The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation: National identities in Russia 9781138711600, 9781315200392

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The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation: National identities in Russia
 9781138711600, 9781315200392

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Notes on the Contributors
1 Introduction
2 Origin and Power: Russian National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order
3 Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places
4 In Quest of Values: Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period
5 Nationalism and Internationalism: How did the Bolsheviks Cope with National Sentiments?
6 Ethnicity and Nationalism in Contemporary Russian Ethnography
7 Russia in the 1990s: Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy
8 The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries
9 The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation: Perceptions of the New Russian National Identity
10 Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy

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The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation

National identities in Russia

Edited by CHRIS J. CHULOS and TIMO PIIRAINEN University of Helsinki

First published 2000 by Ashgate Publishing Reissued 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park,Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an iriforma business

Copyright © Chris J. Chulos and Timo Piirainen 2000 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Publisher's Note The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of this reprint but points out that some imperfections in the original copies may be apparent. Disclaimer The publisher has made every effort to trace copyright holders and welcomes correspondence from those they have been unable to contact. A Library of Congress record exists under LC control number: 99076159 ISBN 13: 978-1-138-71160-0 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978-1-315-20039-2 (ebk)

Contents Notes on the Contributors


1 Introduction Chris J. Chulos and Timo Piirainen



Origin and Power: Russian National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order Elena Hellberg-Hirn



Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places Chris J. Chulos



In Quest of Values: Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period Arto Luukkanen


5 Nationalism and Internationalism: How did the Bolsheviks Cope with National Sentiments? Timo Vihavainen



Ethnicity and Nationalism in Contemporary Russian Ethnography Kaija Heikkinen



Russia in the 1990s: Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy Thomas Parland



The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries Ralph Tuchtenhagen



The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation: Perceptions of the New Russian National Identity Timo Piirainen


10 Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy Jeremy Smith



Notes on the Contributors

Dr. Chris J. Chulos is a Researcher and lectures at the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of numerous articles about peasant religion and identity, and the forthcoming book Religion, Community, and Nation in Provincial Russia: Peasant Piety in a Modernizing World, J861-1917. Dr. Kaija Heikkinen is a Researcher at the Karelian Institute at the University of Joensuu, Finland. She has written extensively on ethnicity, gender and ethnic minorities (especially Finno-Ugric peoples) in Russia. Professor Elena Hellberg-Hirn is Senior Researcher of the Academy of Finland currently working at the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki, with a project devoted to St Petersburg facing its tercentenary. She has published extensively on Russian culture and is the author of Soil and Soul. The Symbolic World of Russianness (Ashgate, 1998). Dr. Arto Luukkanen is a Docent of Russian history and adjunct associate professor at Renvall Institute of Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki. He is the author of The Party of Unbelief, The Religious Policy of The Bolshevik Party, 1917-1929 Studia Historica 48 (Helsinki: Finnish Historical Society, 1994) and The Religious Policy of The Stalinist State. A Case Study: The Central Standing Commission on Religious Questions, 1929-1938 Studia Historica 57 (Helsinki: Finnish Historical Society, 1997). Dr. Thomas Parland is a Senior Research Officer at the Foreign Ministry of Finland. He is the author of The Rejection in Russia of Totalitarian Socialism and Liberal Democracy: A Study of the Russian New Right (Helsinki, 1993) and is currently working on a book titled The Spectre of the Right-Wing Conservatism is Haunting Russia. vi

Notes on the Contributors vii Dr. Timo Piirainen is Docent at the Department of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki. Among other publications on the social transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, he is the editor of the volume Change and Continuity in Eastern Europe (Dartmouth, 1994) and the author of the book Towards a New Social Order in Russia. Transforming Structures and Everyday Life (Dartmouth, 1997). Dr. Jeremy Smith is a Researcher and Lecturer in Russian and East European History, with especial reference to national minorities, at the Department of Russian and East European Studies of the Renvall Institute of Area and Cultural Studies at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of The Bolsheviks and the National Question, 1917-1923 and is currently working on a broad history of nationalities in the USSR. Dr. Ralph Tuchtenhagen is Assistant Professor at the Institute of East European History at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has written extensively on Russian, Baltic, and Finnish history and is the author of Religion als minderer Status. Die Reform der Gesetzgebung gegenuber religiosen Minderheiten in der verfafiten Gesellschaft des Russischen Reiches 1905-1917 (1995). He has also edited Zwischen Reform und Revolution. Die Deutschen an der Wolga 1860-1917 (1994). Dr. Timo Vihavainen is Docent at the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies at the University of Helsinki. He has written extensively on Russian and Finnish history and is the author of Stalin ja Suomi (Stalin and Finland, 1998), Kansakunta rahmdllddn (A Nation on its Knees. A Short History of Finlandisation, 1991), Suomi neuvostolehdistossd 19181920 (Finland in Soviet Newspapers, 1988).

1 Introduction


For the first time in its history Russia exists as a nation-state and not as an empire. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant the end not only of the Soviet version of socialism and internationalism, but also the Soviet empire. The disintegration of the empire and the drifting apart of the 'family of peoples' held together by Soviet power has necessitated a redefinition of Russian national identity. Empire and the mission to spread the socialist doctrine and Russian civilisation to the neighbouring territories can no longer be among the basic constituents of the national self-understanding. The Russian Federation of today consists of many nationalities and Russia as a state has a strongly multi-national character, much as its imperial and Soviet predecessors had. The post-1991 situation is, however, different in that large territories with non-Russian majorities are no longer semiindependent republics, but independent nations. The titular national groups that live within the Russian Federation as autonomous republics are much smaller than those in the former Soviet Republics of Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan are, and in the majority of these republics the titular nationality is only a minority. As the case studies of this book show, internationalism and acceptance of multi-cultural realities continue, despite the loss of the empire, to be important features of national identity in contemporary Russia. The relationship between titular and other nationalities living in the territory of Russia is, however, being redefined and renegotiated as the perception of Russia and Russianness changes. The objective of this volume is to study these changes in Russian national identity and self-understanding. The multi-disciplinary approach presented here examines the formation and re-formation of national identity from the perspectives of history, sociology, political science and cultural studies. Despite their diversity of disciplinary and topical focus, the articles can be organised according to three main themes: (1) identity formation and ideology in historical contexts, (2) nationality politics and the definition of nationalities, (3) contemporary national identity. Together these studies form a comprehensive picture of Russian national identity, its historical formation, national self-understanding during the Soviet era, and development of a new national identity in the post-Soviet era. 'Origin and Power,' Elena Hellberg-Hirn's article that opens the volume, presents the basic visual symbols of Russia which serve as the tradi-

2 Chris J. Chulos and Timo Piirainen tional constituents of identity for the Russian state, empire, and nation. Hellberg-Hirn's article provides a historical introduction to visual symbols and their relevance in national identity from the early days of imperial Russia to the post-Soviet period. As these symbols and their meanings developed and transformed over the centuries, they legitimated the centralised power of the Russian state. Visual symbols that represent the order of things in time and space correspond to social and political worlds. While Hellberg-Hirn's article offers a historical introduction to the construction of Russian national identity, the articles by Chris Chulos and Arto Luukkanen look at identity formation and ideology at specific historical moments in which religion was viewed both positively and negatively as an important part of identity-building. In 'Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places', Chulos concentrates on the process of claims-making in the re-definition of Orthodox Christian identity in a Russian monastery town at the beginning of the twentieth century. Chulos' study illustrates definition and re-definition of identities at several different levels. In the turbulent social situation brought about by the rapid modernisation of society, new ideologies challenged old ones as local, national, and religious identities were all contested. In his article, 'In Quest of Values. Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period,' Luukkanen describes the internal debate of the Communist Party in the 1920s concerning religious identities, both Christian and Muslim, and offers insights on the development of 'identity politics' during the first decade of the Soviet Union. Nationality policy is the second major theme of the book. Three articles explicitly address this issue. Timo Vihavainen's analysis of Soviet nationality policies in 'Nationalism and Internationalism. How Did the Bolsheviks Cope with National Sentiments' is essential reading for understanding many of the more detailed case studies later in the volume. Vihavainen shows how Soviet power, most notably in Central Asia, used the creation of nationalities and the construction of corresponding identities to divideand-rule non-Russian populations. In the first phase of this policy, the development of national institutions, vernaculars, cultures, and distinct identities in the Soviet republics was strongly encouraged by officials in Moscow, at least in part in order to create a diversity of national units that would not be susceptible to 'undesired influences' such as those of panTurkic or pan-Islamic movements. In the second phase, the heralds of the newly created national institutions, the intelligentsia and political leadership in the Soviet and autonomous republics, were, according to the ruthless Stalinist 'dialectics', then destroyed in order to ensure that these national entities remained docile members of the Soviet 'family of nations'. Soviet rule differed from other colonial regimes in its systematic attempt to create national institutions and identities in colonised territories - and in its unsurpassed systematic ruthlessness with which any signs of national-

Introduction 3 ism were then suppressed among the indigenous population of these territories. The Soviet Union left an ambiguous legacy to the new independent states that were formed in its territory. Soviet authorities strove to create a universal supra-ethnic identity at the same time a number of subordinate national identities were allowed to exist quite independently. For Russians - the 'core nation' of the former empire - internationalism is likely to remain a major element of the new national identity. In the case of the titular nationalities in the new independent states, this internationalist dimension is, by contrast, gradually giving way to an interpretation of national identity that is largely based on ethnicity and common origin. The results of this process of re-interpreting national identity vary greatly from state to state. In 'Ethnicity and Nationalism in Contemporary Russian Ethnography', Kaija Heikkinen examines nationality politics and identity-building from the point of view of ethnography and describes the process of claimsmaking among Russian scholars concerning the definition of nationalities and national groups. Thomas Parland's study of nationalist extremism and extremist argumentation in contemporary Russian political discourse, 'Russia in the 1990s: Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy', provides an account of the most important ultra-nationalist - or 'national patriotic', as the Russian term goes - movements and also an introduction to the basic concepts and intellectual currents related to the nationalist extreme right in Russia. In Parland's opinion, the 'red-brown alliance', the shift of the Russian communists to the camp of the 'national patriots', is one of the dominant features of the modernisation process going on in post-Soviet Russia. As a specialist on the Russian extreme right, Parland argues that 'national patriotic' arguments have a chance of becoming mainstream in the process of claims-making concerning the new national identity. The 'red-brown alliance' has the role of a challenger and all the other political groups are forced to answer this challenge. In the political discourse that shapes national identity in the media, the extreme right has more influence than what its political weight might at first glance suggest. The final section of the book examines meanings of national identity in contemporary Russia. Ralf Tuchtenhagen, in 'The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries', focuses his attention on the development of national identities in the Baltic countries. After the fall of the tsarist regime in Russia, these countries experienced a twenty-year period of national independence that lasted until Soviet occupation during the Second World War led to their re-annexation. This brief experience of independence vis-a-vis other Soviet republics is undoubtedly one of the reasons for the different trajectories of the Baltic states and the CIS countries in the post-Soviet

4 Chris J. Chulos and Timo Piirainen period. Since the Baltic countries never experienced the era of the Soviet 'nation-building' in the 1920s and 1930s, many social and cultural mechanisms that function as a bulwark for a 'genuine' national identity were left intact. Tuchtenhagen argues that during the period of independence between the two world wars, the national identity of the Baltic countries was predominantly defined in negative terms, that is, in opposition to the former masters - the Germans, the Poles, and most importantly, the Russians. This predominantly negative definition of identity helped to preserve a sense of national integrity through the decades of Soviet hegemony. Timo Piirainen's article, 'The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation. Perceptions of the New Russian National Identity', examines the main characteristics of national identity on the level of everyday life in today's Russia. Piirainen's article is based on a case study conducted in St. Petersburg; the research data consists of qualitative interviews with schoolteachers about national identity. Piirainen concludes that among this sample population, internationalism and acceptance of multi-cultural realities continue to be basic traits of Russian self-understanding even after the collapse of the multi-national Soviet empire. On the level of everyday life, schoolteachers understood Russia first in cultural terms as an entity that unites peoples, and not in terms of ethnicity, territory, or citizenship. An important element of national self-understanding for these teachers is the perception of Russia as having a 'civilising' mission. Through Russian culture, different peoples with conflicting national interests are^or were) brought into communion - an idea similar to the 'white man's burden' that prevailed in (other) colonial empires. As this imperial tolerance towards different nationalities and ethnic groups continues to be a major aspect of national self-understanding in postSoviet Russia, it seems unlikely that ultra-nationalist movements - however loud and aggressive they may appear in their populism - will become dominant political forces capable of articulating the popular mood of disillusionment and discontent. In this way, the Russia of today is quite different from the Germany of the 1930s to which it is often compared. The volume concludes with Jeremy Smith's examination of the development of national identities in the autonomous republics and regions within the borders of present-day Russia ('Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy'). Here the situation is different from that of the newly independent Soviet republics in the sense that ethnicity, national culture, and common or'gin are in the majority of the cases not likely to form a basis for a radical redefinition of identities established during the Soviet era. Chechenia and Tatarstan - for very different reasons - are the exceptions. The Russian Federation may continue to proceed towards a stage of further territorial disintegration in the future, but in most autonomous republics and regions, the major cause of secession is unlikely to be the titular nat-

Introduction 5 ionality's redefinition of identity, but a further deterioration of the economic situation throughout Russia. The articles in this volume have their specific approaches and subject matters, but together they form a mosaic of national identity in contemporary Russia and some of the countries neighbouring it. A common thread that brings cohesion to these very different articles is the multiplicity of meanings 'Russianness' has had. As with all national identities, what at first appears to be a coherent thing is often an aggregate of sets of elements or traits which can be combined in a variety of ways by different people, groups, and interested parties. Russia does not fit the well-known dichotomy of basic types of nationalism, ethnic and civic, but instead is held together by a cultural nationalism. After decades of authoritarian and totalitarian rule, it is unrealistic to expect a sudden collective identification with the new 'democratic' national institutions of today. Civil society that could be autonomous from the state was beginning to take shape in the last decades of tsarist Russia, but after 1917, its prospects soon turned bleak as the Soviet notion of citizenship, quite different from that in the western democracies, began to emerge. As Ilja Srubar foresaw in his 1991 article 'War der reale Sozialismus modern?',1 one of the dominant features of the transition in the former Soviet Union has been the disintegration of society into primary groups that are unscrupulously self-seeking. This has created a social situation that hardly contributes to the development of civic virtues usually associated with the idea of citizenship. The current impotence of the Russian state raises questions about political legitimacy and is hardly conducive to the development of civic nationalism. According to the authors of this volume, the rise of ethnic nationalism does not seem to be a likely development either. In general, ethnic nationalism has not been very characteristic of former colonial powers; the dominance of ethnicity as the criterion of nationality is, in the first place, typical of relatively new and small nation-states. Nations with a long imperial past usually define the criteria that regulate the inclusion into and exclusion from the imagined community of the nation in more generous terms than smaller nations that have recently escaped from the imperialism of others. This type of nationalism, which, in countries like Britain, France and the Netherlands, has taken decades and centuries to transform into civic nationalism, may be called 'cultural nationalism' for the simple reason that culture has been an important legitimation for colonial rule. Yet, as in the former Soviet Union, one consequence of these empires' demise has been a protracted and often bitter redefinition of identity in the parent nation, be it a question of political devolution, as in the United Kingdom, or spheres of influence, as in French and Dutch foreign affairs. And this

6 Chris J. Chulos and Timo Piirainen says nothing about other challenges to notions of unified national identity such as those shaped by cultural, economic, and social background. Among former empires, Russia is a special case. Its colonies did not consist of overseas dominions, but it extended its dominance from the European centre of its power directly towards the periphery, over vast territories in the very heart of the Eurasian continent. In the words of Aleksandr Ahiezer,2 Russia perceives itself as a promezhutochnaya tsivilizatsiya, a civilisation that is situated between west and east, between cultures and civilisations, and thus is destined to always have a dichotomous identity. As Elena Hellberg-Hirn points out in her article, the two-headed eagle, with the one head looking to the west and the other to the east, continues to be a key symbol for understanding Russian national identity. Endnotes 1

Srubar, Ilja (1991): 'War der reale Sozialismus Modern? Versuch einer strukturellen Bestimmung', Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, vol. 43, 3:1991. 2 Ahiezer, Aleksandr (1993): Dumy o Rossii. Ot proshlogo k budushchemu, Gumanitarnyi tsentr 'Strategiya', Moscow.

2 Origin and Power: Russian National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order ELENA HELLBERG-HIRN

The nation creates and re-creates itself through continuous symbolic discourse about its present and future, by referring to its past. The sedimentations of national identity offer alternative designs in the political strife for power. Symbols of national identity and myths of national past, being employed in the political discourse, serve as legitimation of power and political leadership. At the same time, the legitimation of power by the rulers on the one hand, and the willingness to accept and appreciate power and leadership by the ruled on the other, are mutually reinforced by belief in shared national values. In a recent contribution to the topic of power legitimation, Pertti Sadeniemi (1995) argues that it is hard to formulate a conceptual structure that would help you to proceed without allowing illusions to replace reality. This is why the realist school has so long dominated the theory of international relations. Political legitimacy, as it is understood in this study, is an empirical and a social-scientific concept, as opposed to a normative or a juridical one. It is also relational. Legitimacy is claimed by a political leadership on the grounds of one principle or another; it is acknowledged or rejected by those over whom power is exercised, on the same grounds or on different ones (Sadeniemi 1995, 13). An important point has been made by David Beetham on the relationship between legitimacy and people's beliefs: 'A given power relationship is not legitimate because people believe in its legitimacy, but because it can be justified in terms of their beliefs. This may seem a fine distinction, but it is a fundamental one' (Beetham 1991, 11). National identity's passage into vogue, in Paul Gilroy's words, has been mirrored in conservative, authoritarian and right-wing thought, which has regularly attempted to use both enquiries into identity and spurious certainty about its proper boundaries to enhance its own interests, to improve its ca-

8 Elena Hellberg-Hirn pacity to explain the world and to legitimate the austere social patterns that this kind of thinking favours. 'The crisis involved in acquiring and maintaining an appropriate form of national identity has appeared repeatedly as the principal focus of this activity. It too makes a special investment in the idea of culture, for nations are presented as entirely homogeneous cultural units staffed by people whose hyper-similarity renders them interchangeable' (Gilroy 1996, 37). In the political discourse of our days, the ethnic and cultural agglomerate of the Russian nation is usually rendered by oversimplified stereotypes: either by a presumed pure and essential ethnocentric Russianness, or by statist territoriality. What is definitely missing is the open acknowledgement of Russian national identity as multiethnic and multicultural. Today, the volatile concept of identity belongs above all to the important debate in which multiculturalism is being redefined outside the outmoded conventions that governed its earlier incarnations, especially in the educational system' (Gilroy 1996, 47-8). Noting the frequency with which the noun 'identity' appears coupled with the adjective 'cultural', Paul Gilroy makes a further comment: 'This timely pairing is only the most obvious way in which the concept "identity" directs attention towards a more elaborate sense of the power of culture and the relationship of culture to power' (Gilroy 1996, 36).1 Need for Legitimation As a matter of fact, the introduction of national elements and the development of a 'national consciousness' in Russia were to a significant extent the by-products of Western influence. The Russian school education gave only a somewhat dry and uninspiring catalogue of facts concerning Russia's past, or sang paeans in praise of Russian rulers and feats in the mistaken belief that these could lead to a genuine understanding of national traditions. (Raeff 1966, 143). However, the history of Russia is far from a school-book parade of rulers and victorious feats; rather, as Nikolai Berdiaev stated in his Russian idea, it has been marked by catastrophic development including palace coups, royal murders and assassinations, false pretenders, uprisings and revolutionary turnovers.2 Since the power, frequently grasped by a deliberate act of violence, was thus in need of justification, it had to be made legitimate by some alleged ultimate goal embracing highest social values; in other words, claims to power had to be teleologically and axiologically grounded. To those holding power, the question of legitimacy as a rule is a matter of great importance. 'Political leaders claim legitimacy; that is, they wish those

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 9 subject to their power to believe that their power is rightfully held, and that the holders are people to whom their office can properly be trusted. Where no such belief exists, no legal argument and no ceremonial pomp can conjure up "legitimacy" in any sense that would make a difference in empirical terms' (Sadeniemi 1995,21). Where political power goes hand in hand with class status and privilege, the arguments of power legitimation regularly go together with the need to legitimate privilege and inequality in general. Where power is exercised by an ideological movement, the ideology furnishes the bulk of the necessary justifying arguments. Contrasting to this legitimation from above, the beliefs and opinions of the people over whom the power is exercised form the substantive content of legitimation from below (ibid., 23). Dennis Wrong in his book on power puts the general argument of legitimacy of the power from above in the following way: 'a need to believe that the power they possess is morally justified, that they are servants of a larger collective goal or system of values surpassing mere determination to perpetuate themselves in power, that their exercise of power is not inescapably at odds with hallowed standards of morality' (Wrong 1979, 103). But alas, the role of morality as a political force is largely left unexplored! As to the teleology of the power justification, the national goals usually imply utilitarian (common good), imperial (control and expansion of the territory), missionary (religious salvation of the people), and nationalistic aims (enhanced glory of the nation). The goals and the means to achieve them tend to overlap and amalgamate in a set of cultural key concepts used for national identification. For Russia, such key concepts of nationalism are The People (Narod), Homeland (Rodina), Holy Russia (Svyataya Rus\ Great Power (Derzhava), all imbued with the highest axiological values representing Truth, Beauty and Justice. And it is their strong emotional appeal that enables their applicability in defending and justifying the Russian claims of hegemony over other nations, or the suppression and exploitation of other ethnic groups and minorities inhabiting the territory of the Russian state.3 The highest national goals (Rodina, Derzhava) are in Russia traditionally connected to the image of a powerful leader. At present, according to the opinion poll reported in Nezavisimaya gazeta (24.01.96), Peter I appears as the most popular of all Russian rulers. It is commonly known that Peter I was motivated to his violent transformation of Russia not only by the utilitarian goals of the Enlightenment, but first and foremost by his vision of the Russian state as a great European power. He managed to turn the stagnant pious Muscovy into the secularised Russian Empire. Although by his contemporaries he was widely believed to be an illegitimate ruler, an Antichrist, and a changeling, the myth of Peter the Great as god on earth was soon created by the admiring posterity.4

10 Elena Hellberg-Hirn Sentiments about Peter clearly indicate the belief that the greater power of the Russian state would result in the greater happiness of the Russian people as a whole (Raeff 1966, 181). The Petrine reforms were the culminating point for the evolution of the secular state; for that very reason many of them were designed to eliminate the outworn symbols and rituals of the former eschatologically oriented Christian society; therefore they tended to emphasise sharply the ideological difference between past and present. Hence, for many Russians, the Russian Empire appeared as quite different and new, created ex nihilo. But, at the same time, the emperor carried with him the whole tradition of the ruler, Christ-like in person and in power, a tradition which, when Christ became irrelevant, made of the emperor a god on earth. (Chemiavsky 1961, 85, Uspenskii 1994.) The authoritarian power system was thus in the end always legitimated by the divine will. Also the idea of the monarch as the deus ex machina in solving the problems of his subjects that we find in eighteenth-century novels, comic operas, social criticism, and Utopias, fitted well into the notions of enlightened absolutism and state paternalism (Raeff 1966, 190). The traditional view of the tsar as father (batiushka) of the nation was part of the paternalistic pattern of power. The image of Peter as parent became particularly frequent after the 1721 Treaty of Nystadt, when he was officially declared otets otechestva ('the father of his country'). Throughout the eighteenth century, empresses were also called the 'mothers' of their country. The image of Russia as newly born was to continue throughout the eighteenth century and was often seen as a source of superiority to the dying countries of Europe (Baehr 1991, 209). The national myth of Peter the Great embodies the Russian archetype of power: the family metaphor. Father-reformer, taking care of the family of his people, Peter carried out the historical project of connecting Russia to Europe, himself actively partaking literally in everything; he was, in Alexander Pushkin's words, 'an eternal worker on the throne' (which, in the former country of the dictatorship of the proletarians, was the quality that greatly contributed to his extraordinary popularity). Richard Wortman has observed that the presentations of the Russian monarch were mythical in two senses of the word: they imitated or made reference to heroic and legendary archetypes, and they provided an animated political myth of rule. This was a world of beginnings, a world of fathers, a world of firsts and bests (Wortman 1995, 7). Metaphor created the image of a monarch without debt to the past. Peter was compared to the Apostle Andrew and the emperors Augustus and Constantine. But most of all, Peter wished to be identified as creator. When he accepted the title of imperatorfromthe senate in October 1721, the rhetoric of the speeches raised him to a supreme being.... Imperator placed him in the company of the pa-

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 11 gan emperors of antiquity rather than the Christian emperors of the Byzantine empire. The adoption of the title of emperor turned a tsarstvo into an imperia. The renaming marked a cultural transformation (Wortman 1995, 68). It is nevertheless remarkable that the above mentioned opinion poll (carried out by the Russian Independent Institute of Social and National Problems during the autumn of 1995) reveals that the appreciation of Peter the Great (54 per cent) is many times higher than that of all the other leaders of Imperial and Soviet Russia. (Catherine the Great, e.g., was supported by 13 per cent of the interviewees; Alexander II, 9 per cent; Khrushchev, 10 per cent; the period of stagnation, 17 per cent, but the Perestroika and the liberal reforms only 4 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.) As to Peter, the highest estimation of his rule, over 60 per cent, came from Central Russia, from the traditionally conservative and nationalistic southern region. Also in the interviews with Russian teachers made in St. Petersburg in 1996, the tendency to estimate Peter I as the greatest national leader is clearly prominent.5 The myth of Peter the Great reveals popular longing for a hard-working leader endowed both with absolute power and a reformatory vision of the future. But the unique popularity of Peter is undoubtedly also based on his determination to connect Russia with Western Europe, which evidently conforms with the expectations of the population after the collapse of the former Soviet isolationism. This points to the persistence of the modernisation goal moulded after the Western model: for contemporary Russians who are well aware of Peter's Westernising reforms and their statist and cultural success, the collapse of the Soviet modernisation project is felt to be all the more disappointing. Besides, the utilitarian goals of Peter's policy support the secular version of the paradise myth still prevailing in Russian culture (Baehr 1991); its non-religious aspects seem to be highly acceptable for the secularised population strongly conditioned by the social Utopia of the communist myth. Stephen Lessing Baehr noticed in the preface to his book on the paradise myth, devoted to the visions of an ideal world in Russian culture: 'In tracing the roots of such visions, I found myself moving further and further into the past. By the time I reached the Primary Chronicle, I had come to conclude that since that famous day in 987 when the emissaries of Kievan Prince Vladimir reportedly experienced "heaven on earth" at an Orthodox cathedral in Constantinople, the quest for an earthly paradise has been one of the central focal points of Russian literature and culture; only later did I understand that paradise has also provided one of the prime means of propagandising the Russian status quo' (Baehr 1991, ix).

12 Elena Hellberg-Hirn Dynasty and Power The sovereign power of the Russian monarchs has been legitimated by divine right and by the blessing of the Orthodox Church (patrimony), by force of tradition of power (the dynastic succession law of male primogeniture), or by a new power conquering the old one. Only once in Russian history, the sovereign right to rule the state was supported by a democratic decision of the very first Duma, in its choice of Mikhail Romanov as the Muscovite tsar in 1613. The Empress Elizabeth was the first one who came to the Russian throne in 1740 claiming her right to power by her origin as daughter of Peter I.6 However, the dynastic claims on power were not always self-evident. The male line of the Romanovs ended five years after Peter's death, in 1730, with his grandson Peter II; the rest of the century saw three empresses, one of them (Catherine II) a German princess quite unrelated to the Russian dynasty, and an emperor (Peter III), a Duke of Holstein, related by blood and not at all by culture or ideology. All of these were playthings of the Russian gentry, which made up the Guards regiments stationed in the capital. The Sovereign Emperor was such an abstraction that a German woman could fill the position', as Michael Cherniavsky (1961,91) ironically comments. The secular, absolutist state in Russia, as elsewhere, was symbolised by the final step in the evolution of the ruler-myth: for, if the rationale in the case of the saint-princes was the sanctification of power by the person, and in the case of the pious tsars the sanctification of the person by power, now power sanctified power (Cherniavsky 1961, 89). Peter I embarked on another violent act of cultural imposition, like Prince Vladimir's Baptism of Kievan Rus; he recast the image of tsar in terms of a myth of conquest and power. The image of conqueror thus disposed of the old fictions of descent. The image of the monarch as conqueror, as bearer of foreign attributes, had been fundamental to the mythology of Russian powerfromthe earliest chronicles. The Varangian lineage, the descentfromAugustus, the seizure of the Byzantine regalia, and the discovery of the affinity with the kings of antiquity all defined rulers as wielders of an autonomous, political authority based on the capacity to exert force. ... The primitive founder came from outside and invaded as a conqueror, denying the prevailing mortal order to assert a new form of authority more ruthless and irresistible than the old (Wortman 1995,41,44). Nevertheless, both dynasty and origin imply a continuity of power, and, consequently, the claims on power over the territory of Russia are made legitimate by reference to origin. And, after all, it is the common territory, language and tradition, i.e., continuity in space and time, that keeps folk and a nation together. The virtue of origin, of being there first, at the moment of

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 13 creation, in primordial or very early times, connects the creature and the Divine Creator with the myth of Origin of the world (Eliade 1991,21-56). Russian political discourse (now again, after a Soviet interval) makes ample use of various Orthodox symbols as signs of common origin. Icons, crosses, churches, clergy, liturgy, saints, religious processions, church holidays, etc. demonstrate belonging to the only Right Faith. Also the places and persons connected to the origins of the Russian Orthodoxy, such as Kiev, St. Vladimir, St. Andrew, the oldest monasteries and churches, served earlier (and serve again) as embodiments of Holy Russia. Historical sites connected to the birth of the Russian nation, and the old capitals (Novgorod, Kiev, Vladimir, Moscow) symbolically represent the origin of the Russian state and the Russian autocracy. The legitimacy of the sovereign power of the Russian monarch is supported by legends of the alleged kinship with the Roman Emperors, via the Viking conqueror Rurik. He is believed to be the grounder of Rus according to the Russian Primary Chronicle of the twelfth century which begins with the words: 'The tale of bygone years from which the Russian land has come...'. Also the well-known History of the Princes of Vladimir, written in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, advanced the legend that Russian princes were descended from Emperor Augustus through his brother, Prus, the ruler of Prussia. The focus of the account was a double one. By their birth, through the legendary Prus and through his direct descendant Rurik, the Russian princes were the heirs of the legitimate Roman emperors; through their power and glory, however, the Kievan ancestors of the Muscovite princes acquired imperial rank from the legitimate emperors of Constantinople, the Second Rome (Cherniavsky 1961,41). Centre and Origin Traditionally, the political centre of the national territory, i.e. the capital city, represents the summit in the hierarchy of power and authority. As the place of the royal or presidential residence, and thus the symbol of origin, the centre refers to the new beginnings, to the mythical theme of renovation. The power and the initiative, the commands and the bans always radiate from the centre to the periphery. For two centuries, Moscow and St. Petersburg competed as the centres of absolute power during the Imperial period of Russian history. The recently renamed St. Petersburg tries to forget the Leningrad part of its existence, the traumas of the Soviet era, and its role as 'the cradle of the October revolution'. The former ex-centric centre of the empire is now a provincial city in

14 Elena Hellberg-Hirn the periphery of the Russian Federation, while the political power again originates from the Moscow Kremlin, as in the days of the old Muscovy. The Soviet Union is gone, but the central power pattern of territorial representation remains part of Russian national identity. The construction of the Russian Empire contributed to the formation of Russian identity as strongly centred, highly exclusive and exclusivist form of cultural identity. 'It knows itself as the centre and is able to place everything else as the "other", be it the colonised other or any less powerful other' (Hall 1991, 20-21). Such an identity conceives of itself as the centre where history was being made and it tends to place and recognise everybody else as peripheral. National identity justifies various political claims 'forged amidst the cultures of terror that operate at the limits of a belligerent imperial system' (Cultural Studies 1996, 47). In the encounter between cultures, power is always involved, especially if one culture possesses a more developed economic and military basis. Whenever there is a conflictive and asymmetric encounter between different cultures, be it by means of invasion, colonisation or extensive forms of communication, the issue of cultural identity arises (Larrain 1994, 141-2). Various kinds of kinship and territorial claims, religious and cultural claims, claims of political self-determination and economic self-rule, teeming with potential conflicts, are emerging in the contemporary Russian Federation. 'The nation-state could not remain the central legitimising principle brought to bear upon the analysis of the cultural relations and forms that subsumed identity. ... Henceforth, identities deriving from the nation could be shown to be competing with subnational (local or regional) and supranational (diaspora) structures of belonging and kinship' (Cultural Studies 1996, 47). The brutal force used by the former Russian Empire against other ethnic groups in the process of colonisation and Russification of Central Asia, Siberia, and finally the Caucasus during 1830-1880 undoubtedly created strong feelings of guilt, which were projected into the need to idealise ethnic Russianness; but by the same token, colonisation promoted the emergence of a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Russian state. This process intensified during the Soviet period with its official internationalism and the alleged 'friendship of the peoples'. Needless to say, the Russian people continued to rank first and foremost, given the inherited paternalistic and colonial patterns of power, and Russian remained the common language of the Union, in a similar manner as it was earlier the official language of the Empire. Still, there existed the overlapping myth of brotherhood among the more than one hundred differed ethnic groups, minorities and nationalities inhabiting the former empire, and a synthetic over-national Soviet identity, which

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 15 nowadays is challenged by the nationalist revival. The lost geographical identity of the different ethnic groups had to be restored, in their search for authenticity, to create a more congenial national origin than that provided by imperial history and by the very superstructure of state power. 'One of the first tasks of the culture of resistance was to reclaim, rename, and reinhabit the land' (Said 1993, 273). As Edward Said points out, imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence, of long-standing territorial possession 'which dominates, classifies, and universally commodifies all space under the aegis of the metropolitan centre' (Said 1993,272). The nationalist revival in the Russian Federation challenges the centrality of this imperial vision that is registered and supported by the culture that produced it, then to some extent disguised it, and also was transformed by it. The salient fact of this centrality was absolutely constitutive of the whole nature of the Russian and Soviet political and social order. In this hegemonic order, the united symbolisms of origin and power coincide at the centre. An exceedingly hybrid, impure and complex relationship conceals the teleology of power for the sake of power itself. Legitimation by History Another variant of legitimation by tradition, apart from dynasty, territory, myth and religion, is hidden in the appeal of history. Marc Raeff mentioned in his Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia that Russian history was little taught in the schools, and it was poorly known in good society throughout almost the entire eighteenth century; on the other hand, universal history was better taught and better known, a fact that contributed to the isolation of the educated Russian from the historical experience of his nation. Paradoxically, it was his acquaintance with universal history that led the Russian intellectual to become aware of his lack of contact with both the Russian tradition and the Russian people. ... Their Western heritage only deepened the isolation of the Russian intellectualsfromthe state and the people. The task of Russian nationalism consisted, therefore, in creating this bond between the elite and the people. It happened that this was the direction advocated by the new ideas, which spread under the guise of sentimentalism. For the latter's stress on the emotional bond with the people and of the spiritual role of the folk and popular traditions found resonance in the young nobleman as he faced leaving the protective isolation of his school. In sentimentalism's call for a return to nature and its glorification of the simple folk, the young serviceman heard an echo of his own early years, when he was in the care of peasant nurses and tutors and played with the village children ... Rediscovery of his nation on emotional rather than rational grounds might well have helped to recall childhood fancies (Raeff 1966, 158-159).

16 Elena Hellberg-Hirn The notion of narod, the people or folk, is a cultural construct born in the 1830s by the Slavophiles who rejected the Westernised and alienated course of Russian life. The Slavophiles and their opponents, the Westerners, represented the newly born Russian intelligentsia: estranged, superfluous, rootless, educated by Western standards, but foreign for its own people. In the value vacuum after the Napoleonic war of 1812 and the crushed Decembrists Uproar of 1825, the alienated and guilt-ridden owners of peasant serfs looked for national roots in the past in search of alternative models for the future. Since the reign of Peter I, the ruling classes, the Russian aristocracy, lived in a different culture, speaking French at home and imitating everything foreign. The Tsar family was by the end of the nineteenth century hardly Russian at all, since practically every Russian monarch, beginning with Peter I, married a foreigner, preferably of German origin. The educated Russians, and especially the Slavophiles, intellectually split and longing for unity, nourished a sentimental dream, an idyll of the artificially rosy folk life reminding of popular broadsheets of the lubok In the wake of the German Sentimentalism and Romanticism, they created a nostalgic vision of the Russian past: a guaranteed simple and stable world in a complex and changing society. This awakened interest for the people and the folklife gave, however, the necessary impulse to the study of Russian history, folkloristics, and ethnography as scientific disciplines. The ethnographic descriptions and representations of peasant culture gradually contributed to the construction of amalgamated Russian identity, which was aimed to stand for the whole, united nation. The result of all this was to hasten, or consolidate, the emergence of'two nations' (to use Disraeli's famous phrase coined in another context): the nobility and the peasants (or rather the educated class of servicemen and the commoners in general). All efforts of the landlords to impose changes and new patterns (whether they were beneficial or not) on their serfs only increased their alienationfromthe people. Not only was the serfs' economic and legal situation horrible, but even the language and the feeling of belonging to the same nation, which they once had shared with their masters, were rapidly lost. To many serfs their masters were like foreign conquerors, hardly better than the Tartars, against whom, of course, everything was permitted. ... Whenever they could the peasants destroyed the nobles and their property with passionate hatred, as if they wanted to eradicate everything connected with the nobles' values and way of life. Nothing but mutual suspicion and fear could come of the gap dividing serffrommaster (RaefF 1966, 79-80). What looks as a historical fact is often part of a historical myth: the land, the folk, even the national problems are cultural constructs. Cultural expression of identity is less straightforward than might first appear, because ethnic groups have their subdivisions, often invisible for outsiders, and the question of whose culture gets taken as the culture of the entire group, may be hotly

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 17 contested. 'Thinking of social problems less as givens and more as cultural objects draws attention to the artificial construction of any one problem and to the implied meanings that are conveyed when a problem gets defined in one way and not another' (Griswold 1994, 113). In practice, national identities are always biased in favour of the dominant cultural group. The Russian national identity is no exception: not surprisingly, we find ethnocentric Russian, imperial, male power ideology projected into the national myth. In the political rhetoric based on male power ideology, not only the female voices are left out of the pale of political discourse. Also the ethnic diversity, the various subcultures, the endless mutations in space and time, the existing multicultural quality of Russia are topics nearly absent from the current nationalist discussion about the future of Russia. While ethnic identity is exclusive and can only be acquired by birth, national identity is inclusive, it stands over and above the specific cultural traits of all the groups in the society in question. It does not mean, though, that the Russian national identity should be equated with and legitimated by the Russian ethnicity, and least of all by the unreflective beliefs and limitations of the nationalist-oriented Russian Idea. All too often no real difference is perceived between the notions russkii (ethnic Russian) and rossiiskii (national or statist Russian). Nationalist ideas were developed in Imperial Russia by middle class and popular movements seeking to win a place in the public realm. Their references to the narod implied models of society derived from their defence of pre-industrial peasant life. Against the threat of industrial town, they proclaimed a reconstructed rural ideal, based on the pre-industrial combination of crafts making use of national products and the extended family based on patriarchal tradition. But this model only imperfectly reflected a past that had been much less organic and coherent. Legitimation by tradition always gives the traditionally oriented people the right to dominate: old over young, males over females, indigenous over foreigners and migrants. It leaves the social hierarchies unchanged and even unquestioned. The imperial motif is woven into the structures of popular culture, fiction, and the rhetoric of history, philosophy, and geography. With the rise of ethnography there was a codification of difference between 'us' and 'the others'. And there is a significant interchange between ethnography and colonial work: 'Of all the modern social sciences, anthropology is the one historically most closely tied to colonialism, since it was often the case that anthropologists and ethnologists advised colonial rulers on the manners and mores of the native people' (Said 1993, 184). Nothing appears more ancient and linked to immemorial past than national traditions, though they are most often the products of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 'Traditions' which appear or claim to be old

18 Elena Hellberg-Hirn are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented, as Eric Hobsbawm states in the introduction to The Invention of Tradition. Invented traditions 'seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past. In fact, where possible, they normally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable historic past' (Hobsbawm 1983, 1). In the present post-Soviet Russia the nationalist, monarchist and religious revival is mainly based on imitation and invention of traditions in order to connect to the suitable parts of the historical past which were thoroughly concealed during the Soviet era. The Soviet totalitarian mythology inherited the Russian power myth connected to the strong leader, as well as the old paradise myth, transformed into the communist Utopia of the ideal society on earth. The Soviet mythology offered a vision of future happiness and justice for everyone, provided the unquestioned support, love and trust for the centralised power represented by the almighty and (in principle) immortal party and its leader. The monotheist party cult was in reality a power cult: The Party was as omnipresent, anonymous, mysterious and omnipotent as a divine power' (Gozman and Etkind 1989, 166). Symbolic Discourse In the contemporary political rhetoric about the future of Russia, the symbols of the past power and origin (such as the double-headed eagle, the Orthodox cross, the old national colours, etc.) promise the possibilities of turning the present course of events towards harmony and order, towards a happy and prosperous society, away from the disorder of the post-Soviet transitional period. The realist principle seems frequently to be replaced by illusions about reality. But ideologies usually involve very strong interests. When the Soviet society collapsed, it affected innumerable individuals who had built their whole lives on the socialist principle and its established applications. In the nostalgic perspective of the nineties, before perestroika the Soviet people lived in the best of societies, while nowadays they live in the worst. Residual adulation of Stalin as a powerful leader is, even after the collapse of the Soviet empire, still a political influence to be reckoned with; likewise, there is no reason to believe, that the doctrinal legitimacy of the Communist Party rule evaporated from the power game. The titles alone of two recent books written by the candidates to the post of the President of the Russian Federation, the Communist leader Zyuganov's Derzhava and General Lebed's Za derzhavu obidno, indicate statist and populist speculations on the immediate mobilising effect of the image of Russia as a humiliated Great Power. The nationally oriented Russian writers used (and use) the

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 19 ethnographic and historical material to idealise, mythologise, and 'utopianise' the Russian status quo and the Slavic past.8 Nevertheless, as the result of the delegitimation of the Soviet power, the population of Russia nowadays inhabits different social worlds, ranging from the totalitarian to the liberal-democratic. The heterogeneity and the time lag in the development of the political consciousness in the post-Soviet society is as striking a feature of the contemporary situation as the divergence in the economic development and the heterogeneity in the power structures. The stresses and disorders of the present situation explain the regressive appeal of simple political stereotypes of bygone days which provide a feeling of security, especially among the elder generation who lost the privileges of the Soviet system without being able to accommodate to the system change. In time of confusion and mind-bogglingly rapid changes, the public space appears split: instead of the old Communist Party monologue, the people have to get used to a polyglossy, if not a cacophony, of conflicting political symbols and messages (Inoe 1995). Especially on the days of the former Soviet state holidays, such as the anniversary of the October Revolution, on May Day, or Victory Day on the 9th of May (in 1996 reintroduced as a National holiday after a five-years break), the public space offers a contradictory array of visual myth-making; there are the renovated symbols of imperial autocracy (the new double-headed eagle complete with imperial crowns, orb and sceptre) along with the Soviet red stars and hammer-and-sickle. Also the display of national colours ranges from the Soviet red, via the renewed Russian white-blue-red, to the blackyellow white monarchist flag, the former official flag of the Romanov Empire. After perestroika, the public demonstrations in Russia turned from being a proof of loyalty to the Soviet state and its social order to protest actions of various hues (Zdravomyslova and Temkina 1994). Enhanced order, stability, effectiveness as the main benefits that flow from legitimacy are claimed by the participants in the power game. Culture provides meaning and order through the use of symbols. They are cultural constructs that evoke a variety of meanings, some of which may be ambiguous. Symbols connote, suggest, imply. They evoke powerful emotions (just think how many people have died for a flag!) and can often both unite and disrupt social groups (Griswold 1994, 19). On the 7th of November, on May Day, or on Victory Day, the signs and slogans referring to Patriotism, Russia as Great Power, and the Army as the guarantee of the strong centralised power, remain the important areas of symbolic display. On these days the uniformed officers and elder civilians proudly wearing Soviet military awards usually demonstrate their attachment to the values of the Soviet Homeland they defended in the Great Patriotic War. The strong emotional impact of these patriotic symbols help to gain support for nationalist and statist political parties and their goals.

20 Elena Hellberg-Hirn However, it is also important to stress that what we deal with here is not a fixed given, but a process. The legitimating convictions of a population do not form a congruent system, and very different opinions can coexist in contemporary Russia: communist, neo-liberal, neo-Slavophile, monarchist, fascist ideologies compete in the political space, all of them engaged in a symbolic discourse about the democratic, traditional, reformist or conservative task, and about the image of the strong and charismatic leader. This leader is usually supported by appropriate national symbolism, as e.g. Orthodox blessings, bread-and-salt, vodka and troika, and/or the power image supplied by the army. The symbolic confusion in the contemporary political discourse reflects the confusion in the interpretation of the mythologems of national selfidentification: Narod, Rodina, Derzhava, Rossiya. Are these keys to Russian nationality to be considered essentialist expressions of the Russian soul, and thus eternally true and valid - or are they changing, ambivalent, maybe irrelevant? The principle of nationality is widely believed to be philosophically disreputable and politically reactionary. But if we are to understand the power of nationality as an idea in the modern world - the appeal of national identity to the modern self - we must try to understand its inner logic, as David Miller argues in his article In Defence of Nationality (Miller 1993, 6). National identities are a proper part of personal identities. To have a national identity is to think of oneself as belonging to a community constituted by mutual belief, extended in history, active in character, connected to a particular territory, and thought to be marked off from other communities by its members' distinct traits; they serve to distinguish nationality from other sources of personal identity. But we should not forget about the implicit mythical aspects of national identity. Nations almost unavoidably depend on beliefs about themselves that do not stand up well to impartial scrutiny (ibid., 8). The real question, however, is not whether national identities embody elements of myth, but whether they perform valuable functions. According to Miller, 'nationality answers one of the most pressing needs of the modern world, namely how to maintain solidarity among the populations of states that are large and anonymous, such that their citizens cannot possibly enjoy the kind of community that relies on kinship or face-to-face interaction'. Miller argues further that nationality is the main source of such solidarity. And it is precisely because of the mythical and imaginary elements in the national identity that it can be reshaped to meet new challenges and new needs (ibid., 9). In presenting a selective story of its past, in rewriting history (as practised in the late Soviet Union and elsewhere), the imaginary aspect of national identity may become a source of strength. Or, as Kenneth Minogue puts it,

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 21 Nationalist theories may thus be understood as distortions of reality, which allow men to cope with situations, which they might otherwise find unbearable (Minogue 1967,148). In the multifarious political discourse of our days, a nostalgia for a simple, familiar and secure, understandable world is demonstrated. The Utopian qualities of the Russian Dream about a happy society, the mythical vision of a golden age, of a land of milk and honey where the soul lives blissfully, at peace with itself and the world. 'Although today this mythical vision is largely eclipsed, it is likely, given historical and cultural patterns in Russia, that this tenacious myth of an earthly paradise will someday return. If it does, not only the future but also the past will determine the form it will take', as Stephen Lessing Baehr observed somewhat prophetically not so many years ago(Baehrl991,68). Conclusion If nationalism is the most universally legitimate form and the universally legitimate value in the political life of our time (Anderson 1983, 13), it is not surprising that the symbols embodying national myths of the People, the Leader, the Homeland are used as important instruments for political manipulation seeking to re-legitimate central power. The strong - though largely unconscious - emotional impact of these myths and symbols provide a short-cut into the teleology and axiology (goals and values) encoded in the national stereotypes shared by both the rulers and the ruled. The symbolic terrains of the divine, the body, and the violence (Lerner 1991) still largely define the vertical and the horizontal patterns of relationship in the changing Russian society. The people, i.e. the post-Soviet citizens, are the habitual forgers and propagators of the national myths, thus allowing themselves to be manipulated. They also participate in the social and political discourse, they become enchanted by the past glory of the nation, feeling part of the supra-individual unity of the Derzhava. Their attitudes to the construction of the national identity must also be involved in the analytical approach, although we at the moment know deplorably little about these attitudes.9 Identities are necessarily plural, and different ones come to bear in different contexts. In Russia, the national identity of the current statist discourse has dominion over religious, professional, family, tribal, ethnic, gender, class and countless other identities. 'It must continuously hide the fact that this has not always been, and need not always be the case ... Currently, the primacy of the citizen identity is so pervasive that the past is often redefined to coin-

22 Elena Hellberg-Hirn cide with this view. Any historian is aware of this anachronism, but the timelessness of the nation depends upon people forgetting it' (Lerner 1991, 425). Among the political symbols of contemporary Russia, the congeniality of the renovated double-headed eagle must be duly appreciated. The old symbol of the past, the Imperial eagle has mutated from black to white; it has lost the emblems of the subjugated nations; but the old symbols of the imperial hegemony, the crowns, the orb, and the sceptre, are left unchanged. The new eagle of the Russian Federation displays uncertainty in the dilemmas of choice between east and west, between Europe and Asia. One of its heads is turned towards the past, the other towards the future. Is it the problematic and chaotic today that the eagle does not dare to face? As to the social phenomena in general, and the Russian ones in particular, they should be seen in their totality: they are at the same time economic, juridical, moral, aesthetic, religious, mythological and socio-morphological. 'Their meaning can therefore only be grasped if they are viewed as a complex concrete reality, and if for convenience we make abstractions in studying some institution we must in the end replace what we have taken away if we are to understand it', as E.E. Evans-Pritchard saw it.10 The mythological and symbolic aspects of the social and political reality have been largely overlooked by the positivist-oriented theories of the realist school. Similarly, these theories downplay the thoughts and actions of those who receive cultural messages, who interpret, accept, or reject some of the suggested meanings. Integrating these aspects in the scientific discourse about the so called reality will give a possibility of understanding the contemporary political symbols and the national power myths of Russia slightly more clearly. To be sure, the realists are not realistic enough if they do not take people seriously as moral agents, or recognise that what the powerful can get others to do depends on normative and emotional considerations as well as upon the resources and organisational capacities at their command (Beethaml991,29). National identity has become an important idea precisely because it is a hinge concept that can help to maintain the connective tissue that articulates political and cultural concerns. But it also offers an emergency exit from politics: identity becomes a means to open up those realms of being and acting in the world which are prior to and somehow more fundamental than political concerns (Cultural Studies 1996, 38). Yet just as human beings make their own history, they also make their cultures and ethnic identities. No one can deny the persisting continuities of long traditions, sustained habitations, national languages, and cultural geographers, but there seems no reason except fear and prejudice to keep insisting on their separation and distinctiveness, as if that was all human life was about, as Edward Said reminds us.

