinces and republics of the SU. Lenin said that the Russian nationalism was the bigger threat to the Soviet Power than the nationalism of small ethnic groups.

So I would appreciate it very much if you present the source of your claim that commies used the Russian nationalism till the very beguinning of the WW2.

The persecution of groups basing on their ethnic background (Chechens) is a groundless crap.

As for the Baltic States. They were incorporated into Russian Empire being a deserted battlefield. So all the economic growth they enjoyed is due to the activities of the Russian Empire.

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Post by Molobo » 18 May 2005 13:33

Well. I can advise you to study more the history of the Soviet Union after the revolution. For example: immediately after the revolution all studies of the Russian history were forbidden in the Universities. All Russian national celebrations were forbidden (including the tradition of Christmas trees) There were introduced quotas for Russian to enter high education institutions. There were also quotas for Russians taking managerial positions in the provinces and republics of the SU. Lenin said that the Russian nationalism was the bigger threat to the Soviet Power than the nationalism of small ethnic groups.
And all of that was abolished by Stalin's use of Russian nationalism in USSR.
The persecution of groups basing on their ethnic background (Chechens) is a groundless crap.
They were deported as a whole nation.Also they were denied holding high military ranks, the Chechens who did so, had cheated to get them.

As for the Baltic States. They were incorporated into Russian Empire being a deserted battlefield. So all the economic growth they enjoyed is due to the activities of the Russian Empire.
Lithuania certainly wasn't a deserted battlefield when Russia got it in partitions of Poland, nor was it not developed.

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Post by Karman » 18 May 2005 13:55

Molobo wrote:
Well. I can advise you to study more the history of the Soviet Union after the revolution. For example: immediately after the revolution all studies of the Russian history were forbidden in the Universities. All Russian national celebrations were forbidden (including the tradition of Christmas trees) There were introduced quotas for Russian to enter high education institutions. There were also quotas for Russians taking managerial positions in the provinces and republics of the SU. Lenin said that the Russian nationalism was the bigger threat to the Soviet Power than the nationalism of small ethnic groups.
And all of that was abolished by Stalin's use of Russian nationalism in USSR.
For the purpose of winning in the war only. Stalin opened the Chirches. Krushiov closed almost all of them again. The idea of construction of the communist state together with the communist order all over the world was rehabilitated under Krushiov again. So what Russian nationalism do you mean?
They were deported as a whole nation.Also they were denied holding high military ranks, the Chechens who did so, had cheated to get them.
Crap. Your beloved Dudaev was a general in the Soviet Army. All local authorities in all republics of the SU were formed out of the representatives of local ethnic groups.
Lithuania certainly wasn't a deserted battlefield when Russia got it in partitions of Poland, nor was it not developed.
yes Lithuania was not underdevelopped. As for the battlefield learn more about the history of your country in the 18th century. They proved the truth of the saying that the nation that does not want to pay for their own army will have to pay for armies of other states. Poland proved that it is true.

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Post by Molobo » 18 May 2005 14:02

Crap. Your beloved Dudaev was a general in the Soviet Army.
By giving a wrong ethnic background.

All local authorities in all republics of the SU were formed out of the representatives of local ethnic groups.
Chechens were barred from many top positions, with official policy requiring that the Chechen-Ingush First Party secretary, head of KGB, policy chief, and oil administrators be ethnic Russian.
http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id= ... _id=107541
During the Soviet era, Russians were encouraged to move to the other republics within the USSR, including Latvia and Kyrgyzstan. These ethnic Russians enjoyed a privileged status and access to the best jobs in industry and in government
As for the battlefield learn more about the history of your country in the 18th century. They proved the truth of the saying that the nation that does not want to pay for their own army will have to pay for armies of other states. Poland proved that it is true.
The only places were they were battlefields were the ones where Kosciuszko fought Russian invasion.
But I see that you are really emotional about this and it seems nationalistic.Thus objective discussion is rather impossible.
Have a good day.

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Post by Karman » 18 May 2005 14:37

Molobo wrote:
Crap. Your beloved Dudaev was a general in the Soviet Army.
By giving a wrong ethnic background..
Really? So the Police General Aslakhanov gave wrong ethnic background? And the speaker of the Russian Parliament Khasbulatov (who used to be a professor in a Moscow university) gave wrong ethnic background? Soviet general Aushev (Ingush)? So did Moskhadov (colonel of the Soviet Army)? Be reasonable.

Chechens were barred from many top positions, with official policy requiring that the Chechen-Ingush First Party secretary, head of KGB, policy chief, and oil administrators be ethnic Russian.
http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id= ... _id=107541
During the Soviet era, Russians were encouraged to move to the other republics within the USSR, including Latvia and Kyrgyzstan. These ethnic Russians enjoyed a privileged status and access to the best jobs in industry and in government
That is misinformation also except that Chechens have never been in head of the Republic till 1989. That was only in Chechnia and thanks to continious national conflicts there (not conflicts between Russians and local ethnic groups but between those groups and inside the Chechen people as well). Russians moved to the Republics to work as skilled and educated workers and ingeneers but all local authorities were from local ethnic groups. You call it Russian inperialism?

The only places were they were battlefields were the ones where Kosciuszko fought Russian invasion.
.
Add there the wars on the territory of Poland early in 18 century, 7 years war and lots of local revolts.

