Constructing Ethnopolitics in the Soviet Union: Samizdat, by Dina Zisserman-Brodsky

By Dina Zisserman-Brodsky

Dissident ethnic networks have been an important self reliant establishment within the Soviet Union. Voicing the discontent and resentment of the outer edge on the regulations of the heart or metropole, the dissident writings, referred to as samizdat highlighted anger at deprivations imposed within the political, cultural, social, and monetary spheres. Ethnic dissident writings drew on values either inner to the Soviet approach and foreign as assets of legitimation; they met a divided response between Russians, with a few privileging the solidarity of the Soviet Union and others sympathetic to the rhetoric of nationwide rights. This specialise in nationwide, instead of person rights, in addition to the appropriation of ethnonationalism via political elites, is helping clarify advancements because the fall of the Soviet Union, together with the superiority of authoritarian governments in newly self sufficient states of the previous Soviet Union.

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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.

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