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 23 It is more rewarding - and more difficult - to think concretely and sympathetically, contrapuntally, about others than only about 'us'. But this also means not trying to rule others, not trying to classify them or put them into hierarchies, above all, not constantly reiterating how 'our' culture or country is number one (or not number one, for that matter). For the intellectual there is quite enough of value to do without that (Said 1993,408). Legitimacy as the sum of the moral or normative aspects of power relationships rests on the inherited and constantly reinforced superiority-inferiority pattern, and power relations governing the social order and access to (or exclusion from) key resources, activities, and privileged positions of command are themselves capable of generating the evidence needed for their own legitimation: evidence about the fitness or appropriateness of people to exercise domination thus tends to be structured by the relations of power themselves. Thus, the self-legitimating character pertaining to 'rules of power' (Beetham 1991, 60-3) ultimately relies on the consent of the subordinate and subjected, and both derive from the rules which have originally determined their initial powerlessness, and also serve to reinforce them. Endnotes 1

On concepts of identity, see: Paul Gilroy (1996), 'British Cultural Studies and the Pitfalls of Identity', Cultural Studies and Communications, 35-49. There he argues that the concept of identity tangles together three overlapping but basically different concerns. a) Identity - self: The endlessly mutable nature of unnatural humanity can be revealed in conspicuous contrast between different historically and culturally specific versions of the boundedness of the human person. Labour, language and lived interactive culture have been identified as the principal media for evaluating this social becoming. The hierarchy and status of visible differences, whether they are based on signs like age and generations, or the modern, secular semiotics of 'race' and ethnicity. The ideal of universal humanity certainly appears in a less attractive light once the unsavoury exclusionary practices that have surrounded its coronation at the centre of bourgeois political culture are placed on display (38-39). b) Identity - sameness: Difference exists within identities as well as between them interplay between inner and outer differences: for example, differences within a group can be minimised so that differences between that group and others appear greater. Identity as sameness can be distinguished from identity as subjectivity because it moves on from dealing with the formation and location of subjects and their historical individuality into thinking about collective or communal identities:

24 Elena


nations, genders, classes, generational, 'racial' and ethnic groups. Identity can be traced back toward its sources in the institutional patterning of identification (40). c) Identity - solidarity: Attention to identity as a principle of solidarity asks us to comprehend identity as an effect mediated by historical and economic structures, instantiated in the signifying practices through which they operate and arising in contingent institutional settings that both regulate and express the coming together of individuals in patterned social processes (41). 2

Nikolai Berdiaev, Russkaya ideya, Paris 1946, p. 7.


The work of Michel Foucault on power relations provides us with some helpful analytic tools. Distinguishing between exploitation, domination, and subjection (Foucault 1982, 212), he argues that most analyses of power concentrate on relations of domination and exploitation. The third term, subjection, refers to the dimension of power relations where the identity of individuals and groups is at stake. This is the realm in which culture and power are most closely intertwined (Writing Culture 1986, 260). 4

Although Russian, Peter assumed foreign features from childhood. He never appeared with a beard, the traditional Orthodox sign of godliness. In the early 1690s, he began wearing Western clothing. To the horror of the hierarchy, he ate meat during fasts and remained indifferent to their strictures. Rumours spread among the people that he was a son not of Tsar Alexei, but of a German, and had been substituted for a daughter born to the tsaritsa. Others called him a Swedish pretender from Stockholm (Solovjev, Istoriya Rossii, 8,99-100, quoted in Wortman 1995, 89). 5

Korhonen, Anna, forthcoming; see the article by Piirainen in this volume.


The Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna) was born in 1709 as one of the many illegitimate children of Peter by his common mistress Marta Skavronska. His marriage to her, in secret in 1711, then publicly in 1712, legitimised her as his tsaritsa; she was baptised Catherine I, and later crowned by Peter as the first Russian Empress in 1724. This was a studied affront to traditional Russian susceptibilities. Not only has the emperor married a commoner, but he had done so while his first wife was alive. Peter I intended to marry their daughter Elizabeth to the French monarch Louis XIV, but this arrangement was not successful (most probably because of her low origin), and Elizabeth remained unmarried and (officially) childless. She grasped the power after the death of Empress Anna in 1740 with the help of the Palace Guards, and she was thefirstto introduce self-crowning (Cherniavsky 1966, 90-91). The palace coup supported by the Guards was the model followed by the following empresses, notably Catherine II, too. After her death the Succession Law was altered by her son Paul I back to the strictly traditional patriarchal hereditary order. Otherwise, the unaltered Petrine hereditary law which allowed for female succession might have saved the Romanov dynasty and the last tsar, Nicholas II, who had four healthy daughters, and the only son and legitimate heir incurably sick with haemophilia. These dynastic circumstances obviously played a fatal role in the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917. 7

Ethnographic writing is determined in at least six ways: (1) contextually (it draws

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 25 from and creates meaningful social milieus); (2) rhetorically (it uses and is used by expressive conventions); (3) institutionally (one writes within, and against, specific traditions, disciplines, audiences); (4) generically (an ethnography is usually distinguishable from a novel or a travel account); (5) politically (the authority to represent cultural realities is unequally shared and at times contested); (6) historically (all the above conventions and constraints are changing). These determinations govern the inscription of coherent ethnographic fictions. Even the best ethnographic texts serious, true fictions - are systems, or economies, of truth. Power and history work through them, in ways their authors cannot fully control. Ethnographic truths are thus inherently partial- committed and incomplete, as Writing Culture states (1986,6-7). 8

See, e.g.: Alexandr Dugin (1994), Konservativnaia revolutsiia, Moskva; Russkaia ideia (1992), Moskva; Russkaya natsiya: istoricheskoe proshloe i problemy vozrozhdeniia (1985), Moskva; Russkaya tsivilizatsiya i sobornost (1994,), Moskva; Evgenii Troitskii (1994), O Russkoi idee. Ocherk teorii vozrozhdeniya natsii, Moskva. 9

An investigation of the attitudes of the population of St. Petersburg was undertaken in: Peterburzhtsy. Etnonatsionalnye aspekty massovogo soznaniia. Sotsiologicheskie ocherki (1995), Sankt-Peterburg. There a group of sociologists and psychologists tried to penetrate into the mass consciousness of contemporary Russians. Their diagnosis: belated development, infantile personality-type and split consciousness 'oppressed by the ideological mythology' (ibid, 404-410). See also Piirainen 1997. 10 Marcel Mauss, The Gift, English transl., Routlegde and Kegan Paul 1954. Preface by E.E. Evans-Pritchard, pp. vii-viii.

Literature Anderson, Benedict (1983), Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread ofNationalism, London, Verso, revised edition 1991. Baehr, Stephen Lessing (1991), The Paradise Myth in Eighteenth-Century Russia. Utopian Patterns in Early Secular Russian Literature and Culture, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. Barraclough, Geoffrey (1979), Turning Points in World History, Thames and Hudson. Beetham, David (1991), The Legitimation of Power, Macmillan, London. Cherniavsky, Michael (1961), Tsar and People. Studies in Russian Myths, New Haven and London, Yale University Press. Cultural Studies and Communications (1996), ed. by James Curran, David Morley and Valerie Walkerdine, Arnold. Dugin, Alexandr (1994), Konservativnaya revolutsiya, Moskva.

26 Elena Hellberg-Hirn Eliade, Mircea (1974), The Myth of Eternal Return or, Cosmos and History, Bollingen Series XLVI, Princeton University Press. Eliade, Mircea (1991), Images and Symbols. Studies in Religious Symbolism, Princeton University Press. Ethnic Identity. Creation, Conflict and Accommodation (1995), ed. by Lola Romanucci-Ross and George DeVos, Altamira. Foucault, Michel (1982), 'The Subject and Power', in: Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 208226. Geertz, Clifford (1973), The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, New York. Gozman, L. and Etkind, A. (1989), 'Ot kulta vlasti k vlasti ludei', Neva 7:1989, pp. 156-179. Gozman, L. and Etkind, A. (1991), 'Metafory ili realnost? Psikhologicheskii analiz sovetskoi istorii', Voprosy filosofii 3:1991, pp. 164-173. Griswold, Wendy (1994), Cultures and Societies in a Changing World, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi. Groys, Boris (1992), The Total Art of Stalinism, Princeton University Press. Handelman, Don (1990), Models and Mirrors. Towards an Anthropology of Public Events, Cambridge University Press. Hall, Stuart (1991), 'The Local and the Global: Globalization and Ethnicity', in: A. King (ed.), Culture, Globalization and the World-System, London, Macmillan. Hobsbawm, Eric and Ranger Terence (eds, 1983), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press. Inoe. Khrestomatiia novogo rossiiskogo samosoznaniia (1995), 1-4, Moskva. Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark (1980), Metaphors We Live By, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London. Lane, Christel (1981), The Rites of Rulers. Ritual in Industrial Society - the Soviet Case, Cambridge University Press. Larrain, Jorge (1994), Ideology and Cultural Identity, Polity Press. Lebed, Alexandr (1995), Za derzhavu obidno..., Kirov. Lotman Ju.M. and Uspenskii, B.A. (eds, 1984), The Semiotics of Russian Culture, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Melvin, Neil (1995), Russians Beyond Russia. The Politics of National Identity, Royal Institute of International Affairs. Millennium. Journal ofInternational Studies, Winter 1991, vol.20, no.3. Miller, David (1983), 'In Defence of Nationality', Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol.10, no. 1, pp.3-16. Minogue, Kenneth (1967), Nationalism, Macmillan, London.

National Myths and the Legitimation of Social Order 27 Neumann, Iver B. (1996), Russia and the Idea of Europe. A Study in Identity and International Relations, Routledge, London. Peterburzhtsy. Etnonatsionalnye aspekty massovogo soznaniia. Sotsiologicheskie ocherki (1995), Sankt-Peterburg. Piirainen, Timo (1997), Transforming Structures and Everyday Life. Towards a New Social Order in Russia, Dartmouth, Aldershot. Raeff, Marc (1966), Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia. The Eighteenth-Century Nobility, A Harvest Book, Harcourt Brace & Company. Russkaia ideia (1992), Moskva. Russkaia natsiya: istoricheskoe proshloe iproblemy vozrozhdeniya (1985), Moskva. Russkaia tsivilizatsiia i sobornost (1994), Moskva. Said, Edward W. (1993), Culture and Imperialism, Vintage Books, New York. Sadeniemi, Pentti (1995), Principles of Legitimacy and International Relations, Acta Politica, Gummerus. Snyder, Louis L. (1990), Encyclopedia ofNationalism, New York. Troitskii, Evgenii (1994), O Russkoi idee. Ocherk teorii vozrozhdeniia natsii, Moskva. Uspenskii, B.A. (1994), Tsar i Bog', Izbrannye trudy, vol. I, Moskva, pp.110-218. Wortman, Richard S. (1995), Scenarios of Power. Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, vol. I, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. Writing Culture. The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986), ed. by James Clifford and George E. Marcus, University of California Press, Berkeley. Wrong, Dennis (1979), Power. Its Forms, Bases and Uses, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Zdravomyslova, Elena and Temkina, Anna (1994): 'Oktiabrskie demonstratsii v Rossii: ot gosudarstvennogo prazdnika k aktsii protesta', Sphinx 2:1994, pp. 7699.

3 Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places CHRIS J. CHULOS

'Our Voronezh province has blundered. The so-called saints turned out to be false,' the old nanny exclaimed to her friend. 'What of it, nanny!' replied the friend. 'Saints are supposed to go up to heaven.' The nanny protested: 'Rubbish, dearie! If Tikhon had been a saint, do you think he would have allowed such mockery? Well, in Kiev - there are many true relics and saints, but ours are false' A writer for the Zadonsk Sovetskaia gazeta (Voronezh province) reported this humorous exchange between his children's nanny and her friend in January 1919 after the nationally esteemed relics of saint Tikhon of Zadonsk were exposed as a fraud. As we learn more about the nanny - she is a seventy-year-old woman who took the job six years earlier to be closer to the shrine - and the exchange (her remarks modified a popular joke about the forgery of another local saint, Mitrofan of Voronezh), we realise that she represented enduring popular belief in relics and formidable obstacles in the way of Bolshevik enlightenment.1 When targeting shrines for anti-religious enlightenment forays into the countryside, Bolshevik authorities employed science and national stereotypes. Dramatic 'exposures' of religious fraud were enacted at shrines around the empire, complete with casts of bewildered shrine caretakers (monks or nuns in religious dress), determined local officials (a motley crew of individuals intoxicated by revolutionary sentiments), white-robed scientific examiners (doctors, chemists, pathologists), eager film crews (with photographic or movie equipment), and anxious believers (crossing themselves, weeping, standing in awe). In less histrionic explanations and teachings about the detrimental effects of religion, Bolshevik supporters often invoked an exaggerated negative version of the Nicholaevan trinity of 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality' to prove the guilty association of the Church (including its beliefs and practices) with the autocracy. Part fantasy, part reality, and never decisively proven, the view that the Nicholaevan trinity was a mutually reinforcing system in which the church supported the autocracy endured the Revolution as a mesmerising and mystifying shibboleth.

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 29 Bolshevik opponents of religion were correct in noting the popularity of saints and shrines even though these were hardly 'proof of the interrelationship between religion, politics, and the nation. The historical narrative of Russia included holy places of varying significance, which had satisfied diverse and often conflicting needs of political leaders, pious believers, and curiosity seekers. Prior to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, religious pilgrimage was predominantly an activity of free social estates who visited the most important shrines in Russia, the Holy Lands, and Mt. Athos. Travel to engage in personal contact with hierophantic objects of the faith was quickly absorbed into popular Orthodoxy after 1861 as restrictions on physical mobility were removed.2 Within months of their newly acquired freedoms, peasants literally took to their feet to attend public celebrations in honour of newly discovered relics, or to visit long-revered shrines and favourite saints.3 This explosion of peripatetic energy was promoted and regulated by religious and secular authorities who saw pilgrimage destinations as convenient venues for infusing old symbols of Orthodoxy with new meaning. At Russian holy places, elite constructions of national identity intersected with popular interpretation through the prism of local identity, and, with the help of mass print culture, steam boats, trains, telegraphs, and eventually telephones, enabled ordinary believers to learn about holy places, travel to them, and consequently reconsider traditional culture and reimagine locally-based identity.4 In a contortion of Benedict Anderson's model, which distinguishes between pre-modern 'religious community' and 'dynastic realm,' and the modern 'nation,' late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian national identity combined pre-modern religious cultural symbols with modern secular images of the nation.5 The result was a popular understanding of 'Russia' that was ambiguously modern and equivocally national.6 The power of Orthodox Christianity to evoke ideas of the nation lay in its rich assortment of symbols and rituals which offered regular means of interacting with and imagining ever larger communities of co-religionists. Orthodox theology itself provides the foundational supports for holistic identities in its teachings on the Eucharist and tradition. In its most essential form, the Church reaffirms its existence and renews its unity in Christ during the Eucharistic re-enactment of the last supper. Writing in the fourth century, Gregory of Nyssa explained the Eucharist as an act of spiritual unity: By dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose existence comesfrombread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the Immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption.7

30 Chris J. Chulos The fourteenth-century theologian, Nicholas Cabasilas, employed a corporeal metaphor in his commentary on the divine liturgy: The Church is represented in the holy mysteries, not in figure only, but as the limbs are represented in the heart, and the branches in the root, and, as our Lord has said, the shoots in the vine. For here is no mere sharing of a name, or analogy by resemblance, but an identity of actuality.8 In his synthesis of Byzantine theology, the late-twentieth theologian, John Meyendorff, emphasised the importance of the Eucharist as a symbol of the united Church. Any local church where the 'divine liturgy' of the Eucharist is celebrated possesses, therefore, the 'marks' of the true Church of God: unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. These marks cannot belong to any human gathering; they are the eschatological signs given to a community through the Spirit of God. Inasmuch as a local church is built upon and around the Eucharist, it is not simply a 'part' of the universal people of God; it is the fullness of the Kingdom which is anticipated in the Eucharist, and the Kingdom can never be 'partially' one or 'partially' catholic.9 Extending this metaphor to include tradition, the twentieth-century Russian Orthodox theologian, Sergius Bulgakov, left no room for isolated communities of believers: Orthodox unity, on the contrary, is realised in the world in a different manner, not by unity of power over the entire universal Church, but by unity of faith, and, growing out of this, unity of life and of tradition, hence also the apostolic succession of the hierarchy. This internal unity exists in the solidarity of the entire Christian world, in its different communities, independent but by no means isolated from one another. These communities recognise reciprocally the active force of their life of grace and of their hierarchy; they are in communion by means of the sacraments (intercommunion).10 Though often ignorant of theology, popular Orthodoxy placed the Eucharist and liturgical life at the centre of religious tradition. Liturgical uniformity enabled ordinary believers to imagine their co-religionists were following the same traditions, something that was confirmed during visits to neighbouring parishes, shrines, or wherever hierophantic essence was discovered. In pilgrimages to Russian holy places, peasants were forced to imagine themselves as part of a greater community of Orthodox, first vis-avis believers of neighbouring parishes, then as members of the Russian national church, and finally as part of the Ecumenical church. As peasants worked through these layers of meaning, religious and national identity intersected in reality and imagination - spontaneous and invented.11 Some

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 31 aspects of this actual or imagined coming together of the faithful resembles the unitary harmony of Khomiakov's paradigmatic sobornost and Victor Turner's communitas in which common symbols and rituals serve as an adhesive uniting diverse groups of pilgrims.12 Despite this sense of unity, linguistic and cultural difference reminded pilgrims of their cultural, ethnic, and national difference. Interaction with pilgrims from other parts of the empire, as well as encounters with local cultures along the journey, further reinforced pilgrims' awareness of difference and similarity. Participation in a pilgrimage was a conscious statement of Orthodox Christian identity that required considerable physical and economic sacrifice. Whether a journey to the sacred centre of the world, where heaven and earth meet, or a rite of spiritual passage, pilgrimage was a liminal experience that took believers away from familiar surroundings of mundane everyday life to strange places of increasingly sacred consequence. The main objective was direct contact and interaction with a sacred place, object, or person of the faith with the hope of spiritual effect or thaumaturgical result.13 When a shrine was officially recognised as significant to the fate of the nation, it became the destination of a journey toward modern Russian Orthodox identity. The shrine of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk will be the focus of our attention because it was the first to be used as a symbol of modern Russia. Within a few months of the emancipation of serfs, religious and secular authorities saw a unique opportunity to act upon Tikhon's popularity among peasants by proclaiming his sanctity as a sign of divine support for Russia's new course toward becoming a modern nationhood. Nearly 300,000 peasant pilgrims attended the event and thus were directly introduced to modern Russian Orthodox identity and subsequently became purveyors of it. The shrine of St. Tikhon continued to draw huge crowds of peasants until the end of the empire, but by then it had become a symbol of local pride and provincial Orthodoxy. Shrines as Symbols of Russian Orthodoxy The year-round trickle of pilgrims to most shrines crescendoed before their annual feast days and Easter when thousands of believers visited favourite relics and encountered liturgically their fellow believers. Women were more likely than men to go on pilgrimages which means that national symbols and identity at shrines was, wittingly or not, largely directed at and received by the most important transmitters of culture in peasant families.14 The religious press was filled with stories of local holy people and wonder-working objects that evoked national symbolism. The shrine of Anna of Kashin (Tver province) is one such example. As the daughter of Prince

32 Chris J. Chulos Dmitrii of Rostov, Anna (d. 1368) represented an early type of Russianness defined in opposition to Tatar oppressors. Her biography was a murky jumble in collective memory, which emphasised her willing suffering at the hands of the Tatar she was forced to marry, but also of her maternal attributes as mother of five children. Little more is revealed about her in popular tales except that she founded a monastery in Kashin. In 1650, Anna was 'rediscovered' in popular memory when her remains were opened in the presence of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich and Tsaritsa Mariya Ilinichna.15 Voronezh province was graced with two shrines important to late imperial Russian Orthodoxy. The first, the Annunciation-Mitrofanov Monastery in Voronezh city, was home to the relics of St. Mitrofan. As the first bishop of Voronezh, St. Mitrofan was a provincial religious pioneer whose friendship with Peter the Great and affection for the common people were part of local lore. The other shrine was the Zadonsk Birthgiver of God monastery, which housed the relics of St. Tikhon. As diocesan bishop in the mid-1760s, Tikhon of Zadonsk was known mostly for his affection for commoners and his spiritual lifestyle. Although both Mitrofan and Tikhon were canonised within a 30-year period of each other, they represent different uses of saints by secular and church authorities. Mitrofan's canonisation was a small episode in the history of the national church, while celebrations of Tikhon's sanctity were much grander in scale, promoted a new symbol of the national faith, and gave birth to a new form of popular Orthodox spirituality. The Canonisation of St. Mitrofan of Voronezh The story of Mitrofan began long before the church officially recognised his sanctity. 6 Soon after his death in 1703, pilgrims began to visit his grave in search of spiritual or physical succor. As word spread about wondrous healings at the grave of Mitrofan, the number of pilgrims increased but caused no official interest until his uncorrupted remains were accidentally discovered in 1830 by Archbishop Antonii of Voronezh and monks of the Annunciation-Mitrofanov monastery. Soon, as many as 50,000 pilgrims visited the wondrous remains. Pressed with this growing onslaught of pilgrims, the Holy Synod investigated the matter and in the spring of 1832 verified that Mitrofan's remains were uncorrupted and that stories of miracles attributed to him were true. A public ceremony marking the 'discovery' of the relics was set for 6 August.17 To create a proper atmosphere for the ceremonies, Voronezh governor D.N. Begichev issued two public announcements that were to be read from the pulpit. Both announcements gave instructions about public decorations for the event, established precautions to register and observe pilgrims for

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 33 suspicious activity, established protocol for public order during the ceremonies, ordered the construction of separate viewing sections corresponding to social estates, and arranged for adequate housing and victuals for the expected crowd of 50,000.* Despite the flow of pilgrims from all parts of Russia, the canonisation of Mitrofan was not a major national event because neither church nor secular officials transformed it into one. Mitrofan's sanctity was not described in terms of national destiny or history and instead was treated as a confirmation of the people's reverence for the extraordinary spiritual and thaumaturgic characteristics of a local hero who happened to be a religious leader. As the life of Mitrofan was written and rewritten dozens of times, corrections and embellishments were made, but two things remained constant: Mitrofan was particularly fond of commoners, and Mitrofan participated in two important moments in Russian history - Muscovy's fortification of the southern border against Crimean Tatars in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and Peter the Great's construction of a modern navy in Voronezh.19 Pilgrimage to the shrine of Mitrofan continued until the end of the imperial period, but it was soon overshadowed by the shrine of Tikhon of Zadonsk, which became the main Voronezh pilgrimage attraction after 1861. The Canonisation of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk The shrine of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk provides a lucid example of the intersection of elite and popular notions of the nation. During his brief tenure as Bishop of Voronezh (1763-67), Tikhon left an indelible mark on provincial Orthodoxy and earned a far-reaching reputation as a vigorous supporter of clerical reform, strong opponent of non-standard Christian practices of the peasantry, active missionary against Old Belief, and caring pastoral father who abided by the Christian values he preached. Pilgrimage to Zadonsk began during Tikhon's long retirement in the monastery as rumours of his wondrous works spread rapidly. Rumours about his uncorrupted remains began to circulate as early as 1795 after retired officer Iakov Mashonov petitioned Metropolitan Gavriil of Kiev (1795), Emperor Paul (1800), and Emperor Alexander I (1803).20 Tikhon's reputation was inscribed into elite collective memory after Metropolitan Evgenii (Bolkho-vitinov) of Kiev's biography of Tikhon was published in 1796 and subsequently used in most scholarly and popular lives of the saint.21 During the first two decades of the nineteenth century, Voronezh bishops, governors, local landowners, and pilgrims (mostly from the privileged classes) held annual ceremonies commemorating Tikhon's death (13 August), and miracles attributed to the holy man increased.22 Some local believers had visions of Mitrofan and Tikhon accompanied by the sitting

34 Chris J. Chulos prelate of Voronezh, Archbishop Antonii (1826-46), whose grave later attracted pilgrims though he was never canonised. Synodal officials had noted the reverence for Tikhon, as well as rumours of miracles attributed to him, during their investigation of Mitrofan's remains in 1831, but it took fifteen years before Archbishop Antonii signed a petition (from his deathbed) asking Nicholas I and the Synod to investigate Tikhon's sanctity.23 Antonii's motivations in having a second Voronezh holy man canonised raised suspicions among Church elites who tabled the matter for another fifteen years. As word spread about Antonii's discovery, the flow of pilgrims to Zadonsk increased, peaking every year on 13 August when five times as many faithful, especially from the nobility, arrived to honour Tikhon.25 News of the shrine's popularity finally prompted the Holy Synod to send an investigative team in May 1861 whereupon Tikhon's remains were deemed to be uncorrupted, the veracity of miracle stories confirmed, and the canonisation date set for 13 August.26 In its preparations, the Synod imbued the event with national sentiment and used the canonisation to praise the autocracy for emancipating the serfs. To ensure that newly freed peasants turned out in large enough numbers to prove the connection between the emancipation and Tikhon's canonisation, the Synod ordered all parish clergymen to announce the ceremonies in due time to allow for travel arrangements to be made. Without this intervention by the Holy Synod, the August events would have remained a provincial matter similar to Mitrofan's canonisation.27 Printed announcements and oral retellings of them ensured that Tikhon became the 'people's saint' (narodnyi sviatitel) whose canonisation manifested God's way 'to bless Holy Russia.' Investigation results were published in the local provincial gazette (which was established in 1838, six years after Mitrofan's canonisation) and the national religious journal Strannik. The Synod proclaims to the pious sons of the Orthodox Church, and gives praise and gratitude to the Lord who deigned and accepted the appearance of a new defender and wonderworker as a new heavenly blessing on the reign of our August Monarch who has undertaken vigilant efforts for the good of the Russian Orthodox people, and by his imperial love and guardianship of his numerous loyal subjects of all callings and backgrounds.28 The plan worked, and at the beginning of August as many as 300,000 pilgrims arrived by foot, or in one of 4000 carriages or 12,000 wagons.29 More than 300 civil and religious dignitaries also arrived for the ceremonies, including Grand Prince Nikolai Nikolaevich, representatives of the State Senate, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the chief procurator of the

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 35 Holy Synod (A.P. Tolstoi), Metropolitan Isidor of St. Petersburg (member of the Holy Synod), and bishops from Kursk and Tambov. Sermons and hymns during the ceremonies pointed to the divine and national significance of Tikhon's canonisation: 'the Lord gave [the freed serfs] a Chief and Leader in the form of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, the wonderworker of all Russia.' Archbishop Iosif of Voronezh himself was portrayed as a significant contributor to this history because he had listened to the 'voice of the people who had long considered Tikhon a saint' and pressured the Synod on this matter.30 Another observer interpreted the outpouring of pilgrims to be an expression of national Orthodox unity, an indication of harmony between the various social estates, and 'another sign of God's pleasure with Russia' that would provide a source of strength and greatness in the future.31 Metropolitan Isidor of St. Petersburg delivered a sermon in which he connected the shrine, Orthodoxy, and nation: 'Is it a coincidence [that Tikhon's remains were discovered]? No. People do what God desires. 'Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house' (Mt 5:15).' And again: 'Praise to You, gracious Sovereign, who gives to the Church its new protection and adornment, monarch of Russia, who protects and affirms, who is to all Orthodox Christians in need a helper and protector.'32 In portraying local and national authorities as receptive to 'the voice of the people,' organisers drew attention to the common points between elite and popular Orthodoxy and junctures in national and local interests. By fulfilling the wishes of Petersburg officials, local authorities were not simply duped into following more sophisticated political and religious actors, but eagerly identified their backwater province with the prestige of the empire through its nationally recognised local hero. By cleaning up the city, building hospitals and lodging, and ensuring order and propriety, provincial officials were determined to prove that their Voronezh was capable and worthy of such a national event. The glory of the empire was brought - for a brief time - to this provincial capital, and its residents who attended the ceremonies could not have failed to notice.33 The Shrine of St. Tikhon and Orthodox Identity As a sacred place offering direct contact with the divine, the relics of St. Tikhon were a popular and significant national shrine.34 The flow of pilgrims to the shrine continued unabated after 1861 and certain shrine-related practices emerged, such as receiving the Eucharist at the shrine, especially during the first week of Lent when up to 5000 pilgrims usually communed.35 Another custom was to attend the annual ceremonies for St. Mitro-

36 Chris J. Chulos fan on 6 August and then to continue on to Zadonsk for the St. Tikhon anniversary seven days later.36 Local officials were always wary of large gatherings of people and eventually they came to suspect the intentions of pilgrims as petty theft and pickpocketing increased during anniversary services. But for most observers, this outpouring of the faithful peasantry was a local expression of national ideas. A Zadonsk schoolteacher writing at the end of the nineteenth century put it this way: My God! How simply and how fervently did these simple people pray, and with such deep feeling! Their prayer was the prayer of the vindicated publican - full of deep humility and complete devotion to the will of God. Short exclamations of 'Lord, have mercy on us sinners', 'Our father Tikhon, Pray to God for us', prayed with outstanding breaths from deep in the heart and soul, created the most marvellous, wondrous, and captivating harmony. The dark sun burnt faces of the peasants - lit up with true joy, their countenances filled with faith, hope, and love -flowed to the doors of the church.37 If there is still a living, pure, just, and redemptive faith, then it lives mostly in the simple Russian people and burns brightly with a genuine light in their ingenuous hearts ... In this simple and unwavering bulwark lies the living faith as the basis of the life of the all-Russian state, preserving the originality, nationality, power, praise, and honour of our dear fatherland.38 Even if we suspect this hyperbolic description, outpourings of popular spirituality were indisputable parts of pilgrimage to the shrines of Mitrofan and Tikhon, as well as celebrations of the locale. The diminished associations between the shrine and nation were so complete by the centenary of Tikhon's death in 1883 that the official programme and descriptions of the celebration made no mention of his national significance.39 Celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of Tikhon's canonisation in 1911 also lacked national reference, but now this silence reflected a new reality in which the 1905 religious tolerance law removed the Orthodox Church's monopoly on Christianity. This law capped a long period, stretching back at least to the 1860s, when technological innovations and rising literacy had reduced the Church's control over dissemination of information and circulation of ideas. At the same time, a general opening of the village to the outside world through geographic mobility as a result of a growing peasant labour market and internal migration was gradually eroding the foundation of traditional society.40 These factors weighed on the Voronezh Church Historical and Archaeological Committee as it prepared for the fiftieth anniversary celebration.41 The committee published a commemorative issue of its journal, Voronezhskaia starina, for better-educated readers and nineteen popular leaf-

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 3 7 lets to appeal to a broader and less educated audience.42 To refresh collective memory, plaques and markers were erected in Voronezh and elsewhere in European Russia to identify where Tikhon had lived, worked, prayed, and died. An appeal was made to the entire population of Voronezh province -through the clergy, periodical press, and public notices - to participate in the celebration of this local event honouring a local hero. The Voronezh governor and archbishop (Anastasii) were the highest ranking civil officials, and invited guests represented provincial officialdom - from Voronezh, Kursk (which was a part of the first Voronezh diocese), and Novgorod (St. Tikhon's home province) - religion (abbots and deans of district cathedrals), social estates (district representatives), school teachers (parish, zemstvo, and ministerial), and citizens of distinguished piety.43 Press coverage was primarily local, although the celebrations did receive mention in national religious periodicals.4 References to the nation made by local priests and pilgrims, rather than by church authorities from afar, seldom mentioned the tsar and instead emphasised the greatness of Russia.45 Well-educated clerical and secular elites seeking to remind their audiences of Voronezh's special place in Russian Orthodoxy portrayed Tikhon as a great figure in Russian history who served as a unifying force for the Russian people.46 A speech delivered to seminary students repeated the sobriquet 'the people's saint' which was given to Tikhon during the canonisation ceremonies.47 Poems written in honour of the anniversary expressed these sentiments, such as the lines penned by psalmist Ivan Prozorovskii whose title, 'Holy Rus', alluded to the legendary golden age of medieval Russia and concluded with this praise for the pilgrims to Zadonsk. Leaning with a crook in one hand, They move forward step by step, Wiping sweat with their sleeve, The Russian Orthodox people.48 An article in Voronezhskii telegraf repeated this theme of national characteristics by comparing pilgrims attending the Tikhon jubilee to those at the canonisation of Serafim of Sarov a few years earlier.4 Accounts of the procession that left on 6 August for the three-day trip from Annunciation Mitrofanov monastery to Zadonsk illustrate how much rural society had changed since Tikhon's canonisation. Inroads in peasant education enabled the smallest and remotest communities to participate in the celebrations with a sense of pride and connection to a greater family of believers.50 Recently acquired literacy was put to use in special petitions sent to diocesan and Synodal authorities to open schools in honour of the jubilee, or to allow special religious services, for example, when the

38 Chris J. Chulos Zadonsk city duma petitioned the Holy Synod to keep its district clerical school despite a recent order for it to be moved to Voronezh, or when a group of residents from Zadonsk sent a petition with 'many signatures' on it to the Synod asking that the abbot of Zadonsk Birthgiver of God monastery be allowed to perform the archepiscopal orders.51 Public readings accompanied by illuminated pictures and magic lanterns were organised throughout the diocese, the main one offered by the SS. Mitrofan and Tikhon brotherhood in Voronezh city and was co-sponsored by the Voronezh Church Historical and Archaeological Committee. Concerns about new threats to the faith are evident in the brotherhood's decision to take advantage of the large crowds by replacing its usual fare of religious and moral readings with speeches against sectarianism, Old Belief, alcoholism, and other relevant moral concerns.52 After readings of the 'Life of St. Tikhon' and 'The Discovery of the Holy Relics of St. Tikhon, the Zadonsk Wonder-Worker,' a choir sang religious songs, and free pamphlets about Tikhon and his teachings were distributed to the audience.53 Two months later, the Mitrofanov monastery school in Voronezh city honoured the jubilee with a talk by a teacher of religion who used illuminated pictures to remind his young listeners that Tikhon had instructed children to obey their parents, respect their elders, be courteous to one another, live honestly, and be active in the church: Children! If you fulfil all of St. Tikhon's instructions . . . then the Saint will always love you, will always bless you and help you in all of your good deeds, and you, when you come to adulthood, will be good and happy in your life. After this lesson, the children received pamphlets on Tikhon, prayed to him for peace, kindness, and protection of the Tsar and the imperial family, and concluded with an enthusiastic rendition of 'God Save the Tsar' while a portrait of Nicholas II was projected onto the wall.54 Local celebrations were smaller versions of the main Zadonsk festivities. On 12 August, the clergy of the small village of Iasenovko (Boguchar district) performed holiday vespers in festive robes. At the end of the service, an Akathist was sung before a flower-draped icon of St. Tikhon.55 During the liturgy on 13 August, the parish priest delivered a sermon about St. Tikhon and ended the service with a procession with the holy icon which parishioners had requested. A local student from the Zadonsk clerical school carried the icon as the procession moved to the village square for a prayer service and 'Many Years' to the Imperial family, the Holy Synod, and Archbishop Anastasii. Later that afternoon the parish priest delivered a speech about St. Tikhon which was followed by a special collection for a lamp to be placed at the shrine in Zadonsk.56

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 39 If considerations are made for the much smaller size and fewer resources available to the village, the celebrations of Iasenovko and Zadonsk are quite alike. Local pride, combined with spiritual devotion to the saint and any possible benefits that might be received by showing him favour, are clearly present. Purchasing a lamp for the shrine of St. Tikhon was an explicit statement of village identity by which Iasenovko believers could connect in however small a way - to the larger community of Orthodox beyond the boundaries of the village. A comparison with the other main celebration that year, the fiftieth anniversary of the emancipation and the Great Reforms (held on 19 February), highlights the importance of Tikhon as a symbol of local pride. Place was less important for the emancipation anniversary because the event itself had no significant physical location or shrine to which people could flock. The fact that the emancipation and Great Reforms affected all residents of Russia, and not only the more spiritually inclined members of the Orthodox Church, favoured more community-oriented celebrations over mass journeys to the provincial or national capital. Winter weather guaranteed that the emancipation and Great Reforms anniversaries would be an indoor event drawing smaller crowds, while the Tikhon celebrations benefited from summer weather conducive to mass outdoor events. Although the clergy and religious services were prominent in the emancipation and great reforms anniversaries, the emancipation was not connected to the canonisation of Tikhon. Sermons and speeches reflected religious and secular officials' sensitivity to the discontent that had led to recent unrest and emphasised the cruelty and injustice of serfdom, as well as the enormous social changes that had resulted. A speech given to seminary students offered a historical account of the origins of serfdom in Russia, referring to the works of Tatishchev, Aksakov, Pogodin, and Kliuchevski, before concluding with the emancipation.57 Fr. Georgii Alferov, a leading Voronezh clergyman, gave a sermon at the Annunciation Mitrofanov monastery in which he praised Russia for being one big happy family that lived and worked freely for their own needs and 'for the Tsar and fatherland.'58 The speech delivered at the Voronezh Cadet Corps began with a sophisticated history of the enserfment process, elaborated the negative consequences of serfdom on peasant morality, and concluded with the emancipation Proclamation. According to the speaker, local peasants not only welcomed emancipation, they also expressed their appreciation - and no doubt their loyalty - to the regime by collecting money for a commemorative church in Moscow. Disorders that followed the proclamation were limited and the result of misunderstandings, not expressions of disloyalty.59 Liturgies and public readings took place throughout the countryside. Outside of Voronezh, Chizhevka village held a memorial service for Alex-

40 Chris J. Chubs ander II. On the following day a township meeting included six local priests who performed a thanksgiving service accompanied by a choir which sang 'Many Years' to Nicholas II and the imperial house. The township ordered a bust of Alexander II for the square near its administration building and distributed brochures and portraits of Alexander II and Nicholas II. Finally, the township building and all homes were decorated with the national flag.60 Iamskaia village (Voronezh district) held a thanksgiving service and its village assembly purchased a pedestal for a bust of Alexander II, which the village factory donated. Malyshevo village (Voronezh district) named the zemstvo school it was constructing after the 'Tsar-Liberator.' In Zemliansk district, Kastornoe village organised a memorial service for Alexander II and those who worked with him on the Great Reforms. With 147 members present, the Kastornoe township assembly voted to purchase a bust of Alexander II for the village square and to distribute a brochure about the emancipation, and an illustrated copy of the manifesto to local residents. A recommendation by Bychek township elders (Boguchar district) that four villages purchase a monument of Alexander II was accepted by each village assembly.61 This brief description of emancipation commemorations suggests that St. Tikhon had become an important symbol of local pride which was part of a wider development of multiple-level (sedimentary) identities that had evolved as a by-product of modernisation. For most rural inhabitants of Voronezh, the meaning of identity in the late imperial period expanded from a locally-centred knowledge of who belonged to which settlement, village, or town to a multifarious complex of identities that connected the local to the national. Orthodox Christianity provided a cultural framework with its shared symbols, rituals, and beliefs while literacy allowed national and provincial centres to reach a greater portion of their populations through newspapers and popular publications. This in turn enabled their readers to recognise themselves as part of a larger family by absorbing new symbols of the modern nation. Expressions of local pride such as those displayed on the jubilee of Tikhon and the emancipation were not a denigration of the nation, but a means by which masses of ordinary Russians could express their newly internalised understanding of their place in the larger construct of nation. This was a religious, psychological and civic process, which was far from complete when the Bolsheviks came to power. The demise of the shrines of SS. Mitrofan and Tikhon illustrates the strength of local pride as believers fiercely defended the 'homes' of their beloved saints not as monuments of the new Russia of the pre-1917 years, but as places of local significance. Local Bolshevik officials probably recognised this even though they were at pains to explain this 'irrational' behaviour as a consequence of decades of clerical deception. In order to conform this aberration

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 41 to Marxist ideology, Bolshevik officials fabricated the notion that both shrines were symbols of oppression by the national Orthodox Church which had colluded with the autocracy to manipulate, deceive, and force the majority of the population into believing and supporting the cult of relics, thus keeping them in a state of ignorance and dependence. The crusade against Tikhon's shrine was first played out in the local press, at the shrine itself, and, later, in pseudo-scientific writings of the League of Militant Godless. Except for the newspaper of the Zadonsk executive committee of workers and peasants, Sovetskaia gazeta, the 'exposure of the fraud of St. Tikhon' merited only brief notice in the Voronezh press under provocative headlines such as 'The doll of Tikhon,' 'Doll in the monastery. The second opening of the "relics of Tikhon'", and 'The People's Understanding of Tikhon.'62 Instead, attention was focused on the 'exposure of the fraud of St. Mitrofan' which took place six days later.63 From the start, local authorities acknowledged the shrine of St. Tikhon as important to Russian Orthodoxy. After a private examination of the relics in which local officials, the abbot of the monastery housing the relics, monks and nuns, medical and scientific experts, and pilgrims discovered a skull and cardboard dummy instead of Tikhon's uncorrupted remains, a public ceremony was organised that resembled the canonisation of 1861. This time, Archbishop Tikhon IV was present, as were hundreds of onlookers and a camera crew to document the event. Afterwards, the public was allowed to view the opened relics to witness for themselves the deception of church authorities.64 Not all believers were convinced of the deception as the tale of the nanny at the beginning of this article revealed. Believers expressed their faith in the idea of the sacred by physically defending the relics and ad hoc prayer services performed with or without a clergyman. Almost overnight, news of 'frauds' discovered at Russian holy places and forced repression of public religiosity brought an abrupt end to mass pilgrimage, but belief in the sacred did not simply vanish, although its space and time were redefined. Orthodox believers protesting outside of the first exhibition of the Voronezh Regional Anti-religious Museum in 1927 provide an example of pilgrimage altered: No longer able to control the location or use of their sacred items or space, believers were forced to view them in a museum, conceal them in their homes, or visit them through their imagination.65 In the end, believers had lost their battle to preserve their beloved shrines which quickly became victims to the new ideology of exaggeration that contorted and confused the role of Orthodoxy in peasants' newly acquired ability to imagine their coreligionists and fellow Russians. Parallels between the imaginary creativity of pilgrimage and national identity formation are not mutually corresponding. In Benedict Anderson's assessment, the religious pilgrimage is 'probably the most touching and

42 Chris J. Chulos grandiose journeys of the imagination, [although] they had, and have, more modest limited secular counterparts.'66 As one of the earliest manifestations of a modern national symbol, the shrine of St. Tikhon provided common space for the interaction between official ideology and popular piety, both of which were dependent on the imaginary powers of their adherents. Official efforts to transform what was primarily a local phenomenon into a national event were embraced by peasants accustomed to divine intervention in everyday life, whether it was protection against an epidemic or healing of physical or spiritual ailments. One extra step stood between popular conceptions of hierophany and official images of nation. Contrary to prevailing theories of national identity formation that emphasise the unidirectional motion from the official level to the popular, shrines provided a conducive public sphere for peasants to participate in, interact with, and influence images of the modern nation by interpreting them through the prism of local identity.67 The huge number of peasants at shrine openings and their feast day celebrations was a tacit approval of the national images, but as officials correctly discerned, peasant views of the nation were also manifested in their enthusiasm during formal prayers for the imperial family and Russia, as well as spontaneous hymns sung throughout pilgrimage journeys. After 1917, Orthodox holy places were gradually replaced by secularised national shrines whose auras alluded to the pre-revolutionary popular belief in hierophany.68 Endnotes 1

N. Rybakov, Tolki naroda o Tikhone', Sovetskaia gazeta, no. 11 (2 February 1919). Other jokes told by local women referred to the doll found in the shrine, as well as expressed dissatisfaction with local authorities' deception of the local population (e.g., 'Did [Tikhon] forget to take along his wadding and rags [when he went to heaven]?'). Jokes and criticism of'deceptive' church authorities were often expressions offrustrationrather than anti-religious sentiment. See V.N. Dunaev, 'Vystuplenie krest'ian Voronezhskoi gubernii protiv reaktsionnykh deistvii dukhovenstva (mart-oktiabr' 1917 g.),' Sbornik rabot aspirantov Voronezhskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, no. 1 (1965): 143-48. 2 Mircea Eliade defined 'hierophany' as 'the receptacle of an exterior force that differentiates [an object] from its milieu and gives it meaning and value'. See The Myth of the Eternal Return, or Cosmos and History, trans. Willard R. Trask, Bollingen Series XLVI (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954; Princeton/Bollingen Paperbacks, 1991), 3-4. The notion of pilgrimage as competing discourses is put forth in the introduction to John Eade and Michael J. Sallnow, eds., Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage (London and New York: Routledge, 1991), 5. A concise introduction to the history of pilgrim-

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 43 ages can be found in Simon Coleman and John Eisner, Pilgrimage Past and Present: Sacred Travel and Sacred Space in the World Religions (London: British Museum Press, 1995). 3 A similar growth in pilgrimage occurred among Muslims (to Mecca) in the empire after Catherine II granted them religious freedoms in 1773. See Daniel Brower, 'Russian Roads to Mecca: Religious Tolerance and Muslim Pilgrimage in the Russian Empire,' Slavic Review 55, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 566-84. 4

Robert J. Kaiser has described this as the expansion of traditional conceptions of the world that portrayed the village as an integral part of the national whole to include notions of the region or nation, when 'homeland' (rodina) comes to mean 'fatherland' (otechestvo). See The Geography of Nationalism in Russia and the USSR (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 7. The basic works on the importance of technological innovation in the formation of national identity are Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991); Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, New Perspectives on the Past, ed. R. I. Moore (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983); and Jeffrey Brooks, When Russia Learned to Read: Literacy and Popular Literature, 1861-1917 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985) 5

Anderson, Imagined Communities. Anderson's 'religious community' is an imagined community of common symbols that enabled people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds to communicate as members of the same group. 'Dynastic realm' refers to theocratic rule common in Europe before the French Revolution. 6

Gregory L. Freeze has described the convergence of old and new cultural systems in terms of the deepening crisis in the relationship between Church and state in the late imperial period. See 'Tserkov, religiia i politicheskaia kultura na zakate staroi Rossii,' Istoriia SSSR, no. 2 (March-April, 1991): 107-19. The creation of the image of a modern secular Russia in popular literature has been vividly depicted in Brooks, When Russia Learned to Read, chapter six. On stunted (equivocal) nationhood, see Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917 (London: HarperCollins, 1997). 7

Quoted in John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New York: Fordham University Press, 1979), 201. 8 Nicholas Cabasilas, A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, translated by J.M. Hussey and P.A. McNulty, with an Introduction by R.M. French (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1977), 91. 9 Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, 209. 10 Sergius Bulgakov, The Orthodox Church, translation revised by Lydia Kesich, with a foreword by Thomas Hopko (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1988), 90. 11 Although my use of'spontaneous and invented' alludes to Hobsbawm's categories of national traditions, my usage is less exclusive. In Russian pilgrimage, spontaneous invention (or imagination) of identity among individuals interacted with

44 Chris J. Chulos invented traditions of Church and secular officials who managed shrines. See Hobsbawm's introduction to Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Canto, 1992). 12

Turner's model is more complex than presented here. The model can be found in his Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society, Symbol, Myth, and Ritual Series, ed. Victor Turner (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 1974), 201-7. Turner's communitas has been criticised as simplistically harmonious and overly idealistic. Recent criticism can be found in Eade and Sallnow, Contesting the Sacred. 13 Mircea Eliade has provided a useful definition of sacred and profane spheres in The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Harvest Books, 1959). Pilgrimage as a journey to the centre of the earth, where heaven and earth intersect, has been discussed in Eliade, Myth of the Eternal. Victor Turner has defined pilgrimages as rites of passage in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors. 14

On peasant women as transmitters of culture, see Christine D. Worobec, Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-emancipation Period (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1995), 209-11. 15 E. Poselianin, 'Kashinskie torzhestva,' Russkii palomnik, no. 25 (1909): 391402; and Putnik, 'Nakanune Kashinskikh torzhestv. (Vpechatleniia nashego spetsial'nogo korrespondenta)', Russkii palomnik, no. 22 (1909): 344-6. A similar example is the Nikolaev Ugreshskii monastery (Moscow province) which was built in honour of Dmitrii Donskoi after his defeat of the Mongols in 1380. 'K iubileiu Nikolo-Ugreshskoi obiteli,' Russkii palomnik, no. 23 (1914): 366-8. 16

Basic versions of the story of Mitrofan's canonisation can be found in Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv (hereafter RGIA), f. 797, op. 87, ed. khr. 111 (1832 g); E. Golubinskii, Istoriia kanonizatsii sviatykh v Russkoi tserkvi, 2d ed., revised and supplemented (Moscow: Universitetskaia tipografiia, 1903), 177-78; and V.V. Litvinov, 'Voronezhskii gubernator D.N. Begichev i ego rasporiazheniia pri otkrytii moshchei Sviatitelia Mitrofana i perenesenii ikh iz Arkhangelskogo sobora Blagoveshchenskii', Voronezhskaia starina (hereafter VS), no. 13 (1914): 109-21. 17 1 have translated the Russian word otkrytie as 'discovery' to emphasise the official aspects of canonisation whereby the Holy Synod discovered - or recognised that the relics of long-revered local holy people were uncorrupted, a primary, though not exclusive, sign of holiness. 'Opening' would over-emphasise the physical act of unsealing the coffin containing remains during the investigation, something that was usually done during the Synodal investigation and later repeated in front of the faithful. During public canonisation celebrations, the relics remained in their shroud and were not displayed. 18

Litvinov, 'Voronezhskii gubernator D.N. Begichev', pp. 115-21. Although Begichev estimated attendance at sixty thousand, the number was probably higher since he counted only commoners. These announcements also gave considerable attention to the smallest details, such as the order to building custodians to remain

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 45 at home at all times and to lock up if they needed to leave (to prevent theft), and the order to all local residents to take special care in preventing fires. 19

Two early versions of the life of St. Mitrofan are Istohcheskie svedeniia o zhizni Mitrofana, pervogo episkopa Voronezhskogo, 2nd ed. (St. Petersburg, n.p., 1832); and Zhitie vo sviatykh ottsa nashego Mitrofana, v skhimonasekh Makariia, pervogo episkopa Voronezhskogo i novoiavlennogo chudotvortsa i skazanie o obretenii i otkrytii chestnykh ego moshchei i o blagodatnykh pri torn znameniiakh i chudesnykh istseleniiakh (izvlecheno iz aktov i donosenii imeiushchiikhsia v Sviateishem Sinode) (Moscow: SinodaPnaia tip., 1838). Later popular versions included glorified illustrations of Mitrofan giving advice to Peter the Great. See Sviatitel i chudotvorets Mitrofan, pervyi episkop Voronezhskii, 2nd ed. (Moscow: Tip. I.D. Sytina, 1901). 20

Proslavlenie sviatitelia Tikhona, obretenie i otkrytie sviatykh moshchei ego, chast' II (St. Petersburg: Tip. Departamenta udelov, 1862), 5. Mashonov also reported seeing Tikhon in a dream taking communion in his clerical garb. Another widespread rumour was that three years after his death, Tikhon appeared to a fellow monk saying, 'The almighty God wants you to glorify me'. This is reported in ibid., 4. 21 Metropolitan Evgenii (E. Bolkhovitinov), Polnoe opisanie zhizni Preosviashchennogo Tikhona (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Chuzhestrannykh edinovertsev, 1796). 22 The Zadonsk Birthgiver of God Monastery, where Tikhon's relics were kept, contained another wonder-working object, the Vladimir Mother of God icon, which also attracted pilgrims. For a description, see P. Nikolskii, 'Zadonskie monastyri, kak pamiatniki Sviatiteliu Tikhonu,' VS, no. 10 (1911): 176-79. Only miracles performed at the Zadonsk monastery were entered in two official record books soon after Tikhon's death. The first was purloined by a pilgrim in 1820 and the second reported forty-nine miracles between 1820 and 1861. Proslavlenie sviatitelia Tikhona, 2:4, and 8-57. Peasant women were most likely to be cured (14), followed by women of landowning or service classes (11), men of the landowning or service classes (6), women of the lower trade and merchant classes (5), peasant men (3), merchants (2 men, 2 women), monks (2), nuns (2), one priest, and one man of the lower trade and merchant classes. All but five were from provinces neighbouring Voronezh. 23

Archbishop Antonii, Archimandrite Simeon (rector of the Voronezh seminary), and Abbot Serafim (Zadonsk monastery) had accidentally discovered Tikhon's uncorrupted remains in 1846. Proslavlenie sviatitelia Tikhona, 2:60-75; N. Polikarpov, 'Proslavlenie Sviatitelia Tikona Zadonskogo i otkrytie ego sviatykh moshchei. K 50-letiiu sego sobytiia 13-go avgusta 1861-1911 gg.', Pamiatnaia knizhka Voronezhskoi gubernii (hereafter PKVG) (1911): 010-021; and T. Oleinikov, 'Opredelenie Sv. Sinoda ob otkrytii moshchei Sv. Tikhona', VS, no. 10 (1911): 94-99. 24

P. Nikolskii, 'Antonii II, Arkhiepiskop Voronezhskii (1826-1846 gg.) i obretenie moshchei Sviatitelia Tikhona', VS, no. 10 (1911): 19-54.