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Post by bratello » 22 May 2005 19:02

Molobo wrote:
Crap. Your beloved Dudaev was a general in the Soviet Army.
By giving a wrong ethnic background.
Source, please, about the "wrong ethnic backround". As not only was Dudaev a Soviet general, he was a Hero of the Soviet Union as well and his (ethnic) background should have been thouroughly checked. Thanks.
Last edited by bratello on 23 May 2005 12:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bratello » 22 May 2005 19:22

Karman wrote:
Human beaing wrote:Hi Karman,
what does the russian population think about these deportations? Have the russian a feeling of culpability like the germans?
Regards
Hi Human being:
The communists did not establish the communist paradise for the Russian nation but for the international proletariat. In the summary one can find the white-guard anticommunist organizations as the target of persecution. That means Russians.
As a former Russian prime-minister put it: address all claims to Georgia (Stalin was Georgian).
Suffering not less than the rest of the Soviet population Russians do not suffer of any sense of guilt.
Regards.
Besides Mikoyan was Armenian, Khruschev was Ukranian, several of top Stalin's men were Jewish, etc. And even though I do not know the ethnic breakdown of the Red Army troops taking part in deportation, I can safely assume that they were the Ukranians, the Georgians, the Belorussians, etc among those troops.

Hitler made a point of "putting" the Germans above everybody else, the Soviet ideology never ever claimed the Russians are any better than other nations. (With the same entrance exam results it was easier to get admitted to a University for a, so called, "national minority" making part of the USSR than for an ethnic Russian). The Russians, being most numerous, of course did most of the "dirty" job, but by the same token they also suffered most.

Regards.

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Post by Molobo » 22 May 2005 21:52

http://www.angelfire.com/alt/ceri_evans ... m_ussr.htm
The challenge of Nationalism in the USSR
[November 1980; Socialist Outlook 28, 13-18]

The pre-1917 Bolshevik position on the national question, developed largely by Lenin, consisted of two key elements. Firstly, recognition of the right of oppressed nations to self-determination up to and including complete independence; secondly, a struggle against all forms of nationalism - and above all Great Russian nationalism. These were advanced with the aim of establishing the complete equality of all nation4s within the Tsarist empire, thus facilitating a free and voluntary union between them. This Holy Russian empire, declared, 'one and indivisible' by the Tsars, was to Lenin a 'prisonhouse of nations' and its revolutionary overthrow could not but have a national as well as a social content.

The February 1917 revolution aroused great expectations amongst the imprisoned nations, awakening many to conscious national life for the very first time. Yet in the national sphere the Provisional govemment did little more than annul some of the more archaic Tsarist laws. The voices of the oppressed nationalities grew louder as the months passed and these national movements contributed to the increasing instability of the regime. In this context the Bolsheviks' defence of the right of nations to self-determination contributed in no small degree to their victory in October.

Yet the national question presented a number of problems to the new government. The national movements might have hastened the downfall of the February regime, and in many cases actively opposed it; but this did not inevitably mean that they all supported the government of October. Social contradictions within the oppressed nationalities were generally less developed than in the centre. In addition the 'national bond' between the bourgeoisie and peasantry also tended to blur these social contradictions.

The class differentiation of the national movements in Latvia, Estonia, Belorussia and to a lesser extent the Ukraine was well developed by October. In other areas this was far from the case. Thus in many areas the Bolsheviks found themselves very weak outside the urban centres. The bourgeois nationalist Dashnaks were strong in Armenia, the Mussavat Party in Azerbaijan. After October the Georgian Mensheviks, staunch defenders of unity under Kerensky, declared themselves for independence.

Such nationalist developments were hardly surprising. The masses of the oppressed nationalities, awakening for the first time to political life, were doing so in their own languages. Predominantly peasant, they were overwhelmingly concerned with solutions to their national and agrarian plight. In such circumstances the new government had to show that not only 'formal' but also practical, material equality with the former ruling nationality was possible under the Soviet system. An attentive and serious attitude to their national demands was necessary to overcome suspicions and resentments arising from long years of oppression.

Another problem presented itself almost immediately - the civil war. A war launched by the counter-revolution aided by international imperialism with scant regard for any principles of self-determination. Waging such a war demanded the most ruthless methods for the new state to survive. These were not without their consequences in the national sphere. As Trotsky pointed out in a 1923 article for Pravda:

A harsh military regime cannot but bear heavily on cultural life ill general and national culture in particular. Contributing to this was the fact that in particular cases the backwardness of a Red Army unit, the iu wrn of certain elements in the Communist organisation in such a unit, and the inadequate efforts of the political conunissars concerned gave rise to ignoring and even rough trampling upon national feelings and moods.1

He describes these problems as 'isolated and passing' but the passage also illustrates a deeper problem within the Bolshevik ranks which existed before the rise of Stalinism. It can best be illustrated by the follow ing examples:

Russian Communist Party members on Ukrainian territory must put into practice the right of the working people to study in the Ukrainian language and to speak their native language in all Soviet in stitutions; they must in every way counteract attempts at Russification that push the Ukrainian language into the background, and must convert the language into an instrument for the Communist education of the working people.2

In Ukraine urban culture is Russian; Ukranian culture is rural. The proletariat has an urban, Russian culture. The future belongs to the proletarian culture, i.e. to the urban culture, i.e. to Russian culture. Life itself will effect an assimmilation of the Ukrainaian language to Russian ... though at present the Communist Parry helps the peasant to develop his rural Ukrainian culture, it ... must ... work towards the inevitable victory of Russian culture...3

Both statements are by Bolsheviks; both were written in 1919; the first is by Lenin, the second by Dmitrii Lebed, secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party.

Such a 'struggle of two cultures' had been the unofficial policy of the Bolshevik administration in the Ukraine before 1919. It found an active expression in sometimes the most extreme forms. The communist Zatousky recounted how red guards had at times shot people for speaking Ukrainian, or professing Ukrainian nationality, considering this to be counter-revolutionary!

