10504 The Nationality Question in the USSR/Russia 1917-1991 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Political Science

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including two of the following: Democracies and Dictatorships: Comparative Politics,2 Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union/Russia, Europe: Cradle of Nationalism. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course is based on a reader in Hebrew and English, edited by Ya’akov Roi.

The course deals with the development of Soviet policy as it pertains to nationalities within the Soviet Union and the many peoples living there. It also addresses various aspects of the nationality question and of relations of the central government with the periphery, and of Moscow with the Soviet republics and other areas inhabited by minority populations.

The course describes the government’s attempts to solve the problem both on the theoretical and the practical level; the gaps between the declarative level and policy actually implemented, alteration between concessions and inflexibility, and finally complete failure as the tensions grew and surfaced. The course also surveys the efforts of the nationalities within the Soviet Union to realize their aspirations and rights in various periods between 1917-1991, the increasing sense of frustration among the various national movements, and finally the deterioration before the final breakup and the collapse of the Soviet Union – a process in which the question of nationality played a major role.

Topics: Introduction; Marxist-Leninist ideology and the nationality question; The federal structure of the Soviet Union; The nationality policy of the Soviet regime in practice; The economic, demographic and ecological aspects of the nationality question; The emergence and development of opposition groups among the nationalities; The development of nationalistic trends, factions and movements in the Soviet Union; The contribution of the nationality question to the breakup of the Soviet Union; The development of nationality policy in the former USSR republics after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.

2or Democracies and Dictatorships: Ideas, Contexts, Regimes (10660, 3 cr.) which is no longer offered.