46 Chris J. Chulos 25

Proslavlenie sviatitelia Tikhona, 2:68-75.


'Ukaz,' Voronezhskie gubemskie vedomosti (hereafter VGV), no. 29, unof. pt. (1861): 391. According to procedure, reports of uncorrupted remains and miracles attributed to them were investigated by the Holy Synod to prevent fraud and to control undesirable spontaneous religious sentiment. The Holy Synod was skeptical about such reports and hesitant about appeals for canonisation. From the time of Peter the Great until the February Revolution, only ten individual national saints were canonised, compared with 146 of the Muscovite period (1549-1721). See Golubinskii, Istoriia kanonizatsii, 109-169, and 169-223; and N.S. Torienko, Novye pravoslavnye sviatye (Kiev: Izd-vo Ukraina, 1991), 27-32. National religious journals reported the particulars of the investigation of Tikhon's remains. See 'Ukaz Sviateishego Sinoda, ob otkrytii moshchei sviatitelia Tikhona, ep. Voronezhskogo,' Strannik, 3, otd. IV (July 1861): 1-4. 27

In his annual report for 1861, Archbishop Iosif was surprisingly laconic about the events and merely noted them (RGIA, f. 796, op. 442, ed. khr. 46, 11. 5 ob. 6). For a brief account of Tikhon's life, see Filaret (Gumilevskii), Archbishop of Chernigov, comp., Zhitiia sviatykh, chtimykh pravoslavnoiu tserkoviiu, so svedeniiami o prazdnikakh gospodskikh i bogorodichnykh, i o iavlennykh chudotvornykh ikonakh, 2nd rev. ed. (St. Petersburg: Izdanie knigoprodavstva I.L. Tuzova, 1892), 4:85-107. On preparations for the event, see Vitalii Spasovskii, 'Opisanie otkrytiia v g. Zadonske sv. Moshchei Sviatitelia i Chudotvortsa Tikhona, Episkopa Voronezhskogo', VGV, no. 35 (2.9.1861): 475-78; and T. Oleinikov, 'Opredelenie Sv. Sinoda ob otkrytii moshchei Sv. Tikhona', VS, no. 10 (1911): 98. 28

'Ukaz', VGV, no. 29, unof. pt. (1861): 391. Basic coverage of the event reached beyond the provincial press into national periodicals. See 'Opisanie torzhestva otkrytiia v Zadonske sv. moshchei sviatitelia i chudotvortsa Tikhona, episkopa Voronezhskogo', Pravoslavnoe obozrenie, no. 9 (September 1861): 130-35; and P.I. Salomon, 'Otkrytie sv. moshchei sviatitelia Tikhona, novoiavlennogo chudotvortsa, episkopa voronezhskogo i eletskogo,' Strannik, 3, otd. IV (September 1861): 122-27. 30 Both quotations are from Oleinikov, 'Opredelenie', 95, emphasis in original. 31 Salomon, 'Otkrytie sv. moshchei sviatitelia Tikhona', 127. 32 'Slovo v den otkrytiia sv. Moshchei sviatitelia i chudotvortsa Tikhona, skazannoe v Zadonskom monastyre sinodal'nym chlenom, Isidorom, Mitropolitom novgorodskim i s. peterburgskim', Strannik, 3, otd. 4 (September 1861): 131. Prayers for the tsar, imperial household, and local bishop were part of ordinary liturgies. The distinction I am making here is the use of a provincial saint who was tremendously popular among peasants to justify the new direction Russia was taking. For an example of a prayer to St. Tikhon that was more typical in that it asked for the usual protection of the tsar and imperial household without mention of the historical events of the year, see 'Molitva sviatiteliu i chudotvortsu Tikhonu, po otkrytii sviatykh ego moshchei', Strannik, supplement (May 1862): 36. 29


William Bloom has described local identification with the national as critical to

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 47 the process of personal and group identification that takes place as an empire/nation draws together diverse regions. See Bloom, Personal Identity, National Identity, and International Relations, Cambridge Studies in International Relations, 9, ed. Steven Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 55-73. See also Peter Brown's remarks on the importance of local officials in the creation and sustenance of a glorious empire in Byzantium, 'A More Glorious House', The New York Review of Books (29 May 1997): 19-24. 34

Initially, miracles attributed to Tikhon were reported in the national religious journals. After 1862, miracles attributed to the saint and annual feast day celebrations was seldom reported in the national press. The periodical press in Voronezh did not develop until the middle 1860s as a result of more liberal censorship laws and official encouragements, e.g., by the Holy Synod for the establishment of a network of diocesan presses. Most stories about the shrine and miracles attributed to Tikhon appeared in the official provincial newspaper, Voronezhskie gubernskie vedomosti, and the diocesan newspaper, Voronezhskie eparkhiaVnye vedomosti (founded in 1864). Non-religious newspapers, such as Voronezhskii telegraf{\%691918), and Don (1868-1915) seldom published stories about the shrine or miracles. For national coverage, see 'Chudesnye istseleniia, sovershivshiiasia pri otkrytii moshchei sviatitelia i chudotvortsa Tikhona, episkopa Voronezhskogo i Eletskogo,' Dukhovnaia beseda, 'Tserkovnaia letopis' (25 November 1861): 717-28, which was reprinted in Khristianskoe chtenie (December 1861): 429-39; 'Istseleniia, sovershivshiiasia v Zadonskom monastyre pri otkrytii moshchei sviatitelia Tikhona, Episkopa Voronezhskogo i Eletskogo', Khristianskoe chtenie, pt. 1 (1862): 87-95; Iosif, Arkhiepiskop Voronezhskii i Zadonskii, 'Chudesnye istseleniia, sovershivshiiasia pri otkrytii moshchei sviatitelia i chudotvorsta Tikhona, Episkopa Voronezhskogo i Eletskogo', Strannik, supplement (May 1862): 1-35; and numerous entries in Dushepoleznoe chtenie (October, November, December 1861, January 1862). 35 See the episcopal reports for 1862, 1887, and 1894: RGIA, f. 796, op. 442, ed. khr. 89, 11. 4 ob. and 11; RGIA, f. 796, op. 442, ed. khr. 1226, 11. 54 op. 55; and RGIA, f. 796, op. 442, ed. khr. 1496, 1. 8. Examples from the local press can be found in: 'Mestnye otdel',' VGV, no. 59, unof. pt. (1883): 6; 'Mestnyi prazdnik', Voronezhskii telegraf (hereafter VT), no. 174 (10.8.1907): 2; 'Gorodskaia zhizn', VT, no. 176 (11.8.1915): 2; and VT, no. 174 (10 August 1916): 2. The years 19051906 were exceptional for the low turnout of pilgrims which local authorities attributed to widespread fear of public disorder wherever crowds gathered. See VT, no. 174 (9 August 1906): 1; and ibid., no. 174 (10 August 1907): 2. On the enduring popularity of Tikhon's shrine after the Revolutionary years of 1905-1907, see A.N. Meerkova, Otkhozhie promysly pereselencheskoe i bogomolcheskoe dvizhenie v Voronezhskoi gubernii v 1911 gody (Izdanie Voronezhskogo Gubernskogo Zemstva. Voronezh: Tipo-lit. t-vaN. Kravtsova, 1914), 57-65. 36

'Mestnye otdel', VGV, no. 59, unof. pt. (1883): 2; and T. Oleinikov, 'Iz Voronezha v Zadonsk,' Voronezhskie eparkhiaVnye vedomosti (hereafter VEV), no. 29, (1914): 783-9. 37 G. Kazmin, 'Iz g. Zadonska,' VEV, no. 21, unof. pt. (1897): 621.

48 Chris J. Chulos 38

Ibid., 622.


'Mestnyi otdeP, VGV, no. 66, unof. pt. (1883): 6-7. The 1903 jubilee marking the two-hundredth anniversary of Mitrofan's death also lacked national reference. See P. Nikolskii, 'Opisanie iubileinogo torzhestva,' VS, no. 4 (1904): 5-20. In 1903, the attention of national religious and secular officials focused on the Sarov hermitage where canonisation ceremonies became an imperial event due to the pressures and presence of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. 40

These concerns can be found in the Holy Synod's report for 1911-1912. See Vsepoddanneishii otchet ober-prokurora sviateishego sinoda po vedomstvu pravoslavnogo ispovedaniia za 1911-1912 gody (St. Petersburg: Sinodalnaia tipografiia, 1913), 149-57. The widespread fear of Orthodoxy's decline also found expression in Voronezh. See Chris J. Chulos, 'Institutional Orthodoxy and Peasant Praxis: Perceptions and Signs of Change in Rural Religion', in 'Peasant Religion in Post-emancipation Russia: Voronezh Province, 1880-1917' (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1994), 339-426. On geographic mobility, see Kaiser, Geography of Nationalism, 50-66. 41

The programme can be found in VS, no. 9 (1909). Additional information about Zadonsk city officials' preparations can be found under the rubric 'K Zadonskim torzhestvam', in VT, nos. 173, 175, 180 (1911). 42

These leaflets were distributed free of charge and can be found in VS, no. 10 (1911). 43 The organising committee did not invite members of the Holy Synod or national civil authorities, although it received official permission from the Synod for the event. See 'K 50-letiiu so dnia otkrytiia moshchei Sv. Tikhona Zadonskogo', VT, no. 170 (1911): 2. The decision to by-pass the Synod was probably a consequence of growing alienation between central church authorities and the parish clergy, who were becoming more vocal in their demands for a devolution of church power to the dioceses. This is discussed in Chris J. Chulos, 'Revolution and Grass-roots Reevaluations of Russian Orthodoxy, 1905-1907', in Judith Pallot, ed., Transforming Peasants: Society, State and Peasants, 1861-1931, Selected Proceedings of the V ICCEES Conferences, Warsaw, 1995, ed. Ron Hill (London: Macmillan, 1998), 90-112. Although a senator was present, it appears that his visit was of a personal nature since he did not play any role in the ceremonies and was mentioned incidentally. RGIA, f. 796, op. 442, ed. khr. 2445 (1911), 1. 30. A list of the special guests can be found in 'Programma prazdnovaniia ispolniaiushchegosia 13 avgusta sego 1911 goda piatidesiatiletiia so dnia otkrytii netlennykh moshchei Sviatitelia Tikhona Zadonskogo', VEV, no. 25, of. pt. (1911): 314-15. 44

For example, see 'Piatidesiatiletie otkrytiia sviatitelia Tikhona Zadonskogo (13 avgusta 1861-13 avg. 1911 g.)', Dushepoleznoe chtenie (July-August 1911): 433; and Vsepoddaneishii otchet ober-prokurora Sviateishego Sinoda po vedomstve Pravoslavnogo ispovedaniia za 1911-1912 gody (St. Petersburg: Sinodal'naia tipografiia, 1913), 22. The jubilee was marked in St. Petersburg with a special liturgy at the Peter and Paul Cathedral. See 'V Peterburge,' VT, no. 182 (1911): 3. 45

P.N., 'Piatidesiatiletnii iubilei so dnia otkrytiia moshchei Sv. Tikhona Zadons-

Orthodox Identity at Russian Holy Places 49 kogo (13 avgusta 1911 goda)\ VS, no. 11 (1912): 190. Press reports of the celebration appeared in Voronezhskie eparkhiaVnye vedomosti and Voronezhskii telegraf. For example, see V.N. Vy-kii, 'Krestnyi khod iz Mitrofanova monastyria v Zadonskii-Bogoroditskii-ko dniu 50-letiia moshchei Sv. Tikhona, Zadonskogo Chudotvortsa 13 avgusta 1911 goda', VEV, no. 35, unof. pt. (1911): 820-26; and VT, nos. 169-71, 173-6, 178-82, and 184-5. In his study of late imperial popular literature, Jeffrey Brooks identified a secularised notion of Russia that replaced the tsar and Orthodoxy with the power, beauty, and expanse of the country. See When Russia Learned to Read, 214-45. 46

See 'Nuzhdy vremeni. Chem sleduet oznamenovat' 50-letnii iubilei so dnia proslavleniia Sv. Tikhona', VEV, no. 5, unof. pt. (1911): 123-9. This speech was delivered in October 1911 as part of a diocese-wide school celebration in honour of the fiftieth anniversary.


'Sviatitel Tikhon Zadonskii', VEV, no. 43, unof. pt. (1911): 1087-1104.


Iv. Prozorovskii, 'Sv. Rus\ (K 50-letnei pamiati Sviatitelia Tikhona Zadonskogo)', VEV, no. 25, unof. pt. (1911): 630.


Dm. Belozerov, 'Obshchestvennyi prazdnik,' VT, no. 181 (13.8.1911): 2.


Robert Kaiser terms this identification 'an extended family' (Geography of Nationalism, 12-13).


Zadonskii, 'K Zadonskim torzhestvam', VT, no. 173 (1811): 2. 'K Zadonskim torzhestvam', VT, no. 180 (1911): 2. 53 'Chteniia o Sv. Tikhone', VT, no. 181 (13.8.1911): 2. 54 'Iubileinyi akt v pamiat' 50-letiia so dnia otkrytiia sv. Moshchei Sviat. Tikhona', VEV, no. 43, unof. pt. (1911): 1105-7. On 5 October, all schools in the diocese organised events like this in honour of Tikhon. 52


The Akathist is a special hymn to the Mother of God that was sung on special occasions.


Viacheslav Gavrilov, 'Prazdnovanie 50-letiia otkrytiia moshchei Sviatitelia Tikhona Zadonskogo v s. Iasenovke, Bogucharskogo uezda', VEV, no. 34 (1911): 82728. 57 VI. Dolgopolov, 'Velikaia reforma. (Po povodu 50-ti letnego osvobozhdeniia krest'ian ot krepostnoi zavisimosti)', VEV, no. 10, unof. pt. (1911): 303-19. 58 Georgii Alferov, 'Slovo na den piatidesiatiletiia osvobozhdeniia krestian ot krepostnoi zavisimosti', VEV, no. 6, unof. pt. (1911): 161-7. 59 D. Tiumenev, 'Raskreposhchenie krestian. (K 50-letiiu velikoi reformy. 19 fevralia 1861-19 fevralia 1911 g.)', PKVG, (1911): 022-048. 60 'Prazdnovanie iubileia 19-go fevralia', VT, no. 42 (1911): 2-3. 61 Ibid. For examples of other villages buying monuments to Alexander II, see 'Prazdnovanie iubileia 19-go fevralia', in VT, nos. 43, 44, and 49 (1911). 62 In sensationalised fashion, all captions about openings of relics appeared in large

50 Chris J. Chulos bold print, often emphasised with capital letters or italics. Multiple exclamation points were scattered throughout the articles. Each district of Voronezh opened its own press in the first year of the revolution, which provides insight into regional variation even within one province. Unfortunately for comparative purposes, such presses did not exist before 1917. 63

The sources do not shed light on this discrepancy in press coverage. Based on pre-1917 reports, the greater popularity of St. Tikhon's shrine was indicated by its attraction of at least twice as many pilgrims as that of St. Mitrofan. This suggests pilgrims to Tikhon's shrine outnumbered those to Mitrofan's between 1917 and 1919 and posed a more serious threat to Bolshevik authorities anxious to 'enlighten' the people. A related issue could be editors' sensitivity to this difference in popularity, thus limiting coverage of the violation of St. Tikhon's shrine and instead focusing attention on Mitrofan's. 64

'Kukla Tikhona,' Sovetskaia gazeta, no. 9 (31 January 1919): 1-2, which was reprinted in the next issue, no. 10 (1 February 1919); 1-2; 'Kukla v monastyre. Vtoroe otkrytie moshchei Tikhona', Sovetskaia gazeta, no. 11 (2 February 1919): 1; Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii, f. A-353, op. 3, ed. khr. 731; and the national press in Mikh. Torev, 'Vskrytie Moschei Tikhona Zadonskogo i Mitrofana Voronezhskogo', Revoliutsiia i tserkov', no. 2 (1919): 9-23. 65

The protest is described in Piat let Voronezhskogo antireligioznogo muzeia (Voronezh: Voronezhskoe oblastnoe knigo-izdatel'stvo, 1935), 8. Ten years after the discovery of the 'fraud' of Tikhon's relics, scientific explanations of the impossibility of such 'magical' healings continued to aim at the popularity of wonderworking saints such as Tikhon and Mitrofan. See D. Anashenko, V. Mandrykin, and D. Savelev, Voronezhskie 'Chudotvortsy'. (Sbornik statei) (Voronezh: IzdatePstvo Kommuna, 1929). Many examples of believers defending their local shrines - that is, their parish churches - in the 1930s can be found in the archival records of the Permanent Central Commission on Cults of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets. The archive is held in Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii, f. R-5263. An example of one such case can be found in Chris J. Chulos, 'Peasants' Attempts to Reopen their Church, 1929-1936,' Russian History/Histoire Russe, 24, nos. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 1997): 203-13. 66

Anderson, Imagined Communities, 54-5. This unidirectional motion is standard in nationalism theories. See Anthony Smith, Theories of Nationalism (London: Duckworth, 1971); Gellner, Nations and Nationalism; and John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State, 2d ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994). William Bloom emphasised the development of national identity from below to satisfy psychological needs of people in a changing society in Personal Identity. 68 I am grateful to the Academy of Finland and the University of Helsinki for research support and to Elena Hellberg-Hirn for her critical remarks on an earlier version of the article. Ulla Hakanen and Kirsikka Saari have provided invaluable help as research assistants. 67

4 In Quest of Values: Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period ARTO LUUKKANEN

The Russian Federation today is seeking its traditional roots and cultural values in religion and nationality.1 Both of these were driven to the margin of the Soviet society, despite the fact that it seems that Russians are now willing to see Orthodox religion and Russian nationalism as the cornerstones of the new gosudarstvennost (statehood). The reason for this sudden change of values is understandable; the Soviet Union has collapsed and the old Marxist-Leninist ideology has been abandoned. During the Soviet period, religion and nationality were seen as the main ideological enemies. Religion was seen originally constituting a form of vulnerability in the face of nature. According to Marxist dogma, religion constituted a form of resignation in the face of capitalist exploitation. Its role was to keep the proletariat humble and unconscious of the real reasons for its misery. Lenin and his disciples saw religion as a kind of opium which the upper classes were willingly serving up to the proletariat in order to keep them in darkness.2 Nationalism was also a sort of original sin for the Marxist. Religion and nationality were closely interrelated in orthodox Marxist thinking. This view, supported by Marx, Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin, implied that both religion and nationality were part of the superstructure of the exploiting societies and they would wither away when the socialist society had destroyed the roots of both phenomena. Marx and Engels were quite academic in this matter, underlining the determinism of this development. But Lenin, along with many other Marxist thinkers, expressed the view that the proletariat should play an active part in getting rid of these two obstacles to the advancement of the class struggle.3 As a matter of fact the 'withering away' of religion and the coalescing of nations was part of a 'maximum' programme - a long-term plan of the Bolsheviks. When classes would wither away, nationalism and religion

52 Arto Luukkanen would automatically lose their foothold in society. On the question of nationality and religion Lenin and his Bolsheviks opposed granting any ideological concessions; the totality of the class struggle did not leave any room for religious or national 'private matters'. But the reality of the class struggle demanded that the war against both these prejudices should be fought along a general political line. In accordance with this, the preRevolutionary Bolshevik ideology dealt with religion and nationality as major obstacles in the way of a socialist society; but even during the preRevolutionary period, in the face of political reality, the Bolsheviks were able to put their ideological presumptions to one side. According to Lenin's unique political pragmatism, these two questions were for the most part subordinate to the general political objectives of the party itself. The Leninist notions of national identification followed Marxist dialectics and perceived nationalism and national identity as an expression of class interests. Despite early Bolshevik arguments in favour of national self-determination, conciliatory approaches to national minorities eventually were replaced by centralised and universal models that once again would establish a supra-ethnic national identity. This article will focus on the case of Sultan-Galiev, an example of a 'national deviation', and the case of sects in Russia casts light on how Communists manoeuvred with religion. These cases were discussed during the 12th and 13th Congresses of the Soviet Communist Party (Bolsheviks) during the 1920s. The 1920s were unique in the sense that the ruling communist party conducted open ideological debates; all questions were discussed under the premises of the one party system. Later this openness vanished due to the Stalinist unification of ideology. The 12th Party Congress and the Case of Sultan-Galiev This congress was significant in the sense that it adopted lengthy resolutions, which laid the foundations for nationality policy in the post-Leninist era. The atmosphere in this congress differed profoundly from that of the 11th Congress; procedures went very smoothly, without dissenting voices from the floor. The triumvirate had made a secret deal with Trotsky that their disagreements were to be kept secret in the name of party discipline. During the congress arguments regarding nationality policy reared their head again. The delegates from Georgia protested in vain against Stalin's policy towards non-Russian nationalities. As Carrere D'Encausse has remarked: 'the congress destroyed Lenin's efforts to settle the national question'.4 The triumvirate was able to control the congress and criticism by some party delegates had little effect on the prevailing attitude. In relation to the

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 53 nationality question, Stalin defended his policy; the critique of the Georgians presented by Ukrainian Prime Minister Kh. G. Rakovsky (18731941) had no real impact on the congress which accepted the explanations of the Party's General Secretary.5 The hidden power struggle cast a shadow on the congress that followed. Behind the scenes the triumvirate did its best to reassure the party that Trotsky was dangerous and the potential Bonaparte of the Bolshevik Revolution. Moreover, Zinovev's speech to the congress proved to be of particular significance in that it clarified the general political line of the triumvirate for the following NEP period. Above all, Zinovev's speech underlined the importance of the peasant question. He explained that although the Communist Party was an urban phenomenon by origin and had only worked among workers, it also needed to advance in the countryside. He maintained that although the party understood in theory the problems of the peasants, practical work among the peasantry remained to be done: We are an urban party with our origins in workers' quarters... we have just begun to penetrate the countryside ... we know theoretically the importance of having proper multilateral relations with the peasants but in practice this poses enormous problems for us ...6 This congress and its resolution involved many contradictory elements. The conciliatory tone of Zinovev was his personal initiative to enforce the union of the working class and the peasants. Seen in this light, Zinovev's conciliatory speeches and initiatives are understandable.7 The conciliatory speeches of the triumvirate at the 12th Congress had no effect on the internal life of the Party, which continued to tighten its ideological purity and expel 'unworthy' members from its ranks, religious activity being one of the grounds for disciplinary measures. In the report by the Central Committee it was announced that 383 persons had been expelled from the Party for participating in some way or another in 'religious rites'. The majority of those expelled, however, consisted of people purged for reasons such as 'squabbling', 'infringement of party discipline', 'malfeasance in office', 'criminal activity', 'drunkenness', 'being an alien [class] element', 'embezzlement' and 'speculation and trade'. Expulsions for religious activity amounted to only 5.1 per cent of the total number (7512 persons) of those expelled, but this shows that religion had stubborn roots even within the Party itself.8 These purges reflect the concern of the Party about any ideological relaxation in the face of the class enemy. Because of this danger the leadership wanted to preserve the ideological purity of its ranks. As we can see from the resolutions adopted, the 12th Congress thought in terms such as survival (perezhitok) and prejudice (predrassudok). Bolshevik ideology

54 Arto Luukkanen and its interpreters perceived nationalistic sentiments and religion as relics or vestiges from the evil era of the past, which would vanish as soon as socialism came of age.9 With regard to both these vestiges, we may note the striking resemblance between this Soviet policy and the situation prevailing before the Revolution when the Russian Orthodox Church attempted to root out pagan survivals among the Russian peasantry, not always very successfully. This is perhaps one of the best illustrations of how the communist regime failed to break with the Russian past; the atheist regime adopted the legacy of the past and actually the role of the 'state church'.10 To put it short, with regard to Bolshevik nationality policy, the 12th Congress of the RCP(b) proved to be a disappointment for the Ukrainian and Georgian national communists. Trotsky did not want to commit himself to a fight against the nationality policy of Stalin and as a result the national communists and their supporters were defeated. However, due to Lenin's criticism, Stalin was obliged to moderate his condemnation of national communists and the 12th Congress approved a resolution which condemned both chauvinist communism and the heresy of national communists.11 The case of M.H. Sultan-Galiev (1892-1940) symbolises the contradiction between Moscow's long-term plan and the independence of local communists. At the 12th Congress the majority of communists showed little understanding of the complaints of the Georgians. As a result, Stalin was encouraged to exercise his harsh line against nationally-minded communists. After the 12th Congress was over the one important leader of national communism, Sultan-Galiev, was soon accused and convicted of founding his own conspiratorial organisation. He was later, on 4 May 1923, expelled from the Party for 'Pan-Turkism' and 'Pan-Islamism'. As a seal of official disapproval, the assembly of the leading party members from national republics and oblasts which met from 9 to 12 June 1923 condemned Sultan-Galiev for counter-revolutionary activities and for having conspiratorial connections with Persia and Turkey in order to separate certain Eastern areas from the Soviet Union. The assembly considered his actions to be a reaction against Great-Russian chauvinism but, nonetheless, insisted that Sultan-Galiev had acted against Party discipline. Actually, the 12th Congress drew the line between tolerated nationalistic attitudes and so-called 'national-deviation'.12 This official condemnation strikes one as strange, coming just after the 12th Congress. Stalin was the main instigator of this condemnation of Sultan-Galiev, but he couched his attack against Sultan-Galiev in words that implied a certain degree of tolerance, stating that even his 'Pan-Turkism' and 'Pan-Islamism' would have been forgivable if it were not for his anti-party actions.13

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 55 In reality, one of the main reasons for these serious accusations against Sultan-Galiev was the fact that he dared to criticise Stalin personally, accusing his 'authoritarian' and 'chauvinist' Moscow communism of being contradictory to the original ideals of communism. Sultan-Galiev had emphasised that the class struggle among non-Russians should not involve fighting against local religious beliefs. In his opinion, Islam had preserved many important socio-political aspects, and mullahs in eastern areas had cultural and political authority which communists should take into consideration. Sultan-Galiev held the view that mullahs, unlike Christian priests, had preserved many democratic features. The youngest of the great religions, as Sultan-Galiev termed it, had preserved its vitality and its psychological importance in the minds of the people. Consequently, Sultan-Galiev concluded that without an ideological compromise with religion the communist party could not continue its activities in Muslim areas.1 'Sultan-Galievism' spread among local Party officials in the eastern parts of the Soviet state, even if the leading figure of the movement was officially ostracised. For example, we can detect from reports from the Tatar-Bashkirian area that local Soviet officials showed little enthusiasm for implementing the anti-religious campaigns of the early NEP. They even openly ruled out the possibility of carrying out large-scale anti-religious propaganda among the local population. They sought to placate Moscow by arguing that anti-religious teaching needed time and the best method of achieving atheism was to teach the natural sciences in the schools.15 This reluctance to carry out anti-religious propaganda and these 'Sultan-Galievist' views were in sharp conflict with Moscow's line. The central organs reacted violently when they realised that local communists had contradicted their orders to work against religious schools. As one official report declared, the continued existence of Muslim religious schools was due to local passivity: ... it is necessary to mention that religious schools did not come into existence because the population was [religious] but mainly because the nature of the religious schools had not been explained [to the local populace], that earlier working comrades did not pay any attention to the great number of religious schools ... However, the whole question of Islamic identity constituted an ideological problem for the Bolshevik party. Just after the October Revolution the Communist Party had appealed to Muslims and had exploited Islam by creating a special Muslim commissariat under the authority of the Narkomnats lead by an Islamic clergyman Mullah Nur-Vakhitov. This was indeed a strange situation. For at the same time as the activities of religion were more or less restricted in other parts of Soviet Russia, in Eastern areas

56 Arto Luukkanen mosques flourished, the sharia legal system functioned undisturbed, and mullahs were not restricted in their civic rights as clergymen were elsewhere in Russia.17 Lenin himself had underlined the importance of taking into consideration local circumstances in the East. Class antagonism had not yet developed in these areas and communists should first try to get rid of the remnants of feudalism.18 As Pedro Ramet has acknowledged, the korenizatsiya policy had as its political objective the 'de-politicisation' of the Muslim consciousness. Instead of forming larger administrative units in the Muslim area the Soviet regime established smaller administrative units based on nationality. Bonds of nationality and not of religion or language were supposed to be the cement in such Soviet regions as the Tatar republic, Uzbekistan and Bashkiria. As a sign of this changed policy, in 1920 the Commissariat of Nationalities was reorganised and the Commissariat for Muslim Affairs was wound up. Nonetheless, religion and nationalism were still useful propaganda tools in eastern areas. For example, the NKID realised the importance of the Muslim clergy in moulding public opinion in Muslim countries and attempted to utilise them. In his letter to Yaroslavsky dated 10 August 1923, Chicherin proposed even utilising the Muslim clergy and Muslim ideology 'to enforce there [in Persia] their political line'. He believed that the Muslim clergy within Soviet boundaries should be forged into a 'political weapon' for influence over the masses in Persia. Therefore, the teachings of Islam, together with the sharia, should be used for preparing the ground for socialism among Muslims.19 This clarifies the error of Sultan-Galiev and other independently-minded Muslim communists. They had acted in accordance with the idea that unifying the Soviet East would be achieved by utilising religion and language and not primarily through Marxist doctrine. This opinion was accepted during the civil war when the Soviet regime sought to utilise ethno-religious feelings in order to create a pro-Soviet east. It was also of some use in Soviet foreign policy after the civil war when the NKID tried to appeal to the people of the East. But during peacetime, in the NEP period, it was realised that this thinking was harmful inside the Soviet Union. The ruling regime in Moscow was not eager to encourage the idea of 'Muslim consciousness' once it had stabilised its power. But as a sign of the relatively free atmosphere of the early 1920s Sultan-Galiev was released in 1924, despite the serious accusations Moscow had levelled against him. However, his case indicated that the policy of korenizatsiya, using national culture and language for enforcing communism on the Soviet periphery, could not sanction the idea of utilising Muslim religion or nationalism as such, except as a tactical weapon in building a more centralised Soviet state.20

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 57 The 13th Party Congress and the Battle over Sects The 13th Congress took place on 23-31 May 1924 but the debate had been conducted earlier in the party newspaper Pravda. The debate in question took place two months before the official convocation of the 13th Congress and it started when M.I. Kalinin published in Pravda on 16 and 17 April 1924 his theses concerning work in the Soviet countryside. In his proposal, which was later accepted as an official resolution in the congress, Kalinin rejected administrative methods when dealing with the peasants. His theses were intended to stabilise the countryside in accordance with NEP policy and accomplish an alliance with the peasantry. The 13th Congress was a landmark in Soviet religious policy: the party officially abandoned earlier aggressive anti-religious campaigns and introduced anti-religious propaganda based on enlightenment and scientific explanations. This resolution, with its conciliatory language towards the peasants and especially towards sectarians, symbolised the continuation of the 'religious NEP', adopted earlier.21 Kalinin's proposals attracted considerable attention inside the ruling regime. His 'liberal' anti-religious methods in particular irritated many leading communists. The first response to Kalinin's proposals was an article by I.I. Skvortsov-Stepanov published on 25 April 1924.22 Stepanov suggested another approach which underlined 'sociological' explanations in anti-religious work in accordance with the ideas of the 'Mechanistic' school.23 According to Stepanov, the fundamental difficulty in Kalinin's draft was the interpretation; it could offer some grounds for neutralism. The basic argument between Kalinin and Skvortsov-Stepanov, however, arose from the sectarian question. Stepanov could not agree with Kalinin's favourable opinion of the progressive economic role of the sectarian movement or Kalinin's proposal to use them as assistants in the Soviet economy. Sectarians were not pro-Soviet; these sects were hand in glove with the village bourgeoisie. He justified this by remarking that there was no historical basis for treating sectarian movements better than other religious groups. He admitted that sectarians had played an important role, for example, in Germany in the 15th century and in England in the 16th century, but later they had turned out to be exploiters. He also strongly rejected Kalinin's notion that sects were 'rational' by nature, and claimed that they could not benefit Soviet power. Sectarians were simply enticing some young people who wanted to gain privileges and be released from certain civic duties (such as serving in the army). The difficulty of the sectarian question, as Skvortsov-Stepanov remarked, was the social make-up of sects in general. He believed that Kalinin's resolution would lead to questions such as: would this or that particular sect result in a more stable union between the proletariat and peas-

58 Arto Luukkanen antry? Skvortsov-Stepanov was afraid there was a danger that this resolution would lead to a possible union between the peasantry and the developing bourgeoisie in the villages. In conclusion, Skvortsov-Stepanov stated that even the possibility of working with sects would ultimately lead to negative results. Finally, he proposed the deletion of the part of the resolution, which dealt with sectarians, and further study of this question.25 Stepanov's proposal revealed the basic fear of the ruling regime during the NEP: would co-operation with alien elements endanger the existence of Soviet power? Stepanov's solution hinted at the possibility that the Soviet regime should find out which sectarians were pro-Soviet and could be turned into builders of socialism. In answer to Skvortsov-Stepanov's critical remarks the moderate party leaders attempted to assert that sectarians were mostly composed of the exploited elements of the Russian countryside. This can be seen for example in the article of the pro-sectarian V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, in which he denounced the arguments of Skvortsov-Stepanov and maintained that sectarian organisations in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred belonged to the poor and middle peasantry. Members of sects were usually poor peasants or even belonged to the Lumpenproletariat. The activity of these sects was usually based on collectivism and they fought against socially harmful phenomena such as drunkenness, debauchery, smoking, stealing, narcotics, gambling, etc. Moreover, Bonch-Bruevich remarked that the economic situation of the sectarians was always better than that of their Orthodox peasant neighbours. The reason for this, however, was that their mutual co-operation was based in many cases not only on collective methods of production but on a communist way of life.26 Bonch-Bruevich characterised sectarians as an 'avant-garde, leading population on the agricultural peasant front' and stated that refusing to use them in 'restoring the economy would not only be peculiar but criminal'. He also acknowledged the merits of the sectarians in the battle against illiteracy and advised the forthcoming congress to hand over run-down state farms and communes to them. Finally, he urged the Soviet regime to give them 'full freedom comprehensively to develop themselves'. He demanded that Soviet power should give guarantees to sectarians and reassure them that they should feel free from every kind of 'illegal, fault-finding, humiliating' hindrance.27 This article, written by a prominent representative of the ruling regime, was an open recognition of the sectarian movement. But on the other hand, the same issue of Pravda contained another article, which strongly attacked the conciliatory tone of the proposed resolution. In an article entitled 'Enlightenment, sectarians and prejudices', V. Dubovsky argued that enlightenment alone was not the best weapon against religion. His attack against Skvortsov-Stepanov's opinion reflected 'Deborinist' assumptions.

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 59 He rejected Skvortsov-Stepanov's article and underlined the need for enlightenment and a 'sociological approach' in Soviet anti-religious work. According to Skvortsov-Stepanov, religion was simply the result of ignorance and darkness. But, as Dubovsky also commented, religion was more than lack of knowledge, it was 'a primary and most dangerous enemy of communism and the dictatorship of the proletariat'.28 The problem of enlightenment lay in the fact, as Dubovsky put it, that enlightenment seldom destroyed 'god' but more often than not 'refined' the concept. Only enlightenment combined with the exposing of the class nature of religious belief would be an appropriate approach to this question. Therefore he urged the ruling regime to 'reveal the injury which they bring to ... the class interests of the workers, to reveal the dangers which are threatening these interests in future'.29 Moreover, Dubovsky did not view sectarians as representatives of the poor elements of the village but on the contrary he maintained that sectarians were together 'with the kulak elements of the peasantry'. Dubovsky was sure that sectarians were eager to educate themselves, for example in science and agronomy, only because they hoped to become economically as strong as German and Danish peasants. Finally, he declared that words like 'prejudices' and 'superstition' were not communist but clerical language; for communists these words should be in the same category as 'booze, cocaine and syphilis'. This article portrays clearly the moods of the more class-minded and belligerent left wing of the party. Dubovsky characterised religion as an enemy and his language represented the atmosphere of the civil war. Even Skvortsov-Stepanov's critical attitude towards religion was not enough; Dubovsky condemned Skvortsov-Stepanov for his assertion that religion would inevitably die of its own accord when the social roots of religion disappeared.30 On the eve of the congress Yaroslavsky also participated in the debate and wrote an article for Pravda. He declared that the party should not grant any extra privileges to sectarians. In this article he challenged the views of Kalinin and reasoned that in the proposed draft there was no mention of the relations between sectarians and anti-religious work. According to Yaroslavsky, sectarians were now gathering counter-revolutionary elements into their ranks and there was no reason to deal with them any differently than with other religious organisations. In conclusion he stated that This is why we regard this resolution as erroneous. It would be best of all if the second paragraph of the 13th point were totally rejected or thoroughly revised. l

60 Arto Luukkanen This criticism continued on the second day of the congress when S. Minin presented his own article on the party resolution. Like Trotsky before him in 1923, Minin denied the importance of religion for the peasantry and especially for the Red Army. He agreed with Skvortsov-Stepanov that Kalinin's resolution did not take into consideration different social classes and groups inside the sectarian movement. Minin believed that for the poor peasants, the sectarian movement was a stage on the road to atheism, but for rich peasants it was just a new kind of religion. There was always a danger that people would join the sectarians for economic reasons. Therefore he believed that there was a danger that peasant speculators would join the sectarians because of their privileged position.32 The dispute over the above reached a new level when Ivan Tregubov, a famous pro-sectarian communist, wrote an article in Izvestiya VTsIK defending the conciliatory tone of Kalinin's proposal. He pointed out that Lenin himself had proposed co-operation with sectarians in building model state farms.33 These debates give an idea of the relatively free atmosphere of the 1920s and the above opinions represent all views on this question. This press discussion exposed the different factions in the Soviet religious policy. Kalinin's proposal followed the line of the ruling triumvirate, while Skvortsov-Stepanov's represented the view of the 'Mechanists' who believed that enlightenment would inevitably destroy religion. Dubovsky, for his part expressed 'Deborinist'-like critique of class-minded hard-liners, while Tregubov, Bonch-Bruevich and Lunacharsky were members of the moderate 'lobby' inside the ruling regime. The actual 13th Congress began on 23 May 1924 with Zinovev's political lecture on the general politics and common aspects of party work. This duty had been earlier performed by Lenin and the gesture was understood as a clear indication of the succession of power. In his opening speech, Zinovev examined contemporary topics in the USSR and one of the items to which he drew special attention was the party's activity in the countryside. One of his main messages in this context was that the party should enforce its cultural influence there.34 However, the 'leftist opposition' close to Trotsky made an effort to challenge the triumvirate and the party apparatus. The spokesman of the 'left' was Preobrazhensky, who accused the party of being alienated from the masses and from the younger generation. Preobrazhensky also demanded more decisive actions against rich peasants. The party should also recognise the danger of private capital to socialism. However, the congress did not accept these accusations and condemned the opposition gathered around Preobrazhensky and Trotsky as a 'petty bourgeois deviation'.35 During the congress Kalinin had the possibility to answer criticism, which had been delivered in the newspapers.36 With regard to his con-

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 61 ciliatory attitude towards the peasantry, Kalinin tried to justify his proposals by referring to Leninist guidelines. According to Kalinin, the NEP policy had fulfilled its purpose but he also described how the improved position of the peasant economy had lead to the social differentiation between the poor, middle and rich peasants. Kalinin paid attention to the criticism of the left-wing and admitted that during the NEP-policy the differences between these classes had widened and wealthy peasants had become politically active.37 He began his justification with quotations from Lenin and drew attention to the co-operative movement in general. He remarked that communes had flourished during the first revolutionary period but that the situation had then begun to deteriorate. Problems concerning individuality and working discipline emerged.38 Kalinin stressed that regardless of various problems in the Soviet co-operative movement, the peasant question in the Soviet countryside could not be solved by administrative methods but only by strengthening the co-operative movement further.39 In this context, Kalinin outlined his initiatives concerning the Party's attitude to the countryside intelligentsia. For example, during the NEP nearly all agronomists were unemployed but the Soviet state could use their services in its work in the countryside. Kalinin suggested that agronomists should also take part in organising the peasant celebrations so essential to the peasant's way of life and so occupy the post of 'secular priests' in peasant society. Peasants for their part should employ agronomists instead of the useless priests they had been supporting since the revolution. He wondered why the springtime feast (the Pentecost according to the Orthodox almanac) could not be a celebration of productivity, etc. He also urged that these kinds of celebrations, led by agronomists or forestry specialists, should be planned in more detail.41 Kalinin's suggestion seemed to be a compromise between the proposals of Trotsky and Zinovev. Trotsky had earlier proposed organising secular feasts for workers and Zinovev had proposed using the neutral and 'honest' village intelligentsia (teachers, agronomists, doctors, etc.) for Soviet purposes. Moreover, this proposal mirrored the suggestions proposed in the XI All Russian Congress of the Soviets when some of the representatives demanded that agronomists help more in the Soviet countryside. Later in 1925, certain peasant members of the XII All-Russian Congress of the Soviets underlined the importance of agronomy in the anti-religious work in the countryside and thought that the work of agronomy would automatically diminish the effect of the priest.42 Kalinin explained his idea by maintaining that it was easy to convert peasants to these secular celebrations because the peasantry, according to him, was not really religiously minded. They did not visit the church all year around, only during great feasts like Easter. In line with Trotsky's

62 Arto Luukkanen earlier claims, Kalinin believed that peasants were not genuinely religious but only accustomed to pre-Revolutionary forms of social life; it was nice to be with other peasants, to chat with others and quarrel with the priest.43 Kalinin also criticised the approach of Skvortsov-Stepanov's article in the religious policy sphere and declared it a 'professorial approach to the fight against religious prejudices. Nevertheless, Kalinin agreed with Skvortsov-Stepanov to some extent and remarked that the party programme should be made more precise. But it should be formulated so that it could not allow for a 'talmudist' interpretation, so the programme itself would not limit anti-religious propaganda simply to 'materialistic explanations' as Skvortsov-Stepanov demanded. As a political gibe in Skvortsov-Stepanov's direction he remarked that the revolution had created Soviet power and the Party was not really the party of 'professors'.44 In accordance with the general conciliatory methods of the NEP, Kalinin urged that the Party should adopt more careful policies with regard to the churches and religion. He used the example that if before the revolution someone had entered a church with his hat on, it would have been taken as a great revolutionary demonstration, as it would have been a risky deed which could have led to punishment by the authoritarian regime. After the October Revolution it would have been understood only as children's play. Nevertheless, Kalinin sought to refute all accusations levelled against him for advancing a neutral attitude toward religion. He declared that restricting the anti-religious struggle and advocating religious neutrality was incompatible with communist party ideology. The Party could never be neutral in this context; otherwise the enemies of the Soviet power could usurp the Soviet machine. While it was proper to abandon earlier administrative methods in the anti-religious battle, neutrality in this matter was out of the question.45 Kalinin also mentioned examples of 'wrong administrative methods' in earlier anti-religious work and pointed out that the persecution of religion only revitalised it. Moreover, Kalinin did not agree with Skvortsov-Stepanov either who had maintained that the ten million sect members were simply exploiters. He justified this standpoint by appealing to the authority of the triumvirate and related how in a private conversation Zinovev had acknowledged that these ten million sectarians could not all be kulaks. Kalinin also reminded the representatives that during the pre-Revolutionary era the party had co-operated with sectarians.46 This interesting lecture was followed by a speech given by Lenin's widow, Nadezhda Krupskaya. In relation to work in the countryside, Krupskaya underlined the importance of the village. She criticised especially the failures of the NEP system and stressed that class struggle in the countryside was inevitable.47 She also drew attention to the poor conditions of teachers and emphasised that the party needed anti-religious propaganda

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 63 and the correct Marxist attitude in educational questions. In relation to this, she complained that poor peasants did not have the same possibilities to educate their children as the kulaks. This created cultural inequality between the children of the poor peasants and those of the kulak. Even more alarming in her opinion was the fact that illiteracy was growing.48 It is intriguing to realise that although the delegates were 'haunted by the fear of weakening the Party by their differences', the congress was not yet the monolithic construction it was to become a few years later. For example, a certain delegate, S.A. Bergavinov, criticised the moderate approach towards the intelligentsia advocated by Zinovev. As his main argument, he remarked that during the Civil War teachers had collaborated with the kulaks and consequently the Party should be cautious when using teachers in its cultural work. He also underlined the suspicious class origin of teachers. Some 50 per cent of them came from clerical families; they were actually sons and daughters of priests. He also objected to Kalinin's positive approach to sectarians. First of all, sectarians did not pay taxes, they did not serve in the Red Army, and they maintained good relations with the kulaks. He also recognised the danger of the sectarian movement if it gained wider support among the poorer sections of the population. It was a development, which the party could not permit and Bergavinov urged that they needed a more careful and more intellectual struggle against sectarians.49 This suspicious and hostile speech indicated the limits of criticism of the leadership. Although the triumvirate could unite its followers against the critics of the 'left', it was not able to silence suspicions among ordinary communists when dealing with such delicate questions as sects. Despite the conciliatory policy of the NEP, distrust of socially and ideologically alien elements was widespread. Communist representatives who had just fought a civil war against these ideological enemies now felt ill at ease co-operating with them. As one peasant put it during the XI All-Russian Congress of the Soviets, the intelligentsia (agronomists) were usually the sons of landowners who instead of doing good caused only harm.50 In the next speech, Rykov, the Prime Minister of the Sovnarkom and the representative of the right, tried to calm these fears. He started by acknowledging Bergavinov's criticism to some extent, but for the most part he denounced these 'leftist' views. He criticised Bergavinov for attacking the NEP and explained to the congress that the 'cessation of the NEP' would not be a wise policy. There were over one million unemployed in the country and the state budget deficit was over 400 million roubles. Moreover, Rykov explained that the Central Committee was aware of the facts about teachers and knew of their suspicious social background. Nevertheless, he asserted, this suspicion was groundless. Teachers had acknowledged the Soviet system and they could be used in the same way as

64 Arto Luukkanen engineers. Thus 'every teacher should be treated with care, with neutrality'.51 Religious sects were, however, a different matter. Rykov stated that sects differed from each other. Consequently, the seeds of revolution might be sown in the soil of some religious movements. He reminded his audience, as Kalinin had done, that in pre-Revolutionary times sects had sometimes worked together with the party. Moreover, during the period of the newspaper Iskra, the Party drew up a plan for using these movements for revolutionary purposes. For this reason, Rykov pointed out that: Those sectarian tendencies must be used to our advantage in every possible way. [They] are served up with spiritual and religious dressings, undertake revolutionary assignments and are sometimes close to abandoning private property.52 At the end of this discussion a representative of the teachers' union brought greetings to the congress. This speech was connected to an initiative launch by Zinovev. During his time in Leningrad Zinovev had held quite an independent position and he could exercise a considerably unconstrained policy.53 He had introduced to the Leningrad area his own policy of the 'outstretched hand' and in general had invited people from the intelligentsia to join in building the Soviet state. So it was natural that it was Zinovev who greeted the teachers and invited them to work with communists.54 He did not, however, treat the intelligentsia as a whole. Zinovev believed that only the friendly and neutral intelligentsia should be addressed with a call for co-operation. Doctors, teachers and agronomists were no doubt less suspicious representatives of the intelligentsia. Moreover, working with them in the anti-religious field could be advantageous as they had in many cases a close relation to the peasants and could be utilised in the fight against religion and illiteracy. Advocates, lawyers, professors and clergy did not belong to the 'useful' part of the intelligentsia and, for the most part, the ruling regime suspected them and regarded them as counter-revolutionaries. For example, one Party source claimed that the hostile section of the intelligentsia had often concealed itself in ecclesiastical councils and in the sectarian movement.55 Despite critical voices among the Party the conciliatory tone towards religion and the sectarians was finally accepted along the lines of Kalinin's proposal. The final Party resolution also included Zinovev's call for an 'outstretched hand' policy and a conciliatory attitude towards the friendly and neutral intelligentsia was officially adopted. As Rykov had hoped, the sects were recognised as elements, which had suffered during the period of Czarism. The main attention at this congress was anyway concentrated on

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 65 a devastating attack against the 'left' front. The Party apparatus and especially the triumvirate chose the most natural way of defence; it criticised the 'left' for its anti-peasant policy. Kalinin's resolution admitted the relevance of sects. The resolution declared also that the party should carry out only non-coercive anti-religious propaganda in the countryside. Moreover, it underlined that the Party must 'liquidate' all administrative measures in the fight against religious prejudices and ban practices such as closing churches, mosques, synagogues, playrooms, etc. In accordance with Kalinin's proposal, the resolution underlined that the character of anti-religious propaganda should be based on materialistic explanations of nature and society. It was important that the peasantry should have things explained in familiar terms. Finally, this resolution stressed once again that the religious feelings of believers should not be insulted. The final victory over religion would be a question of time; it could be achieved by the spread of the enlightenment. This kind of careful approach was necessary, especially, in the eastern republics and districts.56 The congress also recognised the cultural aspect in its work. It was important that the peasant population should become acquainted with the party's propaganda. So it was not surprising that the fight against illiteracy was considered an important part of the resolution. As the resolution put it, the fate of Soviet power was dependent on the peasant question.57 In the 12th Congress the conciliatory tone of Zinovev had initiated the 'religious NEP', but before the 13th Congress the Bolshevik party had not officially acknowledged this change. So Kalinin's resolution and the aftermath of the above debate indicated clearly that the party had entered anew era in its approach to religious organisations. This policy had been delayed for two years from the beginning of 1921.58 The importance of the 13th Congress was that it gave a short breathing space in the political struggle over the future of the Soviet Union. Both hard-liners and moderates interpreted the results of the 13th Congress in their own way. For the hard-liners the resolution represented a temporary setback, but moderates saw it as the start of a long and steady transition period. On the one hand, the conciliatory resolution of the 13th Congress represented the semi-official acknowledgement of religious organisations and the sectarians. These signals could be understood as indications of reconciliation with, in addition, church-state implications. It was more than clear that the resolutions of the 13th Congress could be understood as a de facto recognition of both the 'Living Church' movement and the 'Tikhonite' church, implying that there was a possibility for lasting civil peace in Soviet Russia. But was this prelude to a civil peace genuine or only a temporary breathing space masterminded by the triumvirate? The answer to this

66 Arto Luukkanen question can perhaps be found from the year 1919 when, according to Anatoly Levitin and Vadim Shavrov, Zinovev and Vvedensky at a meeting in Petrograd discussed the possibility of achieving an informal 'concordat' between progressive Orthodox clergy and the Soviet state. Zinovev was of the opinion that a concordat at that time was scarcely possible, but he did not rule out the possibility of such in the future. As Zinovev said, 'as you know, I do everything in my power to avoid any kind of intensification in relation to the churches here in Petersburg'. Zinovev also acknowledged that Vvedensky's progressive group could have great international importance and promised that if they managed to organise themselves, communists would support them.59 These political initiatives of the 13th Congress - the policy of the 'outstretched hand' and calls for co-operation with the neutral intelligentsia - were, however, simply tactics in Zinovev's campaign for the leadership of the Party. But we cannot exclude the possibility that he would have concluded a 'concordat' with religious organisations, if he had gained power. In any event, it is undeniable that Zinovev undertook his political initiatives quite independently and even initiated his own foreign policy from Leningrad. One of his adversaries and the spokesman of the defeated 'left', Trotsky, shared the criticism of the results of the 13th Congress. He published a lengthy article in Pravda on 23 June 1924 (no. 165), 'Leninism and the workers' club', in which he commented on the resolution concerning religion at the 13th Congress. According to him, the anti-religious battle during the revolutionary years had been a success, but the situation had changed when the propaganda reached a politically less conscious stratum in the countryside and cities. He now believed that the period of frontal attack in the anti-religious battle was over and it was time for other methods. This 'truce', however, did not represent the abandoning of antireligious attacks on a wide front. He also defended the religious policy practised earlier, commenting that the moves against religion had been justified. He compared this situation to conventional warfare and stated that the Bolsheviks were now resting after a battle. He warned also that an unprepared frontal attack could lead to unpleasant results and cited a story from Norway where a hasty anti-religious push had complicated the situation inside the Communist Party. This was also the danger when dealing with peasants who were more connected to the obsolete economy. Looking to the future, Trotsky predicted that the party would finally defeat religious prejudices only through the electrification and 'chemicalisation' of agriculture; simply closing the churches would not produce decisive results on the contrary, it would revitalise religion.60 The Soviet sectarian movement soon realised that the situation had changed in the wake of the 13th Congress. Sectarians were even allowed to publish a review in which they commented on this party resolution by

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 67 stressing that due to the new policy local officials could not use earlier administrative methods in their anti-religious work. It was also remarked that local authorities could not 'invent' their own legislation for use against religious organisations.61 After the 13th Congress moderate communist leaders sponsored co-operation with sectarians. The special commission dedicated to work among sectarians, the so-called Orgkomsekt, underlined in a memo to Zinovev, Kamenev, Kalinin, Popov and Smidovich the importance of the resolution of the 13th Congress by suggesting that the Soviet government should now give full freedom to all sectarians in Russia and guarantee that sectarians could develop their 'collective life forms'. Moreover, the Orgkomsekt demanded a complete amnesty for all sectarians. This indicates that the security organs of the Soviet state were slow to comply with the decisions of the 13th Congress and that the Orgkomsekt complained to the higher leadership that the GPU and the NKVD had acted contrary to the objectives of the Orgkomsekt and had paralysed the work of this commission.62 These complaints indicate how the ruling regime attempted to adjust to the new 'class peace'. In order to find out who in the sectarian movement could be utilised in Soviet work, the Party apparatus began its official analysis of the sectarian movement. At first the Central Committee's Orgburo gave an order for the drawing up of a special circular,63 which was later sent to all Party committees. In this circular the Central Committee ordered that information be collected concerning the state of antireligious propaganda and details of sectarians in the Russian countryside.64 According to this circular, the Party should not consider the sects as a single unit but as a multi-faceted movement. As the circular underlined, there were sects which, for example, opposed military service, taxes and Soviet cultural activities, but there were also sects carrying out important economic and cultural duties. This was the main reason why all party organs should adopt a careful and 'wise' attitude towards sects. It also attempted to pacify party members by remarking that at the same time as the sectarian movement was growing, the anti-religious movement was also experiencing growth. Consequently, responsible organs should take this into consideration, together with the resolutions of the 12th and 13 th Congresses, and adopt a more systematic attitude in their anti-religious propaganda.65 Afterword During the last days of Soviet power, the role of religion within Russian national identity was allowed to become a topic of a public discussion.