How could such positions arise? They clearly echo Plekhanov, the founder of Russian Marxism and a formative influence on many of the Bolsheviks:

The abolition of serfdom, universal conscription, the development of commerce and industry, the steady growth of the homeless agrarian proletariat, the influence of the administration, railroads and schools ... have definitively merged the rural population of the Ukraine, even linguistically ... into a sphere of influences shared with Russia.4

Looking deeper they reflect the influence of Great Russian nationalism even within the revolutionary movement. Such positions were far less prevalent amongst the Bolsheviks then the Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries or bourgeois Cadets, whose chauvinism was multiplied a thousandfold; but they nevertheless existed. Great Russian tendencies were further exacerbated by the national divide between town and country in the oppressed nations. The towns, including the working class, were largely Russified and nationalist consciousness was generally low. Thus the national question was easily downgraded or ignored due to chauvinism or impatience. Such national nihilism often cloaked its chauvinism in fine, fake-internationalist phrases.

Mistakes on the national question raised the possibility of losing the civil war in the Ukraine and a wrenching re-assessment had to be made. Trotsky's statement to the Red Army on the eve of their Ukrainian offensive against Denikin is resoundingly and genuinely internationalist:

The Ukraine is the land of the Ukrainian workers and working peasants. They alone have the right to rule in the Ukraine, to govern it and to build a new life in it ... Keep this firmly in mind: your task is not to conquer the Ukraine but to liberate it. When Denikin's bands have finally been smashed, the working people of the liberated Ukraine will themselves decide on what terms they are to live with Soviet Russia ... Long live the free and independent Soviet Ukraine.5

This position contributed not only to the victory against Deniken but also facilitated the fusion of the Ukrainian Bolsheviks with the Borotbist organisation. The Borotbists were the extreme left wing of the Ukranian Social Revolutionaries who had moved towards communism but favoured a completely independent Ukraine.

The nationalities problem took a more sinister turn in the Caucasus where the growing influence of the central bureaucracy became evident. Georgia was formally independent from 1918 to 1921 and served as a base for both the Germans and the British. It was invaded by the Red Army in 1921, a move authorised by the Politburo based on information from Stalin, Commissar of Nationalities, and Ordzhonikidze, military commander on the Caucasian front.

The Red Army was meant to assist a Bolshevik uprising, which according to Stalin and Ordzhonikidze would receive widespread support. The reality was very different and was seen as an act of aggression by much of the peasantry and even sections of the working class. Both Lenin and the Georgian Communists were very concerned about the status of the new republic and anxious to respect the rights of the Georgians as a formerly oppressed nationality. Lenin proposed a block with Jordania, whose Menshevik government had been overthrown, and cautioned the Georgian Communists:

I really want you to keep in mind that both the internal and international conditions in Georgia require that Georgian communists do not implement Russian formulas but develop skillfully and flexibly an original tactic based on a more conciliatory attitude towards petty-bourgeois elements of all sorts.6

Ordzhonikidze, Stalin's man in the area, paid little attention to these words or the pleas of the Georgian Communists, and continued to act in a heavy handed manner.

When in 1922 Stalin put forward his 'autonomisation' plan proposing 'entry' of the non-Russian republics into the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSPSR), opposition was centred in Georgia. At first Lenin sided with Stalin and Ordzhonikidze in the face of the Georgians' complaints, proposing at the same time that 'entry' should be amended to 'Formal union with the RSFSR in the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia'. He explained that:

The spirit of this concession is, I hope, clear: we see ourselves as equals in law with the Ukrainian SSR and the others and enter with them into a new union, a new federation.7

Lenin was obviously worried and soon afterwards he sent a note to Kamenev declaring, 'war to the death on Great Russian Chauvinism'. His fmal article on the question, and the last of his life, was suppressed until 1956 by the Stalinist bureaucracy. It is a textbook of revolutionary method on the national question. It shows how Lenin's position developed and changed through the experience of the Russian revolution.

He clearly sets the Great Russian chauvinist campaign of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky (who investigated the matter) in the context of the rising Soviet bureaucracy:

It is said that a united apparatus was needed. Where did that assurance come from? Did it not come from that same Russian apparatus which ... we took over from Tsarism and slightly anointed with Soviet oil?8

International isolation, civil war and famine had prevented the young Soviet state from developing an apparatus that was anything more than a 'bourgeois and Tsarist hotchpotch' and in such a situation:

the 'freedom to secede from the union' by which we justify ourselves will be a mere scrap of paper unable to defend the non-Russians from the onslaught of that really Russian man, the Great Russian chauvinist, in substance a rascal and tyrant, such as the typical Russian bureaucrat is.9

How the non-Russian nationalities were to suffer at the hands of such rascals and tyrants, Lenin could never have imagined.

