ISBN-10:
0801486777
ISBN-13:
9780801486777
Pub. Date:
12/15/2001
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 / Edition 1

The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 / Edition 1

by Terry MartinTerry Martin

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Overview

The Soviet Union was the first of Europe's multiethnic states to confront the rising tide of nationalism by systematically promoting the national consciousness of its ethnic minorities and establishing for them many of the institutional forms characteristic of the modern nation-state. In the 1920s, the Bolshevik government, seeking to defuse nationalist sentiment, created tens of thousands of national territories. It trained new national leaders, established national languages, and financed the production of national-language cultural products.

This was a massive and fascinating historical experiment in governing a multiethnic state. Terry Martin provides a comprehensive survey and interpretation, based on newly available archival sources, of the Soviet management of the nationalities question. He traces the conflicts and tensions created by the geographic definition of national territories, the establishment of dozens of official national languages, and the world's first mass "affirmative action" programs.

Martin examines the contradictions inherent in the Soviet nationality policy, which sought simultaneously to foster the growth of national consciousness among its minority populations while dictating the exact content of their cultures; to sponsor national liberation movements in neighboring countries, while eliminating all foreign influence on the Soviet Union's many diaspora nationalities. Martin explores the political logic of Stalin's policies as he responded to a perceived threat to Soviet unity in the 1930s by re-establishing the Russians as the state's leading nationality and deporting numerous "enemy nations."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801486777
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/15/2001
Series: The Wilder House Series in Politics, History and Culture
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,093,681
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Terry Martin is Associate Professor of History at Harvard University.

What People are Saying About This

The New Yorker

"In the popular imagination, the Soviet Union was always synonymous with Russia, but in the U.S.S.R.'s early days Soviet leaders had a very different idea in mind: they wanted to establish a true multinational, multiethnic empire.... Yet, as Martin shows in this fascinating history, simply giving an order was not enough, even in the Stalin years, and the complex relationship between socialism and nationalism in places like Ukraine often frustrated Soviet intentions."

Foreign Affairs

"Martin significantly advances our understanding of the early, formative years of Soviet nationality policy, providing a subtle and lucid reconstruction of its unique conceptual underpinnings and its stormy evolution.... Martin's work is more than an important contribution to the field of Soviet history; it is a critical piece in comprehending contemporary Ukrainian and Russian nationality."

Mark R. Beissinger

"Martin has produced the most detailed study of the origin of the Soviet regime's contradictory policies toward its minorities. The Affirmative Action Empire is one of the most important books on Soviet nationalities policies ever published. It will be an instant classic in its field."

Michael F. Gretz

"Martin's book is fascinating and enlightening.... After reading Martin's book, one is left with the impression that Stalin's weight in the nationalities debate as a significant factor in his victory."

Amanda Wood Aucoin

"Terry Martin looks at the nationalities policy of the early Soviet period and offers an insightful, detailed analysis of a problem that Soviet leaders grappled with throughout the twentieth century. As he points out, it was a problem that eventually helped to usher in the end of the USSR."

Norman M.Neimark

"In this important new book, Terry Martin analyzes the emergence of the Soviet multinational state in the 1920 s and Stalin's move to promote the concept of the 'Friendship of the Peoples' in the 1930s. With exhaustive research in theRussian archives, Martin has captured the USSR'S paradoxical policy of fostering the development of its constituent nations, while seeking to bring them under Moscow's strict control."

The New Yorker

"In the popular imagination, the Soviet Union was always synonymous with Russia, but in the U.S.S.R.'s early days Soviet leaders had a very different idea in mind: they wanted to establish a true multinational, multiethnic empire.... Yet, as Martin shows in this fascinating history, simply giving an order was not enough, even in the Stalin years, and the complex relationship between socialism and nationalism in places like Ukraine often frustrated Soviet intentions."

Customer Reviews