68 Arto Luukkanen Especially the intelligentsia and the new democratic leaders were anxious to underline the importance of the national church for the Russians. For example, in September 1990, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote his famous article How to Rebuild (obustroit) Russia. This article received positive responses, including one written by B.N. Yeltsin. The general consensus of the various responses was that the Orthodox tradition could assist in some way in the national rebuilding process. The Russian Orthodox Church took a central role at that time. In a situation where the state had lost its ideological justification, the role of the church and all national traditions seemed to be of utmost importance. However, it is difficult to make predictions about the future of the Russian Orthodox Church. On the one hand, nearly all the political parties recognise the significance of religion and a general goodwill prevails among Russians towards the Russian Orthodox Church. On the other hand, there are many pitfalls, too. To mention but a few of these dangers, along with a desperate economic situation, the Russian Orthodox Church suffers from a lack of competent clergy. Moreover, the church has been politicised lately, some members of its clergy being involved in the activities of anti-Semitic, national-fascist movements of the far right. These political factions try to use the Russian Orthodox Church as their demagogic forum for disseminating radical propaganda. Especially now that the new Russian state has lost its earlier ideology - Marxism-Leninism - the role of the church and all national traditions are more crucial. The leading politicians and especially Yeltsin's presidential staff have been more than eager to utilise the Russian Orthodox Church and the well-known figure of Aleksey II. His legendary white klobuk, representing national decorum, has been seen near Yeltsin nearly everywhere. However, although predicting the future is far beyond the powers of the author, one can not escape seeing the breathtaking prospects of the contemporary situation in Russia. And it is certainly believable that religion and nationalism are crucial parts of that future. Endnotes 1

This article is based on the author's monographs: The Party of Unbelief - The Religious Policy of The Bolshevik Party, 1917-1929, Studia Historica No. 48, 1994, Suomen Historiallinen Seura; The Religious Policy of The Stalinist State. A Case Study: The Central Standing Commission of Religious Questions, 1929-1938, Studia Historica No. 57, Suomen Historiallinen Seura, Helsinki, 1997. 2

PSS 12, 143-4. 'Sotsializm i religiya'. Later Lenin stated that the RSDWP was struggling for complete 'freedom of consciousness' and that the Bolsheviks would respect all views in the religious sphere as long as they were not instilled by 'force

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period


or deception'. PSS 15, 156-7. 'Proekt rechi po agrarnomu voprosu bo vtoroi gosudarstvennoi dume\ 3 Compare MEW 4, 480-481, 'Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei' and Kline 1968, 132-134. See also Pipes 1980, 32-4. 4 Carriere d'Encausse 1982, 151. Juri Borys's view is even more explicit when he remarks that at the 12th Congress the party was 'looking for a theoretical foundation for its centralist policy towards the nationalities, a foundation for its negative attitude towards the self-determination principle'. Borys 1980, 353. 5

Deutscher 1987,97-8. 'My — partiya gorodskaya, rodivshayasya b rabochikh kvartalakh... My tolko nachali prodvigatsya b derevnyu ... My teoreticheski uyasnili vazhnost pravilnykh vsaimootnoshenii s krestyanstvom, no prakticheski eto s gromadnym trudom.' SI2, 39. 7 S12,44-5. 8 S12,794. 9 Simon 1991, 135. 10 See Gregory L. Freeze, The Re-Christianization of Russia: The Church and Popular Religion, 1750-1850, Studia Slavica Finlandensia VII, 1990. 6


KPSS II, 469-473; Carrere d'Encausse 1982, 151-2. IzvTsK KPSS 1990 10, 77; KPSS II, 487-8; Deutscher 1987, 98. 13 SS 5, 306. 'IV Soveschshanie. O pravykh i 'levykh' v natsrespublikakh i oblastyakh. Rech po pervomu punktu poryadka dna soveschshaniya: Delo Sultan-Galieva 10. iyunya'. Sultan-Galiev had formed a clandestine organization Ittihadve Tarakki (Union and Progress) with other Muslim communists. 12


Galiev 1960 (1921), 226-31; Bennigsen and Lemercier-Quelquejay 1967, 111-6; Simon 1991,78-9. 15 '...Vopreki popytkam i stremleniyam provodit antireligiozhuyu propagandu v massovom vide sredi tat. bash, ne vozmozhno'. RTsKhlDNI f. 17, op. 61, d. 146. 'Tezisy prinyatye na soveschshanii instruktorov po rabote sredi tataro-bashkir Samarskoi gubernii utverzhdennye APO gubkoma RKP/b'. 16 RTsKhlDNI f. 17, op. 61, d. 146. 'Otchet o deyatelnosti Tatbashbyuro Samgubkoma RKP za vremya o 1 dekabrya 1922 g. po aprelya 1923 goda'. 17 SU I, 95-96, 258; DSV I, 367; Bennigsen and Lemercier-Quelquejay 1967, 89, 139-40, 144-9; Pipes 1980, 156-7. 18 PSS 38, 158-9. 'VIII Sezd RKP(b). Doklad o partiinoi programme 19 marta'; PSS 39, 304. 'Tovarischsham kommunistam Turkestana'; PSS 39, 326-9. 'Doklad na II Vserossiiskom Sezde kommunisticheskikh organizatsii narodov vostoka 22 noyabrya 1919'; PSS 51, 175. 'Telegramma G.K. Ordzhonikidze i zapiska L.D. Trotskomu'.

70 Arto Luukkanen 19

RTsKhlDNI f.89, op. 4, d. 117 Tov. Yaroslavskomu 10.8.1923'; Ramet 1989, 32-3. See also GARF f. 5263, op. 1, d. 55(3) 'Narkomyust tov. Krasikovu kopiya tov. Menzhikomu'. 20

RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 3, d. 3. 'Statya Po Krasnoi Bashkirii 1-ya oblastnaya Bashkirskaya konferentsiya RKP(b). Napisannaya dlya gazety Pravda. Avtograf. Mashinopisannyi tekst'.


'Tezisi tov. Kalinina o rabote v derevne, odobrennye TsK RKP'. Pravda, 16 and 17 April 1924, No. 87,88. 22 Trinadtsatyi punkt tezisov o rabote v derevne'. Pravda, 25 April 1924; YII, 537-538. 'Dokumenty'. 23 See Pravda, 25 April 1924; YII, 538. 'Dokumenty'. 24 Pravda, 25 April 1924, No. 95; YII, 538. 'Dokumenty'. 25 Pravda, 25 April 1924, No. 95; YII, 538. 'Dokumenty'. 26 Pravda, 15 May 1924, No. 108; YII, 539-540. 'Dokumenty'. 27


Pravda, 15 May 1924, No. 108.

'... Ona est odin iz glavnykh i opasneishikh vragov kommunizma i proletarskoi dikatatury'. Pravda, 15 May 1924, No. 108. 29 Pravda, 15 May 1924, No. 108; YII, 540. 'Dokumenty'. 30 Pravda, 15 May 1924, No. 108; YII, 541. 'Dokumenty'. 31 '...Vot pochemu my schitaem ety postanovku nepravilnoi. Luchshe vsego bylo by etot vtotoi absats 13-go punkta sovershenno vybrocit ili korennym obrazom ego pererabotat'. Pravda, 23 May 1924, No. 115. 32

Pravda, 24 May 1924, No. 116. RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 180. 'Sotrudnichestvo sektantov b sovetsko-kommunisticheskom stroitelstve. Vnimanie XIII Sezd RKP.' Izvestiya, 27 May 1924, No. 119. 34 S13, 94-97, 107-8. 35 S13, 146-151,184-7, 191,771-7. 33


S13, 434-6. S13, 434-43. 38 S13,438. 39 S13, 442-4. 40 SI3, 227. 41 S13, 447. See also Fainsod 1958, 433. 42 VSS XI, 25; VSS XII, 207-8. Compare ST XXI, 39-43 and Zinovev 1926, 51-2. 43 S13,448. 44 SI3, 449. 37

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period 71 45







S13, 455-7.


S13, 470-1.


VSS XI, 77.


S13, 472-7. '... Te sektantskie techeniya, kotoriye pod dukhovnym i religiosnym sousom provodyat revolyutsionnye zadachi i kotorye inogda blizki k otritsaniyu chastnoi sobstvennosti, nuzhno izpolzhovat vsyacheski i tselikom'. S13, 477. 52


Korey 1963,254.


S13,480. RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 186. 'Vuzy i antireligioznaya propaganda'; 'metody antireligiozhoi propagandy'; SI3, 484-5.


56 57

KPSS III, 84-5. KPSSIII, 86-7, 100.


Siegelbaum 1992, 159. Levitin & Shavrov 1978, 54. 60 ST XXI, 153-5. 'Leninism i rabochie kluby'. 61 RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 186. 'Polesnye svedenjiya dlya beruyushschikh i osobenno dlya narodnykh religioznykh obshschin. Postanovleniya XIII Cezda Possiiskoi Komm. Partii (Bolshevikob)'. In order to secure a conciliatory attitude towards sects, Ivan Tregubov sent an article published in Izvestiya to Stalin, together with an announcement in which he asked the General Secretary for reassurances that sectarians could freely organise their congress. RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 180. 'Generalnomu sekretaryu RKP tov. Stalinu. Zayavleniye.' 59


GARF, f. 353, op. 8, d. 8 'Zapiska o vosstanovlenii deyatelnosti ocoboi komissii 'Orgkomsekt' pri narkomzeme i osoboi reforme po sektantskomu voprosu v svyazi s postanovleniyami XIII Sezda RKP'. 63 RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 122, 'Vypiska iz protokola no: 51, zasedaniya Orgbyuro TsK RKP (b) ot 15-XII-24 g\ 64 RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 184. Trilozhenie No. k tsirkulyaru No. 78 ot 30 yanvarya 1925 g. Skhema No. 2. O sostoyanii antireligioznoi propagandy'; 'Prilozhenia No. 1 k tsirkulyaru No. 78 ot 30 yanvarya 1925 g. Skhema No. 1. O razvitii sektantstva b SSSR'. 65

RTsKhlDNI f. 89, op. 4, d. 184. 'Vsem TsK, Natskompartii, Oblbyuro TsK, Obkomam, Kraikomam, Gubkomam i Okruzhkomam RKP (b-ov). O sektantskom dvizhenii i ob antireligioznoi propagande (No. 78 ot yanvarya 1925 goda)'.

72 Arto


Sources and Bibliography Documentary


Russian Centre of Conservation and Study of Records for Modern History (RTsKhlDNI) (Rossiiskii tsentr khraneniya i isucheniya dokumentov noveishei istorii. Fond 17: The CPSU Central Committee; Fond 89: EmTI. Yaroslavsky. State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF). (Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii). Fond 353: NKYust; Fond 5263: The Commission of Cults, 1929-1938. Printed


DSV (1957-1964): Dekrety Sovetskoi Vlasti, Tom I-III, Izdatelstvo politicheskoi literatury, Moskva. Galiev, Sultan (1960): 'Les M^thodes de Propagande Anti-Religiose Parmi les Musulmans (Zhizn Natsionalnostei, 14.12., 23.12.1921)'. Les Mouvements Nationaux chez les Musulmans De Russie. he 'Sultangalievisme' Au Tatarstan. Societe et Ideologies, Deuxieme Serie, Documents et Temoignages, Alexandre Benningsen et Chantal Quelquejay. Paris (1921). IzvTsK KPSS (1990): Izvestiya TsK KPSS, Izdavalis v 1919-1929 gg, Vozobnovleny b 1989 g, torn 4 (303), Izdanie tsentralnogo komiteta KPSS, Moskva. KPSS (1970), Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza v rezolyutsiyakh i resheniyakh sezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK (1898-1970), torn I-IV, Izd. vosmoe, dopolnennoe i ispravlennoe, Moskva. MEW (1971-72): Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels, Werke, Band 4, Dietz Verlag. 1971-72. Berlin. PSS (1960-1965): Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii V.I Lenina, torn 1-55, Idzanie 5, Moskva. SS: Stalin, I.V., Sochineniya, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo politicheskoi literatyry, torn 1-13, Moskva. ST XXI (1927): Sochineniya, L. Trotskii, torn XXI, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo, Moskva. 512 (1968): Dvenadtsatyi sezd RKP(b), 17-25 aprelja 1923 goda, Protokoli i stenograficheskie otchety sezdov i konferentsii Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soyuza, Stenograficheskii otchet, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo politicheskoi literatury, Institut Marksizma-Leninizma pri TsK KPSS, Moskva. 513 (1963): Trinandtsatyi sezd RKP(b), 17-25 aprelja 1923 goda, Protokoli i stenograficheskie otchety sezdov i konferentsii Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soyuza, Stenograficheskii otchet, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo politicheskoi literatury, Institut Marksizma-Leninizma pri TsK KPSS, Moskva.

Religion and Nationality in the Early Soviet Period


SU: Sobranie Uzakonenii i Rasporyazhenii Paboche-krestyanskogo Pravitelstva, 1 1917-18: otdel 1-90, 93-99 ukazatel, II 1919: 1-69 ukazatel, III 1920 1-100 ukazatel, Moskva. VSS XI (1924): XI Vserossiiskii Sezd Sovetov, Stenograficheskii otchet, Moskva-Kreml. VSS XII (1925): XII Vserossiiskii Sezd Sovetov, Stenograficheskii otchet, Moskva-Kreml. Zinovev, Grigory Yevsevich (1926): Leninizm. Vvedenie v izuchenie leninizma, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo, Leningrad. YII (1933): Yaroslavskii, Em.: Protiv religii i Tserkvi, torn II, 'Lenin, kommunizm i religiya', Ogiz, Gosudarstvennoe antireligioznoe izdatelstvo, Moskva. YIII (1935): Yaroslavskii, Em.: Protiv religii i Tserkvi, torn III, 'Proletarskaya revolyutsiya v borbe s religiei', Ogiz, Gosudarstvennoe antireligioznoe izdatelstvo, Moskva. Newspapers and Periodicals Izvestiya, 1924. Pravda, 1924. Bibliography Bennigsen, Alexandre A. and Lemercier-Quelquejay, Chantal (1967), Islam in the Soviet Union, Pall Mall Press, London. Borys, Jurij (1980), The Sovietization of Ukraine 1917-1923. The Communist Doctrine and Practise of National Self Determination, Revised Edition, The Canadian Library in Ukrainian Studies, The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton. Carr&re D'Encausse, H£l£ne (1982), Decline of an Empire. The Soviet Socialist Republics in Revolt, Newsweek Books, New York. Deutscher, Isaac (1987), The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921-1929, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Fainsod, Merle (1958), Smolensk under Soviet Rule, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachussets. Kline, George Louis (1968), Religious and Anti-Religious Thought in Russia, The Weil Lectures, Chicago University Press, Chicago. Korey, William (1963), 'Zinoviev of the German Revolution of October 1923. A Case Study of Bolshevik Attitude to Revolutions Abroad', Essays in Russian and Soviet History, in: Honour of Geroid Tanquary Robinson, Studien zur Geschichte Ost-Europas 8, Edited by John Shelton Curtiss, E.J. Brill, Leiden.

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Levitin, Anatoly and Shavrov, Vadim (1978), Ocherki po istorii russkoi tserkovnoi smuty (Essays on the History of Russian Ecclesiastical Disturbances), v 3 tomakh, Institut Glaube in der 2. Welt, Ktisnacht, Schweiz. Pipes, Richard (1980), The Formation of the Soviet Union. The History of a National Minority, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Siegelbaum, Lewis H. (1992), Soviet State and Society Between Revolutions, 1918-1929, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Simon, Gerhard (1991), Nationalism and Policy Toward the Nationalities in the Soviet Union. From Totalitarian Dictatorship to Post-Stalinist Society (orig. 'Nationalisms und Nationatitatenpolitik in der Sowjetunion. Von der totalitaren Diktatur zur nach stalinschen Gesellschaft', Baden-Baden, 1986), Westview Press, San Fransisco.

5 Nationalism and Internationalism: How did the Bolsheviks Cope with National Sentiments? TIMO VIHAVAINEN

The Leninist Approach It was no accident that the slogan of the Communist Manifesto was: Proletarians of the world, unite! For, according to Marxist understanding, the proletariat, which was being bred by capitalism, had no country. It shared a culture of labour and exploitation and, virtually excluded from the bourgeois national culture, it looked towards an inter-national solidarity of the oppressed. National sentiments as such could hardly have an intrinsic value from the Marxist point of view. Once the proletariat had gained supremacy in the world, the human species would overcome all mutual divisions and antagonisms and be able to realise its true and universal human self. Division of humanity by national principle would then belong to the prehistory of a real, emancipated humanity of the future. This amounted to saying that nationalism was intrinsically bad. Therefore, one could think, the duty of the forces of progress was to fight nationalism on all fronts.1 Nevertheless, this clear and simple picture was complicated by the fact that the development of capitalism was uneven. In Lenin's analysis there were nations, which were exploited, and those who were exploiting. For the captains of the proletarian revolution, this meant that there were national questions to solve: the proletariats of the oppressed and the oppressing nations had to be reconciled. Great-power chauvinism might be just a psychological aberration, and its hollowness was becoming more and more evident to the masses in the course of the world war, which brought only disaster for the poor, while it filled the pockets of the capitalists. Instead, the resentment of the oppressed nations had a more solid foundation and it had to be taken into account.

76 Timo Vihavainen As regards the practical methods of fighting the petty-bourgeois nationalism of the masses, the views of the radical socialists were divided. While some straightforward militants like G.L. Piatakov and Rosa Luxemburg wanted to unleash a frontal attack on nationalism, Lenin wanted to exploit it. Lenin, the dialectician, saw the possibility of bringing the dissatisfied nationalism of the oppressed nations into the service of the revolution. In his opinion it should be first emancipated and, in this way, made to exhaust and annihilate itself.2 As a revolutionary strategist, Lenin was utterly flexible and in times of crisis, he always chose the pragmatic solution, which would ensure the survival of Bolshevik power. This must not, however, make us forget the Utopian core of his thought. In his State and Revolution, written in 1917, Lenin envisioned, for the near future, a new kind of human community where no civil servants, let alone army or police were needed. The working masses would have taken over the administrative tasks of the state for themselves, and it was forecast that they would learn astonishingly quickly to live along the new rules of the new, proletarian community. This new historical form of human community was to be based on communes, which were voluntarily united with each other. Unification would produce strict centralisation, but this based on an intrinsic harmony of proletarian interests as it was - would not curtail democratic values, but reinforce them. This new proletarian state was soon to begin withering away. This would not happen immediately, but the new generation which would have got accustomed to live in these new conditions, would no longer need a special machinery - the state - to enforce the fulfilment of the new rules of cohabitation.3 What is of interest here, is the faith in an intrinsic harmony of the aspirations of all proletarians. In Lenin's thinking, this implied that local selfrule as a guarantee against oppression was superfluous in principle. Another remarkable point is Lenin's apparent belief in the ease of internalising the new rules of cohabitation: just give us a generation grown up under proletarian dictatorship and new, communist patterns of conduct, tantamount to a new 'human nature', would prevail. It goes without saying that the communist state would be free of national strife. As regards the practical tasks of the revolutionary phase, the Bolsheviks wanted to overcome the national prejudices of the oppressed by granting every nation the right of secession. Of course, national isolation was not the goal of the Bolsheviks, quite the contrary. The point was that the union should be voluntary by nature and this implied a right of secession. This voluntary union was the inevitable basis for a future democratic, proletarian centralism as it was envisioned in State and Revolution.

Nationalism and Internationalism 77 One of the central ideas of the Bolshevik nationality policy was that proletarians of different nationalities should be welded together by a party organisation, which was international. This was seen as the very antithesis to the idea of the so-called cultural autonomy, which was pursued by the Austro-marxists, Karl Renner and Otto Bauer. The latter stressed the importance of the ethnic factor in its own right and thought that even the workers should be organised into national groups.4 Stalin and the Bolsheviks, in contrast, understood that it was common work and a common party, which united the toilers of different nationalities. Cultural rights and national self-rule were useful in appeasing national sentiments, but compared to class position, they had quite a secondary importance.5 Revolution and civil war were the first test of the Bolshevik strategy and, in the opinion of the Bolsheviks themselves, it really worked: the small nations chose the Bolsheviks instead of the proponents of a 'united and indivisible' Russia. Both Lenin and Stalin proclaimed that the victory in the Civil War was due to the nationality policy of the Bolsheviks.6 Certainly, the Bolsheviks had succeeded in instigating national opposition to the tsarist regime. As regards the 'voluntary' union of the dismembered parts of the empire, in fact, it had to be completed by effective military action. In theory, though, it was always possible to maintain that the will of the conquered nations was incarnated in their working class whose conscious part had supported reunion. Sometimes, as in the Latvian case, this even had a grain of truth.7 Retreat from Utopia and Concessions to the 'Petty-bourgeois Elements' It is general knowledge that the Bolsheviks from the very beginning were forced to retreat from many, if not most of the basic tenets of their revolutionary creed, although the retreat was declared to be temporary. The revolution remained uncompleted, and it was necessary to cope with a mass of difficulties, which had not been foreseen. The NEP-state hardly was the proletarian state envisioned by Lenin in 1917. It professed to be a state of the toiling people, but a 'power of the Soviets' remained only on paper. No dialectical juggling could convince anybody that the administration was in fact being done by all the people as Lenin had envisioned in State and Revolution, and it was hardly possible to think that the Red Army was really no army at all, but just a section of the armed people. Rather, there was once more a dictatorship of a minority over a vast majority. No matter that Lenin called it 'a million times more democratic' than the bourgeois democracies. This was in fact confessed by the Bolshe-

78 Timo Vihavainen vik leadership. From the point of view of nationality policy this situation had serious implications. NEP meant that the vast majority of the population did not live under socialist, but instead under a 'petty-bourgeois' mode of production. Peasants, retail traders, professionals, craftsmen and petty producers did not necessarily share proletarian values, which included proletarian internationalism. Rather, petty production bred counterrevolution and chauvinism every day.9 In State and Revolution Lenin had in principle preferred a centralised state. By 1919 and even more emphatically in 1922 he came to defend the federal principle.10 The Soviet Union, formed officially at the end of 1922, became a federation of national republics. In fact its administration was rather effectively centralised, thanks to the role of the ruling party. The party was international, as the Bolsheviks had envisioned before the revolution, and it was now responsible for the maintenance of mutual harmony, which had been presaged. The situation became strangely dualistic: on the level of the state organs there was federalism and the separate nature of the union republics was scrupulously elaborated in the 1924 constitution. Indeed, the necessity of the union was excused first of all by practical considerations, which were of an economical and military nature. On the other hand, the principle of centralisation was strongly manifested in the party documents of the epoch. For example the second party programme of the Bolsheviks in 1919 (which was in force until 1961) declared that federalism was just a transitory form of state organisation on the way to complete unity. 2 The party programme also emphatically rejected the principle of separation of state powers. At the level of the ruling party the proletarian state was built on the principle of an undivided dictatorship and had no use for checks and balances in politics. Moreover the party programme also presupposed that the Soviet economy should be maximally centralised.13 Anyway, the recognition of the territorial-national principle (natsionalnaya gosudarstvennost) in the state structure persisted and was to prove very important in the post-communist future. The Stalinist Solution Lenin was practically incapacitated by his illness by 1922 and died in 1924. He left after him a country, which was based on an alleged truce between the proletariat and the peasants and where all the basic questions of policy remained unsettled. Stalin had been Lenin's chief specialist in the nationality policy and it was he who determined the way in which these open questions were settled. It has been pointed out that in the nationality

Nationalism and Internationalism 79 policy, as well as elsewhere Stalin was more straightforward than Lenin was. Indeed, he roused the fury of his master in 1922 by trying to drive the Caucasian communists into a unitary Russian state.14 However, it would be unfair to stress the differences of outlook. Stalin was not blind to the importance of national issues, although in 1922 he preferred a closer union of 'autonomies' to a federation. Like Lenin, he stressed the primary importance of the basic unity between proletarians of different nationalities (through the party) and he also recognised the importance of appeasing the oppressed nationalities by granting for them the right of secession and territorial self-rule.15 But the recognition of these rights in principle did not settle the problems in practice. Stalin knew well enough his native Caucasus. There were scores of nationalities, often living scattered among each other. Some of these were divided from each other by language, others by religion. Some were well-developed nations, others had no literature in the vernacular. Some were anti-Russian, some pro-Russian. Some were against their neighbours, hating local minorities or local majorities. Murderous atrocities took place among national groups and quite evidently it was not socialism but the shariah, which many groups wanted to introduce, when given national self-rule.16 These problems could not be solved by the recognition of the right to secede, let alone by actual secession of national groups. 'Remnants of national sentiments' were quite active even among the working classes and the Bolsheviks had to take them into account. In the society of the 1920s, which was still not 'socialist' even in Russia proper, there was animosity towards the Russians and towards other nationalities on the part of the Russians, but there were also contradictions between other nationalities. As a Marxist party with a scientific worldoutlook, the Bolsheviks had to determine the class-nature of these contradictions in the nationality questions, and to organise political struggle accordingly. At the XII Party Congress in 1923 Stalin proclaimed that the main danger in national relations was Great-Russian chauvinism.17 There was also local nationalism, which was directed against the Russians, and there was local chauvinism, which was directed against non-Russian neighbours. Anyway, it was decreed that Great-Russian chauvinism was currently the main danger in the mutual relations of the Soviet nations. Overcoming it would amount to overcoming no less than nine tenths of all the nationalism, which still survived, and was developing in the republics.18 This could be achieved by organising class struggle inside each nationality and, thereby giving to the Soviet power a national character everywhere. Not only schools, but also local authorities - both soviet and party - should be made 'national'. On the central level the nationalities should be represented in a special organ, the Soviet of Nationalities.19

80 Timo Vihavainen This was the beginning of the so-called policy of korenizatsiya, that is, indigenisation. The main idea was to grow national communist cadres for every nationality so that the party line could be pursued everywhere by representatives of the local nationality and the 'national' proletariat could be raised against its 'own' exploiters. The obstacles to this policy were in many cases both the lack of literacy of the masses and the absence of local proletarians. In Bukhara and Khorezm there were still no Communists by 1922. This problem reflected also the de facto inequality of nations in terms of economical and cultural development. The CPSU took on itself the task of liquidating this inequality.20 On the part of the Russians this evidently implied self-sacrifice: raising 'national' proletariats to non-Russian territories meant industrialisation and this had to be made with the help of the Russian proletarians and other Russian resources. Russian help was needed also in the 'cultural' revolution of those territories.21 Taken at large this great task was not much different from the 'white man's burden' as seen by Kipling. True, Kipling presupposed that British exploitation was being compensated by cultural work under imperialism, while the Russian Bolsheviks promised to recompensate past exploitation after imperialism had been liquidated. On the other hand, these sacrifices were to yield good harvest for the Bolsheviks in the form of mutually advantageous co-operation in the future. The policy of indigenisation was taken seriously. By the mid-1930s the percentage of locals in both the party and state service in their respective republics or national territories grew enormously. Primary education was conducted in the 'national language' almost everywhere, although in the case of secondary and higher education it was more difficult. Also administration on the basic level became more and more 'national', in terms of both the language used and the national affiliation of the staff.22 The Bolsheviks before the revolution had envisioned the merger of the nations to happen rather soon after the triumph of socialism. Already in 1925 Stalin said that he doubted this, because in practice the number of socialist nations seemed not to be in decline but growing.23 By 1929 Stalin already stated that the merger of nations - a dogma of the founding fathers as it was - would take place, but only in a distant future and first a long time after socialism had won in the whole world.24 In any case, it should be noted here that the survival of nations is not equivalent to survival of national prejudices or nationalism. Since 1928 the Soviet Union had started the building of socialism on the whole front. Industrialisation and collectivisation were now rapidly changing society. From the point of view of ideology it was most important that this did not mean just quantitative growth: the very nature of society was changing.

Nationalism and Internationalism 81 One of the novelties of the epoch was the birth of 'socialist nations'. National in form, each national culture was socialist in content. During the XVI Party Congress in 1930 Stalin proclaimed that the building of socialism was emancipating national culture. In his words, the period of building socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat were - and had to be - a period of blossoming (rastsvet) of national cultures. The final goal was the merger of these to one international socialist culture with one common language, but this stage could be attained only through the blossoming of each socialist culture. In Stalin's opinion this was as logical and as evident as the Leninist formula of 'secession for unification'. It was clear to everybody, who understood Marxist dialectics, he said. From the point of view of classical Marxism and even Leninism, it certainly was a paradox.25 As regards the 'dangers' of Great Russian chauvinism and of local nationalism respectively, Stalin still proclaimed the former to be the main danger.26 This was well in line with the general atmosphere of the first five-year plan period. Especially the years 1928-31 were an epoch of radicalism, hare-brained utopianism, voluntarism and ruthless violence in most spheres of life. In the atmosphere of the so-called 'cultural revolution', the Russian cultural heritage and the surviving remnants of the bourgeois Russian past were under attack: the old bourgeois style of life was rejected, churches were closed, old specialists were dismissed, science and art were 'proletarianised'. Even the bourgeois family and an individual way of life seemed to be giving way to new, socialist institutions. Everywhere, old forms of life seemed to be substituted for new, radically different patterns.27 Only nations seemed to persist, even if they had radically changed in 'essence'. As regards the Russian national heritage, as it was a thing of the bourgeois past, it was attacked and even ridiculed. Old, patriotic historians were cast into disfavour.28 The school of M.N. Pokrovsky ousted its adversaries from the Academy and the universities and the Russian past began to be represented along the lines of a radical orthodoxy, which stressed the importance of the masses and dismissed past national heroes as oppressors and bloodsuckers. Even the classical heritage of Russian culture - apart from the revolutionary tradition - did not seem to be worth preserving in the new epoch of socialism, which was rapidly approaching.29 The Age of Socialism: A Final Solution of the National Question The Bolshevik tactics in their struggle to neutralise nationalist aspirations had led to remarkable political results by the beginning of the 1930s. The old structure of the Russian empire had been destroyed and a hierarchical,

82 Timo Vihavainen federal state structure, which was organised according to the national principle, was created. The centrifugal and isolationist tendencies of the Soviet 'federal' state were effectively neutralised by the unitary structure of the party. At the beginning of the 1930s the Soviet Union was not merely a centralised Russian empire camouflaged as a conglomeration of national quasi-states. Now, instead of the former gubernii, there really were national units, where national languages were spoken and used at schools and in local administration. 'National' cadres had been created both in party and state apparatuses. National culture was blossoming in many ways and the national territories were becoming more and more 'national in form'. The crucial question from the Stalinist point of view was, whether they were also 'socialist in content'. This was part of a larger problem. The Soviet Union itself was building socialism, but had not attained it by the time of the first five-year plan, 1928-32. This, however, it was proclaimed, would happen in the near future. What, then, was socialism? If the writings of the founding fathers were valid at all, it would be, by and large, a harmonious society, where national strife had vanished along with exploitation. After the 'petty-bourgeois' classes had been liquidated, there would be no domestic social base for local nationalism, any more than for Great-Russian chauvinism. Assuredly, all the territories would live harmoniously together and not in a mutual struggle as was the case under capitalism. The XVII Party Congress 'of the victors' in 1934 proclaimed that the building of the material basis for a socialist society had succeeded.30 The Soviet Union first became an officially socialist society in 1936, when the new constitution was adopted. The triumph of the new social system was crowned by the victory in the elections of 1937. As is known, this coincided with the peak of the great terror, when hundreds of thousands of real and potential oppositionists were executed and many more were thrown into the Gulag.3 The preparation for a new social order during the five years, from the end of the first pyatiletka until the proclaimed 'triumph of socialism' were a period of permanent purge, during which the centre sought to enforce its domination on the periphery in all walks of life. The national economy was centralised, the party apparatus was brought into order, contingents of 'socially alien' and 'degenerate' elements were purged and potential party opposition eliminated.32 The bases of national deviation were also destroyed. In short, the whole Soviet Union was made to function as a harmonious whole. Had not Lenin himself supposed that intrinsic harmony would be characteristic for a socialist state?

Nationalism and Internationalism 83 In spite of the harmonious essence of the new society, the triumph of socialism did not mean the slackening of the class struggle. On the contrary, it was increasing, said Stalin. Although the class enemies no longer had a mass base in the Soviet Union, they did have their agents there. Capitalist encirclement implied that a merciless class struggle would continue even under socialism. The state would wither away, said Stalin, but that was a thing of the distant future. The order of the day was to maximally strengthen the state.33 Socialism was being built by violence, which peaked simultaneously with its most spectacular triumph, but then, violence was the midwife of any new social order, as well as it was a necessary weapon for any state to use against its enemies. In this regard, the socialist state just happened to be the most effective one in history. Among the people, Bolshevik policies proved vastly popular. According to the official legend, 98.6 per cent of the Soviet people voted for the Stalinist coalition of communist and non-party candidates in 1937. Although there was only one candidate in each district, it was supposedly not compulsory to vote for him. This meant that the elections were a mighty demonstration of popular support for the government and the party. It duly proved that the new constitution reflected a new reality.34 The new constitution stated that the socialist nations were united on a voluntary basis into a harmonious brotherly union. There was no national strife between them, any more than there was class-struggle between the new socialist classes - for classes there still were: workers and peasantry.35 The structure of the new, now genuinely socialist, Soviet Union grew still more heterogeneous in form than it had been before the triumph of socialism. According to the new constitution, there were no less than 11 socialist republics, 22 autonomous republics, nine autonomous regions and nine national territories. On the other hand, administration - even on the governmental ('soviet') level - was now greatly centralised and economically the Soviet Union became one bloc, as the party programme presupposed.6 All the Republics were now effectively harnessed to serve one common, socialist state. The state was preponderantly Russian, but socialism could also be served in other languages, where it was feasible. The path of the national republics and their new, indigenous cadres from the NEP-society to the new, harmonious, socialist community had been full of pain and labour. In 1933 Stalin had pointed out that not only Great Russian chauvinism, but also local nationalism was a danger to socialism. Although Stalin had said that it was idle talk to argue what was more dangerous, Great Russian chauvinism or local nationalism, in practice it became clear that the struggle against the latter had become the order of the day.37 In 1933-8 there

84 Timo Vihavainen was a series of successive and thorough purges of the leaderships of the national republics and territories. National leaderships of the union and of the autonomous republics were liquidated - and as a rule this happened several times in succession. The cultural elites of the republics were annihilated. The charge against the nationals was invariably that they had instigated national strife and oppressed the Russians or other minorities in the republics. In 1937 it was proclaimed that the moving force behind these aberrations had always been foreign imperialism. The local elites had become its hired agents and their goal had been the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism.38 From the point of view of the official ideology, the phenomenon of nationalism as such had been, in principle, unavoidable during the era of the NEP. Proletarian internationalism without a proletariat was Utopian, and a kind of defensive nationalism on the part of the peoples, who had until lately been oppressed, had to be tolerated, until the population would have learned to trust the 'new' Russians, their brethren by class. The triumph of socialism changed the situation totally. In a socialist society, there was no more a class base for nationalism. This meant that those nationalists who still persisted had to have such a base in the bourgeois classes abroad. What had been called 'local' nationalism of the presocialist society almost inevitably turned into a 'bourgeois' nationalism after 1936, when socialism officially triumphed. Of great practical importance was the declaration that mutual trust between the nations had been achieved. For the first time Stalin pointed to this as an accomplished fact in 1935. The Stalin Constitution of 1936 restated the claim. 9 Achievement of mutual trust rendered a preferential treatment of indigenous nationalities superfluous, even criminal, as it was contrary to the equality of peoples. Now it was time to see that the Russians got fair treatment. In the harmonious socialist state, there was no room for complaining about 'Russification'. The dialectics of history had revolutionised the essence of national relations. The calm, which was attained on the national front recalled that of the Shipka valley. National leaderships of the republics and autonomies were liquidated en masse.40 This was not all. The national languages, many of which had been created first in the 1920s or even 1930s and which had introduced the Latin alphabet, now used Cyrillic. Also the vocabulary of the languages began to be consistently drawn closer to Russian.41 Moreover, the diaspora groups lost their cultural rights everywhere. This was true for all those minorities who lived outside the boundaries of their titular republic except the Russians. As regards such groups, which had no titular republic in the Soviet Union, like the Finns, the Poles and

Nationalism and Internationalism 85 the Greeks, they lost their cultural rights altogether. This, in fact, was quite logical, for the Bolsheviks had always dismissed the idea of the intrinsic worth of cultural rights. For substantial groups, the triumph of socialism meant loss of all minority rights. Thousands of national districts (raiony), village Soviets, schools and even theatre groups and clubs were liquidated. So were the thousands of people who had worked in them.42 Now, it was time to promote the Russian language and Russian culture. Their value and importance for the whole Soviet Union was praised in the central press frequently in 1937. From March 1938 Russian became a compulsory subject in all Soviet schools.43 National languages were losing ground. It even happened that a national group could ask that the use of its national language be discontinued and Russian reintroduced in its stead.44 Putting an end to national strife also implied the liquidation of its past instigators. In 1937 mass campaigns were organised to denounce and to 'unmask' the enemies of people. The 'bourgeois nationalists', which constituted a major group of the newly found enemies, were invariably accused of the segregation and oppression of the Great Russian people and suppression of the Russian language.45 In the national republics there were also other minorities which were claimed to have suffered from the bourgeois misuse of power. Now they were encouraged to speak out and condemn their oppressors. In fact the 'bourgeois nationalism', which was now condemned, was nothing other than the policy of indigenisation, which had been promoted by the Party and Stalin himself. As for the Great Russian national past, it was rehabilitated. Many of the heroes of Russian history, especially those who had routed western invaders, were glorified. Stalin succeeded in finding a passage of Lenin from 1914, On the National Pride of the Great Russian People, where it was declared that the Great Russians - of course - loved their language and their country.46 It was conveniently ignored that for Lenin this patriotism was justified by the fact that Russia had given birth to great revolutionary traditions.47 Now, quite perversely, Lenin was recruited for the purpose of glorifying the might of pre-Revolutionary Russia and its bourgeois culture. In the contemporary usage of the age of socialism the Great Russian people became the elder brother of the socialist family of peoples, the guardian and benefactor of the lesser ones. The history of the Russian empire was now depicted as a drama with a happy end. Russian imperialists might have oppressed the other nations, but to have been conquered by the Russians proved, in the long run, to be the lesser evil for the conquered, for it had ensured for them access to the family of socialist peoples. Therefore, all the lesser nationalities were, and should be, endlessly grateful for the Great Russians, who constituted the main force of socialism, pointing the way for all humanity.48

86 Timo Vihavainen The last years of the 1930s were, for the Soviet Union, a period offervent preparation for war. A campaign for 'Soviet patriotism' also served this purpose. This new kind of patriotism was declared to mean the willingness to fight for the socialist fatherland. It was now understood that patriotism as such was one of the purest and most sublime feelings of man. Even in the non-socialist past the popular masses had been truly patriotic, while the exploiting classes - especially the capitalists - had been unpatriotic. When Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto had declared that the proletariat had no fatherland, they had had a capitalist 'fatherland' in mind. Now, in a socialist society the holy feeling of patriotism at last freely blossomed and attained new heights.49 All these novelties of Stalinism in the 1930s - the liquidation of oppositional and potentially oppositional elements, the centralisation of the state, the liquidation of national leaderships and the glorification of the Russian past - contributed to the strengthening of the unity of the Soviet state and served the purpose of preparation for a total war. As a dictatorship, which purported to crush all, including national, opposition, Stalinism was successful. It is not clear to what extent the popular masses, or Stalin himself, believed in the reality of the 'socialism' which was officially professed, but certainly Stalin was able to recruit millions to the service of his policy. Probably, for many the policies of the epoch of socialism were an unpleasant necessity, but in the Marxist analysis this made little difference, because freedom itself was nothing other than the conscious acceptance of necessity. For Stalin, as for Lenin, politics was the art of the possible. While it proved evidently impossible to breed a human species devoid of national feelings, it was possible to use those feelings in the interests of socialism. National sentiments were aroused to serve the revolution, they were exploited to further the cause of building socialism and they were harnessed to pull the Soviet war machine. In each case Marxist dialectics made it possible to explain why the policies had to change radically. The War and Its Aftermath If Stalinist socialist society as a whole was a war machine, then its test was the war. As a whole, it passed the test extremely well. It did defeat Hitler's Germany, which exploited the resources of most of Europe. It was able to mobilise an astonishing 55 per cent of its GNP for war purposes and to raise millions of recruits to be killed by the technically superior enemy. According to the official Soviet version, the socialist nationalities really

Nationalism and Internationalism 87 behaved as the one and united Soviet family, which it was officially supposed to be. One evident explanation for the formidable endurance of the Soviet people is the efficacy of terror. The NKVD troops ruled the rear effectively. The enemy bullet could miss, but the NKVD one would not. Whatever the actual case, it remains a fact that the Soviet troops were remarkably unwilling to surrender, regardless of their nationality. The Germans tried to exploit the national resentment of the minorities, but with no serious success.50 True, there was collaboration with the enemy on occupied territory, there was even a rising of the Chechens before the German invasion. Taken as a whole, however, there is no denying that the Soviet people showed great patriotism, even something that may be called Soviet patriotism, during the war which was called the Great Patriotic War.51 Against the Nazis, who unwisely claimed to be racially superior to all the rest of mankind and labelled their adversaries 'subhuman', it was convenient for the Soviet government to play the tune of Russian national pride, while simultaneously advertising the principle of equality of races and nations. As is generally known, addressing the Soviet people after the German attack, Stalin spoke not only about 'comrades', but called his audience also 'brothers and sisters, my friends'. Not only the national heroes of imperial Russia were mobilised against the arch-enemy but also the Orthodox church. Some of the Stalinist rhetoric of the war years no doubt arose from the needs of the alliance and the resistance movements of Europe. Whatever the reasons, the dispersal of the Comintern in 1943 was a symbolically significant farewell to the internationalist pathos of the Bolsheviks. In order to asses this feat, we.shall remember that Stalin had vowed by the lying-in state of Lenin that the Bolsheviks would not spare their life in order to strengthen and to enlarge the Comintern. These words, which were published in the 'Short Course' of the History of the CPSU were familiar to virtually all communists in the world. The war was declared to be great and patriotic and also holy. As the popular hymn had it, the Soviets and the fascists were supposed to be two diametrically opposite forces, which had nothing in common. True to his style, Stalin declared that every single German - without any reference to class - who had entered the Soviet Union as an aggressor, had to be destroyed.52 The German armies had to be destroyed in order to attain a lasting and just peace and the enslaved nations were to be freed, but strangely enough - Stalin declared that the Soviets were not to meddle in the internal affairs of any foreign country.53 This was a far cry from the days of the Polish war in 1920. In the wartime rhetoric this was a war, which was waged first of all against the Germans, while the British and American imperialists - undoubtedly still the main forces of world capi-

88 Timo Vihavainen talism - were left in peace. Even while the official rhetoric preferred to speak about the 'fascists' as the enemy, in popular usage it was first of all 'Fritz', who was to pay in full for the damage, which he had caused.54 Stalinist rhetoric during the war years had a clear tendency to speak in terms of nations and patriotism, not of classes and class struggle. As we know, several Soviet nations were also collectively punished, accused of collaboration with the Germans: the Kalmyks, the Karachais, the Kabardians and Balkars, Chechens and Ingush, the Volga Germans and the Crimean Tatars.55 The punishing of whole nations in the middle of the war had an air of insanity about it, and it is easy to agree with Khrushchev who later stated that it was impossible to think a Marxist rationale for this.56 If anything, this must have bred national resentment on the part of the victims. From War to Perestroika After the war Stalin did not forsake the new national rhetoric, which had developed in the war years. In his words, the victory over Germany meant that the centuries-long struggle of the Slavic and Germanic peoples had ended in a Slavic victory.57 The victory over the Japanese in the Far East was, in Stalin's words, a revenge for the humiliation of 1904. Since then, he declared, the Russian people had been waiting for the 'liquidation' of that 'black stain' on its national dignity.58 In his much renowned toast for the Russian people Stalin called it the leading nation in the union and praised it for its clear understanding, staunch character and patience.59 The national pride of the Great Russian people was still further bolstered in the aftermath of the war during the so-called campaign against the cosmopolitans. It has usually been stressed that this campaign was, first of all, directed against the Jews. There certainly was also an anti-Jewish campaign which was manifested in the cases of the Jewish anti-fascist committee and the 'Doctors' plot', but all other foreign influences were also attacked, and the role of the Great Russians, be it in science, technology or culture, was inflated.60 It can be said that if the Germans had reached an unofficial world record in self-glorification during the Nazi era, now the laurels justly belonged to the Russians. The much-acclaimed de-Stalinisation of Nikita Khrushchev in fact sanctioned all the basic tenets of the Stalinist idea of 'socialism'. It was only some political 'mistakes', such as the deportations of whole nations, which were condemned.61 The third party-programme of the CPSU, approved in 1961, purportedly marked the way to communism in the Soviet Union, which was to be achieved by 1980.62

