The rise and fall of Soviet Union: the empire of nations

The USSR was the first State in history to organize itself as a federation of ostensibly equal sovereign nations, yet in its actuality it was more like an empire with a dominant metropole ruling over a multinational periphery. The original intentions of the Soviet leaders to move beyond nationalism ultimately gave way to the creation of coherent and conscious nations in some of the Soviet republics, and once the center disintegrated under Gorbachev, the union did as well. This paper explores the aims, practices, and contradictions of Soviet nationality policy from Lenin to Stalin and on to Gorbachev to understand both the power and the fragility of the Soviet socialist federation.

USSR; Empire; Nationalities; The Russian Revolution

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