By Dina Zisserman-Brodsky
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Additional resources for Constructing Ethnopolitics in the Soviet Union: Samizdat, Deprivation, and the Rise of Ethnic Nationalism
They also demanded the separation of the autonomous republics from the Russian Federation (thereby providing them with the option of joining the Soviet Union independently) and the breakup of the Transcaucasian Federation. Each proposal was rejected by the Congress. According to Goble, the ratification of the First Constitution of the USSR by the Second Congress of Soviets of the USSR (31 January 1924) marked the demise of ethnic politics and the emergence of the nationality question. From this point onward, neither the anti-Communist rebellion in Georgia (1924), the peasant resistance movement in Central Asia, nor the individual rebellions of several local Communist leaders could bring about any significant changes in the existing situation.
Chornovil, a future leader of the Ukrainian movement (and one of the most powerful politicians in independent Ukraine), was tried in Lviv for his book on the prosecution of Ukrainian intellectuals. In his final plea, he expressed his wonder at an attempt by the authorities to link him with Ukrainian nationalism: “It appears that I am a nationalist in addition to everything else. In fact, I have never dealt with the nationality question in my appeals. ”12 A Letter by Young Jewish Activists from Riga addressed to students in Israel and the United States (February 1969), reported on an attempt at selfimmolation committed by a nineteen-year-old mathematics student, Ilya Rips.
Furthermore, whereas the revolutionary potential of the class struggle had been exhausted by the late 1930s, Stalin found that ethnic stratification could be a serviceable counterpart. 22 Mass deportations had been a common practice of the Communist regime since its very inception, but all previous deportations were carried out against members of social groups (class enemies)—not against ethnic groups. ” During the brief but significant period of Khrushchev’s “thaw,” the Soviet leadership dissociated itself from the extremes of Stalin’s nationality policies.