Nationalism and Internationalism 89 It was proclaimed that the present epoch of building communism meant a continuous rapprochement of nations and would lead to their complete merger. Rapprochement was promoted by virtue of the levelling of class differences and the birth of communist traits in culture, morality and way of life. The Soviet peoples had already developed common traits of character, but a complete levelling of national - especially linguistic - differences would take considerably more time than the levelling of class differences. An international culture, common to all Soviet nations, was said to be in the making. The national cultures were undergoing a process of eliminating all obsolete traits which were in conflict with the new social reality. The party promised to fight any expressions and 'remnants' of nationalism and chauvinism. This included the tendency for national isolation, for example, in the question of hiring and educating workers on the basis of nationality in the union republics. This was nothing more than an authoritative warning against any attempts to curtail the flow of Russians to certain republics, for instance to the Baltic ones. In essence this resembled Stalin's ideas of the 1920s: brotherly help from the Great Russians, industrialisation and common work in multinational collectives would be the ideal way of overcoming national prejudices, especially in newlyattained regions, which were also situated at the border of the capitalist world.63 Ideologically, the main invention of the Brezhnev period was the concept of 'developed' or 'mature' socialism. As was evident, this served as a substitute for the communism that was not, in fact, to come by 1980. Anyway, it was proclaimed that mature socialism was the highest stage of social development which mankind had attained. It was even higher than the level, which the other socialist countries had reached so far. These, for their part, had also taken the task of building developed socialism, but its fulfilment would still take time.64 In the doctrine of developed socialism, much heed was given to the phenomenon of a unified Soviet people, which had developed in the Soviet Union. It was welded together by the common project of building communism, by a common Soviet way of life and also by the Russian language that was used voluntarily as the language of international communication by all the Soviet peoples. The phenomenon of bilingualism was said to be spreading.65 In practice, the successes of the Brezhnev administration in language policy were quite restricted. While it was true that Russian gained ground in most of European Russia, the situation was quite different elsewhere. Russian had been taught as a compulsory subject at every Soviet school since 1938. The number of lessons reserved for it was great, which was made possible by giving little room for the national languages and next to

90 Timo Vihavainen none for foreign languages. In spite of all this, the results were disappointing. Polls showed that knowledge of Russian among the other nationalities was not improving, but even deteriorating in the land of developed socialism which was building communism. This was true not only for Central Asia, but even for the Baltic republics, heavily Russified as they 66 were. More or less energetic measures on the part of Soviet administration to promote the use and knowledge of Russian in the republics revealed that there was a problem. Among the dissidents, nationalist movements also developed. The existence of a nationality problem, however, was not officially recognised before the short rule of Andropov, who generally wanted to get rid of the tradition of inflated self-congratulation, which had agglomerated on all fields. In 1983 it was even proclaimed that less should be spoken about the building of communism and, instead, more be done to make the 'developed socialism' better.67 It was first under Gorbachev that the nationality problems surfaced everywhere. Finally the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the union republics independent. All this happened in a very brief period. During the first phase of his rule, Gorbachev was still unwilling to admit that a nationality problem existed.68 This was probably not very far from the common mood, either. Also among the sovietologists, it was widely believed - with some notable exceptions - that national strife was not a grave danger for the unity of the Soviet Union, although it admittedly was a problem. 9 The Socialist Experiment in a New Light What did the CPSU accomplish during the seventy-odd years, which it dedicated to the pursuit of a socialist paradise? Evidently it did not achieve its professed goals, but has any other body in this century been able to foresee the results of its actions in such a long perspective? The concept 'irony of history' works well for Russia both before and after 1917, as James Billington has remarked.70 In any case, the collapse of Soviet socialism and the Soviet Union have opened a wholly new perspective for us in the 1990s. Not so long ago the Soviet leadership could argue that the socialist achievement was remarkable, even unique, both in terms of the economy and social - including inter-ethnic - relations. Past and present sacrifices could be motivated by the achievements of the near future which were bound to be more imposing still. We should not forget that the arguments in favour of socialism were considered as compelling even by most dissi-

Nationalism and Internationalism 91 dents up until the 1960s. The majority of Soviet citizens seem to have shared faith in the socialist ideals.7 In fact, it is hardly meaningful to try to compute a 'net effect' of Soviet socialism in the field of inter-ethnic relations. How should we, for example, assess the life experience of those good communists, who died before Perestroika, and never suspected that the national questions in the Soviet Union would not have been solved? Moreover, if the vast majority of the population did not experience inter-ethnic problems up to the 1980s, but began to suffer from them thereafter, how should we assess the importance of the peaceful years as compared to the bad ones? I do believe that these questions are no mere sophistry, but quite essential and real for many citizens of the post-Soviet successor states. It is worthwhile posing them, even if there may be no clear answer. What we can do is to assess the impact of the Soviet period from the point of view of the post-Soviet reality. Even this is difficult enough. One of the difficulties, which arise in assessing the impact of Soviet socialism, is the impossibility of a meaningful comparison. It is also hardly possible to sum up all the history relevant to the question - or even its results - into one whole, because this history varies widely across different parts of the former Soviet Union. If we start with a more evident case, the Baltic states, the results seem clearly negative. Especially Estonia and Lithuania, which spent over forty years under Soviet rule, clearly suffered from it economically. The comparison with Finnish development made this evident to them also. This amounted to a national experience of deprivation, reinforced by memories of free national development, which survived in the mind of large segments of population. The greatest offence experienced was that of the Russification. The flow of Russians into Estonia and Latvia was disapproved by the natives and the internationalism professed by the Party was experienced as cultural imperialism.72 To sum up, Russian domination, in the guise of socialist brotherhood in the Baltic states, worked clearly to the detriment of the relations between the Baltic peoples and the Russians. It also led to a partial Russification of those republics and is likely to have negative repercussions for a long time in the future. To take an opposite case, both Georgia and Armenia survived the Soviet period without significant Russification. In fact, they became nationally more homogenous. For instance, Georgians replaced Armenians in the large towns of Georgia, notably Tbilisi. It may be added that Soviet power always made concessions to Georgian and Armenian nationalism. The governmental status of the Georgian and Armenian languages, as well as the national alphabets, were left intact.73 In several cases, the nation-building of ethnic groups was fundamentally promoted by the Bolsheviks. It has been pointed out that the very idea

92 Timo Vihavainen of an Azeri, Tadjik, Kirghiz, Kazakh, Bashkir or even Tatar national identity (as a separate one in the Volga region) was created by the Bolsheviks/ 4 The impact of the Bolshevik heritage for nations of Central Asia in general seems to be twofold. Soviet policies undoubtedly contributed to the modernisation of these regions during a certain period. Universal literacy was achieved rapidly, industry was built and internationalist help was rendered, as the early Bolshevik ideas presupposed. This had the effect that the regions that were in the Soviet orbit, were progressing faster than their non-communist neighbours. The factual inequality with Russia was nevertheless not overcome, contrary to what the Party programmes had preordained. As for the net effect of the membership in the Soviet economical orbit, from the post-communist point of view it is not evident that the progress was very imposing. For example in Kazakhstan the collectivisation of agriculture took a tremendous toll both in economic and human terms.75 Also the Russian presence in Central Asia, both culturally and ethnically, increased vastly during the Soviet period. While Russian did not become universally spoken in those regions in spite of all the efforts, it did become the lingua franca of the region. While the Muslim heritage there was not annihilated, the culture became to a large extent secularised, thanks to the Bolsheviks. It is evident that a perpetual state of brotherly love between the local national groups or between the indigenous population and the latecomers has not been achieved. What the Soviet Union left behind in the East, especially in Kazakhstan, is a patchwork of nationalities who are not united, even in theory, into one Soviet people either by force of common work or common class-interest. Instead, their national identities are developing and differentiation is growing, which may entail that they are learning to hate each other.76 We can take still another example. During the Soviet period masses of the diaspora population were assimilated into the Russians, as were also large parts of the national population of several autonomous republics and areas. By now, only remnants of the western-Finnic minorities in Russia persist, and in some republics like Komi and Karelia the titular nationality forms a small minority. The brotherly help entailed here Russification, which was effectively accelerated by the state. Potential local resistance was effectively extinguished in the 1930s.77 In these cases, Russification progressed during the Soviet period. On the other hand, we cannot know what would have happened, if Russia had remained capitalist. We can only presume that in that case there would not have been the national autonomies, for better or worse.

Nationalism and Internationalism 93 As for the Great-Russian people, the Soviet experience has all the time reinforced the idea of its self-sacrifice in the interests of its lesser brothers. In the official Soviet self-understanding the Russian proletarian, noble and selfless, was always helping its brothers. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Russian workers helped the backward nationalities both in nation-building and economic reconstruction. During the Great Patriotic War the victory was bought first of all by Russian blood. During the post-war period the Russians also allegedly subsidised their lesser brothers. Evidence of this was the relatively low standard of living in Russia in spite of the fact that most of the natural resources, which the land of Soviets exploited, were extracted from the Russian soil. As long as the faith in a common socialist future was still strong, this role seems to have been accepted by the Russians. During Perestroika, it became, however, more and more evident that the sacrifices, which were made for socialism, were probably made in vain. No wonder that the selfsatisfaction of the alleged benefactor has turned into frustration. It may be that the heritage of the Soviet propaganda was a key factor, which contributed to the eagerness of the Russians to get rid of the empire and the big brother's burden, which its maintenance had entailed. The internal borders of Russia, drawn by the Stalinist administration, survived the collapse of the Soviet Union. Also the contemporary republics of the CIS were formed under Stalin. Their separation had taken place in order to promote unification. For some decades, unification was a great success, as was also the Bolshevik policy for industrialisation. It was in another epoch that the whole structure collapsed. While the unity of the Soviet Union had been able to sustain the terrible blows of Nazi Germany, it collapsed like a house of cards under the liberalisation policy of Gorbachev. Without doubt, the Bolsheviks would have been able to cope with national sentiments even longer, had it been possible to continue to rule by totalitarian methods. The Bolsheviks did achieve a truce between nations, even if it was based on a system of government which, in the last instance, relied on terror. It seems even probable that under the Soviet rule, national strife was not only suppressed but indeed was minimised. Polls give the picture that prejudices towards other nationalities increased sharply first during Perestroika and after it.78 They increased especially among the young generation which did not have a Soviet background. This might signify that life experience under Soviet socialism did work against national prejudices. Also the majority of people's reminiscences suggest that national issues played only a minor part in the life in the Soviet Union. It goes without saying that so did the democratic initiative and genuine civic activity. All these were effectively suppressed.

94 Timo Vihavainen All said, it remains plausible to suppose that Soviet communism achieved some genuine success in coping with national sentiments. However, contrary to the programmes of the CPSU, which purported to a final solution of the nationality problem, the successes proved provisory. The Bolsheviks used massive violence on whole nations, denationalised others and left a difficult heritage from which serious inter-ethnic trouble is still likely to arise. While the Bolsheviks strove for the liquidation of national strife and even for a merger of nations in general, their policy in practice gave rise to new nations. While the saldo of the Soviet period as a whole may be negative from today's perspective, the monstrous Soviet project was a partial success for some time. As a heritage, it has left behind a new field of strife, misery and disharmony, which will have repercussions for a long time to come. Endnotes 1

See e.g. Walker Connor (1984), The National Question in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Strategy, Princeton University Press, p. 5-20. 2 See e.g. Neil Harding (1996), Leninism, Macmillan Press, pp. 202-5. 3 Lenin, Sochineniia, 5th ed., vol. 33, pp. 89-91. 4 See Connor, p. 29. 5 Stalin, 'Marxism and the National Question', Works, vol. 2, pp. 300-381. 6 This idea was even proclaimed in the Soviet Constitution of 1924. See Soviet Government. A Selection of Official Documents on Internal Policy, ed. by Mervyn Matthews (1974), London, pp. 51-2. 7 See R.G. Suny (1993), The Revenge of the Past. Nationalism, Revolution and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, Stanford University Press, pp. 56-7. 8 For instance, according to the 1924 constitution, rural Soviets elected to the congress of Soviets one deputy per 125 000 electors, while urban Soviets elected one per 25 000. {Soviet Government, p. 54) This unequality was explained as temporary. (2nd party programme of the Bolsheviks, 1919. See Programmy i ustavy KPSS, Moskva 1969, p. 40). 9 Stalin: Works, vol. 5., pp. 184-96. 10 See Richard Pipes (1980), The Formation of the Soviet Union. Communism and nationalism 1917-1923, Harvard University Press, pp. 276-93. 11 Soviet Government, p. 52. 12 Programmy i ustavy, pp. 41-2. 13 Ibid., pp. 48-9.

Nationalism and Internationalism 14


For example R. Tucker (1973), Stalin as Revolutionary 1879-1929, N.Y. and London, pp. 254-67. 15 See, for instance, Stalin: Works, vol. 5., pp. 241-68. 16 Ibid., pp. 184-96. 17 Ibid., pp. 241-68. 18 Ibid., pp. 267-68. 19 Ibid., pp. 263-6. 20 KPSS v rezolyutsijakh i resheniiakh s'ezdov, konferentsii iplenumov TsK, torn 2, Moskva 1970, pp. 433-43. 21 About Russian self-sacrifice see A.S. Barsenkov, A.I. Vdovin, V.A. Koretskii (1993), Russkii vopros v natsionalnoipolitike, XXvek, Moskva, pp. 88-108. 22 Gerhard Simon (1991,), Nationalism and Policy Toward the Nationalities in the Soviet Union, Westview Press, pp. 20-61. 23 Stalin: Works, vol. 7, pp. 135-54. 24 Ibid., vol. 11, pp. 356-64. 25 Ibid., vol. 12, pp. 372-85. 26 Ibid., vol. 12, p. 382. 27 See Cultural Revolution in Russia 1928-31, ed. by Sheila Fitzpatrick (1978), Indiana University Press. 28 A.I. Vdovin (1995), 'Rossiiskaia natsia'. Natsionalno-politicheskie problemy XXveka i obshchenatsionalnaia rossiiskaia ideia, Moskva, pp. 71-82. 29 Just one example was the plan to latinize the Russian alphabet. See Vdovin 1995 pp. 92-6. 30 KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh e'ezdov, konferentsii iplenumov TsK, torn 5, Moskva 1971, pp. 129-31. 31 See J. Arch Getty (1991), 'State and Society under Stalin: Constitutions and elections in the 1930s', Slavic Review, vol. 50, no. 1 (Spring 1991), pp. 18-35. Robert W. Thurston (1996), Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia 1934-1941, Yale University Press, pp. 59-83. 32 See Gabor T. Rittersporn (1991), Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications: Social tensions and Political Conflicts in the USSR, 1933-1953, pp. 44-55. 33 Stalin: Works, vol. 13, p. 215, vol. XIV, pp. 189, 224. 34 It goes without saying that the official results might have significantly differed from reality. See Getty, p. 35. 35 Stalin: Works, vol. XIV, pp. 142-6. 36 Simon, pp. 147-8. 37 Stalin: Works, vol. 13, pp. 368-70.

96 Timo Vihavainen 38

See Simon, pp. 155-66. Zbigniew Brzezinski (1956), The Permanent Purge, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 181-9. 'Iskorenit do kontsa kontrrevoljutsionnyh natsionalistov', Revoliutsia i natsionalnosti, vols. 9-10, 1937. 39 Stalin: Works torn XIV pp. 113-5, 146-7. 40 For example Simon, p. 158-66. Brzezinski, op. cit. 41 Ibid., pp. 153-5. 42 Ibid., pp. 58-61. 43 Ibid, pp. 151-2. 44 A.P. Barantsev (1967), Iz istorii sozdaniia pismennosti dlia karel, vepsov i saamov, Pribaltiisko-finskoe iazykoznanie, Leningrad, p. 101. 45 For example, articles in Pravda 27.9.37 (leader), 4.10.37 (N. Koshchevoi) 15.11.37 (N. Leonidov), 28.12. (V. Verkhovski). 46 For example E. Sitkovski (1938), 'O sovetskom patriotizme', Pod znamenem marksizma, 9:1938, pp. 39-57. 47 Lenin, Sochineniia, 5. ed., vol. 26., pp. 106-10. 48 A.I. Vdovin (1995), 'Rossiiskaia natsiia', Moskva, pp. 109-17. Simon, pp. 14950. 49 Sitkovski (1938), Malaia sovetskaia entsiklopedia, 'Patriotizm'. 50 See Thurston, pp. 199-226 for a discussion on this problem. 51 For instance, the NKVD reports from the besieged Leningrad show that despite a certain contingent of dissonant opinion, the population as a whole remained loyal to the regime. See N.A. Lomagin (1995), 'Nastroenia zashchitnikov i naseleniia Leningrada v period oborony goroda, 1941-1942gg', Leningradskaia epopea. Organizatsia oborony i naselenie goroda, Sankt-Peterburg, pp. 200-55. 52 About Stalin's vow, see the Short Course (Finnish edition, Petrozavodsk 1945), p. 286. Also Works, vol. 6. About the Germans: Stalin, Works, vol. XV (2.), pp. 24-5. 53 Stalin: Works, vol. XV(2), pp. 29-31. 54 This was, for example, the pathos of Illya Ehrenburg's popular articles. 55 About this see e.g. Robert Conquest (1970), The Nation Killers. The Soviet Deportation ofNationalities, London. 56 See Simon, p. 241. 57 Stalin: Works, vol. XV(2), p. 198. 58 Ibid., pp. 212-15. 59 Ibid., pp. 203-4. 60 See Simon, pp. 207-9. 61 Wolfgang Leonhard (1971), Die Dreispaltung des Marxismus, Wien, pp. 199213.

Nationalism and Internationalism 62


See the Third Party Programme of the CPSU, Programmy i ustavy KPSS. Ibid. 64 See Scientific Communism, ed. by P.N. Fedoseyev (1986), Moscow, pp. 257, 267-78. 65 Ibid., pp. 321-33. 66 See Simon, pp. 330-1. 67 See Yu.V. Andropov (1983), Izbrannye rechi i stati, Moscow, pp. 246-7, 286 and Yegor Ligachev's article in Voprosy istorii, 7/1983, pp. 22-35. 68 See M.S. Gorbachev, Izbrannye rechi i stati, vol. 3, pp. 232-5. 69 For a view pointing to the immunity of the Soviet society against national challenges see e.g. Gail W. Lapidus (1992), 'Ethnonationalism and Political Stability: The Soviet Case', in: The Soviet Nationality Reader (ed. by Rachel Denber) Westview Press, pp. 417-40. 70 James H. Billington (1967,), The Icon and the Axe. An Interpretive History of Russian Culture, New York, pp. 590-7, 71 See Vladimir Shlapentokh (1990), Soviet Intellectuals and Political Power. The Post-Stalin Era, Oxford University Press, pp. 149-71. 72 Anatol Lieven (1994), The Baltic Revolution, Yale University Press, pp. 175-88. 73 See Ronald Grigor Suny (1993), The Revenge of the Past, Stanford University Press, pp. 58-64, 72-6; Edmund M. Herzig (1996), Armenia and the Armenians in: Graham Smith (ed.), The Nationalities Question in the Post-Soviet States, Longman, pp. 248-54; Robert Parsons (1996), 'Georgia and the Georgians', ibid, pp. 292-7. 74 About the importance of national territory defined by the Bolsheviks see Robert J. Kaiser (1994), The Geography of Nationalism in Russia and the USSR, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 75 E.G. Martha Olcott (1995), The Kazakhs, Hoover Institution Press, pp. 184-93. 76 See e.g. Ingvar Svanberg (1996), 'Kazakhstan and the Kazakhs' in Smith (ed.), pp. 318-33. 77 See Seppo Lallukka (1990), The East Finnic Minorities in the Soviet Union. An Appraisal of the Erosive Trends, Helsinki. 78 See e.g. M. Wyman (1997), Public Opinion in Postcommunist Russia, Macmillan Press, pp. 134-5, and Peterburzhtsy. Etnonatsionalnye aspekty massovogo soznaniia, Sankt-Peterburg 1995, pp. 48-58. 63

6 Ethnicity and Nationalism in Contemporary Russian Ethnography KAIJA HEIKKINEN

This article is an attempt to analyse some of the current elements of nationalism and ethnicity as they are seen in ethnographic thinking in contemporary Russia. The old term, 'ethnography', inherited from the nineteenth century had been used in the Soviet Union for studying both European and nonEuropean peoples. What in Western countries is 'anthropology' is in Russia called 'physical anthropology.' Nowadays the terms 'ethnology' and 'cultural anthropology' can also be seen in Russia. Ethnography in the Soviet Union was tightly connected with national politics and in this way its practical meaning was significant. Today, the transformation of national and ethnic relations in Russia, the rise of national/ethnic consciousness, nationalism and the emergence of different types of national/ethnic movements, even upheavals, have given strong impetus to rethinking and redefining ethnography as a discipline. In contemporary texts written by both Russians and members of other ethnoses the term 'national' group (natsionalnaya gruppa) is used rather than ethnic group (see for instance Klementev 1966, 143). This seems to be a reflection of the subordinated semantics, which the word 'ethnic' has. Personally I prefer to use the terms ethnos, ethnic (ethnic group, movement), which do not take on such connotations as 'nationalism', 'nation-building', etc. An ethnic group is hardly capable of building a nation-state, which is exactly what comes to mind when hearing the word 'national movement'. Today one can read astonishing attacks on ethnography in Russian ethnographic journals. Ethnic and social disorder is said to be caused by ethnography. One of the extremist representatives of such thinking is S.V. Cheshko, who writes in the authoritative and traditional Etnograficheskie obozreniya: 'Ethnology in its politicised and populist variant has become one element of the ideological mechanism to ruin society, one of the means of justifying ethnic violence' (Cheshko 1994, 36).

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 99 This is a very strong accusation in a country where there are enormous economic, political and social crises in addition to ethno-cultural problems. His statement is just one of many similar arguments which have appeared in recent years in Russia. The rhetorical tone of the statement is familiar: to be 'politicised' or to 'politicise' is a concept, which appeared after the collapse of the Soviet scientific canon. The argument has been and is still used to make both Soviet and - with regard to certain situations - contemporary social and human sciences valuable. Through his article Cheshko took part in the discussion which has been going on since the late 1980s (see Tishkov 1989, 1996, Starovoitova 1990, Cheshko 1993, 1994; Drobicheva 1994, Gubkov 1994, Paun 1994, Arutjunov 1995, Guboglo 1995, Kolpakov 1995, S.Y. Kozlov 1995, V.I. Kozlov 1995, Aleksandrenkov 1996, Semenov 1996). Cheshko's statements raised a lively, polemical discussion. An ethnographically interesting part of the discussion took place in the ethnographic journal Etnograficheskie obozreniya (EO) in 1993-7. The fall of the Soviet regime, especially that of the state structure, and the collapse of the ethnonational structure of the Soviet Union has also forced ethnographers to rethink ontology, basic theories, methodology and the political implications of their discipline. The contemporary ethnic and nationalistic tendencies in Russia concerning the inner core of ethnography is the main object of this and its ideological and political interests. New practical tasks have been combined with legislation. Defining and categorising the status of different peoples raises both scientific and political interest. The status of an ethnic minority and a so-called indigenous people is of the utmost importance in contemporary Russia. It is the object of the clear political and national policies of many people. Almost every non-Russian ethnos, excluding those nations which have demanded or already gained state sovereignty, has tried to be defined according to international law as a minority group (see for instance Writings in Human and Minority Rights 1994). It is common knowledge that the status of ethnic/national minority brings some guarantee - at least in theory - of developing the language and culture of the group. In this international legal sense language is one of the main criteria for defining a minority group. In the conditions of such a multiethnic and multinational state like Russia, a definition such as this seems reasonable. The published discussion has been preceded, as usual, by seminar activities on the issues of ethnicity and nationalism. International and western organisations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, departments of human rights via UNESCO, and the Council of Europe have sponsored many seminars and conferences. In 1993 Russia approved the law on the status of indigenous peoples (Osnovy zakonodatelstva Rossiiskoi federatsii o pravovom statuse korennykh malotsislennykh narodov) and the law concerning the

100 Kaija Heikkinen status of indigenous Northern peoples (Osnovy pravovogo statusa korennykh narodov Severa) is under consideration (see for instance EO 1/1995). This underlines the practical meaning of the (ethnographical) discussion. Thus ethnographers' attempts to conceptualise ethnos and ethnicity in the new political, ideological and historical situation should be of practical help in preparing the reform of the law in Russia. The discussants are highly placed; some are situated in the hierarchy of the Russian Academy, or in the cabinet of President Yeltsin or the opposition; they represent UNESCO or human rights organisations (see EO 1/1995). The positions of the writers underline the significance of their opinions and give them more political value. The main issues in the ongoing discussion are: arguing the theories, conceptions and history of ethnos, ethnic identity and self-consciousness (samosoznanie), 'nations', 'national', 'nationalism', polemics on the meaning and usefulness of such new conceptions as ethnicity, political and practical implications of the new conceptions, possibilities of resolving the national question, the relationship between society, country, state and people, differences between social and ethnic communities {pbshchnost\ the border between ethnography and sociology. The discussion is emotionally colourful and at the same time very political, practical and abstract. I will deal with it from the point of view of ethnicity. The focus is on ethnographically important texts. It is clear that these issues are being polemicised and analysed at many different forums (both scientific and political, in mass media, bulletins, and highly specialised publications). In this process ethnographers are forced to explore the history of their discipline, the concepts used in the main theories, and their political and social implications. In this way the discussion provides interesting information on the history of Soviet ethnography. It seems to me that without some knowledge of the basic principles of Soviet ethnography it would be difficult to understand the argumentation. A Brief History of Soviet Ethnography Anthropology and ethnology (ethnography) carries in its foundations the reflection of the national and social atmosphere of its birth. In this way anthropology and ethnography have always been tightly connected with the historical movements (especially national) of each country. This is easily seen, for instance, in the history of Finnish ethnology and folkloristics, which have been both the reflection of the Finnish national movement and its ideological agenda (see Honko 1980, 1-3, 1995, 134-7; Anttonen 1994, 22, 26, 34). In this respect Finnish ethnology has been a part of nationalism, which has been typical of so-called young nations in Central and Eastern Europe (see Hroch 1996, 80; Seton-Watson 1994, 134-7). Russian and, later,

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 101 Soviet ethnography has reflected the national and political history of Russia and the Soviet Union, which has had some specific aspects. In this article it is not possible to discuss this history, which has been interpreted in different ways, more deeply. Some scholars regard pre-Revolutionary Russia as one of the old nations (similar to the English, Scots, French, Dutch, Hungarians, Poles, etc., and different from the so-called new nations in Western and Central Europe (for instance Seton-Watson 1994, 134). Most scholars seem to categorise Russia and especially the Soviet Union with reservation according to the kind of nation-building which has been seen in Europe (see Iivonen 1992, 105). This vague and not easily defined national nature of the Soviet Union has in my opinion had great influence on ethnography and has stamped it in a profound way. The conception of second world used for the Soviet Union, which differs in its political, economic and social structure both from the first and third worlds, does the same. Where ethnographic research is concerned the crucial point is the multinational character of the Soviet Union. This means that in the Soviet Union, in one and the same country, it had been possible to study both 'developed' peoples (more concretely peasant culture) and so-called 'primitive' peoples (which lead a nomadic way of life, etc.). In Western Europe ethnology has mostly studied peasant cultures (and later on different subcultures) and anthropology 'primitive' (non-European peoples). Though in Russia (later in the Soviet Union) some ethnographic research had been done in the third world; most of this research concentrated on peoples living in the Soviet Union. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Soviet ethnographers developed the theory of ethnos. We can really talk about it in terms of singularity, so largely and officially accepted had this theory been (Aleksandrenkov 1996, 16- 19, see also Bromlei 1974, 15-30, 55-90; 1977, 55-6, Its 1974, 7-9). According to the theory ethnos and ethnic have been defined as the main object of ethnography, as its very core (see Its 1974, 7). Ethnos has been defined 'as a stable (ustoichivoe) community of people, historically-constituted in some territory, which has relatively stable specific features of language, culture and mentality, which is conscious of their differences from other ethnoses (identity), which is reflected in their ethnonyms' (Sovremennye ... 1977, 12). Ethnos and ethnic community are often regarded as synonyms (Kozlov 1974, 74; Bromlei 1974, 56). The meaning of ethnos is described as something based on common territory, language, homogenous culture, and identity. In this way 'ethnos' is considered abstract, some sort of model, something which does not really exist. Speaking in a concrete way, 'ethnos' 'needs something more' as Bromlei states. This more is a 'socio-economic and political component.' (Sovremennye ... 1977, 13). The realisation of ethnos takes place by means of socio-economic factors.

102 Kaija Heikkinen Ethnoses are categorised in three ways: tribe (plemya), nationality (narodnosi) and nation (natsiya). In addition there are some lesser communities such as ethnic groups (ethnicheskaya gruppa) and national minorities (natsionalnoe menshinstvo (Sovremennye ...1977, 13-14). According to this theory the term ethnos is not reserved only for stateless or 'primitive' people, but all kinds of communities of people. 'Nation' is defined solely as one type of ethnos, no more, no less (Bromlei 1974, 56). In the definition of nation one can hear the echo of Stalin's conception: 'A nation is a historicallyconstituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.' (Stalin 1994, 20, see also Aleksandrenkov 1996, 17). Stalin's definition contains a mixture of ethno-cultural elements and something economic. Later, this mixture had been formulated as 'the whole' (edinstvo) of social and ethnic factors. 'Social' chiefly means economic connections and 'ethnic' language, territory, special traditions, way of life and mentality, which had developed in the earliest period of the history of a certain ethnos (Leninizm ... 1974, 13-14). According to this theory Soviet ethnography began to form different subcategories of ethnoses, and study the historical formation and genesis of these groups, the objective 'laws' of these processes, the contemporary ethnic and ethnocultural situation (mixed marriages, knowledge of mother tongues, principles of ethnic/national registration, etc.). The volume Contemporary Ethnic Processes in Soviet Union (Sovremennye etnicheskye protsessy v SSSR), published in 1977, is one of the fundamental publications in this ethnographic tradition. The editorial board consisted of the most respected figures in the Soviet Union (Bromlei, Gurvits, Kozlov, Terentjeva, Tsistov). Bromlei seems to categorically underline the 'objective' nature of ethnos (and ethnic communities). In his opinion, ontologically speaking, they really exist; they are not constructed by the will or theoretical thinking. They are not the result of voluntarism (Sovremennye ... 1977, 11). Ethnic processes are 'objective', they are 'objectively based' (Leninizm ... 1974, 72-81). Interests in this kind of theory seem to have arisen mainly due to domestic reasons. During the Brezhnev period, connected with the 50th anniversary jubilee of the Soviet Union, some sort of reconstruction of national/ethnic relations was seen. The peoples of the Soviet Union were categorised anew, and the concept of the 'Soviet people' (sovetskii narod) was invented. The Soviet people as 'a new kind of historical human community' (as it is defined) was developed to represent the most advanced phase of ethnic communities after having been nations or nationalities. The Soviet people were supposed to be totally socialist, non-national, even supranational (see Documents of the Communist Party, Sovremennye ... 1977, 4; Heller 1988, 23). This was probably a reflection of the stagnation of the

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 103 Brezhnev period, which tended to favour such speculative interpretations and resolutions. Later on, in the 1980s, the theory of ethnos has been totally beyond any critical discussion. The theory of ethnos was in a strange way a combination of Soviet national policy and an interpreted variation of western ethnicity theories, which emerged some decades ago. Ethnicity has included a very large semantic field, and there has been no agreement about the meaning of this concept (see for instance Yinger 1985, 152). At first, the term 'ethnicity5 developed as a substitute for the negatively loaded terms 'race' and 'tribe', but time ethnicity has come to mean 'Other', inferior to 'us'. (Viljanen 1994, 143-6). Ethnicity has still kept its place in studies of traditions, languages, of everything 'ethnic' in contrast to the social. 'Ethnic' has been used for categorising phenomena, groups and cultures. But even if the term ethnicity is generally accepted, there is great disagreement about which meaning, genesis and substance is concerned. Even the definition of ethnicity is flexible. Concrete National and Ethnic Policy It is evident that ethnography has always been closely connected with policy in such multinational and multiethnic countries like pre-Revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union. Historically speaking, among ethnographers there has been some opposition against the regime, for instance, the narodniki and so-called 'separatist' ethnographers. Well-known examples are A.J. Efimenko and P.S. Efimenko, who were exiled to Karelia in the last century (Ocherki... 1957, 296, 305; Heikkinen 1978, 5-8). At the same time most ethnographers have taken part in different types of actions and judicial processes to resolve national/ethnic problems and integrate ethnoses into the whole political system. Ethnography as a part of the state-structured academic system has been closely connected with the practical policy. This more or less means actively formulating the so-called national question and ideologically developing the 'right' atmosphere. In doing this many ethnographers may themselves have personally felt uncomfortable, especially those born among 'small' non-Russian peoples. On the whole, however, the political meaning of ethnography has not been repudiated (as was often the case, for instance in Finland, see Wilson, 1976). The Soviet theory of ethnos has had very concrete political implications, which have also been the object of contemporary critics as well. Even if this conception of ethnos was theoretically speaking suitable for studying all kinds of ethnoses in the world, from small tribes to big nations, it contained special associations and references in the Soviet Union. The theory developed together with the attempts to resolve the national question in the Soviet Union. According to the theory, hierarchical national-territorial formations

104 Kaija Heikkinen were shaped, namely the soviet republics of the socialist nations (for instance Belorussians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Azerbaijanians, Armenians, Georgians, Estonians, etc.), autonomous republics of the socialist nationalities {narodnost) (for instance many Finno-Ugrian people - Karelians, Udmurts, Mari, Mordva, Tatars, Chuvash, many Caucasian ethnoses, etc.) and national areas {okrug) of ethnic groups or so-called 'small' peoples (for instance malye narody Severa). 'Socialist' in this context means an ideological quality, socalled internationalism, defined as something antithetical to 'bourgeois' nationalities. Achieving a certain status determined the further economic, cultural and ethnic development of an ethnos. According to Seppo Lallukka, who has studied Komi and the Komi Permyaks, the status of the Komi Permyaks has been 'too low' (being the national area). This position has negatively effected the development of the Komi Permyaks (Lallukka 1996,45, 138). The Karelians and the related Vepsians have been categorised as nationalities {narodnost). According to historians and ethnographers the formation of the Karelian narodnost began in the seventeenth century but has not yet been completed. Thus during the Soviet regime there were three ethnological groups of Karelians whose dialects are different. They are defined as a socialist nationality (Taroeva 1965, 5; Karely 1983, 180). The hierarchical system of ethnonational relations has turned out to be both artificial and in many cases it has oppressed small ethnoses. The majority of authors have assessed this ethnonational territorial system. They have criticised its seemingly democratic character, which in reality did not give ethnic groups, especially indigenous peoples, any real possibilities of preserving their ethnic being (see Starovoitova 1990 and Paun 1994). In Starovoitova's opinion the conception of 'a new historical unity' ('Soviet people') only included the politics of assimilation, which lead to the destruction of all non-Russian people. She believes that the leading slogan, the 'mutual approach of all people', was a vulgar and metaphysical one, and the ethnic emphases in the ethnoterritorial division have been false. As a matter of fact, the system did not give any real opportunities to the representatives of nonRussian ethnoses to make their voice heard (Starovoitova 1990, 362). It is not surprising that at the very outset of Perestroika the system started collapsing. Related with the critique of ethno-territorial division in the discussion are issues concerning the new and changing status of different ethnoses, the possibilities to break free of the power of Moscow, to achieve more administrative and economic independence, to gain control over local economic resources and ethno-cultural issues (official languages, rights of religions, etc.), the question of citizenship, civil rights, and the relationship between nation, nationalism and civil society.

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 105 Contemporary Critics of the Ethnos Theory The contemporary discussion goes to the heart of traditional Soviet ethnography. Here we can recognise the ontological question of ethnos. This is the very core of Soviet (Russian) ethnography, its main object. Therefore, in this discussion the question of 'reality' or 'objective' existence of so-called ethnoses is the main point. V.A. Tishkov has been one of the first to see the 'real' existence of ethnoses in a highly sceptical and almost nihilistic way. In his opinion the conceptions of ethnos are 'vague and simply senseless; from the socio-political point of view they raise fruitless strategies and produce decomposing violence in the consciousness of ordinary people' (Tishkov 1966, 33). Tishkov emphasises that the consciousness of ordinary people is much more 'homogenous' than that of the 'political and intellectual elite' (Tishkov 1996, 35). According to his negative valuation of consciousness-raising, Tishkov considers the consciousness of the intelligentsia to be 'artificially' complicated. This seems to be part of his attack on ethnographers as well. Tishkov attacks both Western and Soviet/Russian ethnographers in a very sharp way. He points out how western 'communities' together with Russian agents interpreted events during the collapse of the Soviet Union using the term 'collapsing empire' and welcomed them (Tishkov 1996, 31-32). In this way they forgot the resolutions of the Helsinki conference. He believes that ethnography has 'succeeded in large scale in raising cultural differences and categorisations of ethnic boundaries, in exaggerating (absolutizatsiya) homogeneity and the significance of ethno-cultural communities and in providing the argumentation in 'political ethno-nationalism' (Tishkov 1996, 33). At the same time, while 'creating' ethnic differences ethnographers, in their personal life, appreciate taking part in many multi-ethnic professional groups, for instance, the Russian Academy (Tishkov 1994, 32). In Tishkov's opinion ethnographers have really 'built' and 'invented' ethnoses and nations. This kind of evaluation gives enormous significance to science as a whole and ethnography in particular. Such an exaggeration may be interpreted as a reflection of the high self-esteem which was so common among the Soviet (and Russian) intelligentsia (see Stranius 1996a, 151, 154, 1996b, 151-61). As V.I. Kozlov underscores in his answer to Cheshko, 'ethnos' is naturally a term, which has been formulated in the sphere of science. Ordinary people do not use it in their everyday speech. In this way 'ethnos' is not genuinely a Russian word, it has really been created by scientists (V.I. Kozlov 1995, 39). According to E.G. Aleksandrenkov the term 'ethnos' appeared for the first time in Soviet science in the 1920s, when the ethnographer S.M. Shirokogorov used it in its general meaning concerning nation, nationality and people (narod). At that time most scholars and political activists were

106 Kaija Heikkinen especially interested in nation-type communities. In the 1950s P.I. Kushenev used the term 'ethnos' in his book {Ethnic Territories and Ethnic Borders). Kushnev regarded 'ethnic' as a quality. He used the term 'ethnic community' (etnicheskaya obshchnost), which meant a different type of community (nations, etc.). Kushnev was the first to use the term 'ethnic consciousness' (etnicheskoe samosoznanie), which later became one of the fundamental objects of Soviet ethnography. (See Heikkinen 1989, 71-7). Tishkov made his assertion at a time when ethnographers, like all Soviet people, were in the midst of a struggle concerning the future of the Soviet system and the Soviet Union. Later on, in 1994, Cheshko used Tishkov's argument in criticising the role of contemporary ethnographers (Cheshko 1994,37). Kozlov asserts in his answer to Cheshko that while there are perhaps nothing like ethnoses in Russia, there still are strong ethnic and national movements (Kozlov). The question of 'really' being in the world seems to be a question of survival for many small minorities. This makes the status of an ethnic minority in Russia of utmost importance. Something very familiar can be recognised in this discussion, which is ontological in character. In the feminist and antifeminist argumentation, the question of 'reality' and the 'real essence' of women, men, female, male, sex, gender are polemical issues. The concept of gender has been developed to mean something historically, socially and culturally constructed. Even female and feminine are things, which are not natural, but culturally constructed. But this does not mean that there is nothing 'real' in the generally accepted categorisation of females and males. Ethnicity and Nationalism There are as many definitions of nationalism as there are theories of nation (see Hutchinson and Smith 1994, 3-13). In this article I am only interested in the connections and implications of historical theories of ethnos on the question of ethnic identity and, further, on nationalism. William Maley was one of the first to study nationalism in the Soviet Union during Perestroika. In his article Ethnonationalism and Civil Society in the USSR, he distinguishes two types of nationalism, 'communitarian' nationalism and 'extended-order' nationalism. Communitarian nationalism is characteristic of residents of integrated traditional societies, where custom remains an important mechanism of social coordination. The socialisation process within the unit emphasises the importance of rules defining reciprocal obligations between its members, and of the unit's practices and rituals as a source of meaning for the life of the individual. The practices or rituals are often religious in character, and may be

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 107 a significant source of political legitimation. The sense of solidarity associated with this kind of sentiment is normative in character. 'Extended-order nationalism' is characteristic of diversified societies with complex productive processes based on contract; church and state are separate (Maley 1991, 184-5). Maley's categorisation fits quite well to Kohn's well-known thesis on 'Eastern' and 'Western' forms of nationalism. The Eastern type of nationalism is 'organic' and the western type 'civic' and' rational' (see Kohn 1994, 162-5). Unfortunately, in studies of eastern nationalism very few examples are taken from Russia. Russia has not been studied on a wider scale until now. The notion of two types of nationalism seems to be accepted in contemporary Russia, too. For instance, L.D. Gubkov speaks of 'open' (otkrityi) and 'closed' (zahrityi) nationalism: 'closed' nationalism is rooted in language, race, common origin, culture, cultural symbols, and the locality. It is easy to note that these criteria are the most typical ethnic ones. 'Open' nationalism is connected more with a socio-political community; it is more political (Gubkov 1994, 176). People 'accept' this kind of nationalism as individuals. They make a voluntary and rational decision to join a community; they are not members by being born into it. These scholars, both Western and Russian and many others as well, take examples of 'negative' nationalism from the Caucasus and other, mostly Islamic parts of Russia (for instance from the Uzbeks). Most authors take examples of 'positive' nationalism - mostly implicitly - from such ethnoses as the Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians. It is easy the note the criteria used in selecting these examples. The ethnoses referred to above are defined as nations or nationalities according to the old Soviet theory of ethnos. The examples are generally conscious of their national specificities. In their countries national movements have been more or less successfully organised in order to gain sovereignty. They have employed nationalism in the classical sense of this word. Only little attention has been given to other ethnoses, especially to those that have lived in territorial formations of a lesser scale. The Finno-Ugrian peoples are among this group. They have not been involved in visible struggles for power. Perhaps this is why there is almost nothing about them in this discussion. Generally speaking, authors tend to take examples from ethnoses which are totally different in nature, and then make strong generalisations. In this way ethnoses such as Ukrainians (or Russians) are regarded as being parallel to tiny minorities and few substantial differences are noted (see for instance Tishkov 1996, 35). It seems to me that this is the reason why nationalism and ethnic consciousness have been seen as more or less the same thing, and why there is no clear difference between these concepts. Therefore the concept 'non-state

108 Kaija Heikkinen nationalism' has no real meaning in this discussion (for these concepts see Hobsbawm 1994, 177-8). Tishkov, using his 'critical' theory of the ethnos, considers both types of nationalism in general to be artificially formed. This is a logical result of his theory, which underlines the fact that the nation has been built by the political and intellectual elite. He speaks about two forms of nationalism: civic (or state) nationalism and cultural (or ethnic) nationalism. Civic nationalism is based on the idea of the nation as a political community {obshchnost) or civil community {sograzdanstvd). According to cultural nationalism, nations are regarded as cultural communities having historical, social-psychological and even genetic foundations. Tishkov seems to be more interested in this latter form, which he later calls ethno-nationalism, because of its ethnic essence. Ethnicity, however, seems to be extremely problematic to Tishkov; he explains the rise of ethno-national movements as resulting from a lack of democracy and civic loyalty {pbshchegrazdanskaya loyalnost) (1996, 37). In Tishkov's vision the process of cultural-ethnic nationalism progresses in the following way: first, agents issue some cultural demands and then these gradually become political demands. In this way the personal motives and interests of the agents are involved. This is a question of power. Generally speaking, he regards such concepts as nation-state and national state as bewildering. It would be more correct to speak about a state (gosudarstvo) with no ethnic or national attributes. This state would be multi-cultural (Tishkov 1994, 35-6). There is something paradoxical in this definition of ethnos. Ethnic as such, as a 'natural' and primary phenomenon, is regarded as something negative, reactionary and pre-modern. But ethnic identity and ethnicity in the 'modern' sense is welcome. Thus identity is something which would be freely and voluntarily accepted by the members of a unity. It is more a question of choice than of growing up with it. This more modern form of ethnicity is not very far removed from the phenomenon of folklorism (see Honko) or secondary folklore (as Russian folklorists used to say). It is connected with urbanisation, education, individualisation and a more modern life style. This kind of thinking does not, in principle, make any basic difference between representatives of ethnic minorities and any other social groups. 'You can accept the membership of this or that club', as one Karelian activist complains (Prokkojev 1992, taken by Birin 1996, 35). Civil Society Nation building, nationalism, ethnicity, ethno-cultural and civil rights and civil society are very much interwoven. The debate on how civil society in Russia is being formulated, or perhaps transformed or reformed, is nowadays

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 109 very important and politically loaded. There is no consensus among scholars, either Russian or Western, of the definition of civil society. There is disagreement on whether there are any elements of civil society in Russia or if there were any at the time of the Soviet regime. In this theory all kinds of unofficial types of civil activists (samizdaf) or underground artistic movements or so-called grey private business are regarded as elements of civil society (see Alapuro 1993,194-218). My approach to civil society is to emphasise civil activism. As T.H. Rigby puts it: 'the most central component in understandings of civil society is the salience of socially relevant activity and relationships which are more or less autonomous of the state' (Rigby 1991, 107). Organisations like trade unions, associations of the intelligentsia, women's movements, new political parties, etc., have been studied by Western researchers. It seems to me that they tend to overestimate civil activity like 'green' eco-campaigns and some feminist happenings. The campaigns of these groups have been visible, and they have been quite popular in the Western mass media. Paradoxically, when small Siberian nations have been fighting for their lives (for the right to fish or hunt on their ancient land and when they try to protect their rivers from pollution, etc.) this does not seem to interest the Western media very much. Only people like Lennart Meri (who is both an ethnographer and the President of Estonia) raised their voices. But strangely, scholars of civil society have not been interested in religious, nor as a matter of fact ethnic, movements either (at least in the early 1990s). Though contemporary sociologists seem to underline the meanness of ethnicity in the former Soviet Union (see for instance Voronkov 1996, 132-3), ethnography in the Soviet Union has always observed ethnic phenomena. In my opinion this difference should not be regarded only as the division of labour between different sciences but also as some sort of division of labour between different ideological sides. The main ideological and practical aim in the Soviet Union was definitely to transform the country as quickly as possible from a 'backward' agricultural country into a modern and urbanised industrial state. In this process even authoritarian methods and state terror were permitted (Hobsbawm 1994, 380-94). The official atheistic ideology was in accord with this line. It can be interpreted as an extreme form of highly valued rationalism and techno-scientific thinking. Modernity has been and is extremely hostile to everything that is considered to be traditional. Both (Soviet) ethnography and the social sciences have been bound to the ideals of modernity but have studied this phenomenon in different frameworks. Russian ethnographers seem to interpret peoples' activity differently than Western scholars. Galina Starovoitova notes that in 1988-9 the largest and the most important non-governmental movements were national movements (like those in Baku, the Baltic countries, Erevan, Nagorno-Karabakh) (Staro-

110 Kaija Heikkinen voitova 1990, 365). These movements were, of course, politically loaded and they had clear political goals; they were in opposition to the Soviet regime. It is only typical of the times that Starovoitova emphasised the positive value of national movements at the end of the 1980s. She connects civil society and national units in a close way. She believes the significance of national units (including nations) will increase as a civil society develops in Russia. She sees parallels between families and national units. They are able to guard and transform their ethnic cultural heritage, which helps people to resist 'the mechanically acting structure of the state'. In that way ethnic communities (like nations) provide some sort of asylum. She writes: 'What else can a nation be if not the living body of civil society' (Starovoitova 1990,368). Her statement refers to critiques concerning the gender blindness of civil society theories. Activities in these civic movements are always genderbound. It is no wonder the theories on civil society emphasising the public sphere as the place where people manifest their civil activism have been attacked by many feminist scholars (see Yuval-Davis 1997, 81). They believe that we should not forget a third factor alongside the state and civil society, namely family and kinship. Family and kinship (which often correlates with local community, as in many Russian villages) have usually been regarded as basic carriers of tradition. On the other hand, it is possible to accept her ideas about families and close communities being some sort of tradition-bearers. In many places neighbourhood groups, women's gatherings and families have supported officially condemned traditions, for instance, women's feasts in Vepsian and Komi villages (Heikkinen 1992, 5-13; Sharapov 1995). It is also easy to criticise the naive conception of civil society, the tendency to see the family as something totally autonomous. Nira Yuval-Davis (1997) reminds us that in the family domain there are great numbers of people who do not have the full power to make decisions concerning their lives, namely children, the sick, the elderly and women. They are more or less dominated by more powerful members within the family and partly within the civil society domain and the state (Yuval-Davis 1997, 91-2). Starovoitova's comments, however, are a reflection of the optimistic time of Perestroika, when both ethnic units, nations, families and civil societies were seen as something undifferentiatedly positive. Conclusions The transition in Russia has brought about a radical change in the interpretation of ethnic and national movements, both by Russian and Western activists and scholars. Before the collapse of the Soviet regime, ethnic activity

Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russian Ethnography 111 was welcomed by many ethnographer-activists. Today ethnic and national movements are regarded as something, which destroys unity. Many commentators underline the negative, destructive nature of national movements in the late 1980s. The main concern is to preserve the territorial unity of the Russian Federation. Though not connecting the state-structure of Russia with ethnic activity there, I would like to emphasise the radical change in the opinions of a large number of ethnographers. This will have dramatic implications for science. The empathy, which previously prevailed towards ethnic minorities, has now dwindled, and a more openly pro-Russian atmosphere can easily be observed. Thus far it has been difficult to find solid contemporary ethnographic research, which used 'new' theories of ethnicity in empirical research any developed way, even if there has happened a radical change in ethnography (for instance, increased interest in semiotics). The opponents of the old mainstream like to define themselves as representatives of'radical' and 'critical' science. Sometimes their attitudes tend to oppose the old Soviet science, but sometimes they, in practice, seem to approve its goals. In fact, in many cases new western theories and doctrines seem to have become tools for making small ethnic minorities 'unreal', that is, to put the very existence of these minorities under doubt. Tishkov is a clear example. Referring to Thomas Hylland Eriksen's statement that people (Volk) is a product of nationalistic ideology, Tishkov accuses ethnographers of producing a construct such as this and thus creating ethnic conflicts (Tishkov 1996, 35). The basic ideas of ethnicity in contemporary Western anthropology have been grounded more or less in constructivist sociological theories. In practice, they have arisen from a totally different situation, which has been developed in modern western societies. Constructivist theories presuppose a special ontology concerning the existence of things, according to which even such phenomena as gender and sex are culturally and socially constructed. By this is, however, not meant that gender division and, for example, heteroand homosexuality do not really and very practically exist. In this article, it is not possible to make any more detailed criticism of the theories and argumentation quoted above. It is, however, important to emphasise the political consequences of this kind of interpretation of constructivism: explaining different types of nationalities (or ethnoses) as mere myths created by Soviet scholars (as Tishkov puts it) makes it easy to ignore ethnic problems as well. Argumentation of this kind does not offer small ethnoses (more concretely, agents of ethnic movements) many possibilities to build their ethnic consciousness and in this way any ethnic identity politics. Even if we avoid using the term 'ethnos', we are still faced with the question whether there exist particular communities of people in the world (or in Russia) with such

112 Kaija Heikkinen distinguishing features as own language and territory, and if this is indeed the case, how should we then name them. The study of ethnos is defined as the main subject of ethnography. The question whether ethnography is eventually vanishing or not has been occasionally answered by referring to the actual existence of ethnoses and ethnic groups in the world. It is easy to see some validity in this argument in such a multinational country like the Soviet Union, which was modernised in a markedly different way than the west. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, western anthropologists were astonished to find such a variety of different and 'archaic' ways of life. These are all phenomena that carry the label of the ethnic otherness in a very classic way. The ethnic background and the main orientation of the authors cited above can easily be identified from their statements. Their main ideas on ethnicity are based on their backgrounds. Almost every scholar takes examples from what to them are alien ethnoses, mostly from Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Baltic countries and sometimes Ukraine. The examples have been taken from those ethnoses, which have either organised strong, violent opposition movements, independent struggles or which otherwise have been 'visible' on the political stage of the former Soviet Union. Many of these ethnoses have declared their countries more or less sovereign states after the Soviet collapse. In this way they represent classic nationalism and nationbuilding. The relationship between scholars and their object of research, especially when this object is a Muslim ethnic group, seems to be very complicated and traumatic. Those, mostly Russians, who study the Caucasus (Chechnya) clearly see the topic of their study as the Other. The ethnic and national movements, which have usually been seen in a negative light, have been researched and made visible by 'foreigners' from such urban centres as Moscow and St. Petersburg. As is so often the case, the representatives of the 'dangerous' ethnoses have not been able to take part in the discussion concerning their national identity. The very discussion can be seen as a reflection of the hierarchical structure of nationalities, which was formed during the Soviet era. Only representatives of big nations (mostly Russians) have been able to get their voices heard. It is typical today that ethnographers with minority backgrounds in Russia generally openly reveal their activist position (see for instance Toidybekova 1997). Their opponents, by contrast, tend to hide behind the old academic curtain, and they seldom make any explicit statements concerning their position in the field of conflicts where claims concerning the identities and status of ethnoses are presented and challenged.