Lenin also addressed the question of how revolutionaries should approach nationalism:

... an abstract presentation of the question of nationalism in general is of no use at all. A distinction must be made between the nationalism of an oppressor nation and that of an oppressed nation, the nationalism of a big nation and that of a small nation.10

He also modified his previous position which favoured a formal equality between nations in the union:

... internationalism on the part of the oppressors or 'great' nations, as they are called (though they are great only in their violence, only great as bullies), must consist not only in the observance of the formal equality of nations but even an inequality of the oppressor nation, the great nation, that must make up for the inequality which obtains in actual practice.11

Trotsky expanded on this theme in his Pravda article, by drawing a powerful parallel with women's oppression:

A feeling of national resentment has been accumulated in the formerly oppressed nations over decades and centuries. And this heritage, as with the oppressed position of women it should be said, cannot be disposed of merely by declarations, however sincere they may be and even if they are given legislative character. It is necessary that a woman should feel, in ordinary life, in everyday experience, that there are no external restrictions upon her and no contemptuous or condescending attitude is being taken towards her ... It is necessary that a small nation should feel that a radical and irreversible change has taken place in the consciousness of the former 'ruling' nation.12

This is much more than an accommodation or appeasement to nationalism: it goes to the root of what is really meant by international working class solidarity. Lenin and Trotsky did not propose separatism, they remained in favour of strengthening the union: but only through whining the voluntary agreement of the other republics. The question also had an international, strategic importance, given the Bolsheviks' perspective of developing national, anti-colonial revolutions in the East. As Lenin explained:

It would be unpardonable opportunism if, on the eve of the debut of the East, just as it is awakening, we undermine our prestige with its peoples, even if only by the slightest crudity or injustice towards our own non-Russian nationalities.13

These positions won the day at the 12th Congress of the Communist Parry, but the ascendant bureaucracy had little intention of carrying them out. The petty-bourgeois outlook of this social stratum naturally drew it to the culture of the old bourgeoisie and Tsarist Bureaucracy. Great Russian Chauvinism rose like a scum on the tide of the Stalinist counter-revolution and came naturally to the bureaucracy's social base of ex-Tsarist bureaucrats and professional functionaries in the non-Russian republics.

It fell to the Left Opposition to continue the struggle for a revolutionary policy on the national question. The Platform of the Left Opposition argued that the key task was not to suppress national awakening, but to direct it along socialist channels. This meant promoting the development of local languages and schools and 'nationalising' the state machinery ('Nationalising' was an official policy of transforming the local party, state, trade union and co-operative structures to use the local language and staff). This Ukranianisation, Turcification, etc., could not succeed by bureaucratically relying on experts, but by relying on the working class and the lower stratum in the countryside, in a struggle against Kulak and chauvinist elements. The Left Opposition also proposed a special 15 year plan to address the economic needs of the non-Russian republics.14

The consolidation of the bureaucracy bought dire consequences for the national minorities. Whilst it is true that the 'regime of the guardhouse' weighed heavily on the whole of the USSR, it weighed disproportionately on the non-Russian nationalities, just as it did on Soviet women. Imposition of Russian methods, particularly forced collectivisation, caused massive devastation and widespread famine, with millions dying in the Ukraine alone.

Resistance was met with mass deportations and the elimination of virtually all the local communist leadership. In the Ukraine for example, ex-Borotbists won the leadership of the party and carried out Ukrainianisation policies until the late 1920s. They were driven from the parry and most were killed in the purges. The scale of repression in the Ukraine reflected the scale of opposition to it; leading Trotsky to call for an independent Soviet Ukraine in a series of articles in the late 1930s. Anti-religious persecution was also particularly brutal amongst non-Russian nationalities, in an effort to prevent the Churches or Mosques from acting as national unifiers. The USSR extended its borders in 1939 by occupying Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland and parts of Poland.

The Great Russian chauvinism of the Soviet bureaucracy reached new heights during the Second World War. This was portrayed as a 'Great Patriotic War' to defend the 'socialist motherland' against the Germans, who were condemned, as a people, as reactionary and fascist. This chauvinism was no mere rhetoric, however, and during and after the war the bureaucracy punished those peoples whom it considered had betrayed the USSR with mass executions and deportations. The Crimean Tartars are still campaigning to this day for the right to return to their homeland in the Ukraine - a demand supported, to its credit, by the Ukrainian Popular Front, since its implementation would mean at least a partial evacuation of the present population.

Since the war the non-Russian nationalities have to varying degrees faced a policy of cultural and linguistic assimilation, along with discrimination in the allocation of jobs, housing and land. Assimilation was openly advocated by Khrushchev and adopted as a goal by the 22nd Party Congress in 1961. The consequences of this policy for the Ukraine were well documented by the communist dissident Ivan Dzuba in his book Internationalism of Russification?, for which he was jailed and later forced to recant. A similar fate faced others who raised their voices against the cult of the 'Soviet nation', a term adopted by the 24th Party Congress. It is significant that the largest single group of political prisoners in the pre-Gorbachev USSR were Ukrainians jailed for the 'crime' of nationalism.

The present situation in the USSR must be analysed in the light of this long and sorry history of national oppression under Stalinism. It is little wonder that mass nationalist movements have emerged in the space provided by Glasnost, expressing extreme dissatisfaction on the part of these oppressed nations with their national fate.

How then should revolutionary socialists respond? The first thing to appreciate is that in the oppressed nations all questions, those of democracy, the environment, anti-militarism and the economy, have a national colouring. In Moscow the demands are for greater democratic rights, in Vilnius they are for greater national democracy - the right to decide their own national future. Thus the struggle of the oppressed nations must be seen as an important, and advanced, component of the inevitable struggles around democratic demands that can pave the way for political revolution. We must be careful to avoid the idea that the political revolution is something that will be centred in Moscow or Leningrad and be fought around purely 'class' demands. The revolutionary struggle of the oppressed nationalities against their oppression will be a key component of any political revolution in the USSR.

The declaration of independence by Lithuania, followed by Latvia and Estonia, has placed their national struggle firmly at the centre of the world stage and demands a response. The key question for socialists must be: have the Stalinist bureaucracy and the present Gorbachev leadership convinced the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian massed of the superiority of Stalinist centralism over Baltic independence? The answer is clearly no.

