After almost four centuries of expansion, at the beginning of the twentieth century the Russian Empire covered vast territories of the Eurasian continent and encompassed an immensely diverse population. In contrast to the fates of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire remained largely intact as a territorial and political entity. However, the diversity of the population and the emphasis on national communities and national rights in contemporary world politics made intranational relations an important issue for the new regime that had been established on the ruins of the old empire. How was the new state to deal with the heterogeneity and the complexity of its population? This work is about the strategies adopted by the Soviet regime in what the Bolsheviks often referred to as the “national question”. Considering the Bolsheviks’ original approach, Soviet policies in this field were quite unexpected. In fact, the role of nationality came to be a distinctive and peculiar feature of the Soviet system.


National Identity Central Committee Local Perspective Soviet Regime Soviet State 
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© Arne Haugen 2003

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