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Literature Alapuro, Risto (1993), 'Civil Society in Russia', in: Jyrki Iivonen (ed.), The Future of the Nation State in Europe, Edward Elgar, Aldershot, pp. 194-218. Aleksandrenkov, E.G. (1966), 'Etnicheskoe samosoznanie ili etnichseskoe identichnost?', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 3:1966, pp. 13- 22. Anttonen, Pertti J. (1994), 'Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Making of Antiquities as a Strategy in Cultural Representation', Suomen Antropologi 1:1994, pp. 19-42. Arutyunov, S.A. (1995), 'Etnichnost - objektivnaya realnost (otklik na statyu S.V. Cheshko.)', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 5:1995, pp. 7-23. Birin, Viktor (1996), 'Kansalliset liikkeet Karjalan tasavallan yhteiskunnallisessa murroksessa', in: Liikanen Ilkka and Stranius Pentti (eds), Matkalla kansalaisyhteiskuntaan? Liikettaja liikkeita Luoteis-Venajalla, Joensuun yliopisto, Karjalan tutkimuslaitoksen julkaisuja, no 115, Joensuu, pp. 27-41. Bromlei, Yu. (1974), 'The Term Ethnos and its Definition', in Bromlei, Yu., Aleksejev, V., Arutjunov, S., Chlenov, M. and Grigulevich, I. (eds.), Soviet Ethnology and Anthropology Today, Mouton, The Hague, pp. 55-72. Cheshko, S.V. (1993), 'Konstitutsionnaya reforma i natsionalnye problemy i Rossii', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 6:1993. Cheshko, S.V. (1994), 'Chelovek i etnichnost', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 6:1994, pp. 35-45. Cheshko, S.V. (1994), 'Otvet opponentam', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 5:1995, pp. 11-13. Drobicheva, L.M. (1994), 'Etnicizm i problemy nacionalnoj politiki', in: Zaslavskaya, Tatyana (ed.), Kuda idet Rossiya, Intertsentr, Moskva. Gubkov, L.D. (1994), 'Russkoe natsionalnoe soznanie: potentsial i tipy ego konsolidatsii', in: Zaslavskaya, Tatyana (ed.), Kuda idet Rossiya, Intertsentr, Moskva, pp. 175-87. Guboglo, M.N. (1995), 'Tri linii natsionalnoi politiki v postkommunisticheskoi Rossii', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 5:1995, pp. 110-24. Heikkinen, Kaija (1978), Katsaus karjalaisen kulttuurin tutkimukseen Neuvostoliitossa, Joensuun korkeakoulu, Historian, maantieteen ja muiden aluetieteiden osaston julkaisuja, no. 3, Joensuu. Heikkinen, Kaija (1989), Karjalaisuus ja etninen itsetajunta. Salmin siirtokarjalaisia koskeva tutkimus, Joensuun yliopiston humanistisia julkaisuja, no 9, Joensuu. Heikkinen, Kaija (1992), 'Women, Marginality and the Manifestation of Everyday Life. A Study of the Present-day Feasts of the Veps and the Mari (in Russia)', Ethnologia Fennica, Vol. 20. Heller, Mikhail (1988), Cogs in the Wheel The Formation of Soviet Man, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Hobsbawm, Eric (1994), Age of Extremes. The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991, Abacus, London.

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Honko, Lauri (1980), 'Nationella varden och internationellt forskningssamarbete', in: Lauri Honko (ed.), Folklore och nationbyggande i Norden, NIF Publications, no. 9, Nordiska institut fSr folkdiktning, Abo. Honko, Lauri (1995), 'Traditions in the construction of cultural identity and strategies of ethnic survival', European Review, Vol.3,2:1995, pp. 131-46. Hroch, Miroslav (1996), 'From National Movement to Fully-formed Nation: The Nation-buildings Process in Europe', in: Gopal Balakrishnan (ed.), Mapping the Nation, Verso, London & New York. Hutchinson, John and Smith, Anthony D. (1994, eds), Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York. Iivonen, Jyrki (1992), Neuvostovallan viimeiset vuodet, Gaudeamus, Jyvaskyla. Its, R.F. (1974). Vvedenie v etnografiyu, Izdatelstvo Leningradskogo universiteta, Leningrad. Karely Karelskoi ASSR. (1983), IJaLI Karelskogo Filiala Akademii Nauk SSSR, Petrozavodsk. Klementev, Evgeni (1996), 'Formation of a civil society and national movement in the Republic of Karelia (some problems of research methodology)', in: E. Zdravomyslova and K. Heikkinen (eds.,), Civil Society in the European North, Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, pp 142-5. Kohn, Hans (1994), 'Western and Eastern Nationalism', in: John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds.), Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, pp. 162-5. Kolpakov, E.M. (1995), 'Etnos i etnichnost', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 5:1995, pp. 13-23. Kozlov, S.J. (1995), 'Menshinstva i demokratiya v posttotalitarnykh gosudarstvakh', Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 1:1995, pp. 162-7. Kozlov, V. (1974), 'On the Concept of Ethnic Community', in: Bromlei, Yu., Alekseyev, V., Arutyunov S., Chlenov, M. and Grigulevich, I. (eds.), Soviet Ethnology and Anthropology Today, Mouton, The Hague, pp. 73-87. Kozlov, V.I. (1995), 'Problematika 'etnichnosti", Etnograficheskie obozreniya, 4:1995, pp. 39-54. Lallukka, Seppo (1995), Komipermjakit - perdmaan kansa. Syrjaytyminen, sulautuminen ja postkommunistinen murros, VenSjSn ja Ita- Euroopan instituutti, Helsinki. Leninizm i natsionalnyi vopros v sovremennykh usloviyakh (1974), Avtorskii kollektiv s rukovodstvom P.N. Fedoseeva, Politizdat, Moskva. Maley, William (1991), 'Ethnonationalism and Civil Society in the USSR', in: Chandran Kukathas, David W. Lovell and William Maley (eds), The Transition from Socialism. State and Civil Society in the USSR, Longman Cheshire, London. Ocherki istorii Karelii (1957), Tom 1, Gosudarstvennyi izdatelstvo Karelskoi ASSR, Petrozavodsk.

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Paun, E. (1994), 'Etnopoliticheskie otnosheniya i natsionalnaya politika', in Zaslavskaya, Tatyana (ed.), Kuda idet Rossiya, Intertsentr, Moskva. Rigby, T.H. (1991), 'Mono-organisational Socialism and the Civil Society', in: Chandran Kukathas, David W. Lovell and William Maley (eds), The Transition from Socialism. State and Civil Society in the USSR, Longman Cheshire, London, pp. 107-21. Seton-Watson, Hugh (1994), 'Old and New Nations', in Hutchinson, John and Smith, Anthony D. (eds), Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, pp. 134-7. Sharapov, V.E. (1995), Bogorodichnye prazdniki u sovremennykh Komi, Vozmoi mezhdunarodnyi kongresfinno-ugrovedov,Nauchnie doklady, Syktyvkar. Sovremennye etnicheskie protsessy v SSSR (1977), J.V. Bromlei (ed.), Nauka, Moskva. Stalin, Joseph (1994), 'The Nation', in John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds), Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, pp. 21-5. Starovoitova, G. (1990), Gosudarstvo, obshchestvo, natsiya, in A.A. Protashik (ed.), Cherez ternii, Progress, Moskva. Stranius, Pentti (1996), 'The Role and Drama of the Russian Intelligentsia', in: E. Zdravomyslova and K. Heikkinen (eds), Civil Society in the European North, Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, pp. 150-4. Taroeva, R.F. (1965), Materialnaya kultura karelov, Nauka, Moskva. Tishkov, V.A. (1989), 'O novykh podhodakh v teorii i praktike mezhnatsionalnykh otnoshenii', Sovetskaya etnografiya, 5:1989. Tishkov, V.A. (1996), 'O natsii i natsionalizme', Svobodnaya Mysl, 3:1996, pp. 30-8. Toidybekova Lidiya (1997), Mariiskaya yazycheskaya vera i etnicheskoe samosoznanie, University of Joensuu, Publications of Karelian Institute, no. 116, Joensuu. Viljanen, Anna-Maria (1994), 'Etnisyys, rotu, kulttuuri?', in Jari Kupiainen and Erkki SevSnen (eds), Kulttuurintutkimus. Johdanto, Tietolipas 130, SKS, Jyvaskyla, ss. 143-63. Voronkov, Viktor (1996), 'Ethnic Communities in a Large City and the Formation of Civil Society in Russia', in E. Zdravomyslova and K. Heikkinen (eds), Civil Society in the European North, Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, pp. 132-6. Wilson, William (1976), Folklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. Writings in Human and Minority Rights (1994), Frank Horn and Tuula Tervashonka (eds.), Juridica Lapponica, no 8, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi. Yinger, J. Milton (1985), 'Ethnicity', Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 11, pp. 15180. Yuval-Davis, Nira (1997), Gender and Nation, Sage Publications, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi.

7 Russia in the 1990s: Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy THOMAS PARLAND

Basic Concepts In this study, the painful political and ideological westernisation process in the new Russia, resisted by anticommunist nationalists and nationalminded communists, serves as a general frame of reference. More specifically, the focus is on the manifestations of a radical right-wing tradition fascism and national socialism - in post-totalitarian Russia. This ideological phenomenon testifies to a 'westernised' interpretation of the so-called 'Russian idea', the traditional conservative ideology of counter-reform movements in Russian history. As fascism and national socialism so far have fewer supporters than traditional nationalism, manifestations of the latter phenomenon will also be dealt with as representing the historically older current of conservative thought. Both strains of conservatism influence each other, but right-wing radicalism deserves more attention as a new by-product of the ongoing westernisation and globalisation. Some frequently used key concepts in the ongoing political and ideological discussions in the Russian mass media require definition. Westernisation generally implies modernisation of society in accordance with the principles of liberal democracy, market economy and the rule of law. However, this interpretation is conditional, as Marxism as well as fascism and national socialism are western ideologies, too. For practical reasons, 'westernisation' or 'westernised' will refer to fascism/national socialism only when put within quotation marks. In this respect, Marxism will not be taken into consideration because it is too unpopular in contemporary Russia.

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy 117 Modernisation of society implies secularisation, urbanisation, industrialisation, general education, scientific and technical progress, and so forth, but not necessarily western democracy. Taiwan is a good case in point. Another one is the Soviet Union, even if there was a considerable gap between words and deeds. Globalisation formally implies the ongoing industrial, scientific, technological, information and cybernetic revolution in the world. Yet, some recent reports published in the west (e.g. Martin and Schumann, 1997) focus on the globalisation of economy as by far the most important dimension of this phenomenon. In the view of Martin and Schumann, the unrestricted development of a worldwide financial market is destructive for democracy and welfare, and will result in social Darwinism. There will be a total polarisation of society between one fifth of the population being employed and living a good life, and the rest (80 per cent) being unemployed and living in misery. The Russian Idea (Russkaya ideya) is known as the historical ideology of counter-reform in Russia. Being closely connected with the Orthodox view of the world, it advocates a specifically Russian path of development differing from the western pattern. The Slavophiles of 1830-50 were the founders of this peaceful and moralistic doctrine which, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was interpreted in the spirit of imperial chauvinism and anti-Semitism. This latter line of thought has been characteristic of the Russian extreme nationalists in contemporary Russian political debate. Furthermore, in the 1990s, the 'Russian Idea' has partly become influenced, that is, 'westernised', by the views of contemporary national socialist and fascist movements in the west. Conservatism implies at least three different right-wing traditions: the traditional, the modern, and the radical or revolutionary. Traditional conservatism is opposed to the Enlightenment philosophy and its offspring Marxism and liberalism. In Russia this strain of thought has been coloured by Orthodox Christianity and chauvinism including anti-Semitism. Most Russian nationalists, commonly known as national patriots, are typical traditionalists in their Orthodox interpretation of the 'Russian Idea' and in their yearning for the bygone pre-Revolutionary Russian past. The author Alexander Solzhenitsyn represents the moderate strain of this traditionalist thinking. Modern conservatism, i.e. neo-liberalism emerged and established itself in the western pluralist democracies after the Second World War. In these countries, the modernisation process was more or less over. 'The ideals of individual initiative, free enterprise and limited government have largely

118 Thomas Parland replaced the former core values of hierarchy, religion, and national traditions and culture - i.e., in fact incorporated the central tenets of classical liberalism' (Hellen 1996, 28). In contemporary Russia, the ruling democrats adhere to the views of western neo-liberalism. Consequently, they could be called modern conservatives, even if their values still are rather imaginary goals than practical achievements in their country with a transitory economy. As a matter of fact, Yegor Gaidar's radical democrats call themselves 'liberal conservatives'. The Russian radical right-wing tradition proclaiming the 'conservative revolution' or 'the national revolution' mainly has its roots in Western European rightist thought. The sources of influence and inspiration are Hitler's national socialism, Mussolini's fascism, and Franco's falangism on the one hand, and contemporary rightist movements in the west including la Nouvelle Droite in France, on the other. The Russian fascists and national socialists share many of the core values with the traditionalists like the rejection of both Marxism and liberalism. Yet, like their German and Italian precursors in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, they worship action for action's sake, eulogise war and violence, and are openly racist. They are at the same time inclined to adapt themselves to the ongoing modernisation by being pro-technological. They focus on secular theories like social Darwinism, geopolitics and biological racism rather than on Orthodoxy. For practical reasons, in this study, 'conservatism' will imply exclusively either its traditional or radical strain of thought. Consequently, instead of 'modern conservatism' we are going to use the term 'neoliberalism' or 'liberalism'. The Russian nationalists or national patriots, as they are frequently called, constitute since 1992 the so-called 'third political force', offering an alternative to both Marxism and liberalism. They are organised in numerous political parties and movements including Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party and Alexander Lebed's Popular Patriotic Movement as being the most influential. Among organisations representing the extreme right, Alexander Barkashov's Russian National Unity is by far the most important. The national patriots adhere either to the ideas of traditional conservatism or to the views of its radical equivalent, or to both strains of thought. The national-minded Communists, a political denomination from the Soviet time, implying both neo-Stalinists and the so-called National Bolsheviks who want to restore the Soviet Union, the historical continuation of Imperial Russia. After 1917, National Bolshevism established itself as a nationalist and anti-Semitic shadow ideology behind the officially sane-

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tioned, omnipotent Marxist ideology of state. (For more information, see Agursky 1980; Chalidze 1988). Originally and officially the National Bolsheviks were pro-Communist atheists, but they did not adopt an anti-religious posture (see Dunlop 1983, 263.) Before 1985, on the samizdat level, some of them even tried to unite Marxism-Leninism and Orthodox Christianity. As an irony of history, after 1988, the state doctrine factually was considered bankrupt and replaced by Orthodoxy as the guiding ideology in society. In the years of perestroika 1985-1991, the neo-Stalinists and National Bolsheviks were allies in resisting western-style reforms. However, this 'marriage of convenience' could never remove their fundamental disagreements on the Bolsheviks' policy of the 1920s and 1930s. The National Bolsheviks condemned collectivisation and the repressive measures taken against the Church, whereas the neo-Stalinists defended this policy (Andreeva 1988). Today, numerous National Bolsheviks have turned pure nationalists, and the rest are to be found in the ranks of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Post-totalitarian Russia and the Era of Globalisation The protracted and painful process of political and economic westernisation of Russia has been going on for three centuries, or ever since the reforms of Peter the Great. The conflicting issue has always been about Russia's future: should there be a western model of development or a genuinely Russian path of progress? Seen in the perspective of.Huntington's 'clashing civilisations', Russia is a typical 'torn country' with a civilisation identity problem (cf. Huntington 1993, 43). The western values being introduced are clashing with those of a 'distinct Slavic-Orthodox civilisation.' In today's Russia, the conflicting parts are the ruling liberal westernisers, on the one hand, and the anti-western opposition, consisting of nationalists and nationalminded communists, on the other. Huntington is convincing in pointing out that differences among civilisations are far more fundamental than differences among political ideologies like Marxism and liberalism (ibid., 25). Yet, there is a conceptual confusion in his argumentation as he factually equates 'the west' or 'the western civilisation' with 'liberal democracy'. Are Marxism, fascism and National socialism non-western? Would it not be more logical to view western civilisation, in the broad sense of the concept, as including Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism?

120 Thomas Parland Furthermore, as Orthodoxy is a branch of Christianity, Russia is culturally closer to the west than to Islam or any other civilisation. Thus, in the long run, Russia and the west will rather come together than clash. For the time being, neo-liberalism is the predominant political doctrine in the west, Marxism being almost inactive. On the other hand, the ongoing contradictory globalisation process toward a 'world market dictatorship' (Martin and Schumann 1997, 18) has already resulted in radical conservative backlashes in countries like Italy, Austria, France and the USA. The strength of the new extreme right in these countries lies in the seductiveness of its slogans against immigration, as well as its ideas favouring de-nationalisation and moral purification (ibid., 212). In post-totalitarian Russia, the westernisers in power have been advocating the maxims of western neo-liberalism a la Friedman and Hayek in their attempts to speed up the reforms. In plain language, they are trying to integrate Russia with the western international economic system, in accordance with the ongoing globalisation process. The communists and nationalists for their part, have adopted a conservative position in the spirit of the 'Russian Idea', and resist all integration plans. In the Russian parliament, the supporters of neoliberalism and democracy form a small minority, while the overwhelming majority of the deputies represent attitudes more or less close to a conservative backlash philosophy. Most of these deputies adhere to the 'Russian Idea' in its traditional interpretation, but there are also those who openly express more or less fascist or National Socialist views. The ideological climate in Russian society has been more and more coloured by the ideas of both traditional and radical conservatism. This mood has been budding in broad layers of the population in the new Russia between 1992 and 1996. The New Russia in 1992-1996: Disappointment with the Reforms What could be said of post-totalitarian Russia as a country entering its final stage of modernisation? The answer is a paradox: On the one hand, the Soviet system of totalitarian socialism has been destroyed, and the development towards a market economy and a democracy of sorts has become irreversible. Even Gennadi Zyuganov, leader of the Communist party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), admitted during his electoral campaign in 1996 that a restoration of the Soviet past would be impossible. On the other hand, the price for the government's neoliberalist policy has been very high. As Birman concludes, 'the Gaidar reforms of 1992 resulted in the impoverishment of the population and the establishment of a limited group of the very rich' (Birman 1996, 742). Society became polar-

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ised in a way that resembles the Marxian view of the primary accumulation of capital: the rich become wealthier, the poor poorer (Sogrin 1994, 131). The above situation in Russia has not improved since then. On the contrary, the living standard on the whole has declined sharply, and for the vast majority the decline is continuing (Birman 1996, 746). Furthermore, the Russian capitalist development has been marked by a widespread corruption and criminalisation of society and state administration. The new capitalist elite that has established itself is 'closely tied to organised criminality' (McDaniel 1996, 163). The political modernisation process has not lived up to expectations either. Yeltsin's constitution of 1993 signified, in fact, a continuation of the tradition of autocratic rule in the shape of an almost almighty president and a legislature without real power. In Remnick's words, Russia is a 'nascent state with some features of democracy and, alas, many features of oligarchy and authoritarianism' (Remnick 1997, 38). This being the case, people are disillusioned with the democrats and reformers. As Boris Fedorov, previously Yeltsin's minister of economics, declared, 'the very word "democrat" has become a swearword' (McDaniel 1996, 183). Furthermore, the collapse of public morality as a consequence of the widespread corruption and criminalisation in society has given birth to political indifference, despair and cynicism in broad layers of society. The above problems are to be viewed as additional causes of despair after the break-up of the Soviet empire that took place in December 1991 which gave birth to a national identity crisis among most Russians. Furthermore, the prevailing mood in society has been influenced by a number of other frustrating phenomena like the ongoing disintegration of Russia, the humiliating military defeat in the meaningless war in Chechnya, the power vacuum because of President Yeltsin's health problems, the disastrous consequences of ecological neglect, the total uncertainty about the future and so forth. Will Russia's offspring of democracy survive? For several years, numerous newspapers and periodicals have repeatedly asked the question whether Russia is going to repeat the fate of Weimar Germany. The words pronounced in late 1996 by Grigori Yavlinsky, the leader of the democratic but oppositional Yabloko movement, were significant: 'A major opportunity is emerging for the spread of national socialism in Russia' (Parland 1997, 12). A Brown Alternative? As we know from history, in some politically polarised countries the modernisation process has been extremely painful and resulted in the establishment of authoritarian rightist regimes. Italy and Germany after the First

122 Thomas Parland World War and Chile in 1973 are good cases in point. What will Russia's choice be? The question whether fascism or national socialism are possible as political movements in Russia has already been answered in the light of documentary facts. Since 1992, about 100 extremist national patriotic and right-radical organisations exist in the country. Of them some 15 could be classified as fascist or semi-fascist. In 1995, about 10 to 12 of the latter agreed to being called fascist (Pribylovsky 1995, 6). However that may be, morbid anti-Semitism and slogans favouring ethnic cleansing seem to be a common denominator of all above organisations. Of the openly fascist or national socialist organisations, the most prominent or typical ones are Russkoe Natsionalnoe Edinstvo (RNE, Russian National Unity), Russkii Natsionalnyi Soyuz (RNS, Russian National Union) and Natsionalno-Respublikanskaya Partiya Rossii (NRPR, National Republican Party of Russia). The above organisations are elitist paramilitary formations or groups of armed young men well-trained in shooting and hand-to-hand fighting. They are dressed in uniform or camouflage, and their armlet is decorated with a Russian swastika. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, numerous fascist and Nazi publications, including books like Hitler's Mein Kampf (in Russian), periodicals, papers and leaflets are sold or distributed in the streets or at most subway stations. These activities take place in numerous other cities throughout Russia as well. In 1995, about 200 different publications expressing viewpoints of the extreme right were available in Russia (Orttungl995,2). The Russian rightist nationalists have also established contacts with their ideological confreres in the west. The periodical Elementy (The Elements) is a good case in point. It was founded in 1992 by prominent Russian and West European rightist leaders including the Russian national socialist Alexander Dugin and the French rightist thinker Alain de Benoist. The editorial staff of Elementy has consisted of representatives of the extreme right in Italy, Belgium, Serbia and Russia. Thus, Elementy could be called a typical 'ideological joint-venture' of the Russian and the western extreme right. The articles and reports published in Elementy and in many other rightist publications are generally not about Russia but about western rightist ideologies and movements, as well as about their precursors like Hitler's national socialism, Mussolini's fascism and Franco's phalangism. A great part of the Russian nationalist right is adapting itself to the ongoing westernisation process by looking for suitable patterns of thought in the west. The above organisations are marginal in their uncompromising extremism and form a minor part of Russia's nationalist quarters. There is

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


certainly no danger that the extremists, being too weak and too disorganised, would seize power in Russia. But on the other hand, they are able to influence the mainstream parties by encouraging them to 'crack down on press freedoms, continue to expand the power of the security services, and pursue a more aggressive policy' (Robert 1995, 6). Yet, the aforementioned manifestations of fascism and national socialism are in a way the tip of an iceberg, as they represent, albeit in an exaggerated form, the conservative and nationalist mood and mentalities of a considerable part of the population. The influential and large nationalist parties or movements in the anti-reformist opposition like Vladimir Zhirinovsky's LDPR and Aleksandr Lebed's Popular Patriotic Movement are harbouring these attitudes. Furthermore, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) headed by Zyuganov is turning more and more nationalist. The most typical Russian national patriot movements and organisations can be classified in the manner presented in Table 1. Below, a brief explanation is given of the most important key names, words or concepts. Table 4.1 Two types of Russian nationalism

Traditional Orthodox Conservatism

Modern Radical Conservatism

Ethnic nationalists (etnotsentristy)

Statist nationalists (gosudarstvenniki)



Metropolitan Ioann


Solzhenitsyn Aleksy II

The Patriarch

Extremist 'Blutund Boden' philosophy, RNE, RNS, NRPR, paper Shturmovik

Geopolitics Eurasianism Dugin, Prokhanov, Elementy, weekly Zavtra, Zhirinovsky




Moderate/ Pragmatic

124 Thomas Parland Ethnocentric nationalists and statists represent the two main versions of Russian nationalism. Thefirst-mentionedfindtheir identity in being ethnic Russians and they adhere to exclusively Russian values including Orthodoxy and Russian peasant communal traditions. The statists (gosudarstvenniki) for their part give priority to the state, or rather to the Russian multi-national empire. The dividing line between the aforementioned two categories of Russian national patriotism is sometimes blurred - generally there is only a difference of priorities. All the ethnocentric nationalists are by definition anti-Marxist and anti-liberal. But among the statists, there can be both anticommunist nationalists like the late Metropolitan Ioann of St. Petersburg, and Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR, and nationalminded communists like Zyuganov, chairman of the CPRF. The extremists and the moderates. As Laqueur points out, the firstmentioned are 'those who seek the cause of Russia's misfortunes entirely in the machinations and intrigues of foreign and domestic enemies' (Laqueur 1993, xv). Orthodox fervour, xenophobia and anti-Semitism characterise the traditional extremists, whereas their modern confreres profess geopolitics and racial biology including the idea of Aryan supremacy and the white power philosophy. The fact that in 1994-5 Zhirinovsky was interacting with and sometimes even supporting Chernomyrdin's government in the Duma makes him an exception among the modern extremists. The moderate or pragmatic national patriots are important as they form the overwhelming majority of contemporary Russian nationalists. On the other hand, they criticise the neoliberalist reform policy almost as harshly as the extremists do, even if they are less inclined to demonise their political foes. Aleksandr Lebed is not a typical ethnocentric nationalist as is Solzhenitsyn, but he has a better understanding for what people think in regions other than in Moscow. As regards Zyuganov, he is a communist with statist views. Yet, in his numerous pamphlets he professes factual conservatism and nationalism. Pamyat was founded in 1985 and became the first political organisation outside the Soviet communist party serving as a rallying point for extreme Russian anti-Semitic nationalists. It became Orthodox and monarchist in 1988 and anticommunist in 1990. Dimitri Vasilev, the leader of Pamyat, presents himself as an 'Orthodox fascist'. Aleksandr Solzhenistyn, the famous writer and Nobel prize winner, has greatly influenced Russian national and religious thought over a period of more than three decades. Professing a moderate traditional conservatism, he is opposed to urbanism and industrialism. His Orthodoxy is sectarian. The Blut und Boden philosophy. The main principles of German national socialism imply that a 'healthy state' can rely only upon the unity of its

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


people, upon blood, that is, upon a homogeneous race, and upon a soil of its own ('... dass ein gesunder Staat nur aufder Einheit von eigenem Volk, also Blut, und eigenem Boden beruhen kann ...'). 2 Contemporary Russian national socialists frequently publish material on German nazism in their periodicals and papers. Eurasianism (evraziistvo) became, in 1992, a guideline doctrine of sorts for all Russian statist nationalists. Originally, the Eurasians (evraziisty) were a movement among Russian emigre intellectuals in the 1920s and early 1930s. Being oriented toward the East, they, nevertheless, were influenced by European rightist thought, including geopolitics. Shturmovik is a paper published by the National Socialist RNS. The paper is a counterpart of the German racist paper Der Stiirmer, which was founded in 1923. Zavtra (tomorrow) is a 'red-brown' weekly newspaper, which is a mouthpiece of anti-communist nationalists and national-minded communists. The editor-in-chief of Zavtra is Alexander Prokhanov, a writer nicknamed 'the Nightingale of the General Staff (solovei genshtaba), owing to his writings on the campaigns in Afghanistan. 'Eine Umwertung alter Werte' - A Change of the Ideological Climate in Russia How is it possible that the ideology of Hitler's Germany has been gaining some ground among Russian nationalists in the 1990s? This is surprising, as the 'Great Patriotic War' that was fought against German fascism in 1941-45 has served as a source of inspiration for Russian nationalists in general. The fact that this contradictio in adjecto is ignored by a great number of national-minded Russians seems to be due to the budding mood in society - that of a radical conservatism, sometimes called 'the conservative revolution' (Dugin 1994, 9), which implies a total re-evaluation of all earlier values in society. In rejecting both Marxism and liberalism, it suggests the so-called 'Third Way' (ibid., 9-15). The Philosophical Background Seen in a broad historical perspective of the modernisation of society, the aforementioned mood reflects a Weltanschauung opposite to that of the Enlightenment: instead of developmental optimism there is a pessimistic and apocalyptic view of history. Solzhenitsyn's statement about 'the end-

126 Thomas Parland less, infinite progress dinned into our heads by the dreamers of the Enlightenment' is a good case in point (Solzhenitsyn 1974, 21). In human society, instead of progress, there is only decay and depravation leading to death and ultimate destruction. History is not a linear forward and upward movement, but a cyclical process in which each culture has a life cycle. This train of thought of Oswald Spengler is nowadays more or less repeated in the writings of Lev Gumilev, the most popular Eurasianist thinker in Russia of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Individualist liberalism and collectivist Marxism are offspring of the aforementioned Enlightenment philosophy. Even as politically and ideologically conflicting conceptions, they have much in common: in principle, in opposing traditional institutions and values both Marxists and liberals favour the secularisation and modernisation of society, that is, the creation of The Brave New World. They adhere to the optimistic Idea of Progress including the view of endless economic growth. In the twentieth century, Russia has served as a testing ground for both Marxism and liberalism. The Bolshevik experiment aiming at remoulding society and man in a historically very short time in accordance with a given model turned out to be an enormous tragedy for the population. The forcible creation of a Brave New World called Communism in its final stage of development in the future with a preceding stage called Socialism required a terrible tribute in human lives. Furthermore, the precipitated industrialisation and urbanisation programme implied a tremendous waste of natural resources leading to ecological disasters. The liberal experiment, after some unsuccessful attempts in the 1950s and 1960s materialised partly in 1985-91 and more or less totally in 19926. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Russians are disappointed with the liberal reforms has created an ideological void which may be filled with a 'third way' Weltanschauung of radical conservatism or 'conservative revolution'. However, this situation is not totally new in Russian intellectual history. The European fin-de-siecle disillusionment nurtured by Spengler's developmental pessimism and anti-civilisationism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had its Russian equivalent. The idea of western decline was popular among Russian conservative thinkers like Dostoevsky, Danilevsky, Pobedonostsev, and Leontiev who wanted to save Russia from the 'rotten Europe' depraved by liberalism and socialism. Russia, thanks to its backwardness, was considered much 'healthier'. In Europe, the aforementioned conservative backlash thinking had originally emerged as a reaction against the ideals of the French Revolution in 1789-93, the driving force of modernisation in continental Europe. 'Artificial institutions' like those of representative democracy and the rule

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy 127 of law were rejected in favour of the 'organic society' which was not based on contracts or Utopian projects but on tradition. In Russia, this thinking had become an important component in the 'Russian Idea', which emerged as a Slavophile conception in the 1830s and, consequently, it was, in principle, a Russian version of European traditional conservatism. Thus, different civilisations do not only clash, they interact and influence each other as well. The evolution of traditional Slavophilism toward a chauvinistic and anti-Semitic nationalism in the late nineteenth century coincided with the emergence of an aggressive nationalism and secularised anti-Semitism in Europe - the ferment of the radical conservatism to come. It came in the 1920s and 1930s in the shape of Italian fascism and German national socialism. A similar development in Russia was thwarted by the two revolutions in 1917. The Russian extreme right survived among the political emigrants and manifested itself in the shape of different movements including the intellectual Eurasians (evraziitsy), the Russian Fascist Party in Kharbin, and the National Labour Union (NTS, Narodno-Trudovoi Soyuz). The lastmentioned organisation is still acting in the west and tries now to gain supporters in Russia. In the Soviet Union, as we know, Russian conservative chauvinism and anti-Semitism appeared disguised as national Bolshevism. The New Attitudes In post-totalitarian Russia, the contradictory image of the new regime as a combination of liberal democracy, authoritarianism and a partly criminal capitalism has had a confusing and embarrassing effect on the general opinion. As a consequence, attitudes hostile to social thinking and humanism have been gaining ground in society and the ideological atmosphere has become more conducive to right-wing radicalism. Some of the most typical attitudes are as follows: Pessimism. Officially, Marxist-Leninist developmental optimism lasted until the August events in 1991. Factually, it had lost its credibility more than twenty years earlier. In the mid-1960s, a pessimistic mood was emerging among intellectuals along with a religious revival and a national romantic yearning for pre-Revolutionary Russia. This traditionalist spirit was well documented in the so-called 'village literature' which focused on the depressing situation in the injured countryside. The growing interest in Russia's rural past and national heritage coincided with a decline of faith in science and technology. In Laqueur's words, 'there were frequent references to the destruction of traditional life and the growing imbalance in the relationship between man and nature'.

128 Thomas Parland An apocalyptic vision of a coming ecological worldwide disaster caused by western and Soviet industrialism was presented by Solzhenitsyn in his famous Letter to the Soviet Leaders in 1973 (Solzhenitsyn 1974, 20 f). After 1985, side by side with the aforementioned fin-de-siecle disillusionment, there were western-minded intellectuals who hoped that Russia could be saved if helped by the west. This new developmental optimism, from 1990 onwards coloured by neoliberalism, could not, however, survive in Yeltsin's new Russia for two main reasons. First, the break-up of the Soviet empire was a shocking and frustrating experience for most Russians; second, the ruling democrats, spearheaded by prime minister Yegor Gaidar, were unable in their practical policy to live up to their promises. The old pessimistic view of the situation in Russia shared by traditionalist nationalists was now gaining ground in broad layers of society. Mikhail Poltoranin, one of Yeltsin's former associates and former minister, is a good example. In April 1997, he said that Russia is already dying with all its stores of arms that are going to detonate in five or seven years (Bogdanova 1997). Social Darwinism. The economic reforms in post-totalitarian Russia have been coloured by the ideas of western neo-liberalism and monetarism. According to these ideas, the state should not interfere in the operation of market in order to achieve economic and social ends or serve as a philanthropic institution. Everyone should take care of himself. Thus, the unrestricted and brutal capitalism that has established itself in Russia displays a typical social Darwinism. Tim McDaniel's description of the mentality of the new capitalist elite is illuminating: 'We are now in the stage of the primitive accumulation of capital ... Concern about social justice, worker safety, environmental pollution, law, and other niceties of advanced capitalism must wait until the future. For now it is the survival of the fittest, and these fittest will create a great and prosperous capitalist country that will rival the United States' (McDaniel 1996, 164). In Russian society, the struggle for survival is exacerbated by the fact that the rule of law factually is but a dead letter, that is, the new elite stops at nothing in attempting to increase its wealth and power. The dividing line between 'honest business' and organised crime is blurred. The common people including owners of small firms are in an extremely difficult situation as there is no force to counterbalance these 'new Russians' (ibid., 266). It has to be remembered that the parliament - even if the overwhelming majority of its members opposed the practices of the new elite - is factually powerless to pass laws against the will of the President and the cabinet. Thus, for the majority, capitalism has not brought freedom, but the

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy 129 rule of the strong (McDaniel 1996, 167). In Russia's foreign policy, social Darwinism has appeared in the shape of geopolitical thinking that became fashionable in Russia after the break-up of the Soviet empire in December 1991. Vladimir Zhirinovsky has been Russia's most outspoken geopolitical ideologist, emphasising that Russia has always survived thanks to her armed forces (Zhirinovsky 1993, 5). In his view, Russia will be respected by other nations only if she is militarily strong. After the parliamentary elections in 1993, his ideas have strongly influenced Yeltsin's and his government's policy. A strong political left in the western sense of the word is still missing in Russian politics. Thus, the only political force unconditionally opposing Russian neoliberalism are the outspoken fascists and national socialists, including Barkashov's party, Russian National Unity. Social Darwinism is consonant with fascist and national socialist thinking implying that life is permanent warfare, and life acquires its meaning through constant struggle (Hellenl996,35). The Russian rightist movements' backlash reaction is as racist and xenophobic as are the manifestations of the extreme right in Western Europe and in the USA. Non-Russians in general, and Jews in particular, are blamed for deliberately ruining the Russian economy through speculation, embezzlement and mafia activities, and for trying to turn Russia into a colony of the west. The question arises: Could it be, as many Russian nationalists claim, that the new financial oligarchy in Russia represents, in fact, a Russian branch of the international financial elite that has come into being and is gathering strength in the ongoing globalisation process? At the very least, the rightist movements in both Russia and the west represent more or less the same backlash pattern of behaviour. One thing is clear: As a new example of Russia's 'westernisation', the first groups of Russian skinheads have appeared in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other cities. Like their confreres in the West these youngsters see their mission in beating up people of colour who are seen as parasites in Russia (cf., Pedashenko, 1997). Inequality. In 1992, the economic shock therapy had resulted in an aggravation of the social contrasts in society. Those who belonged to the nouveaux riches considered these contrasts to be not only natural but also even justified (Sogrin 1994, 130). Yet, this position against 'equalisation' (uravnilovka) was shared by almost all parties represented in the Duma of 1993 (Davies 1997, 61). The general opinion had obviously been influenced by the media who in 1991-2 had nothing good to say about the Soviet past. The buzzword reflecting the hostility to social equality was lumpen (a derivative of Marx' Lumpenproletariat, i.e., 'the scum and offal and detritus of all classes') (ibid., 62). In Russia, however, this term was used to

130 Thomas Parland refer to the lower depths of society, the underprivileged whose consciousness was said to be coloured by social envy. The Soviet system and its 'lumpenisation' was condemned, and so were, consequently, even the ideas of social equality and workers' democracy. Ordinary Russians who opposed the drive to the free market were dismissed as 'lumpens'. This attitude of contempt for the common people has much in common with American Republican criticisms of the welfare state. Thus, today's Russian reform-minded intellectuals have become the antipode of their antecedents, the pre-Revolutionary intelligentsia who supported greater social equality and spoke for the underprivileged. The factual glorification of social inequality by the ruling reformers in Russia sits well with the fascist and national socialist hostility to egalitarianism. But this train of thought seems to have its parallels even in the west where the welfare state, as it seems, is being dismantled step by step at the same time as the gap between those who are well off and those who are not is widening. As a result, xenophobia and racism is gaining ground among people whose living standard is threatened. Logically, in such a situation the prospect of a police state preserving order and peace need not necessarily be considered unacceptable. Anticommunism. Ideologically, Yeltsin and the radical reformers rejected Marxism and adopted pure liberalism already in 1990, one year before the birth of post-totalitarian Russia. They had earlier condemned Stalin for deviating from the principles of Lenin and advocated the idea of democratic socialism a la Dubcek. Now they were ready to repudiate the whole course of development since October 1917. Their argumentation began to resemble that of anticommunist nationalists including Solzhenitsyn who considered the Marxist ideology as such guilty of all the disasters in the Soviet era.4 In post-totalitarian Russia, anticommunism had, in Davies' words, 'become a new orthodoxy, adherence to which was a condition for prestige and publication' (Davies 1997, 41). In its Russian version, this new ideology had elements of rightist thinking as it rejected not only communism but also all varieties of socialism including social democracy. Furthermore, it now 'became fashionable to dismiss not only Lenin's road to socialism via NEP but also Kerensky's road to parliamentary democracy via the Constituent Assembly' (ibid., 43). After the crisis of October 1993, some influential democrats suggested that the communists and other opponents be forbidden to participate in the parliamentary elections. Yeltsin, however, resisted these efforts on grounds of both principle and expediency. The situation in Russia was explosive, and a further political polarisation of society could lead to a civil war.

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy 131 As being based on a total repudiation of the Soviet past, Russian anticommunism implied a re-evaluation of all other ideological alternatives. As communism was considered to be le mal absolu, any other ideology seemed to be better. Thus, even the Russian extreme right could now improve its reputation. The first 'domestic' national socialist to make the most of the situation was Alexander Dugin who appeared with an article in 1991. In his view, contemporary world was no more what it had been after the Yalta conference, and 'the criminal character' of the conservative revolution was not at all that obvious and self-evident: 'in the light of present revelations of the past, the extent and the absurdity of crimes committed by the left, the communists, exceed by far all that the Nazis have been incriminated for' (Dugin 1994, 36). Another apology for German national socialism was made by Viktor Astafev, outstanding novelist, nationalist and anti-Semite, in Literaturnaia gazeta in January 1997. His comments on the 1941-5 war were revealing: Compared with our despots, the fascists were like children in a kindergarten... The fascist tried not to exterminate their people, they even took care of it during the war. But in our country, people were killed, executed, or put in jail for not informing against others. (Astafev 1997, 11.) Himmler is depicted by Astafev in a rather favourable light. 'He personally ordered that Germans unwilling to shoot at Jews should not be brought to trial. Can you see the difference?' (ibid.). In 1992-3, the publication of two books by Viktor Suvorov, a former KGB officer in exile, the Ice Breaker (Ledokol) and The Day M (Den 'M% caused a sensation in Russia. Suvorov claimed frankly that the German invasion of the Soviet Union had been a preventive strike against Stalin's planned attack (Suvorov 1995). This thesis had earlier, in the mid-1980s, been advanced by right-wing German historians including Topitsch and Hoffmann. Suvorov's books became bestsellers and were read by millions of Russians. The reader gets the impression that Stalin, not Hitler, was the real aggressor and the architect of the Second World War. No wonder, that national socialist leader Barkashov interpreted Suvorov's writings as a proof that Great Britain, the United States and France had made preparations for destroying national Germany with the help of the Soviet Union (Barkashov 1994, 84). So far, the only historian who has undertaken the task of refuting Suvorov is an Israeli, Gabriel Gorodetsky, who published a book on the topic in Russian in 1995 (Davies 1997, 57).

132 Thomas Parland The Pinochet-syndrome. The attitudes of most reformers have often been far from democratic. The democrats have found it hard to accept democratic elections in which they have been the losers. After Zhirinovsky's unexpected victory in the parliamentary elections of 1993, some prominent reformers declared that Russia was not mature for democracy (Solovev and Klepikova 1995, 190 ff). The ultra-liberal Valeriya Novodvorskaya5 demanded that Zhirinovsky be arrested and the mandates of his party's deputies be annulled. The situation was paradoxical, indeed. The democrats feared a democracy that could lead to dictatorship, whereas Zhirinovsky favoured democracy - in order to become a democratically elected dictator. Novodvorskaya called the electorate of Zhirinovsky's party a 'mob' (Solovev and Klepikova, 190). The democrats found themselves in the company of traditional conservatives a la Solzhenitsyn, Shafarevich6 and Vasilev who declared western democracy to be anathema. What should be done as the ordinary Russians, the demos, had turned their back to the reformers? The problem of the desirability of a 'democratic' dictatorship had been discussed in the reformist media long before August 1991 (McDaniel 1996, 176). The people would not accept the pain necessary for the birth of a new economic and political order, the argument went. Thus, the only way to modernisation was 'enlightened authoritarian rule'. Out of these considerations, General Pinochet's Chile became an object of widespread admiration among democrats as well as among some national patriots from the very beginning of the 1990s. This conservative attitude implied the idea of creating a police state. Contrary to the postulates of traditional conservatism, a modern dictatorship like this implied that the government should renounce its responsibility to protect people. It should act as the surgeon conducting a painful operation, but the patient had to heal himself (McDaniel 1996, 172). The aforementioned considerations were more or less embodied in Yeltsin's Constitution of 1993: the president was invested with almost dictatorial power, whereas the parliament was given a secondary role. However, Yeltsin had overestimated his ability and possibilities to modernise Russia without seriously destabilising the political and economic situation. He seemed to believe that the key to change was to let heroes perform miracles (ibid., 173). As an irony of history, the Constitution approved by a narrow majority in the referendum conducted along with the parliamentary elections in 1993 was unconditionally supported by only one political party, Zhirinovsky's LDPR. Afterwards Yeltsin and Zhirinovsky became, in fact, ideological allies in changing Russia's political course towards Great Power nationalism and geopolitical thinking.