This must be our point of departure, and socialists have to not only support but advocate independence for these countries. Any other option will leave us by-passed by events and completely isolated from a dialogue with the masses. We must avoid any worthless, abstract schemas of defending self-determination whilst arguing for the Baltic states to remain within the USSR on the basis of some common anti-bureaucratic fight. The Baltic peoples do not want an improved form of union - they want independence! To offer them self-determination on paper whilst arguing that they should not secede is to do nothing more than to parrot the positions of the bureaucracy for the last 60 years. As Trotsky pointed out when dealing with the Ukraine in the 1930s:

We must proceed from facts and not ideal norms. The Thermidorean reaction in the USSR ... must be paid for in genuine currency in all spheres, including that of the Ukrainian question.15

We must admit to the fact that the national dignity of the oppressed peoples has been fundamentally and systematically trampled upon by the bureaucracy, and develop our positions accordingly. Of course our task as socialists is not merely to comment on or analyse a situation but to develop a strategy to take it forward. To move from the power of the bureaucracy to the power of the elected Soviet - that is our goal. The key to such developments in the oppressed nations will be the struggle around national rights and self-determination. The revolutionary left, both internationally and within the USSR should actively advocate an independent soviet Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. It is only through an unambiguous commitment to such positions that socialists can hope to gain a hearing within the national movements.

Such a position is not a sop to nationalists, or a 'trick' to get them to support socialism, but an honest recognition of their national rights. We have to show by our actions that the aim of our socialism is not to 'abolish' the oppressed nations but to give them the fullest space for their national development. Our failure to champion these demands leaves the field open to fundamentalist, clerical and pro-bourgeois forces whose voices are growing louder by the day.

Some will argue that to advocate independence is in effect to advocate independent capitalist states, given the nature of the Popular Fronts. Such positions reveal both a profound pessimism and a lack of clarity on how socialists should support national movements. Of course we have something to say on the nature of post-independence states; we are for nationalised property relations and the rule of democratic workers' councils (not least because genuine independence under capitalism is a fiction). But we can only win the masses to such a position if we adopt a correct attitude to the question that justifiably preoccupies them - the national question. It should also be emphasised that none of the Popular Fronts that exist have a finished, finalised pro-capitalist programme. Only the Azeri front has succumbed to chauvinism, and there the demand for independence has even greater potency since it points the finger at the real enemy: the Moscow bureaucracy and its local allies, not the Armenian people.

Many socialists, including an editorial in Socialist Outlook, have pointed to the illusions of the Baltic fronts that Western imperialists will defend them. The last months have shown the imperialists themselves going out of their way to destroy any such illusions. It should be increasingly clear to the Baltic peoples that the USA is no more concerned with self-determination in the USSR than it is in its Central American 'back yard'. The capitalist press has been full of warnings to the hasty Baltic that they are endangering Gorbachev's rule. Such an unholy alliance gives revolutionary socialists clear space to advance a different position - that of a common struggle against the Stalinist bureaucracy and imperialism - through building active solidarity with the struggle for independence. It is only in this way that we can show in practice who the best allies of the Baltic republic are.

Events are also clarifying the positions of the Soviet Left, many of whom were initially extremely sectarian and antagonistic to the national movements. The Lithuanian declaration of independence has forced them to take a clear stand: either for Gorbachev and blockade, or for independence. At the 1990 May Day demonstration they overwhelmingly chose the correct position. This shows most clearly how the different struggles within the USSR run parallel to end other and exert influence upon each other, in this case in positive direction. Important links have been established between radical deputies in Moscow and Leningrad and the Front leaderships. A recent conference of independent workers' movements and organisations held in Novkuznetsk adopted a resolution of support for independent Lithuania and called on workers' collectives to break the blockade. The Supreme Soviets of Moldavia, Georgia and the Russian republic have also begun to make encouraging overtures to the Baltic republics.

In this context it is not so helpful to suggest that the Fronts should tactically curb or moderate their demands. Such a move would be disastrous, giving breathing space and new confidence to Stalinist organisations in the Baltic and demoralising those who look to the Baltic for a lead. Revolutionary socialists would never give such 'moderating' advice to oppressed nationalities in difficult or minority positions under imperialism, such as the Palestinians within the Israeli state, the six county Irish republicans or the Kanaks of New Caledonia. Rather we would advocate a strategy to build solidarity and spread and deepen the struggle. The same should be true of the national question in the USSR and we should be careful not to apply a double standard.

A defeat for Baltic independence would be a defeat for the whole multiform, multi-national process of radicalisation and struggle within the USSR. The Baltic peoples may be numerically small but they have an important influence. This is particularly true of the developing national movement in the Ukraine, a national question with decisive significance for the whole USSR. It is inconceivable that a mass national movement will not develop here given the history of repression and the high level of resistance to it, right through to the dissidents of the l960s and 1970s.

The national question is of strategic importance within the USSR. Seventy years of Stalinist rule have not solved the national question but exacerbated it. In addition the remnants of the early Leninist policy and subsequent industrialisation have created significant, nationally conscious, working classes in most oppressed nations. This reality has to be addressed by any international revolutionary left which seriously wishes to see an anti-bureaucratic political revolution in the USSR. Our starting point in this must be to learn from and popularise the revolutionary heritage of the Bolsheviks and the Left Opposition on the question. It is a heritage of which we can be proud.