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


Unleashing in December 1994 the full-scale war in Chechnya, the President began implementing Zhirinovsky's chauvinistic slogans. In domestic politics, the police's powers and rights were substantially broadened to fight organised crime. The democrats who had already gone over to the opposition feared that Yeltsin's new political course would result in a police state. Yet, Yeltsin could not live up to the expectations of a strong and efficient leader a la Pinochet. It turned out, that he was politically too dependent on Zhirinovsky as well as on some very influential institutions including the security organs and the army. Furthermore, his Blitzkrieg in Chechnya was bogged down which was humiliating for Russia and its President. Yeltsin's rating was falling rapidly. Later, he tried to strengthen his position by having seemingly good relations with Belorussia's President Lukashenka, known as an admirer of countries. In 1995-6, as Zhirinovsky's popularity was decreasing, general Lebed was more and more perceived by ordinary Russians as the strong man Russia needed. He seemed to come close to something of a Russian Pinochet who would restore law and order in the chaotic Russia and make her recover. In a sense, Lebed was the real winner in the presidential elections of 1996. As the peacemaker in Chechnya, he enhanced very rapidly his rating in opinion polls to become the most popular politician in Russia in the autumn of 1996. National reconciliation within the opposition. The anticommunist campaign has never totally dominated the ideological climate in posttotalitarian Russia. From the very beginning, there were numerous national-minded Russians who perceived the west and its 'fifth column in Russia', the ruling liberals, as constituting a greater danger to Russia than the communists. In these national patriots' views, certain influential western quarters have always harboured plans of destroying or weakening Russia in order to transform it into a colony of the west. The break-up of the Soviet empire and the threatening perspective of a further disintegration of their country gave many Russians the impression that Russia had won the fight against socialism only at the price of losing herself. 'Their target was communism, but they hit Russia' (Tselilis v kommunizm, apopali v Rossiyu; Nazarov 1995, 103 f). As a consequence, the ideas of national patriotism, that is, the 'Russian Idea', were gaining more and more ground in broad layers of society. In 1992, the idea of uniting all the oppositional forces in Russia under the banners of the Russian idea began to materialise. The traditional controversy between communists and nationalists was considered less important than the mission of saving Russia from Yeltsin and the democrats who were considered to be bought by the west. The broadest alliance of differ-

134 Thomas Parland ent political movements that was founded in the autumn of 1992 appeared under the name of The National Salvation Front {Front Natsionalnogo Spaseniya, FNS). It was a motley coalition of former ideological foes: Russian-minded communists like Viktor Anpilov, National Bolsheviks like Zyuganov, anticommunist Orthodox nationalists and monarchists like Igor Shafarevich, Stanislav Govorukhin7 and certain other national liberals who had moved to the nationalist right, such as Mikhail Astafev, leader of the Constitutional Democrats, and V.N. Osipov, chairman of the Union for Christian Renaissance (Soiuz Khristianskogo vozrozhdeniya). In addition, even fascists, in the shape of the National Republican Party of Russia (Natsionalno-Respublikanskaya Partiya Rossii), belonged to the FNS (Obrashchenie 1992, 1). This was the reason why the democratic press called it a 'Red-Brown' coalition, even if the 'White' nationalists were more numerous than their 'Brown' confreres. Yet, the FNS, actually, was dominated by the 'Reds' as their political parties were numerically the strongest. The ideology of the alliance was elaborated by Gennadi Zyuganov. Orthodoxy was declared a fundamental organic Russian institution, and the ideals of socialism and communism were said to derive their origins from the Bible and from Russian communality (obshchinnost). In a word, internationalist Marxism was sacrificed to Russian nationalism. The FNS was one of the organisers of the armed coup in Moscow in October 1993. But in addition to FNS, snipers belonging to Barkashov's national socialist paramilitary party RNE joined the defender of the White House in the bloody confrontation between the President and the Supreme Soviet. They managed to escape from the burning building using underground tunnels. In 1994-6 the idea of reconciling the enemies of the 1918-20 civil war in Russia was taken further by Zyuganov who wanted to give his party a new ideological image. At party meetings, this intention was symbolised by two flags - the red Soviet banner, and the black, yellow, and gold of the tsarist era (Remnick 1996, 47). However, as the third ideological component there usually were a 'few black-shirted neo-Nazis guarding the podium' (ibid.). Theoretically, in his pamphlet writings Zyuganov sometimes comes close to national socialism as he, actually, replaces the doctrine of class struggle with geopolitics. In this respect, he joins the radical conservative ideologists like Aleksandr Dugin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. After the break-up of the Soviet empire, geopolitics has become a fashionable concept in the political debates in the Russian media. Even Yeltsin has repeatedly been talking about 'Russia's geopolitical interests' or the 'Eurasian

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


space' (Evraziiskoe prostranstvo) implying the territory of the former Soviet empire. For the anticommunist nationalists, the most difficult problem in coming to terms with the communists was their atheistic internationalist ideology as well as their positive assessment of the Bolshevik Revolution and of the Soviet regime. This being the case, there were different attitudes toward the communists. Already in 1973, in his famous letter to the Soviet leaders Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn suggested co-operation in order to save Russia. The precondition was that Marxism-Leninism be jettisoned as a state ideology, and, if possible, be replaced by Orthodoxy. In the 1990s, something like this happened in Russia as numerous communists abandoned the bankrupt Marxism-Leninism and converted to Orthodoxy. As a matter of fact, Zyuganov has also more or less undergone this metamorphosis. With regard to the assessment of the Bolshevik Revolution and the subsequent Soviet regime, Zyuganov and other National Bolsheviks have attempted to explain this contradictory past by distinguishing between 'good patriotic communists' and 'bad cosmopolitan communists'. However, many national patriots considered the whole Soviet period an un-Russian parenthesis in their country's history, and expected that the communists not only jettisoned their ideology but also publicly admitted the crimes they had committed (Solzhenitsyn 1991, 29). As Zyuganov and his party refused to consider themselves responsible for the past, the majority of Russian nationalists voted for Yeltsin in the Presidential election of 1996. The idea of national reconciliation was opposed by the political extremes. The most intransigent liberals like Valeriya Novodvorskaya wanted to criminalise communism as such. On the other hand, their political antipodes, the fascists and national socialists like Barkashov's paramilitary Russian National Unity, considered it more important to cleanse Russia from its 'inner enemies', the 'alien non-Russian elements' in general and the Jews in particular. Yet, these political extremists are so far marginal organisations and groups in comparison with the main political parties in Russia. On the other hand, even among anticommunist nationalists there were those who pointed out the historical continuity between the Soviet era and the pre-Revolutionary past. After 1917, there were positive achievements, too, they said. Even Vladimir Zhirinovsky praised the Soviet development of Siberia, the intervention in Poland 1939, the post-war Warsaw Pact, and Soviet success in developing nuclear weapons (Davies 1997, 68). Alexander Lebed, while harshly criticising the Soviet policy of repression and terror in the 1920s and 1930s, categorically opposed a total renunciation of the developments since 1917: 'We do not have the right to renounce anything or anyone in our history. Without the past there is not

136 Thomas Parland and cannot be a future' (Lebed 1995, 333). In his view, a real national reconciliation between the 'Whites' and the 'Reds' could best be attained through a nation-wide ceremony in which Nicholas and Lenin were simultaneously buried, each in his proper place (ibid., 338). National reconciliation between Yeltsin and the opposition. In 1994-5, faced with the mood prevailing in society - disappointment with the Western-style reforms, a certain nostalgia for the Soviet past, and a need for restoring Russia's identity with its history before and after 1917 - the Yeltsin-Chernomyrdin government found it expedient to take into account the changed ideological climate. Furthermore, the unpopular war in Chechnya made the need for restoring national unity and reconciliation even more urgent. A political polarisation of society had to be avoided at any price. As national reconciliation could be based solely on traditional national values shared by both the 'Reds' and the 'Whites', the authorities decided to focus on the commemoration of the 50th anniversary in 1995 of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. In these celebrations, the role of the army and the Church in Russia's history became glorified. One of the most spectacular measures undertaken was the construction of the huge war memorial park at Poklonnaia Gora, a few miles from the centre of Moscow. Together with the Orthodox church St. George the Victor, it was completed on time, just before 9 May 1995. Another official arrangement in honour of the victory was the erection of a statue to Marshal Zhukov in the Manezh square near the Kremlin. Furthermore, Stalin appeared together with Churchill and Roosevelt on a commemorative stamp. Along with several other similar arrangements, these moves were manifestations of the conservative 'Russian Idea' and they mirrored more or less the mood prevailing in society. The Parliamentary elections in December 1995, and the Presidential election in Summer 1996, seemed to lead to a new political polarisation of society. In reality, all the main parties had come closer to each other as all of them were campaigning with more or less nationalist slogans. The ideological components in Yeltsin's and Zyuganov's argumentation were partly identical: geopolitics (modern nationalism), Orthodoxy (traditional nationalism) and the rule of law (liberalism). However, the priorities were different: Yeltsin was leaning toward neoliberalism by insisting on creating a western-style market economy in Russia and integrating his country with the western international economy. Zyuganov for his part, was closer to radical and traditional conservatism in emphasising Russia's geopolitical role of representing a special type of civilisation with time-honoured traditions embodied in Orthodox Christianity.

Manifestations of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


On the other hand, Yeltsin and Zyuganov totally disagreed on how Russia should recover from its present state of chaos and economic crisis. Proclaiming a more or less neoliberalist reform policy Yeltsin saw Russia's future in closer contacts with the west. Russia should definitely choose the western (read liberal) model of modernisation and, consequently, join the west in the ongoing globalisation process. Zyuganov, for his part, viewing the world in terms of geopolitics, opposes the globalisation process, which he interprets as the west's strategy to establish its world supremacy. Russia should not be dependent on the west but should generally pursue a policy of autarchy and isolationism. This train of thought has some resemblance with a moderate interpretation of national socialism. Even if the above attitudes sometimes may seem to be contradicting each other - anti-communism and the idea of national reconciliation are a good case in point - they all testify to a mood of a conservative Weltanschauung rapidly gaining ground in society. As the traditional Russian and 'westernised' forms of this thought are counter-balancing and influencing each other, the synthesis of them is likely to be something like a pragmatic semi-radical conservatism a la Pinochet without the excesses of outright fascism and national socialism. A gradual transition from today's more or less limited democracy to openly authoritarian rule implying the reemergence of a police state seems to be one of Russia's possible future scenarios. Summary The ongoing neoliberalist reforms in post-totalitarian Russia have proven to be irreversible. On the other hand, society has become polarised between the few well-off and the many poverty-stricken in a deteriorating economic situation. People have become very disappointed with the Western-style reforms. The prevailing mood in the society has been more and more coloured by the conservative pessimistic Weltanschauung embodied in 'the Russian Idea' that implies the rejection of developmental optimism, including western theories like Marxism and liberalism. The political initiative belongs now to the conservative and rightist forces in society. Today, 'the Russian Idea' as a conservative backlash ideology appears in its traditional form in terms of Orthodoxy as well as in a 'westernised' and more secularised form, in terms of geopolitics and biological racism. In the latter case, extremism implies national socialism or fascism, whereas the moderate or pragmatic representatives of this train of thought like Aleksandr Lebed proclaim authoritarian rule and favour repressive measures in preserving law and order.

138 Thomas Parland Russian nationalism has demonstrated its strength in influencing the ideological climate in society as well as other political forces including the democrats in power and the communists in opposition. On the other hand, national patriots are still weak, belonging to a multitude of movements, parties and groups. Yet, even if they cannot seize power themselves, some of their ideas can be adopted or taken into consideration by the decisionmakers. After all, the situation in Russia is more western than it seems to be. The epithet 'western' has positive as well as negative connotations. The ongoing globalisation seems to involve similar problems and tendencies as in Russia: economic polarisation, social Darwinism, inequality as the new philosophy, speculation, corruption, organised crime, cynicism, rightist backlash movements, and so forth. In Russia, this development has been more obvious as there is no welfare state to be dismantled: the rule of law has remained a dead letter, instead there has been the rule of the strong, that is, the rule of the jungle. Endnotes 1

See the title-word etatisme in Scruton 1982.


See the title word Blut undBoden in Zentner/Bedurtig 1985.


Outspoken fascists an national socialists are all extremists who adhere to a Blut und Boden philosophy and/or they are extremist statists like Aleksandr Dugin. Zhirinovsky, notwithstanding his sympathies for National Socialism, does not belong to this category as he, factually, frequently has supported Yeltsin's and the government's policy in 1994-6. 4

Already in 1973, Solzhenitsyn compared the Marxist ideology with a 'murky whirlwind from the west' (Solzhenitsyn 1974, 17). In his view, the official Marxist-Leninist state doctrine was the greatest enemy of Russian society. The mass crimes committed in GULAG were possible solely as a result of the ideology (cf, Solzhenitsyn 1975, 80). 5

Valeriya Novodvorskaya (1950-), the chairperson of the Democratic Union movement. 6

Igor Shafarevich (1923-), mathematician with an international reputation. He joined the dissidents in the late 1960s and was close to Solzhenitsyn. In the late 1970s he went over to the extreme right of the dissident movement. 7

Stanislav Govorukhin, a well-known movie director, whose film, The Russia We Have Lost, glorifies the late tsarist period. Politically, Govorukhin is an anticommunist conservative who in 1994 published a pamphlet Velikaya Khminalnaya Revoliutsiya (The Great Criminal Revolution) in which he accuses Yeltsin and the


of a Conservative Backlash Philosophy


liberals of ruining Russia, selling out to the mafia and transforming it into a colony for raw material supply (see Govorukhin 1994). Govorukhin has been called 'fascist' and 'red-brown' by the democrats.

Literature Agurskii, Mikhail (1980), Ideologiia natsional-bolshevizma, Ymca-Press, Paris. Andreeva, Nina (1988), 'Ne mogu postupatsya printsipami', Sovetskaia Rossiia, 13.3.1988. Astafev, Viktor (1997), 'Doidem do propasti - vernemsya k zemle', Literatumaya gazeta, 22.1.1997. Barkashov, Aleksandr (1994), Azbuka Russkogo Natsionalista, Izdatelstvo 'Slovo1', Moskva. Birman, Michael (1996), 'Gloomy Prospects for the Russian Economy', EuropeAsia Studies, vol. 48, no. 5, 1996. Bogdanova, Rita (1997), 'Chto seichas podelyvaet Mikhail Poltroranin?', Pravda, 30.4.1997. Chalidze, Valerii (1988), Natsionalnye problemy iperestroika, Benson, Vermont. Davies, R.W. (1997), Soviet History in the Yeltsin Era, Macmillan Press, Great Britain. Dugin, Aleksandr (1994), Konservativnaia revoliutsiya, Arktogeia, Moskva. Dunlop, J.B. (1983), The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism, Princeton University Press. Govorukhin, Stanislav (1994), Den kriminella revolutionen i Ryssland, Bokfbrlaget Tranan, Stockholm. Hell6n, Tomas (1996), Shaking Hand with the Past, The Finnish Academy of Science, Helsinki. Huntington, Samuel (1993), 'The Clash of Civilisations?', Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993. Laqueur, Walter (1993), Black Hundreds - The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia, Harper Collins Publishers, New York. Lebed, Aleksandr (1995), Za Derzhavu obidno..., Izdtaelstvo 'Viatskoe slovo', Kirov. Martin, Hans-Peter & Schumann, Harald (1997), Globaliseringsfdllan, Brutus Ostlings Bokforlag Symposion, Stockholm. McDaniel, Tim (1996), The Agony of the Russian Idea, Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. Nazarov, Mikhail (1995), 'Zapad, kommunizm i russkii vopros', Moskva, 6:1995.


Thomas Parland

'Obrashchenie k grazhdanam Rossii orgkomiteta Fronta Natsionalnogo Spaseniia', Sovetskaya Rossiya, 1.10.1992. Orttung, Robert W. (1995), 'A Politically Timed Fight Against Extremism', Transition, 10:1995. Parland, Thomas (1997), 'Konservatiivisen vallankumouksen aave kummittelee Venajalla', Nykypaiva, 24.1.1997. Pedashenko, Alisa (1997), 'Ulichnye soldaty', Pravda, 11.7.1997. Pribylovsky, Vladimir (1995), 'What Awaits Russia?', Transition, 10:1995. Remnick, David (1996), 'The Threat of Zyuganov', New York Review of Books, May 23 1996. Scruton, Paul (1983), A Dictionary of Political Thought, Pan Books, London. Shafarevich, Igor (1989), 'Rusofobiya', Nash sovremennik, 6.11.1989. Sogrin, V. (1994), Politicheskaya istoriya sovremennoi Rossii. 1985-1994: Ot Gorbacheva do Eltsina, Progress-Akademiya, Moskva. Solovyov, Vladimir and Klepikova, Elena (1995), Zhirinovsky. Russian fascism and the Making of a Dictator, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, USA. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (1974), Pismo vozhdiam Sovetskogo Soyuza, YMCAPress, Paris. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (1975), Dve press-konferentsii, YMCA-Press, Paris. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (1991), Rebuilding Russia, Harvill, London. Suvorov, Viktor (1995), Ledokol/Den (M\ ACT, Moskva. Zentner/Bediirftig (1985), Das grosse Lexikon des Dritten Reiches, Sudwest Verlag, Munchen. Zhirinovsky, V.V. (1993), O sudbakh Rossii, Chast III, Moskva.

8 The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries RALPH TUCHTENHAGEN

In 1987 Perestroika and glasnost reached the Baltic countries. Not surprisingly, here the consequences of Gorbachev's new political strategy turned out to be totally different from the rest of the Soviet Union. In the very same year the first protests against Soviet rule in the Baltics arose. In 1988, peoples' fronts were established in the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian republics. On 23 August 1989 a queue along the 600 kilometres of the so-called Baltic Way connected more than a million people, aimed at reminding the world that after 50 years of Soviet rule, the Soviet Union had not yet acknowledged the existence of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact concluded on that very same day in 1939. In 1990, the Baltic republics declared their independence from the Soviet Union, which was followed, after the failed putsch in Moscow in August 1991, by their formal recognition by the Russian Federation and the UNO.1 The Baltic path to independence can be interpreted as the realisation of nationalistic aims in the moment of weakness of the Soviet empire. This at least was the official interpretation of the Russian Federation. But the story is certainly far more complex. Ideology is one very important factor of Baltic separatism. Nationalism served as an explanation for withdrawal from the Soviet Union, for state-building, democratisation, and negative effects of the market economy. And it seems that after the turbulent years from 1987 to 1991 and beyond that, nationalism has lost its dominant power upon the political development in the Baltic states and now even produces overt cynicism and bitterness. The regrouping of national forces lacks effect and pragmatic behaviour predominates the political culture. In the opinion of professional observers, only a serious conflict with Russia could revive nationalism as a concept of Baltic statehood.2 In order to understand the events of 1987 through 1991 we have to consider economic, political, historical, cultural, religious, psychological and many other factors. The purpose of this article is to define what may be called 'national identities' in the Baltic countries today. The key problem of national identities in the Baltic, like in many other countries of the former

142 Ralph Tuchtenhagen Soviet Union, lies within their ethnic diversity. In the past, there have been Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian speaking populations in the Baltic countries, but before World War I, they never ruled the countries they lived in. There have been relatively small groups of German landlords and burghers, as well as Polish nobles, in the Baltic countries, but their national consciousness did not refer to the territory they were ruling. There have been even smaller groups of Russian imperial administrators and, later on, Russian party activists in urban areas, but they never especially considered themselves Baits or Estonians. What is the nature of national identities we are studying in the case of the Baltic countries? If we may speak of national identities, it is certainly worth looking at the former underdogs of the Baltic countries, the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians. These peoples began under the auspices of German pastors and estate holders to develop some kind of a national sentiment from the middle of the nineteenth century. Today they form the titular nations of the so-called Baltic states (even though Estonian is not a Baltic language). Can we therefore draw the conclusion that Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian national sentiment necessarily is connected to the political and social system of the Baltic states? This question shall be examined mainly historically by addressing the following questions: 1. Is there any specific Baltic identity? 2. Which role did ethnic and cultural otherness (German, Polish, Russian) play for the development of a national identity of the population of the Baltic countries? 3. What was the impact of Estonians', Latvians', and Lithuanians' belonging to the social lower strata of society? 4. How did the peoples in the Baltic countries construct their historical selves? 5. How did the Soviet concept of regionalism impact the peoples of the Baltic countries? 6. Which identity patterns predominate in the transition period? The Baltic Identity or the Identities of the Baltic Countries? Identity in itself is a complex topic. Identity is not about the question of what I and the others really are, but of how I look at myself and others, which stories I tell about myself, and which metaphors I apply to 'me' and 'them'. Subsequently, identity means a picture I hold of my own and others' narrative selves, an image which is performed constantly and which is based on a distinct set of psychological structures and behavioural patterns. National

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 143 identity, accordingly, means a collective subjective narrative about our (the nation's) and the other nations' national selves. The term 'Baltic' is a linguistic and narrative problem, too. To speak about 'Baltic identity' referring to the states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is misleading in several ways. First, there is no language, culture, politics or economy common to all these states that could be labelled as 'Baltic'. And second, there is no common history of the actual Baltic states. Looking at the language, only two of today's Baltic nation-states have Baltic languages: Lithuania and Latvian. Estonia, in terms of language and culture, belongs to the Baltic-Finnish sphere and is looking to Finland more than to Latvia and Lithuania. In terms of politics and economy, there has never been a common political or economic entity that could be called 'Baltic'. Even inter-state co-operation in these areas was never defined in a manner that would allow the use of such labels as 'Baltic politics' or a 'Baltic economy'. It is true that the notion 'Baltic' can be applied to language as well as to geography, history or politics, but we have to use it in a collective sense and should never forget that behind this term there is a manifold of phenomena. If we speak of 'Baltic' in a geographic sense, we refer to the Baltic Sea area, a part of which is formed by the 'Baltic states'. In terms of history, 'Baltic' may signify either the Baltic Sea or the Baltic countries or, later on, the Baltic states. Speaking of politics, 'Baltic' can only refer to the Baltic states of the twentieth century. 'Baltic' or 'Baits' (Balten) as a notion for national identity first appeared at the end of the nineteenth century. It referred to the German ruling minority within the Russian provinces (gubernii) of Estonia, Livonia and Courland and served as a means in the struggle against the increasing pressure of the Russian nationalism on the 'Baltic' Germans.4 The word 'Baltic' was not used by the Swedish, Polish, or Russian rulers to describe their respective provinces. These were referred to as 'provinces' or gubernii of (or at) the Baltic Sea' (Ostsee-provinzen in German, ostersjoprovinser in Swedish, pribaltiiskie or ostzejskie gubernii in Russian) or simply called with their proper names (Estonia, Livonia, Courland, Lithuania). The notion 'Baltic' was taken over from the 'Baltic' Germans by the states that were formed between 1917 and 1920 out of the so-called northwestern gubernii of the Russian Empire. From about 1920, 'Baltic' indicated the three independent states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These political semantics do not coincide with the cultural and demographic semantics of the term 'Baltic'. Culturally, it refers to the Baltic languages including Lithuanian and Latvian and, in earlier times, Old Prussian. Estonian, as a non-Baltic language, cannot be included in this definition. Demographically, 'Baltic' means the inhabitants of the Baltic states, i.e.

144 Ralph Tuchtenhagen Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Russians and, in earlier times, Swedes, Livonians, Baltic-Germans, Jews and others. The Ethnic and Cultural Other The other, in the eyes of the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, meant most of all the alien rulers of their territory: Germans and Russians in Estonia and Latvia, Poles and Russians in Lithuania. There were also other alien elements that were met with distrust and suspicion. Identity derived consequently from the fact that Estonians, Latvians, or Lithuanians considered themselves different from their masters and competitors. This pattern of negative identification is one of the most important factors for the understanding of the development of the Baltic identities. The great powers like the medieval German Empire, Sweden-Finland and, later, Russia, referred to the Baltic countries only in terms of the 'Baltic question', which meant a question of international relations and conflict management. In the middle ages, the Baltic question in the annals of history was portrayed as the controversy between the Roman Catholic Church and its allies - the German, Swedish, and Danish kings and crusaders - and the Eastern Orthodox Church and its protectors, the Novgorodians. In the early modern period the Baltic question was about the struggle between Sweden, Poland, and Russia on the dominium maris Baltici, that is, the domination over the Russian trade routes. Finally, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Baltic question turned out to be a conflict between the German Baltic, Polish or Russian upper class and the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian lower classes. The latter had learned from historical experience that like mice trying to slip away from the elephant, they were in the end likely to succeed. Despite the variations of the 'Baltic question' in the history of north-eastern Europe, the aboriginal lower classes (today upper classes) have known their place within the context of great power politics. At the same time, the fact that there has always been more than one alien power trying to achieve rule over the Baltic countries has also contributed to identity formation. It made their inhabitants look upon themselves, notwithstanding their social status, as a bridge over the troubled waters of the antagonism between the East and West, between Swedish, Polish, and Russian cultures, philosophy, knowledge, and political, social and economical systems. This view of the Baltics has been held even outside the Baltic countries, especially by Russians within the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation respectively. For the latter opinion, the composition of ethnic groups within the Baltic states is an important indicator. Tables 1, 2 and 3 below illustrate the social

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 145 Table 8.1 The ethnic composition of the Estonian population, 1934-89 Nationality (%)




Estonians Russians Ukrainians/ Belorussians Germans Jews

88,2 8,2

74,6 20,1 2,2

61,5 30,3 4,9


0,2 0,3


1,5 0,4


Source: Baltisches Jahrbuch 1989, p. 266. Table 8.2 The ethnic composition of the Latvian population, 1934-89 Nationality (%)




Latvians Russians Ukrainians/ Belorussians Poles Germans Jews

75,7 10,6 1,5

62,0 26,6 4,3

52,0 34,0 8,0

2,5 3,2 4,8

2,9 0,1 1,8

2,3 0,1 0,9

Source: Baltisches Jahrbuch 1989, p. 264. Table 8.3 The ethnic composition of the Lithuanian population, 1934-89 Nationality (%)




Lithuanians Russians Ukrainians/ Belorussians Poles Germans Jews

80,6 2,3 0,2

79,3 8,5 1,8

79,6 9,4 1,2

3,0 4,1 7,2

8,5 0,4 0,9

7,0 0,1 0,3

Source: Baltisches Jahrbuch 1989, p. 265.

146 Ralph Tuchtenhagen potential of the Baltics in the twentieth century. Because of shifting territorial boundaries, similar information for earlier periods is not available.8 Today, even political participation and citizenship can be an indicator of national identity. At least Estonia and Latvia can be labelled as 'ethnic democracies' insofar as only inhabitants fulfilling a range of particular criteria can achieve citizenship and are allowed to participate in political decisionmaking.9 Social Dimensions of Identities in the Baltic Countries Connected with the great power vs. small country pattern, different identities have been linked to the social classes. In medieval Livonia and Estonia, historical identity manifested in written sources occurs as a long-run identity pattern of missionaries, German knights, and city merchants. About the historical identity of the lower classes, the Estonians and Latvians left no testimony. Thus, the population of Livonia and Estonia demonstrated at least two different identity patterns: one of the nobles and burghers, referring to themselves simply as the rulers of the country, and one of the peasants, probably referring to themselves as nothing else than serfs of the ruling class.10 Lithuania, since the Union of Krevno (1385), developed an identity pattern of her own that was dominated by Polish Catholicism and culture and ties with Polish politics and economic structures, since the Lithuanian nobility merged with the Polish upper class. In a similar way this was also true for Polish Livonia (Latgalia) after the armistice of Altmark in 1629.11 In the first half of the sixteenth century, the German and Lithuanian nobles lost their status of great power representatives. They became part of the local ruling classes, being granted their privileges by their new masters, the Swedes, Poles and, later on, Russians. For the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian lower classes everything remained, cum grano salis, as it had been. The share of this population in the cities remained low in the middle ages as well as in the early modern period. In the Russian gubernii of Estonia, Livonia and Courland, for the German estate holders and merchants to be a Baltic meant to belong to the middle and upper strata of the society of the Baltic countries and the Swedish and, later on, the Russian Empire; to speak a special idiom of the German language; to participate in German historical or language societies; to visit Lutheran church services; and to meet other Germans in the salons of the bigger cities at the shores of the Baltic Sea. Structurally, the same situation could be found in Lithuania, the German being substituted by Polish nobles, with a German upper class in the bigger cities.

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 147 The native population of the Baltic countries found their identity in the negation of all those patterns. As a rule, one can say that native national identity in general was a matter of being different from the rest of 'society'. The native population was not noble and overwhelmingly not bourgeois. It had, up to the middle of the nineteenth century, no common written language, no clubs and salons, and it had a Lutheran belief, however superficial, adopted or forced on it by manorial masters. The gulf between different social and ethnic groups and serfdom prevented the development of a national conscience among the lower classes before the second half of the nineteenth century. And even then the promoters of national ideas looked more to help from the Russian government than from their fellow countrymen. This was very different from Poland or Finland. Estonians and Latvians, as well as Lithuanians, lacked an ideology, constitutional framework, religious belief and institutions, or common concepts of nationalism that would have comprised all social groups of the region.12 Eighteenth and early nineteenth century Enlightenment, Pietism (Herrnhutism) and the abolition of serfdom (in Estonia in 1816, Courland in 1818, Livonia in 1819, Lithuania and Latgalia in 1861) finally were motors of social change. Those movements were born mostly by German intellectuals and they spread among the new landowners who learned to look upon themselves as having a common language, culture, and religion. They discovered themselves to be an agrarian people, in contrast with the German landlords and bourgeoisie, with a specific folkloric heritage. They obtained entry into educational institutions and began to resist the German, Polish or Russian rule.13 After a century of gradually developing self-awareness, intellectuals developed European orientations. Artists and intellectuals claimed Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian identity to be understood in a twofold sense of national and (Western) European identity.14 To a large extent, the national movements drew their energies from their enmity to the Baltic Germans and the Poles. When the greater part of these elites disappeared after World War I, nationalism in the beginning could have served as a background for selfidentification, but it had to change its implications. The Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians who had the status of 'ethnoclasses' within the system of German Baltic and Polish feudalism developed in the course of the First World War into 'ethno-democracies'. In the twentieth century they have had to deal with their own 'ethno-classes', the Baltic Germans (in the inter-war period), Poles, Russians, and other peoples of the former Russian empire.15 In World War n Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania found a new enemy pattern in which the Soviet administration and the Red Army took over the role

148 Ralph Tuchtenhagen of Germans and Poles. During the years of Soviet rule, negative identification with the ruling class again had a counterpart in reality. But there were signs of positive identification with alien people in the Baltics, too. Foreigners not having ruled over the Baltic people, for example Jews, were considered to be fellows in the history of social and political suppression rather than objects of hatred and stigmatisation. Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians felt solidarity with the poor and powerless and they perceived as their national mission to support other suppressed nations. This image changed somewhat under Soviet rule, when, between 1948 and 1953, anti-Jewish suppression was conducted by the Soviet authorities and at the same time Jews, because of the same suppression, tended to assimilate to Russian culture. The Jews played a certain role in Lithuania. In Estonia and Latvia their significance was minor. Today, the relationship between the Baltic people and the Jews seems ambiguous.6 Constructing the Historical Self No people can form its identity by just being different from other people. So what did it mean, in a positive sense, to be an Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian? What, we may ask, was the contents of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian historical self-awareness? The awareness of being a small group of people and belonging to the lower strata of the population was certainly not a sufficient basis for such a national self-confidence that was needed for the creation of own national states and for defending them against the neighbouring great powers. In lack of other orientation, history served as one of the key elements of ideas and actions, thus creating identity on different levels of social life. History became a major source of political, cultural, ethical, and emotional energy in the Baltic countries.17 In analysing historical identity, one can make a difference between a historical identity in a larger sense and one in a more restricted sense. The first is made up of a general view of the historical self, but does not necessarily give any instruction of how to act in a specific situation. The latter pretends to give the actor a useful pattern of action in a specific situation. Another structural distinction of historical identity in the Baltics can be found in two main ideas, that of a virgin origin and that of continuity. Of course, this has not been a specific characteristic of historical identity of the peoples of the Baltic countries. It is typical for the cultural nation-type nationalism of Central and Eastern Europe. To avoid the predominance of a negative definition of identity, that is, an identity that is built on perceived oppositions between 'us' and 'others', one can also draw a line between one's actual and historical self in order to

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 149 create a background on which identity can develop. Thus, Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians had to look for identity in the times of the dawn of their history, when no alien rule dazzled the everyday life of the ancestors. Studying their own antiquity in the testimonies of folklore, language, archaeology and history became therefore one of the main tasks of the national movements in the Baltic countries. In search of a history purified from alien elements, Estonians and Latvians referred to the Baltic and Finnish speaking tribes of prehistoric times. In contrast, Lithuanians could perceive themselves as a great nation, referring to the medieval Lithuanian Grand Duchy before its union with Poland in 1385-6.18 But it is hardly sufficient in constructing a historical identity to pretend a virgin origin. In order to justify a national identity in a given present time the idea of a virgin origin has to be linked with historical continuity. Thus, a well-known pattern of Estonian and Latvian historical thinking is the continuity of the cultural heritage of these peoples under 700 years of German rule. The existence of an Estonian and Latvian state in the inter-war years could therefore be interpreted as an institutional implementation of these peoples' historical identity and mission. Accordingly, Soviet rule was interpreted as an act of enmity repeating experiences from the past, and the independence reached in 1990-1 was looked upon as a legal continuation of statehood of the inter-war years. A similar pattern can be found in Lithuania. Lithuanians interpret the nineteenth century as a period of Russian suppression, continued from 1940 to 1990. At the same time they maintain the continuity of their people from ancient times to the present day, especially the continuity from the inter-war years up to now. Besides the historical continuity of the culture and body politic, territorial continuity was emphasised. For the Estonians and Latvians it has been crucial to maintain the idea of the continuity of a stable territory in which the people of Latvia lived over the centuries, and even millennia, as an ethnic substrate, occasionally overrun by foreign conquerors and fought by hostile neighbours, but never fully assimilated. In this context it is noteworthy that the notions of'Estonians' and 'Latvians' did not occur before the end of the eighteenth century, when some enlightened intellectuals discovered these people as cultures distinct from German upper and middle class cultures. But the historical identity and continuity of people and territory, is obviously more important than the name of the people who settled in the territory. A similar pattern cannot be found in Lithuanian nationalism. The medieval Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, later on, Poland was a multi-ethnic entity. Certainly, there was a nuclear settling area more or less congruent with the modern Lithuanian state. But the reference to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania did not promote the idea of a historical identity of people and territory to the same extent as in Estonia and Latvia. In Lithuania, the Catholic Church replaced, to a certain degree, the pattern of territorial continuity.


150 Ralph Tuchtenhagen The look back to prehistoric, medieval and early modern times, which formed a historical identity in a larger sense, could of course not serve as an orientation for social and political action. Historical identity in a more restricted sense, which was applicable in day to day decision-making, only referred to three periods: the period of national awakening in the nineteenth century, the period of independence in the inter-war years, and the Soviet period. National awakening was, above all, directed against the Baltic German and, in Lithuania, the Polish upper class. But even the government in St. Petersburg and its Russification policy, which tried to use national awakening in order to minimise the influence of the Baltic German and Polish upper classes, left its traces. The cultural Russification of the education system and the conversion politics of the Holy Synod in St. Petersburg towards the peasants provoked nationalistic opposition even against the Russian bureaucracy and Russian culture. The imagination of ethnic purity and continuity led to a policy of discrimination in inter-war Latvia. In Latvia, an education policy hostile to the minorities performed by the minister of education, Kenius, was the response to a growing sympathy by the German Baits for the Nazis and the foreign policy pressure put on Latvia by the Reich. Those developments occurred even in Estonia and Lithuania, but to a much lesser degree.22 But the orientation of the actual Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian population by the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century is not purely imaginative. As a matter of fact, there seem to be a lot of similar events and developments between 1988 and 1991 in comparison to 1917-20. But looking back to the period of national awakening and the inter-war period as a vision for a Baltic future has to face actual realities and thus to be modified. But still, the recent past is one of the strongest footholds of contemporary politics, culture and individual behaviour, and thus of national identity. After the inter-war years the Baltic countries were quite strongly integrated into the Soviet political, social and economic system. The only exception was the field of culture. And it was precisely in this field where protest developed in the early 1980s in the form of negative identification to the Soviet system. The Baltic countries, belonging to the East Central European pattern of development, profited, contrary to other regions of the former USSR, from the remainders of Western culture, democracy, individualism, and self-initiative.24 Together with the task of state building the question arose of how great was the impact of alien rule and autochthony. Together with the threat by the Soviet Union on sovereignty, the enmity to the Germans cooled down. More and more the role of the Germans as promoters of Estonian and Latvian self-

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 151 discovery was stressed. Above all, Estonian writer Jaan Kross is concerned with this relationship.25 For Russians outside the Baltic countries, the popular notion of the 'Soviet West' or 'our foreign country', which indicated a distinctive pattern of identity, referred above all, to cultural differences. Of course, even living standard, behaviour and mentality marked significant differences. The Baltics meant a higher education level, higher industrial standards, or the continuity of Lutheran and Catholic church organisations. This perspective from the Soviet Russian point of view, in turn, was a repetition of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian self-imagination of being the outpost of Western civilisation, which is still a vivid part of national identity in the Baltic countries, especially in Estonia. At the same time, from the Russian point of view, the Baltic countries were regarded as a bulwark against Western decadence and influence in the Soviet Union.26 Regionalism as a Compromise It is obvious that the above described patterns of otherness and selfconstructing never can exist on their own. They are connected and oriented to each other. There is an interdependency between the other and the self that creates identity. Under Soviet rule a compromise of alien rule and self-protection occurred in the concept of 'Baltic regionalism'. One can doubt if the Baltic regionalism existed at all in reality. Historian Hain Rebas demands that regionalism, in the Baltic countries and elsewhere, to be 'majority-secured, peaceful [sic], and consequently voluntarily rooted'. Proceeding from this definition, regionalism comprising all Baltic countries never occurred in reality. If one takes a less restricting definition, regionalism on the basis of political, economic, and cultural co-operation between the Baltic countries as a means of safeguarding the countries' different identities against foreign threats from the 1920s. On the other hand, in some respects the Baltic countries looked to other states in search of identity rather than to each other. Thus, the upper social strata of Baltic-Finnish speaking Estonians was orientated towards Finland and Sweden rather than to their Baltic-speaking neighbours whereas in religious, cultural and psychological matters the dividing line was drawn between Lithuanian and south-west Latvian Catholicism and East Latvian and Estonian Protestantism.27 The Soviet concept of regionalism has to be distinguished from the pragmatic regionalism of the Baltic countries that centred on regional cooperation. This regionalism from above was a construction made by the Soviet authorities and it was based on factors such as geography, economy, military, culture, science, and politics. The aim was to create a 'controlled

152 Ralph Tuchtenhagen anti-regionalism' which would have been 'dialectically' related to Baltic regionalism.28 The Baltic countries formed a special area within the Soviet Union; they were also seen to be a part of a larger Baltic region in the Soviet Union. The larger Baltic region comprised, in addition to the Baltic countries, the western part of Russia, the Autonomous Karelian Republic, the city of Leningrad, and Belorussia. Within the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries were made a centre of some all-Union organisations, and simultaneously, the region was one of the most important in terms of economic and technical innovation. Having this important role in the internal division of labour in the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries were under the threat of losing some of their former regional identity under Soviet rule.29 At the same time, of all the regions of the former Soviet Union the Baltic region was the most defined and separated: 'Relations among the Baltic republics are much better than those among other regions of the Soviet Union.' ° As for geography, the Baltic countries under the Soviet regime had in common their maritime location. This had consequences for their economy. The Baltic Economic Area (Pribaltiiskii ekonomicheskii region) was formed in the 1960s. It included the three Baltic countries as well as the oblast of Kaliningrad. Economic regionalism in the Baltic Economic Area was reflected in the establishment of separate economic and planning organisations such as the Baltic Railway Administration and the Baltic branch of the Soviet fishing industry (even including Leningrad), as well as similar administrative departments.3 Since 1945, in military affairs the Baltic countries (including Kaliningrad) formed the Baltic Military District (Pribaltiiskii voennyi okrug), which was complemented by the so-called Baltic Border District (Pribaltiiskii pogranichnyi okrug).32 In the field of culture and scientific research the Baltic countries worked closely together. Representatives of literature, theatre, film, the fine arts and architecture, folklore, and sports, as well as researchers, had close links across the region through regular meetings and joint organisations.33 During Perestroika it become, however, evident that the Soviet concept of a harmonious 'regional identity' did not correspond to reality with regard to the Baltic countries. The Baltic peoples expressed their concern about the state of the ecology, strove towards a marketisation of their economies, turned song festivals into national manifestations and favoured national independence instead of a regional identity within the Soviet Union.34 Patterns of Identity during the Transition As we have seen, several patterns of identity developed in the course of the history of the Baltic countries. The actual question is whether historical

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 153 identity plays any major role today? One of the consequences of a negative identity is the development of a specific type of democracy which can be described as 'ethnic democracy', that is, a democracy 'according a structural superior status to a particular segment of the population and regarding the non-dominant groups as having relatively less claim to the state and also as not being fully loyal'.35 Thus, the ethnic minorities, above all those of Soviet origin, suffer from the fact that they are politically under-represented in many respects. But certainly ethnic democracy and ethnocentrism is only one stage in the process of the construction of new identity patterns in the Baltic states.36 If we examine another field of institutionalised identity, one of the most powerful developments in the Baltic countries in the period of transition is the revival of official religious life. Religion is closely related to Baltic nationalism and, as such, it is a major factor contributing to potential resistance against foreign oppression. In the Soviet period religious activity in Estonia and Latvia began to revive in the 1970s. There has been a second revival since 1988, with the percentage of church members steadily increasing; in 1990, the share of church members reached over 50 per cent of the titular nations. In Lithuania, the church has always played a crucial role as a constituent of national identity, even under the Soviet rule. The church, being one of the oldest institutions in the Baltic countries, was a basis for resistance to Soviet domination, a vessel for the historical memory, a window to the nations' past, and a bastion of Western culture. It conserved the philosophical and cultural patterns of the Baltic countries despite the obvious differences between the different churches in the three countries.37 Still, the role of the church as a factor of identity varies within the Baltic countries. If one can speak of an ethno-religious identity38 of Catholicism, Lithuanian nationalism and resistance to the atheistic government led by the Catholic clergy, the same level of identification with the church cannot be observed in Latvia and Estonia. Second in significance with regard to national identity come the Estonian Lutherans and Latvian Baptists, whereas in Latvia Catholicism and Lutheranism are regarded as the religions of the former masters, Catholicism of the Polish ones and Lutheran Protestantism of the Germans (Herrenkirche in German).39 According to the popular Huntingtonian thesis, the Baltic countries belong to Western CatholicProtestant civilisation that is in conflict with the Orthodox-Slavic civilisation; the reality is, however, not quite as simple as that.40 A third field of identity construction is foreign policy. The Russian Federation, the United States, and many European countries, especially Sweden and Finland, have a lively interest in Baltic affairs. The Russian Federation has repeatedly tried to use the Russian minorities in the Baltic countries to maintain its influence in the area, considered a key region in its relationship to the West as well as in geopolitical and military affairs. The United States

154 Ralph Tuchtenhagen has been interested in the Baltic countries mainly in terms of security policy in the Baltic Sea area. In Washington, there is therefore considerable support for NATO membership of the Baltic countries. Sweden and Finland are, together with the United States, seen as the main guarantors of the security of the Baltic states. But there are economic interests as well. The application of the Baltic states to join the European Union is, of course, a project that aims to leave behind the heritage of the Soviet planned economy, but simultaneously, it is also a project of identity creation. 'European values' and integration into the community of the European states is one of the strongest factors that contribute to the construction of new national identities in the Baltic countries.41 As integration - or re-integration - into the Western political and economical structures proceeds, attitudes towards national minorities have begun to soften. This has been the case both with the Russian minority in all the three Baltic countries and the Polish minority in Lithuania. The status of these minorities has changed from that of a 'ruling' minority to that of a tolerated diaspora, and, consequently, the minorities are less and less to be regarded as representatives of former conquerors. As the relations between the Baltic countries and Russia are gradually normalised, the Baltic countries are less and less regarded by Russia as a strategic sphere of influence where the Russian diaspora should be supported culturally, institutionally and financially. The Russian diaspora in the Baltic countries is also on its way to coming to terms with its new political and social role and is beginning to appreciate the economic benefits of living in the Baltic states.42 Conclusions Summing up, the problem of national identities in the Baltic countries seems to be complex, but there are certain constants notwithstanding all historical events and formations of national societies. Despite the fact that there is no clear-cut 'Baltic identity', some common tracks in the narration of the historical selves of the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians are obvious. Alien rule and foreign policy, above all involving Russia, have served as a background to a negative identification. In contrast, the horizon of positive identification consists of the idea of historical purity and continuity (territorially, politically, culturally and religiously), as well as a 'European' outlook and the integration into Western European culture, economy, and politics. Historically, these identity patterns are based upon social oppression and conflicting great power politics towards the Baltic countries. The Soviet concept of regionalism, on the other hand, having roots in the identity patterns of the German and Baltic nobles in the Baltic countries, had only a weak response in the relationship among the Baltic peoples and their position towards So-

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries


viet centralism. As always in history, the future is open, but it does not seem very likely that these identity patterns will change in a dramatic way. Endnotes 1

For descriptive accounts of events see Bernhard Schallhorn, 'Der Unabhangigsbestrebungen der baltischen Staaten', Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B 16/91 1991, pp. 25-33. Ansgar Graw, Der Freiheitskampf im Baltikum (Erlangen, Bonn, Wien, 1991), pp. 19-52. Detlef Henning, 'Das Baltikum: Der Weg Estlands, Litauens und Lettlands in die zweite Unabhangigkeit', in Franz-Lothar Altmann, Edgar Hosch (eds.), Reformen und Reformer in Osteuropa (Regensburg, 1994), pp. 203-233. Rein Taagepera, 'Estonia's road to independence', Problems of Communism 38 (1989), 6, pp. 11-26. Dzintra Bungs, 'The national awakening in Latvia', Radio Free Europe, RAD/175, 1988. Juris Dreifelds, 'Latvian national rebirth', Problems of Communism 38 (1989), pp. 77-94. O. Rozitis, 'The rise of Latvian nationalism', Swiss Review of World Affairs (Feb. 1989), pp. 24-6. Juris Dreifelds: Latvia in Transition (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 13, 52-70. Anatol Lieven, The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence (New Haven, Conn., 1993). Andrejs Urdze, 'Ein Kolonialreich in Auflosung: Die baltischen Staaten auf dem Weg in die Unabhangigkeit', Andrejs Urdze (ed.), Das Ende des Sowjetkolonialismus: Der baltische Weg (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1991), pp. 13-34. 2

See Dreifelds, Latvia in Transition, pp. 14-15. See for these elements of definition Paul Ricoeur, Metaphore vive (Paris: Seuil, 1975), pp. 323-399 [English translation: The rule of metaphor: Multi-disciplinary studies of the creation of meaning in language (Toronto, 1977)]; Paul Ricoeur, Soimeme comme un autre (Paris, 1990), p. 170; Jean-Paul Sartre, La Nausee [1938], Paris, 1972), p. 64; David Carr, Time, Narrative and History (Bloomington, 1986), p. 64; Alistair Mclntyre, AfterVirtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London, 1985), p. 216; Margaret R. Somers, 'The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach', Theory and Society 5 (1994), no. 5; Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis, 1977), p. 50. 3


See Reinhard Wittram, Baltische Geschichte. Die Ostseelande Estland, Livland und Kurland 1180-1980 (Miinchen, 1954), p. 224. Hain Rebas, 'Baltic regionalism?', in: Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds.), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (Hackettstown, NJ, 1990), pp. 413-28 (414-5).

5 6

See Rebas, Baltic regionalism?, p. 415.

For the 'Baltic question' see e.g. K.I. Karttunen, Sananen Liivimaan kysymyksesta ja Ruotsin Itameren takaisesta politiikasta 16 vuosisadan keskivaiheilla (Mikkeli, 1915); W. Konopczywski, Kwestia baltycka do XX w. (Gdansk, 1945). Walter Kirchner, The Rise of the Baltic Question (Delaware, 1954); Georg von Rauch, 'Die baltische Frage im 18. Jahrhundert', Georg von Rauch, Aus der baltischen Geschichte, (Hannover, 1980), pp. 253-329; Henning, Das Baltikum, p. 204. For

156 Ralph Tuchtenhagen the mice-elephant metaphor see Alfred Erich Senn, 'Lithuania and the Lithuanians', Graham Smith (ed.), The Nationalities Question in the post-Soviet States (London/New York, 2nd ed., 1996), pp. 170-83 (174). 7

See Elisabeth Harder-Gersdorff, 'The Baltic provinces - "bridge" or "barrier" to Russian engagement in Western trade? A study of "Russians at Reval" during the reign of Catherine IF, Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas (Munich) 45 (1997), pp. 561-76; Dietrich Andre Loeber, 'Towards Baltic regional identity', Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (edsj, Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (Hackettstown, NJ, 1990), pp. xiii-xxii; Lev Gudkov/Alexej Levinson, 'Abschied vom Imperium', Die Neue Gesellschaft (Frankfurt/M.) 38 (1991), no. 7, pp. 604-10. 8

See Graham Smith & Andrew Wilson, 'Rethinking Russia's post-Soviet diaspora: The potential for political mobilisation in Eastern Ukraine and North-east Estonia', Europe-Asia Studies 49 (1997), pp. 845-64. 9

See Ibid. See Gert von Pistohlkors, 'Regionalism as a concept of Baltic historiography some introductory remarks', Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (Hackettstown, NJ: Institute for the Study of Law, Politics and Society of Socialist States, Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, 1990), pp. 1-9, (5). 11 See Ibid. 10

12 For a comparison see Osmo Jussila, 'From province to state: Finland and the Baltic provinces (1721-1920). A comparative survey', Proceedings Les 'petits etats' face aux changements culturels, politiques et economiques de 1750 a 1914. XVIe Congres internationale des sciences historiques, Stuttgart (1985), pp. 55-67. Pistohlkors, Regionalism as a concept of Baltic historiography, pp. 5-6. 13

See Otto-Heinrich Elias et al. (eds), Aufkldrung in den baltischen Provinzen Rufilands. Ideologie und soziale Wirklichkeit (Koln, Weimar, Wien, 1996) (Quellen und Studien zur baltischen Geschichte 15). Gert von Pistohlkors, Andrejs Plakans, Paul Kaegbein (eds.), Population Shifts and Social Change in Russia's Baltic Provinces 1850-1914 (Liineburg, 1995) (Schriften der Baltischen Historischen Kommission 6). Aleksander Loit (ed.), National Movements in the Baltic Countries During the 19th Century. The 7th conference on Baltic studies in Scandinavia, Stockholm, June 10-13, 1983, (Stockholm, 1985) (Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Studia Baltica Stockholmiensia 2). Toivu U. Raun, 'Modernization and the Estonians, 1860-1914', in: A. Ziedonis Jr., W.L. Winter, M. Valgemall (eds.), Baltic History (Columbus, Ohio, 1973). S. Page, 'Social and national currents in Latvia, 1860-1917', American Slavonic and East European Review 9 (1949), pp. 25-36. Andrejs Plakans, 'Modernization and the Latvians in nineteenth century Baltikum', A. Ziedonis Jr., W.L. Winter, M. Valgemall (eds), Baltic History (Columbus, Ohio, 1973). Jerzy Ochmalski, Litewski ruch narodowo-kulturalny w XIX w. (Bialystok, 1965). Manfred Hellmann: 'Die litauische Nationalbewegung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert', Zeitschrift fur Ostforschung 2 (1953), pp. 66-106.

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries


Manfred Heilmann, 'Die Kirche und litauische Nationalbewegung', Kirche im Osten 26 (1983), pp. 9-34. Hans Rothfels, Stoat und Nation im deutsch-baltischen Denken (Halle, 1930) (Schriften der Konigsberger Gelehrten Gesellschaft. Geisteswissenschaftliche Klasse 4). Horst Garve, Konfession und Nationality. Ein Beitrag zum Verstdndnis von Kirche und Gesellschaft in Livland im 19. Jahrhundert (Marburg/L., 1978). Ralph Tuchtenhagen, 'Bildung als Modernisierung. Schule und Industrialisierung im Baltikum 1850-1914', Acta Baltica 36 (1998). 14

See Rein Ruutsoo, 'Introduction: Estonia on the border of two civilizations', Nationalities Papers 23 (1995), no.l, pp. 13-16. 15 See Smith/Wilson, Rethinking Russia's post-Soviet Diaspora, pp. 856-8. 16 See Mendel Bobe (ed.), The Jews in Latvia (Tel Aviv, 1971). Dov Levin, 'The Jews and the Sovietization of Latvia, 1940-41', Soviet Jewish Affairs 5 (1977), no. 1. M. Levitin, The Jews in Estonia 1945-1985 (n.p., 1986). Zvi Segal, 'Jewish minorities in the Baltic republics in the postwar years', in Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (Hackettstown, NJ, 1990), pp. 225-32. Rein Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity and the restoration of Estonian national independence', Nationalities Papers 23 (1995), no. 1, pp. 167-79, here p. 171. Senn, Lithuania and the Lithuanians, p. 179. Vytautas Katilius, Grigori Kanowitsch, 'Die Juden fliehen aus Litauen: Vorboten des Ungliicks?', in Ruth Kibelka (ed.), Auch wir sind Europa: Zur jungeren Geschichte und aktuellen Entwicklung des Baltikums - Baltische Pressestimmen und Dokumente (Berlin: Aufbau, 1991), pp. 135-9. Dov Levin, 'New Lithuania's old policy toward the holocaust', Jews in Eastern Europe 1994, no. 2, pp. 15-24. 17 18

See Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity', pp. 168, 169. See Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity', p. 171.