We must guard against ignoring these movements for the bright lights of the simpler, more obviously 'socialist' anti-bureaucratic fight in Moscow and Leningrad. The struggle of the oppressed nationalities for self-determination will be a key element of the unfolding political revolution. The attitude of revolutionary socialists, both internationally and within the USSR, will be decisive in deciding whether the national current flows towards reaction or revolution. An immediate international campaign of solidarity with the Baltic states is needed, through existing solidarity structures or by creating new ones, around the demands of: 'Self-determination for the Baltic states!', 'All Union troops out!' and 'Workers' organisations - break the blockade!'

The question also has domestic relevance. The British labour movement is heavily influenced by Stalinist and Great British chauvinist ideas. The Mid Glamorgan Labour councillor who recently declared the Welsh language; 'a nauseating irrelevance to an international socialist like me', stands in a long line of 'socialists' who cloak chauvinism in internationalist rhetoric. Our attitude to the national movements in the USSR and the lessons we learn from them can help to show that nothing could be further from genuine revolutionary internationalism. Trotsky summarised this internationalism with the following analogy when advocating an independent Soviet Ukraine in the l930s:

The Kremlin bureaucracy tells the Soviet woman: Inasmuch as there is socialism in our country, you must be happy and give up abortions (or suffer the penalty). To the Ukraine they say: Inasmuch as the socialist revolution has solved the national question, it is your duty to be happy in the USSR and to renounce all thoughts of separation (or face the firing squad).

What does the revolutionary say to the woman? 'You will decide yourself whether you want a child; I will defend your right to abortion against the Kremlin police'. To the Ukrainian people he (sic) says: 'Of importance to me is your attitude toward your national destiny and not the 'socialist' sophistries of the Kremlin police; I will support your struggle for independence with all my might!16

Notes

1 'The National Question and the Education of the Party Youth', Russell Block (ed.), Lenin's Fight Against Stalinism (New York, 1975), 143.

2 V I Lenin, 'Draft Resolution Of The C.C., R.C.P.(B.) On Soviet Rule In The Ukraine', Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Vol. 30 (Moscow, 1965), 164.

3 Dmitrii Lebed, cited by Roman Rosdolsky, Engels and the 'Nonhistoric' Peoples: The National Question in the Revolution of 1848 (n.p, 1987), 142.

4 Ibid.

5 Leon Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed Itself, vol. 2 (London, 1979), 439.

6 'Letter To G. K. Orjonikidze', Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Vol. 32 (Moscow, 1965), 160.

7 'Letter to L. B. Kamenev for Members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)', Lenin's Fight Against Stalinism, 130.

8 'The question of Nationalities or "Autonomisation"', Lenin's Fight Against Stalinism, 133.

9 Ibid, 134.

10 Ibid., 135.

11 Ibid.

12 'The National Question and the Education of the Party Youth', 143-4.

13 'The question of Nationalities or "Autonomisation"', 138.

14 Leon Trotsky, 'Platform of the Left Opposition', Challenge of the Left Opposition (1926-27) (New York, 1980), 344-9.

15 Leon Trotsky, 'Independence of the Ukraine and Sectarian Muddleheads', Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939- 40), (New York, 1973), 48.

16 Ibid.
http://reference.allrefer.com/country-g ... on128.html
Although Vladimir I. Lenin believed that eventually all nationalities would merge into one, he insisted that the Soviet Union be established as a federation of formally equal nations. In the 1920s, genuine cultural concessions were granted to the nationalities. Communist elites of various nationalities were permitted to flourish and to have considerable self-government. National cultures, religions, and languages were not merely tolerated but in areas with Muslim populations were encouraged.

These policies toward the nationalities were reversed in the 1930s when Stalin achieved dictatorial control of the Soviet Union. Stalin's watchwords regarding nationalities were centralism and conformity. Although Georgian, Stalin pursued a policy of drawing other nationalities closer to the Russian nationality ( sblizhenie--see Glossary). He looked toward Russian culture and language as the links that would bind different nations together, creating in the process a single Soviet people who would not only speak Russian but also for all intents and purposes be Russian. Native communist elites were purged and replaced with Russians or thoroughly Russified persons. Teaching the Russian language in all schools became mandatory. Centralized authority in Moscow was strengthened, and self-governing powers of the republics were curtailed. Nationalities were brutally suppressed by such means as the forced famine of 1932-33 in the Ukrainian Republic and the northern Caucasus and the wholesale deportations of nationalities during World War II, against their constitutional rights. The Great Terror and the policies following World War II were particularly effective in destroying the non-Russian elites. At the same time, the onset of World War II led Stalin to exploit Russian nationalism. Russian history was glorified, and Soviet power was identified with Russian national interests. In the post- World War II victory celebration, Stalin toasted exclusively the Russian people while many other nationalities were punished as traitors.

The death of Stalin and the rise of Nikita S. Khrushchev to power eliminated some of the harshest measures against nationalities. Among the non-Russian nationalities, interest in their culture, history, and literature revived. Khrushchev, however, pursued a policy of merger of nationalities ( sliianie--see Glossary). In 1958 he implemented educational laws that further favored the Russian language over native languages and aroused resentment among Soviet nationalities.

Although demographic changes in the 1960s and 1970s whittled down the Russian majority overall, they also led to two nationalities (the Kazaks and Kirgiz in the 1979 census) becoming minorities in their own republics and decreased considerably the majority of the titular nationalities in other republics. This situation led Leonid I. Brezhnev to declare at the Twenty-Fourth Party Congress in 1971 that the process of creating a unified Soviet people had been completed, and proposals were made to abolish the federative system and replace it with a single state. The regime's optimism was soon shattered, however. In the 1970s, a broad national dissent movement began to spread throughout the Soviet Union. Its manifestations were many and diverse. The Jews insisted on their right to emigrate to Israel; the Crimean Tatars demanded to be allowed to return to Crimea; the Lithuanians called for the restoration of the rights of the Catholic Church; and Helsinki watch groups (see Glossary) were established in the Georgian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian republics. Petitions, samizdat (see Glossary) literature, and occasional public demonstrations voiced public demands for the rights of nationalities within the human rights context. By the end of the 1970s, however, massive and concerted efforts by the KGB had largely suppressed the national dissent movement. Nevertheless, Brezhnev had learned his lesson. Proposals to dismantle the federative system were abandoned, and a policy of further drawing of nationalities together (sblizhenie) was pursued.

Language has often been used as an important tool of the nationality policy. According to the Constitution, the Soviet Union has no official language, and all languages are equal and may be used in all circumstances. Every citizen has the right to be educated in his own language or any language chosen by him or his parents. Nevertheless, demography and Soviet policies have made Russian the dominant language. Under Brezhnev, Soviet officials emphasized in countless pronouncements that the Russian language has been "voluntarily adopted" by the Soviet people as the language of international communication, has promoted the "social, political, and ideological unity" of Soviet nationalities, has enriched the cultures of all other nationalities in the Soviet Union, and has given "each Soviet people access to the treasure of world civilization." Russian has been a compulsory subject in all elementary and secondary schools since 1938. In the schools of all the republics, where both a national language and Russian were used, science and technical courses have been mainly taught in Russian. Some higher education courses have been available only in Russian. Russian has been the common language of public administration in every republic. It has been used exclusively in the armed forces, in scientific research, and in high technology. Yet despite these measures to create a single Russian language in the Soviet Union, the great majority of non-Russians considered their own native language their first language. Fluency in Russian varies from one non-Russian nationality to another but is generally low, especially among the nationalities of Soviet Central Asia. A proposal in the 1978 Georgian Republic's constitution to give the Russian language equal status with the Georgian language provoked large demonstrations in Tbilisi and was quickly withdrawn.

Soviet policy toward religion has been based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism (see Glossary), which has made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and, ultimately, the elimination of religious beliefs. In the 1920s and 1930s, such organizations as the League of the Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Propagation of atheism in schools has been another consistent policy. The regime's efforts to eradicate religion in the Soviet Union, however, have varied over the years with respect to particular religions and have been affected by higher state interests.

Soviet officials closely identified religion with nationality. The implementation of policy toward a particular religion, therefore, has generally depended on the regime's perception of the bond between that religion and the nationality practicing it, the size of the religious community, the degree of allegiance of the religion to outside authority, and the nationality's willingness to subordinate itself to political authority. Thus the smaller the religious community and the closer it identified with a particular nationality, the more restrictive were the regime's policies, especially if in addition it recognized a foreign religious authority such as the pope.

As for the Russian Orthodox Church, Soviet authorities have sought to control it and, in times of national crisis, to exploit it for the regime's own purposes; but their ultimate goal has been to eliminate it. During the first five years of Soviet power, the Bolsheviks executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and over 1,200 Russian Orthodox priests. Many others were imprisoned or exiled. Believers were harassed and persecuted. Most seminaries were closed, and publication of most religious material was prohibited. By 1941 only 500 churches remained open out of about 54,000 in existence prior to World War I.

The German attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 forced Stalin to enlist the Russian Orthodox Church as an ally to arouse Russian patriotism against foreign aggression. Religious life revived within the Russian Orthodox Church. Thousands of churches were reopened and multiplied to 22,000 before Khrushchev came to power. The regime permitted religious publications, and church membership grew.

The regime's policy of cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church was reversed by Khrushchev. Although the church remained officially sanctioned, in 1959 Khrushchev launched an antireligions campaign that was continued in a less stringent manner by his successor. By 1975 the number of operating Russian Orthodox churches was reduced to 7,000. Some of the most prominent members of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and activists were jailed or forced to leave the church. Their place was taken by a docile clergy who were obedient to the state and who were sometimes infiltrated by KGB agents, making the Russian Orthodox Church useful to the regime. The church has espoused and propagated Soviet foreign policy and has furthered the Russification of non-Russian believers, such as Orthodox Ukrainians and Belorussians.

The regime applied a different policy toward the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Belorussian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Viewed by the government as very nationalistic, both churches were suppressed, first at the end of the 1920s and again in 1944 after they had renewed themselves under German occupation. The leadership of both churches was decimated; large numbers of priests--2,000 Belorussian priests alone--were shot or sent to labor camps, and the believers of these two churches were harassed and persecuted.

The policy toward the Georgian Orthodox Church has been somewhat different. That church has fared far worse than the Russian Orthodox Church under the Soviet regime. During World War II, however, the Georgian Orthodox Church was allowed greater autonomy in running its affairs in return for the church's call to its members to support the war effort. The church did not, however, achieve the kind of accommodation with the authorities that the Russian Orthodox Church had. The government reimposed tight control over it after the war. Out of some 2,100 churches in 1917, only 200 were still open in the 1980s, and the church was forbidden to serve its faithful outside the Georgian Republic. In many cases, the regime forced the church to conduct services in Old Church Slavonic instead of in the Georgian language.

The Soviet government's policies toward the Catholic Church were strongly influenced by Soviet Catholics' recognition of an outside authority as head of their church. Also, in the two republics where most of the Catholics lived, the Lithuanian Republic and the Ukrainian Republic, Catholicism and nationalism were closely linked. Although the Roman Catholic Church in the Lithuanian Republic was tolerated, large numbers of the clergy were imprisoned, many seminaries were closed, and police agents infiltrated the remainder. The anti-Catholic campaign in the Lithuanian Republic abated after Stalin's death, but harsh measures against the church were resumed in 1957 and continued through the Brezhnev era.

Soviet religious policy was particularly harsh toward the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Ukrainian Catholics fell under Soviet rule in 1939 when western Ukraine was incorporated into the Soviet Union as part of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Although the Ukrainian Catholic Church was permitted to function, it was almost immediately subjected to intense harassment. Retreating before the German army in 1941, Soviet authorities arrested large numbers of Ukrainian Catholic priests, who were either killed or deported to Siberia. After the Red Army reoccupied western Ukraine in 1944, the Soviet regime liquidated the Ukrainian Catholic Church by arresting its metropolitan, all of its bishops, hundreds of clergy, and the more active faithful, killing some and sending the rest to labor camps, where, with few exceptions, they perished. At the same time, Soviet authorities forced some of the remaining clergy to abrogate the union with Rome and subordinate themselves to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Prior to World War II, the number of Protestants in the Soviet Union was low in comparison with other believers, but they have shown remarkable growth since then. In 1944 the Soviet government established the All-Union Council of Evangelical Christian Baptists to give the government some control over the various Protestant sects. Many congregations refused to join this body, however, and others that initially joined the council subsequently left. All found that the state, through the council, was interfering in church life.

The regime's policy toward the Islamic religion has been affected, on the one hand, by the large Muslim population, its close ties to national cultures, and its tendency to accept Soviet authority and, on the other hand, by its susceptibility to foreign influence. Since the early 1920s, the Soviet regime, fearful of a pan-Islamic movement, has sought to divide Soviet Muslims into smaller, separate entities. This separation was accomplished by creating six separate Muslim republics and by fostering the development of a separate culture and language in each of them. Although actively encouraging atheism, Soviet authorities have permitted some limited religious activity in all the Muslim republics. Mosques functioned in most large cities of the Central Asian republics and the Azerbaydzhan Republic; however, their number had decreased from 25,000 in 1917 to 500 in the 1970s. In 1989, as part of the general relaxation of restrictions on religions, some additional Muslim religious associations were registered, and some of the mosques that had been closed by the government were returned to Muslim communities. The government also announced plans to permit training of limited numbers of Muslim religious leaders in courses of two- and five-year duration in Ufa and Baku, respectively.

Although Lenin found anti-Semitism abhorrent, the regime was hostile toward Judaism from the beginning. In 1919 Soviet authorities abolished Jewish community councils, which were traditionally responsible for maintaining synagogues. They created a special Jewish section of the party, whose tasks included propaganda against Jewish clergy and religion. Training of rabbis became impossible, and until the late 1980s only one Yiddish periodical was published. Hebrew, because of its identification with Zionism, was taught only in schools for diplomats. Most of the 5,000 synagogues functioning prior to the Bolshevik Revolution were closed under Stalin, and others were closed under Khrushchev. For all intents and purposes, the practice of Judaism became impossible, intensifying the desire of Jews to leave the Soviet Union.

http://www.jamestown.org/publications_d ... sue_id=456
The Russian SFSR had no republican institutions because "Russia" and the "Soviet Union" were conflated into one identity. In the Soviet era, Russian nationalist groups had a completely different agenda from nationalist groups in the non-Russian republics. Russian nationalism was similar to British, which sought to maintain an empire or great state and prevent the secession of outlying regions. Non-Russian nationalism sought to establish independent states and was therefore more analogous to Irish nationalism within Great Britain. Russian dissident groups, like that of Mikhail Gorbachev, did not seek to take the Russian SFSR out of the Soviet Union, but merely to "democratize" it. Today no major Russian political group--again unlike nationalist groups in the non-Russian successor states--seeks to withdraw Russia from the Commonwealth of Independent States.


This was very different to Russian experience in the Soviet Union. Prior to the formation of the USSR in 1922, Russian identity was shaped within an all-Russian imperial framework, not a nation-state. This supra-national identity continued after the fall of the tsar. Russian identity is therefore more imperial and statist than ethno-cultural. As we see in the case of Ukraine, only regions with strong ethno-cultural identities (those in the west and center) can mobilize the population. Where identity is confused, regional or civic-territorial, as in eastern and southern Ukraine, mobilization has proved difficult. In addition, groups that cut across ethnic lines (Russian-speakers, for example) tend to reduce mobilization and thus ethnic conflict. In contrast to the weak performance of pure ethnic Russian parties, those who champion supra-national ideologies (such as the Communists) are more successful in attracting voters.



Because the Soviet Union promoted Russian identity only within the framework of an all-Soviet supra-national identity, there is a lack of an identity grounded in ethno-cultural terms. The post-Soviet Russian identity is thus an amalgam of Soviet, pan-eastern Slavic and Russian imperial constructs rather than a purely ethnic Russian one. According to a poll taken in the summer of 2001 by the Public Opinion Foundation only 68 percent of Russians consider themselves Slavs. Twenty-eight percent believe "Slav" is equivalent to "Russian," 16 percent believe "Slav" applies to all three eastern Slavs and 6 percent said "Slav" includes other ethnic groups as well.

bratello
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Post by bratello » 23 May 2005 12:06

Molobo, your posting is a worthy effort to substantiate your point of view. However, since it is not, say, a historical documents that should be presented in its entirety, but rather a theoretical article expressing a particular point of view, your own synopsis of the main points of the articles would have made for an easier reading. Just a friendly suggestion and sorry if I stepped into the moderator's territory. Regards.

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