See Igor I. Kvass, Adolph Sprudz (eds), Baltic States: A Study of Their Origin and National Development. Their Seizure and Incorporation into the U.S.S.R. Third interim report of the Select Committee on Communist Aggression. House of Representatives. 83d Congress, 2d session (Buffalo, 1972). '50 Jahre danach', Acta Baltica 27 (1989), pp. 9-86. Tonu Panning, 'Negotiating in the Kremlin. The Estonian experience of 1939', Lituanus 14 (1968), no. 2, pp. 62-92. Latvian legation: Latvia in 1939-1942. Background, Bolshevik and Nazi Occupation. Hopes for future (Washington, DC, 1942). Allen Lynch, 'On the aggressive nature of the nonaggression pact'; Stephan Kux, 'The policy and politics of independence'; William Hough, 'The policy and politics of non-recognition', all in Nationalities Papers 17 (1989), no. 2, pp. 164-70, 183-203. Ruutsoo, The perception of historical identity, p. 170. Riina Kionka, Raivo Vetik, 'Estonia and the Estonians', Graham Smith (ed.), The Nationalities Question in the Post-Soviet States (London, New York, 2nd ed., 1996), pp. 129-46, here pp. 141, 142. Graham Smith, 'Latvia and the Latvians', Graham Smith (ed.), The Nationalities Question in the Post-Soviet States (London, New York, 2nd ed., 1996), pp. 147-69, here p. 163. Senn, 'Lithuania and the Lithuanians', p. 174. 20

See Uldis Urmanis: Latviesu tautas piedzuvojumi (Riga, 1990), pp. 13-24. An-

158 Ralph Tuchtenhagen drejs Plakans, The Latvians. A Short History, (Stanford, Cal., 1995), p. 1. 21

See Michael Haltzel, Der Abbau der deutschen standischen Selbstverwaltung in den Ostseeprovinzen Rufilands 1855-1905, (Marburg/L., 1977), pp. 123-44. Tuchtenhagen, 'Bildung als Modernisierung'. Smith, 'Latvia and the Latvians', p. 149. Senn, 'Lithuania and the Lithuanians', p. 170. 22

See the papers given by Inesis Feldmanis, Guntis Stumers, and Helena Simkuva at the conference 'The German factor and political culture of the Baltic republics, 1918-1939' in Riga, September 18-19, 1991, reported in Zeitschrift fur Ostforschung 40 (1991), pp. 607-9. 23

For a scholarly discussion see Eberhard Demm, Roger Noel, William Urban (eds), The Independence of the Baltic States: Origins, Causes, and Consequences. A Comparison of the Crucial Years 1918-1919 and 1990-1991 (Chicago, 1996).


See Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity', pp. 169-71, 174-6. Vytautas Radzvilas, 'Enttauschte Hoffhungen: Die Bedeutung der Perestroika fur die Zukunft des Baltikums', in: Andrejs Urdze (ed.), Das Ende des Sowjetkolonialismus: Der baltische Weg (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1981), p. 81. 25

From the Baltic German point of view see Hans von Rimscha, Die Staatswerdung Lettlands und Baltische Deutschtum, (Riga, 1939). 26

For the Soviet period see Loeber, Towards Baltic Regional Identity, p. xviii. Pistohlkors, 'Regionalism as a concept of Baltic historiography', p. 4. Sergei Zamaschikov, 'Soviet methods and instrumentalities of maintaining control over the Baits, in Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States, (Hackettstown, NJ, 1990), pp. 87-100 (91). Vilis LeniuS, 'The two Baltic regions: the natural and the artificial one', ibid., pp. 121-124 (121). Lev Gudkov, Alexej Levinson, 'Abschied vom Imperium: Die baltische Frage als Problem der Russen - die russische Frage als Problem der Balten', Die Neue Gesellschaft 38 (1991), no. 7, pp. 604-10 (606). Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity', pp. 170, 176-177. Smith, 'Latvia and the Latvians', p. 147. Andris Klauss, 'Finnland als Vorbild: Das Ende des Sowjetkolonialismus: Der baltische Weg Vom Kommandosystem zum freien Markt', Andrejs Urdze (ed.), (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1981), pp. 89-96 (96). Ita Kozakevicza, 'Im Warteraum der Geschichte: Erfahrungen einer lettischen Abgeordneten', in Andrejs Urdze (ed.), Das Ende des Sowjetkolonialismus: Der baltische Weg (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1981), pp. 127-37 (133-34). 27 See Rebas, 'Baltic regionalism?', pp. 415, 417, in: H. Talvar (ed.), The foreign policy of Estonia 1920-1929 (Tallinn, 1982). Rein Ruutsoo, 'Introduction' in Sirje Sinilind, Viroja Vendja (Helsinki, 1985). 28 See Loeber, Towards Baltic Regional Identity, p. xvii. Rebas, 'Baltic regionalism?', p. 415. 29 See Vilis Lenius, 'The two Baltic regions: the natural and the artificial one', in: Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States, Hackettstown, NJ 1990, pp. 121-4.

The Problem of Identities in the Baltic Countries 30


See Lenius, The two Baltic regions, pp. 121-22.


See V.V. Lebedev, 'Uchet primorskogo polozheniia pribaltiiskogo raiona ...', in Prognozirovanie sotsialno-ekonomicheskogo razvitiya regiona (Tallinn, 1980), pp. 52-6. S.B. Lavrov, 'Baltiiskoe more i baltiiskii region', in: Baltiiskii region. Trudy po geografii (Tartu, 1984), pp. 3-9 (toimetised no. 681). Akademiia nauk SSSR, Gosplan SSSR, Sovetpo izucheniyu proizvoditelnikh sil. Pribaltiiskii ekonomicheskii raion (Moscow, 1970). Dietrich Andre Loeber, 'International economic relations of the Baltic countries', The third conference on Baltic studies in Scandinavia 1975, vol. 3 (Stockholm, 1977), pp. 57-69. Loeber, Towards Baltic Regional Identity, pp. xiv-xv. 32 See V. Hazners, 'Baltijas kara apgabals', Latvija Sodien 9 (1981), pp. 118-21. V. Hazners, 'Der Baltische Militarbezirk', Acta Baltica 21 (1981), pp. 207-15. A. Trapans, Soviet Military Power in the Baltic Area (Stockholm, 1986), pp. 28-46. 33

See E. Vaitekene, 'Razvitie sotrudnichestva tvorcheskoi intelligentsii Pribaltiiskikh respublik ...', in Problemy istorii Latviiskoi SSR, vol.2: Tesizy dokladov konferencii (Riga, 1985), pp. 45-8. Loeber, Towards Baltic Regional Identity, pp. xv-xvi. 34

See Riina Kionka, 'Ecological concern in Estonia', Baltic Area Situation Report, Radio Free Europe Research 1985, no. 5. Toomas lives, 'Environmental problems in Estonia', Baltic Area Situation Report, Radio Free Europe Research 1985, no. 6. Klauss, Finnland als Vorbild, p. 91. Alvydas Karalius, Alis Balbierus, 'Impuls fur den Umbruch: Die griine Bewegung in Litauen', Andrejs Urdze (ed.), Das Ende des Sowjetkolonialismus: Der baltische Weg (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1981), pp. 97-103. Lenius, The Two Baltic Regions, p. 121. 35

S. Smooha, T. Hanf, 'The diverse modes of conflict regulation in deeply divided societies', A. Smith (ed.), Ethnicity and Nationalism (Leiden, 1992), p. 32. For the applicability of this thesis to at least Estonia and Latvia see Graham Smith, 'The ethnic democracy thesis and the citizenship question in Estonia and Latvia', Nationalities Papers 24 (1996), no. 2, pp. 199-216. Smith, 'Latvia and the Latvians', pp. 162-6. 36 See Ruutsoo, 'The perception of historical identity', p. 168. E. Rudenschiold, 'The ethnic dimension in contemporary Latvian politics: focusing forces for change', Soviet Studies 44 (1992), no. 4, pp. 609-39. 37 See V. Stanley Vardys, The Catholic Church, Dissent, and Nationality in Soviet Lithuania (New York, 1978). V. Stanley Vardys, 'The role of the churches in maintenance of regional and national identity in the Baltic republics', Journal of Baltic Studies 18 (1987), no. 3. V. Stanley Vardys, 'The role of the churches in the maintenance of regional and national identity in the Baltic republics', in Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P. A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (Hackettstown, NJ, 1990), pp. 151-62, here p. 152. Andrew R. Hart, 'The role of the Lutheran church in Estonian nationalism', Religion in Eastern Europe 13 (1993), no. 3, pp. 6-12. 38 About the 'ethnoreligious' national identity see John A. Armstrong, Nations

160 Ralph Tuchtenhagen Before Nationalism (Chapel Hill, 1982), p. 240. 39

See V. Stanley Vardys, 'The role of the churches in the maintenance of regional and national identity in the Baltic republics', in Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, Laurence P.A. Kitching (eds), Regional Identity Under Soviet RuleiTthe Case of the Baltic States, Hackettstown, N.J. 1990, pp. 151-162, here p. 152. V. Stanley Vardys, The Catholic Church, Dissent, and Nationality in Soviet Lithuania (Boulder, Col., New York, 1978). Wilhelm Kahle, 'Luthertum und nationale Identitat der Volker im Baltischen Raum\ Baltisches Jahrbuch 3 (1986), pp. 27-45. Dito, Wilhelm Kahle, Symbiose und Spannung. Beitrage zur Geschichte des Protestantismus in den baltischen Ldndern, im Innern des Russischen Reiches und der Sowjetunion (Erlangen, 1991), pp. 111-28. Velio Salo, 'The struggle between the state and the churches', Tonu Panning, Elmar Jarvesoo (eds), A case study of a Soviet republic: the Estonian SSR (Boulder, Col., 1978), pp. 191-222. Mariete Sapiets, 'Rebirth and renewal in the Latvian Lutheran church', Religion in Communists Lands 16 (1988), no. 3, pp. 237-49. 40

See Ruutsoo, 'Introduction'. Samuel P. Huntington, 'The clash of civilizations', Foreign Affairs 72 (1993), no. 3, p. 27. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996). 41

See Radzvilas, 'Enttauschte Hoffhungen', pp. 84-7. Peter Vares, 'Estonia returns to the international community', Journal of Baltic Studies 25 (1995), no. 2, pp. 118-22.


One can, in principle, divide the Russians in the Baltic countries into two groups. The first group consists of people assimilated in terms of language, culture, taste and values to the ethnic majority of their country. The second group consists of military pensioners, mainly officers, and industrial, party and state functionaries as well as common factory workers, who regard themselves as citizens of the Soviet Union rather than of Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. See Gudkov/Levinson, Abschied vom Imperium. Smith/Wilson, Rethinking Russia's post-Soviet Diaspora. Raivo Vetik, 'Russians in Estonia: new development trends', in Maria Kirch, David D. Laitin (eds), Changing Identities in Estonia. Sociological Facts and Commentaries (Tallinn, 1994), pp. 72-9. For an opposite view see Velio A. Pettai, 'Shifting relations, shifting identities: The Russian minority in Estonia after independence', Nationalities Papers, 23 (1995), no. 2, pp. 405-11. Senn, 'Lithuania and the Lithuanians', p. 178.

9 The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation: Perceptions of the New Russian National Identity TIMO PIIRAINEN

Before 1991, Russia had never existed as a nation state, but it had always been the core of a larger empire. Imperial Russia was succeeded by the Soviet Union, an empire that, at least on the ideological level, endorsed the values of internationalism and egalitarianism and competed with the 'capitalist' West for world hegemony. Correspondingly, the self-understanding of the Soviet state was never that of a nation state in the usual sense of the word. The disintegration of the Soviet Union brought forth a number of new nation states, and the 1990s have been a decade of the creation and strengthening of new national identities for these new states. In many respects, this process of identity-formation has been more complex and laborious for Russia - the former 'core nation' of the empire - than for the other new independent states of the former Soviet Union. Because of its heritage as the empire-building nation, developing an unambiguous set of concepts and symbols to define and represent the nation may be more difficult for Russia. The official self-understanding of a state and the national consciousness of its citizens at the everyday level differ, naturally, but there must also be ideas and perceptions that are widely acknowledged and practised on both levels. This article studies Russian identity building at the everyday level, focusing on the 'ordinary people's' perceptions on nation and national identity. The aim is to analyse popular images and views of the new Russian nation and, on this basis, make conclusions about the new Russian self-understanding in a more general context. Based on empirical interview data, this article examines such questions as the basic symbols of Russian-

162 Timo Piirainen ness, the national character, mechanisms of inclusion to and exclusion from the imagined community' of the nation, the significance of language, ethnicity and shared culture, the influence of Soviet internationalism, and commonly perceived threats and dangers to the Russian nation. When the evolving post-Soviet national identity in Russia is studied, the basic dilemma can be expressed in the following manner. If farewell is to be bid to the traditional messianic idea of Russia as an empire, what is then the carrying idea in the new national self-understanding? In principle, there are two alternatives. The first basic alternative may be defined as 'ethnic nationalism', that is, a definition of the new nation in ethnic terms, and consequently, an emphasis on ethnic roots and blood ties, cultural similarity, and common language when membership to the 'imagined community' of the nation is defined. The second alternative may be labelled 'civic nationalism', the notion that the sharing of common institutions and basic cultural categories is the main constituent of a nation and a principal criterion of its citizenship. It is easy to see the dangers inherent in the potential development of ethnic nationalism in a country like Russia, which still, even after the disintegration of the empire, has a multitude of national minorities in its territory. One of the prerequisites of a stable and conflict-free social development in Russia is the emergence of a civic nationalism, a popular national identity with relatively high tolerance towards multi-culturalism. Examining popular and everyday modes of thinking and perception, this case study attempts to shed additional light also on this crucial question. The Research Setting The data of the study consists of 30 semi-structured interviews that were all conducted during the last three months of 1996 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Each interview consisted of 25-50 typed pages in Russian; the excerpts quoted in the text below are translated from Russian by the author. The interviews dealt, among other themes, with the interviewees' perceptions and experiences of other countries and cultures, the Russian national character, the differences between Russians and people of other nationalities, the national symbols of Russia, the definition of 'Russianness', outside threats to the Russian nation, perception of the history of the nation, and the relations between different nationalities in the Soviet Union. All the interviewees are schoolteachers in elementary or secondary schools in the city of St. Petersburg. The nationality of each interviewee as stated in the passport - was Russian. A well-known fact is that Russian

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 163 passport, similarly as the Soviet one, has the famous 'fifth point' stating the nationality of the document-holder. The teaching profession is a predominantly female one in Russia as well as elsewhere in the world, and thus the majority of the interviewees were women; six of the teachers interviewed were men, and the remaining 24 women. The data and the views expressed by the interviewees may therefore have a 'female' bias. It is quite likely that, for instance, miners or metal workers would have expressed their opinions concerning national identity differently than schoolteachers. The hypothesis of the case study was, however, that if the interviews moved on the level of basic symbols, perceptions, and patterns of thinking the content of the expressed opinions would not vary essentially, even if there would be differences in the way these basic patterns of thinking and perceiving were communicated in the interview situation. There are several reasons for the selection of schoolteachers as the target group of the interviews. The first reason has to do with communication. Speaking and explaining, making elementary ideas understandable, is the essence of a schoolteacher's work. Interviews conducted with schoolteachers are therefore more likely to be more informative and articulate than those made with, for instance, miners or metal workers. The second reason is that schoolteachers represent in many ways 'ordinary people', that is, their level of education is near the Russian average and they are in many ways typical representatives of Russian educated middle classes or 'middle strata'. A schoolteacher does not usually have the position of an intellectual, such as that of a journalist, writer, politician, or social scientist, who actively moulds and forms symbols and perceptions of national identity in the public. It was not the purpose of the interviews to gain knowledge of the opinions of those who, in the first place, participate in the formation of the public attributes of the nationhood; much more interesting was to study the perceptions of the people who are the carriers of these ideas in the population at large. Schoolteachers are also representative of the vast strata of educated state employees whose social situation has deteriorated markedly during the transition from the Soviet socialism to a market economy. As we know from recent European history, the discontent of middle classes that are mobile downward in society is a potentially dangerous force. The most notable example is, of course, the channelling of the anger of the German middle classes into aggressive ethnic nationalism in the 1930s. Should a similar phenomenon be observed among the Russian educated middle strata, then there would be good reason to anticipate worrying and explosive social developments. The third and, from the point of view of the research setting, major reason for the selection of the target group is the fact that schoolteachers can

164 Timo Piirainen be seen to occupy a key position with regard to the communication of the basic notions and symbols concerning national identity and national consciousness. It is the task of a schoolteacher to teach the coming generations to sing the national anthem and to pledge allegiance to the national flag. The past of the nation, the birth of the state, the victories and defeats in the national wars, the geography of the Fatherland, the glorious deeds of the national heroes, the genius of the national artists, poets, and scientists - all this is learnt at school. The assumption was that targeting the data collection to this crucial point was like putting a finger on a major artery: it made the heartbeat of the new nation as audible as possible to the researcher. When conducting a case study with qualitative methods of social research, it is always necessary to ponder to what extent the location of the research data in the social space has an impact on the meanings inherent in this data. The possible influence of the profession, gender, and social position of the interviewees was already briefly discussed above. If the case study is carried out in a territorially vast country like Russia - and if the data is interpreted more or less to represent 'the voice of the People' - the question about the geographical space, in addition to the one concerning the social space, also becomes significant. The data was collected in St. Petersburg - the 'northern capital' of Russia. Can this fact colour the interviews in a certain way and give the data a bias that would make it 'unrepresentative' of the whole Russia? Is the pulse of the Russian nation in St. Petersburg different from that in Moscow, Voronezh, Izhevsk, or Vladivostok? St. Petersburg has traditionally been the city of the learned and the intelligentsia in Russia. It has a large number of educational institutions, and consequently, a larger than average share of its inhabitants are employed in the public sector. The city used to be one of the major centres of the defence industry, and as a result of the transition, the major enterprises of the city have shed their labour force heavily during the 1990s. St. Petersburg has, more than any other Russian major city, been the breeding-ground of various extremist and nationalist movements and groupings, and flirtation with extreme nationalism has been more fashionable among young intellectuals in St. Petersburg than elsewhere in Russia. If the development of nationalist thinking in the form of extremist ethnic nationalism is one of the main topics of the study, then St. Petersburg might well be the most suitable and interesting site for such a study. (On Russian ultra-nationalist movements in detail, see Verhovskii et al., 1996.)

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 165 The Kind and the Generous: Views of the National Character (1)

Answer: The Russians have, you know, this incredible spirituality (dukhovnost), this large and open soul. This means that we might be even too trustful. That is, we trust everybody. I think that a Russian - he is somebody with an extraordinary wide soul. Question: That is, the main characteristics of a Russian, it is trust, wide soul, spirituality? Answer: Well, I wouldn't say that trust would be the most important one of all. I'd say spirituality would come first. Yes, spirituality! Spirituality is the most important thing. But of course it is true that a Russian is always ready to take away his last shirt and give it to somebody else. That is, trust, generosity, the wide soul, of course. A Russian always gives away generously everything he has. (Woman, 48 years). The myth about Russian spirituality and the Russian soul seems to be cherished even more keenly by Russians themselves than Western tourists and Western popular culture. The most common words in the interview data to describe the Russian national character were dukhovnost and shirota dushi, concepts that may be translated, in lack of better alternatives, as 'spirituality' and 'the wide soul', as was done in the interview quotation above. This straightforward translation of these key features of the Russian nature is, however, somewhat awkward: in English, the word 'spirituality' usually refers, at least to some extent, to a person's ability to communicate with the transcendent or divine. The Russian 'spirit' (dukh) or 'soul' (dusha) is manifested in a person's ability to be in communion with his or her fellow human-beings; the 'spirituality' or 'wide soul' implies, above all, an ability to be open, to understand, to be prepared to listen and to speak, and to be generous. Other very often used attributes, related to the key concepts 'spirituality' or 'the wide soul', to describe the Russian national character are 'goodness', 'kindness', and 'hospitality'. The interviewees were almost unanimous in that Russians were exceptionally 'good' or 'kind' in comparison with other nationalities. For example: (2)

Question: How do you find the Russians? Which kind of characteristics should a person have so that he could be called a Russian? Answer: That is, of course, a big question,but if I had to put it briefly, even very briefly, then I'd say that the wide soul, sincerity, and commitment to one's

166 Timo Piirainen work are the most important characteristics. Well, of course, also people of other nationalities have these characteristics, but in Russians, these traits are more dominant and I'd say, more concentrated than in other nationalities. (Woman, 60 years). (3) Of course, every nationality has its specific features. In Russia, most important are goodness and kindness, hospitality, this kind of willingness to help each other. Russians are not selfish. (Woman, 49 years). (4) The wide soul. Cordiality. Willingness to help each other. A Russian, I think, is always ready to give away his last shirt. (Woman, 39 years). (5) Russians, they are kind and open people, hospitable and always willing to help each other. (Woman, 30 years). (6) There is this softness of character, typical of all Slavic people, this kindness towards other people. (Man, 51 years). The interviewees usually perceived that the goodness and sincerity, the spirituality and wide soul, have also a more negative side. The wide soul is not necessarily compatible with such traits of character as, for instance, orderliness and punctuality. (7) Well, first of all, what is characteristic is this very great kindness and benevolence. And I guess, typical of Russians is also, I'd say, a certain disorderliness. (Woman, 45 years). (8) I think that our most important national characteristic, it is this simplicity and kind-heartedness, this width of soul, and at the same time, this love of grand

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 167 gestures and this disorderliness. (Woman, 27 years). (9) The ability to forgive evil and to help those who are in the need. And also, recklessness, laziness - and at the same time, boldness and ability to do things in extreme situations. (Man, 48 years). A certain disorderliness that is a part of the national character and a consequence of the 'wide soul' was perceived most clearly when Russians were compared with Western European nations. Most of the interviewees did not have lasting contacts with foreigners, so the comparison was usually made on the level of simple stereotypes and it was in most cases not based on evidence from the interviewees' own lives. Since the disorderliness was perceived to be a consequence of the compassionate and wide soul, it was often perceived as a trait of character that is not something entirely negative. The greater 'discipline', 'orderliness', and 'effectiveness' perceived in Western Europe was also interpreted as a sign of introversion and lack of 'spirituality', that is, lowered willingness of people to help and understand each other - or of even something worse, as in the following quotation: (10)

Well, if I'd compare us with the Germans, the Germans are more organised than the Russians. They are more disciplined. If we think, for example, of fascism, that is, indeed, a good evidence of the fact that they are more organised and more disciplined. A Russian may, I think, subdue to a certain point, but soon he will get upset if all that begins to be against the values he believes in. I think that it is more difficult to convince a Russian, for instance, that fascism is the onlyrightway, whereas the German people accepted that very quickly. (Woman, 48 years). In addition to the 'wide soul', a high level of culture - and a pride of the Russian culture - was widely acknowledged as a basic characteristic of the Russian people. Not infrequently, this pronounced self-consciousness with regard to the Russian culture culminated in a certain sense of cultural superiority. This implicit sense of cultural superiority was especially evident when the relations between Russians and other nationalities of the Soviet Union were discussed. The role of Russians was quite often understood as that of a Kulturtrdger who has almost a Promethean mission of

168 Timo Piirainen bringing enlightenment to the neighbouring peoples. Sometimes the notion of 'a white man's burden' of this kind was expressed implicitly and sometimes in explicit words. When the interviewees were asked to name especially important figures from the Russian history, the names of writers and composers were the ones that were mentioned most often. This tells clearly about the importance of culture as a constituent of the Russian national identity - and, of course, also about the importance of cultural figures in Soviet propaganda. The significance of culture may, of course, be accentuated in St. Petersburg, a city that claims to be the intellectual and cultural capital of Russia and where the presence of the Russian cultural tradition is felt more clearly than elsewhere. And then again, the emphasis on culture may just be a statement of a kind 'cultural goodwill' schoolteachers all over the world feel obliged to express. But whatever the influence of the environment, it still seems plausible to assume that the cultural heritage gains importance as a determinant of the national identity and national character in a situation where Russian and Soviet history is being re-evaluated and the power and glory of the empire is only a reminiscence of the past. (11) Characteristic of the Russians is, I think, first of all, great tolerance, and second, the attempt to always understand the problems of others. And of course, characteristic of the Russians is also a pride, a pride in Russian culture and Russian history. (Woman, 44 years). (12) In the first place, I'd say, it is the level of the culture... well, culture in the sense that, how to put it politely, well anyway, it is not the kind of behaviour onefindsin the black people (i.e., people from the Caucasus area), you know, the blacks who sit at the market-place. I admit that there are cultured people among the blacks, too. But Russians, every farm worker, every tractor driver, I never have seen that kind of meanness and bad manners even among the most simple and common people. No matter what social group you have to do with, I mean among the Russians. I think it is the centuries-old culture that has had its impact even on the most common people. (Man, 31 years). Russian culture and the self-consciousness about the cultural heritage were, in many interviews, perceived as a basis on which a new national identity could be built. All the interviewees selected for this study were

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 169 schoolteachers - and in teaching children 'to be Russians', the most important task was usually seen to be acquainting them with the Russian cultural heritage. For example: (13) The Russian heritage, it is so very vast. And I, as a person living in St. Petersburg, I understand that I have an obligation to pass on this cultural heritage. I have to show the children, I have to tell them about how many sides our cultures has. I have to acquaint them with our culture. This is almost a holy duty. We live in Russia and we should know all this, without doubt. How could the children learn to live in Russia and love their country without that? (Woman, 49 years). Who is Russian? And in which Sense? Russia is perceived to be populated by good, kind-hearted, generous, sincere, and educated - albeit somewhat disorderly - people. How is the membership of this community of Russians determined? Who are included in the community of Russians and who are excluded? And what are the principles of inclusion and exclusion? The membership of a nation can be determined, in principle, by language, ethnicity, religion, common culture, territorial boundaries, and shared national institutions. Russian language has two attributes that refer to being Russian, russkii and rossiiskii, the former meaning the membership in an ethnic, linguistic, or cultural community (for instance: russkaya kultura, the Russian culture, or russkii chelovek, a Russian person) and the latter referring to the national institutions of the Russian Federation (and before 1917, to the Russian empire) or to its citizenship (e.g. rossiiskii pasport, Russian passport, or rossiiskoe grazhdanstvo, Russian citizenship). The pair of nouns russkii and rossiyanin differ similarly, the former referring to a person who is perceived to be an 'ethnic' Russian and the latter to somebody who has Russian citizenship without any regard to his or her ethnic origin, language, religion, or culture. In contrast to, for instance, Western European countries, 'nationality' is in Russia understood in the former sense. Several different nationalities - Russians, Finns, Buryats, Kalmyks, Tatars, and many others - live in the territory of the Russian Federation and thus have Russian citizenship and Russian passports. And unlike in the other European multi-cultural societies, such as Switzerland or Finland, the nationality of a rossiyanin is indicated in his or her pass-

770 Timo Piirainen port. By contrast, the nationality of a Swiss is always Swiss, irrespective of whether he or she speaks German, French, or Italian. This difference in the conceptual categories that describe nationality on the level of everyday language - and also on the level of administrative practices - suggests that Switzerland or Finland are, in the first place, nation states, and the different linguistic, ethnic, or cultural communities in the territory of the state are all submitted to the cardinal idea of the nation state. Russia, by contrast, is perceived as an empire that consists of many nations or nationalities, and the mission of the core nation, Russia, is to hold the family of nationalities together. The United Kingdom, as the name suggests, has a similar ambiguity with regard to defining the nationality of its citizens: the UK nationals may be English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish - or they may come from some other country of the British Commonwealth and similarly as in the case of Russia and the rossiyanin, they can simultaneously and without contradiction belong to two different institutionally acknowledged and confirmed categories that define national identity. The existence of these twin categories to define national identity - the attribute that refers to the common denominator of the membership of the empire and the attribute that defines a person's specific location in the empire - is likely to create a certain air of tolerance toward other ethnic groups and nationalities. It seems plausible to assume that people who have grown into perceiving the social world with these conceptual categories of imperial origin are not likely to lapse into ein Volk, ein Reich thinking as easily as citizens of smaller nation states, accustomed of seeing the nation and the state as overlapping and even identical entities. Among the interviewees, the consensus on the definition of Russians in the sense of rossiyanin was surprisingly strong. In principle, all the people who live in the territory of the Russian Federation and have Russian citizenship are rossiyane, irrespective of ethnic origin, culture, religion, or language. This was stated as a simple fact - a fact so self-evident that many interviewees did not even understand the question. Not one of the interviewees challenged this predominant view in any way. The question about who has the right to live in Russia was among the main themes of the interviews. The answers to this and related questions were quite telling. (14) Question: What do you think, who has the right to live permanently in Russia? Answer: Well, of course, everybody who is born in Russia has the right to live here. But if somebody wants to come here and settle down in Russia, for instance from Germany or England or, say, Belarus, please, by all means, let them come and live here.

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 171 Question: And how about St. Petersburg? Answer: The same thing. If they'd like to come to St. Petersburg, so be it. Well, the only thing is that we might not have apartments for everybody who'd like to move here. The only thing, which I would not welcome, is a lot of people from the countryside coming to the big cities, to St. Petersburg and Moscow. That would create a lot of problems. But if people like the city, if they, for instance, came here to study, why not? Question: But quite often one hears people say that there are too many Caucasians here. What do you think about that? Answer: Well, you know, of course it is unpleasant that sometimes there are too many of them. For instance, you go to the market place - and it is unpleasant when you see that our grandmothers who grow vegetables in their backyards and would like to sell them for kopecks are driven out by the Caucasians who try to determine the prices. That's, of course, something I cannot accept. But if, for instance, a Caucasian came here to study or married a Russian and behaved decently, why should I remind him all the time of all his countrymen who cannot behave. He would not be to blame. The only thing, which bothers me, is the fact that many of them are greedy, cannot behave, and act as if they in fact were the owners of our city. (Woman, 36 years). The usual answer is that everyone who so wishes has the right to live in Russia and even in the particular city the interviewee lives. As in the interview quotation above, the considerations and possible reservations are of a practical nature - the city might not have enough apartments for all those who potentially would like to move in - rather than related to nationality, race, or culture. Western Europeans - in this example, the English and Germans - are regarded as being on the top of the hierarchy of potential immigrants. The nationalities living in the Caucasus area occupy the bottom of this hierarchy, and when Russian racism is discussed, the attitudes towards the immigrants from the Caucasus is usually presented as the prime example. As in the interview quotation above, the attitude is, however, that Russia is, in principle, open for everybody - as long as the immigrants know how to behave themselves properly. The notion that openness and tolerance is one of the basic constituents of the Russian national self-image may, at first, appear somewhat surprising, considering the Western stereotype that depicts Soviet Russians as a people who have from the early childhood on been flooded with xenophobic anti-Western propaganda. Xenophobia and internationalism existed, indeed, hand in hand in Soviet Russia, but this was not necessarily a paradox or a contradiction. Internationalist attitudes - and imperial thinking -

172 Timo Piirainen were encouraged towards the peoples of the Soviet Union and those in the socialist camp, whereas the capitalist nations were to be treated with utter suspicion. After the Soviet Union disintegrated and the ideological conflict between the East and the West came to an end, internationalism - and not xenophobia - seemed to become the dominating attitude towards other nationalities. (15) Question: What do you think, who has the right to live permanently in Russia? Or in St. Petersburg? Answer: You could formulate the question also this way: 'Who has the right to Russian citizenship?' Everybody who wants has the right to live in Russia. If somebody wants to live here let him do so, if he doesn't violate our laws. As for the citizenship, everybody who has a steady job... well, it might not be that important with a steady job, but everyone who works for the good of this country, who participates in the civil life of this country, let's say, for instance, votes in the elections, is willing to support law and order, tries to abide by the laws of this country. A law-abiding citizen. Question: Well, it would be a bit difficult to find many people like this in Russia these days, wouldn't it? Answer: That's true, unfortunately. One is quite often forced to break the law in order to survive. Question: If you walk past the Gostinnyi dvor on Nevskii prospekt, you can often see these slogans 'Blacks - get out of St. Petersburg!' or 'Russia - only for the Russians!' What do you think of that? Answer: That's something very negative. That is Russian chauvinism. My attitude is very negative. I don't regard those people as Russians. Question: But they believe that they, indeed, are Russians. And you, on the contrary, think that they are not Russians because of their convictions. Answer: They are chauvinists. I believe that chauvinism is harmful to the country. And since they try to harm our country, they are not Russians. They are Russian chauvinists, and for me that is something else than being Russian. By his very nature a Russian is opposed to chauvinism, and if somebody is a chauvinist, then his mentality cannot be Russian. (Man, 30 years). Openness for everybody who is willing to respect the common institutions and obey the common laws and rules - the above quotation could easily be interpreted to be a very clear expression of civic nationalism. The interviewed young man admits that, in practice, Russians themselves may

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 173 not be so very law-abiding, either - but following the letter of the law is by far not the most important criterion of citizenship. Most important is the willingness to participate, the willingness to share the common national institutions, to work for the good of the country. This view was shared by almost all the interviewees. In St. Petersburg, the vendors of anti-Semitic and ultra-nationalist propaganda usually gather on the main street Nevskii prospekt outside the Gostinnyi dvor department store. This small group of vendors of newspapers and booklets consists of predominantly elderly people, with the occasional participation of uniformed young men from the extremist paramilitary organisations. The slogans and the printed materials appear to be a curiosity that the townspeople passing by have become accustomed to already a long time ago, and nobody seems to pay any special attention to them. If conclusions are made on the basis of the outer appearance of this small gathering of extremists, it is very difficult to believe that this group of people would ever succeed in articulating the popular discontent and swell into a mass-scale political movement. In view of the stereotypes concerning the Russian national character cherished by the Russians that were interviewed for this study, it seems equally unlikely that they will. After all, Russians are by nature open, hospitable, kind, and generous - and by definition, as the young man in the above interview quotation concludes, true Russians cannot be chauvinist, and vice versa, chauvinists cannot be true Russians. The interviewee in the above quotation characterises the willingness to 'work for the good of the country' as the major precondition for the right to become a rossiyanin. The willingness 'to do good' or 'to be useful' for Russia is very often mentioned as the main criterion, and compared to that, nationality has relatively little significance. This willingness to work for the country is often interpreted as 'love'. True patriotism is perceived as the love of one's country, and this sentiment that is manifest in a person's deeds is perceived, above all, to be the main criterion for having the right to be Russian in the sense of rossiyanin. (16) Question: And what do you think, who has the right to live permanently here in Russia? Answer: Well, anybody, in principle, has the right to live in Russia, if we look at the question from a humanitarian point of view. This slogan 'Russia for Russians' does not correspond very well to the truth. Question: And in St. Petersburg? Answer: Well, before we were, of course, told that only those who have a resi-

174 Timo Piirainen dence permit in Leningrad have the right to live here. That's what we were told. But then, when we began to have many foreigners coming here, people from other cities, refugees, it became quite difficult to accept that view any more. I think that everyone has the right to live where he wishes. (...) And here, the nationality cannot be the main thing. Here, this is the most important, what must be present is a patriotism of a certain kind. A person's patriotism, his love for the city, for the people with whom he lives, and not his nationality. (Woman, 45 years). As for the right to receive Russian citizenship, the interviewees express remarkably open and tolerant views. Similar interview data was collected also in Finland, a small nation state that is the home country of the author of this study. Among the Finnish schoolteachers interviewed, expressions of a similar openness were found to be very rare. In the Finnish interview data, ethnic or cultural origin was usually perceived as an important precondition for citizenship, or even for a right to a residence permit. This common sentiment was, of course, not expressed in the form of, for instance, 'Finland for the Finnish' slogans of some kind. On the contrary, the interviewees were representatives of the middle class in a Nordic country where people are taught from early childhood that tolerance towards foreign cultures is a cardinal virtue. The majority of the Finnish interviewees were, for instance, positive towards the idea that more refugees and other 'foreigners' from war-torn regions and countries with oppressive political regimes should be granted a Finnish residence permit to protect their human rights. This tendency towards greater openness was, however, seen in the first place as an imperative that was dictated by humanitarian considerations, by the obligation of a decent human being to give charity to suffering 'outsiders'. In this sense, the Russian interviewees may well have been less 'enlightened' and less aware of one's obligation to contribute to the amelioration of the global human rights situation. The Finns and the Russians made, however, their judgements on the basis of different fundamental patterns of perceiving the social world. The innate perceptions concerning 'the outsiders' and 'the insiders', 'domestic' and 'foreign', differed radically between the two interviewed groups, and as a result, the Russian interviewees expressed a far greater degree of openness than the Finnish ones, despite the explicit emphasis on tolerance towards 'foreigners' in the Finnish interview data. The interview data indicates that Russians are open and tolerant with regard to citizenship: everyone who so wishes can, in principle, be given the right to participate in the commonwealth, or become a rossiyanin. But what about the 'imagined community' of Russians who are perceived to

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 175 share the same ethnic and cultural origin? If everyone, in principle, can be a rossiyanin, who can be russkii? The interviewees were presented a question concerning a hypothetical situation where a person of a 'foreign' origin would claim to be a Russian. Below are some characteristic answers. (17) Question: What is the most important thing in being Russian? What kinds of characteristics should a person have so that he could be called a Russian? Answer: First of all, love for Russia, that is the most important characteristic. And a readiness for self-sacrifice for her sake. Question: Well, let us suppose that an American would love Russia and be ready to self-sacrifice for Russia. Can we say that he is a Russian? Don't you think that these two qualities you named are insufficient to define who is Russian? Answer: Well, yes. But they are the most important ones, the fundamental ones. In addition, a person should have the Russian mentality, that is, he should have been brought up in the spirit of the Russian culture and Russian mentality. (...) Question: Can a person be a Russian even if Russian is not his native language? Answer: Yes, I think so. Question: Well, what then determines his 'Russianness'? Answer: I already told you: the love for the mother country and the willingness for self-sacrifice for her sake. Question: I'll also repeat the question I just asked. An American loves Russia and is ready for self-sacrifice. Can you say that he is a Russian? Answer: Let us assume that he is given a choice between Russia and America, and he chooses Russia. If he does this, then he is a Russian. (Man, 30 years). (18) Question: What do you think, can a person who comes to Russia from abroad and does not speak Russian be integrated into our life, understand our problems to such a degree that we could call him a Russian? Answer: I guess that is possible during the lifetime of a person. But persons who are able to do that must be sensitive and profound people, creative people. A person who can open up and master a new culture, let a new culture come inside one's soul, can do that only if the new and old become intertwined in his soul. He cannot discard his original culture and become totally somebody else.

176 Timo Piirainen And it is likely that this kind of person will be much more interesting than one who has lived here for generations and centuries. That is, if people mix in a genetic sense, that has always brought a positive result. And it is the same thing if cultures merge. Question: And what do you think, at which moment would you start regarding a person like this as a Russian? Answer: It might not be immediately in every respect, but in principle, when he became sufficiently close and understandable to me, I would regard him as a Russian. Question: Do you think that if a person's nationality is defined as Russian in his passport, then this is a sufficient condition that he can call himself a Russian? Answer: What is the difference how he might call himself? Depending on what he feels that he is, he will call himself accordingly. If he feels that he is a Russian, then he has the right to call himself that. (...) Question: Let us suppose the following abstract situation. Somebody's father is Jewish and his mother is Belorussian. This person lives in St. Petersburg and claims that he is Russian. What would your opinion be in this situation? Answer: I already said that it depends on how a person himself feels. How he has managed to merge the different national influences inside him and what is the result of that. Russians are different from other peoples especially in the sense that we always have been a kind of curious mixture of different things. That is, during our whole history we have allowed different cultures to enter into ours and somehow assimilated these, and something new has always come out as a result. In this sense we are extraordinary. This is our vigour, all the time new influences. (Woman, 38 years). (19) Question: How would you characterise a Russian? Could you try to give a definition? Answer: That is very difficult. Question: Well, on what criteria can you tell Russian from something that is not Russian? Answer: Sociable. I think that a Russian is sociable, good and kind, hospitable, that is, so generous that even if he does not have anything, and if a guest comes, there is everything on the table. That is, his house is always open to you. Question: But that has to do with the character. How about some more formal criteria? For example, if it is written in the passport of a person that he is Russian, does it mean anything?

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 177 Answer: No. Nothing at all. Question: And should a Russian speak the Russian language? Answer: Of course. That is his mother tongue and, I think, he should also know his language thoroughly. Question: And how about, for instance, the origin of a person? Answer: (Shakes her head as a sign of a negative answer.) Question: It doesn't make any difference where a person comes from? Answer: For me it doesn't make any difference at all. For me, the character of a person, his inner self, is the only important thing. For me, personally. (Woman, 44 years). The category of the russkii, that is, of those who belong to the community of'ethnically' or culturally 'true' or 'pure' Russians seems also, in the same way as that of the rossiyanin, to be, in principle, an open category. The ethnic or cultural origin of a person is not a decisive factor; the crucial thing is his or her willingness to become a Russian, which was often expressed as 'love' or readiness to sacrifice and suffer. According to the majority of the interviewees, basically anybody, if he or she so wanted, had the possibility not only to become a Russian citizen, a rossiyanin, but also russkii, that is, a person who is perceived as an 'ethnic' Russian. Being Russian is, in the first place, perceived to be something akin to a mental state and not a status that is determined by ethnic origin. The ability to communicate through mutually shared cultural categories is the most important criterion of Russianness. This, of course, requires a good knowledge of the Russian language and the 'Russian mentality', that is, a disposition whose primary characteristics are perceived to be generosity, kindness, hospitality, and a certain disorderliness. The mastery of the language and the right mentality are, however, things that can be acquired also by a foreigner, given that he or she has the love for Russia and the corresponding willingness to learn to know the Russian culture. Whereas the 'imagined community' in smaller nation states is usually understood as an affinity of people with a common origin, the 'imagined community' of Russians seems to be perceived as a communion between people - and also between people with different ethnic origin. Russianness unites people - and peoples - through culture, communication, generosity and benevolence; it embraces different nationalities and leads them into a communion by offering them cultural categories that can be shared by all. (Cf. Hellberg-Hirn 1998, 160-2.) And if this is the basic assumption, then refusal to participate in this communion - for example, the striving of Poland and Finland towards a greater autonomy during the Russian Empire

775 Timo Piirainen before 1917, the attempts of the non-Russian status of the minority languages in the Soviet of the former Soviet republics after the year preted to be anything else than narrow-minded

nationalities to enhance the Union, or the independence 1991 - can hardly be internationalism.

The Soviet Past The following interview quotation is fairly long. It contains many of the important motives treated hitherto - the unselfish self-image, the openness and the negative attitude towards nationalism, and the notion of the Russian culture as a factor uniting people and peoples - and combines these themes with those that have to do with the perception of the Soviet past and of the Russians' role in the Soviet Union. Since these themes merge together in such an illustrative manner in this quotation, it is useful to print a relatively long excerpt from the interview as an introduction to the new theme, the attitudes towards the Soviet past. An interesting fact is also that the person interviewed was only 28 at the time of the interview, in late 1996, that is, he has not actually had the time to experience the Soviet era during his adult life. His perception of the Soviet past, contrary to the views and accounts of persons of the older generations, is a construction without very much support from experience from actual life in the Soviet Union. The views expressed in the quotation resemble, however, almost something of an archetype of the attitudes and arguments brought forth by the majority of interviewees. The young man interviewed in the quotation can be classified as a 'hard-liner', and due to his straightforward views, the prevailing attitude is condensed in the form of a solid stereotype, devoid of the nuances and reflection that make the accounts of many other interviewees much more diffuse and temperate. (20) Question: What does Russia mean for you? Answer: Russia? At the moment, I think, Russia as such isn't any more... Well, this is my impression. For me personally, Russia is my comrades, friends, father, mother, my family. That is, Russia in the sense of the empire, that all is already past history. The Soviet Union, yes, for me it meant - an empire, a great power for which one could fight and die, and people indeed fought for it and died for it. But Russia in today's sense, especially when the President says 'Russians' (rossiyane, i.e. the citizens of Russia), that smells to me kind of Jewish, dirty Jewish, for some reason I always get that kind of association right away. I kind of right away feel... although I was in the army and I love this all very much and I love my Fatherland, but, I think, I wouldn't want to fight for

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 179 this kind of Russia. That is, I wouldn't want to. Question: Before, we had the concept 'the Soviet people'? What do you think, did it exist in reality? Answer: That was all real. For sure, of course, as the saying goes, there isn't a family where everything would be always all right. There were some negative incidents here and there, but in general, the attitude towards Russians was in ninety per cent of the cases positive. That is, the attitude was not the one towards a Big Brother but towards an equal. I still have afriendfromGeorgia, we have always had good relations, and I am still in touch with him, and there weren't ever any problems. But now, now there are problems. That is, something that could be called 'the Soviet people' really existed, even though the concept itself was something that was force-fed to the people. Although there were exceptional cases, especially the Caucasus and the Baltic states, they always strove to be apart. Well, the Baltic, that was understandable, they were in a sense always particular states. And the Caucasus, that has always been a very problematic community of peoples, if you can call it that at all, different peoples that always had a lot of problems among themselves. On the other hand, when they were under our rule, under Russian rule, then, of course, it was much more peaceful there. There was someone who had the role of a judge, sometimes cruel and too severe, sometimes unjust, but anyway, there weren't these bloody Caucasian conflicts then. Everything was under control. Of course, everything was under control. Question: But now this Soviet people no longer exists. How do you feel about this change? Answer: Negative. In general, all this that happens today makes me feel some kind of humiliation, inner humiliation. And that's why I try not to watch the news, because I see that nobody respects our country any longer, and we are treated like rubbish. I don't even want to talk about that. That is what I think. Question: Could you try to define what a Russian is like? On what criteria could you tell who is Russian and who is not? Answer: Well, a Russian is kind-hearted. First, the feeling of nationalism is something alien for him. Russians are not nationalists, they never were nationalists, and never will they be that. The feeling of internationalism is more characteristic of the Russians. By his nature, a Russian has a wide soul, he is kindhearted, his attitude towards money is relaxed, that is, money is not the most important thing, but for him, the most important thing is soul. That's right: soul. For a Russian, that is the most precious thing. And the notion of the Fatherland, that is, if Russia, and all we Russians, I mean Russians (russkii) and not just rossiyane, we have always acted as Cicero wrote: 'Beloved elders and close relatives! If we have to give away our lives for the Fatherland, every one will do so and will not even hesitate!' This is the most important aspect of a Russian. He is always willing to help, very hospitable, generous, gives away the very last things he has, is willing to share, if only others are willing to respect

180 Timo Piirainen him, and do not try to cheat or humiliate or insult him. A Russian is goodnatured, he does not remember any evil that has been done to him. (Man, 28 years). At first, the talkative young man in the above quotation may appear to contradict himself. He does not hide his anti-Semitic attitudes, his contempt for the new civic institutions, or his admiration for power and action for action's sake; in this respect, he looks very much like a person whom we would easily associate with young ultra-nationalists in any Western European country. Simultaneously, he nevertheless opposes nationalism of any kind and insists that nationalism is a sentiment totally alien to Russians. There is, however, nothing contradictory in this mixture of extremism and tolerance. The essence of the imperial attitude expressed by the young interviewee is different from extremism observed in most nation states. Consider, for example, the anti-Semitism of the young man: the President's appeal to the 'Russian citizens' sounds 'Jewish' to him, because he feels that he has been deprived of something greater than life, of something he could die for. This something was the participation to the great Soviet empire - and for him, the civic institutions of the new Russia are hardly a compensation for the lost glory. The basic form of the argument is, of course, similar to that of, say, a German anti-Semite in the 1920s: 'Jewish' politicians and 'Jewish' civic institutions prevent us from attaining true greatness, hearing the mighty voice of greatness that, ultimately, defies all logic. The German right-wing extremist, as well as a similar extremist in any other nation state, listens, however, to a different voice than his Russian counterpart: for him (more rarely her) it is the voice of the blood, of the mystification of the ethnicity, of the exclusion of the Other. The Russian young man in the interview, by contrast, listens to the voice of, not the blood, but the soul. The voice of the soul mystifies the communion between nations and not the ethnic purity of a single nation; it mystifies the inclusion of the Other and not its exclusion. For a Blut und Boden anti-Semite, the Jew represents an alien element of which the nation must be purified, if the nation is to grow vigorous. According to the popular Russian anti-Semitic reasoning, the multi-ethnic Soviet Union fell apart because of a Jewish plot, and thus the vigorous empire was destroyed. In these two variants of anti-Semitism, the Jew is seen as harmful for the opposite reasons. In the first one, he is perceived to be an alien element and as such a threat to the development of a healthy nation state; in the second one, by contrast, he is seen to be guilty of the development that led to the fragmentation of the powerful multi-ethnic empire to a large number of weak nation states.

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 181 It is important to emphasise the fact that the views of the majority of the interviewees were moderate in this respect and the interview quoted above was the only one that contained any anti-Semitic opinions. When the quotation was selected to be printed as a representative expression of Russian sentiments and perceptions concerning the national identity, this was, of course, not because of the belief of the author that extremist attitudes would be something typically Russian - but because of the opinion that the quotation contains certain more general patterns of thinking and perceiving that are widely shared by Russians, by extremists as well as democrats and liberals alike. The extremism in the attitudes of the interviewee only makes these patterns of thinking more pronounced and explicit. According to all the interviewees, the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a frustrating experience. This sense of trauma and frustration was shared also by those interviewees who, unlike the young man in the quotation, perceived 'the Soviet people' to have been a mere ideological myth and nothing more and who were highly critical towards the politics of the Soviet era. This collective trauma has sometimes been compared to that caused by the loss of a limb: the loss of vast territories may evoke similar feelings of sorrow and helplessness, a similar kind of identity crisis, as the loss of a leg or an arm. Since the territory of the Russian Federation is, even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, still far vaster than that of any other nation in the world and its population still much greater than those of any other European country, this allegory that refers to dismemberment or amputation seems, however, to be insufficient alone to explain the painfulness of the sentiments - and especially the sentiments of frustration of those interviewees who were critical towards the Soviet Union, who perceived its disintegration as something of a historical necessity, and who, as the majority of the interviewees did, in principle acknowledge the right of peoples and nations to independence. The disintegration of the Soviet Union was not only a dismemberment of the body, of the territory of the empire, but it also struck an injury in the soul of Russia. The soul is the central myth in the Russian self-identity. The essence of the soul is the ability to communicate, understand, share, suffer, and sacrifice. The soul was the ultimate constituent of the communion of nationalities in the empire. It was the soul and not military force that eventually kept the empire together. The soul was the gift and sacrifice of Russia to the neighbouring nations. And consequently, the drifting apart of the Soviet republics, the breaking of the communion, the refusal to communicate with the shared cultural meanings and categories, meant also the rejection of the soul. It takes time to heal this trauma in the soul. The separation of Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia - the three Slavic peoples in the Soviet Union - was experienced especially painfully. All the

182 Timo Piirainen interviewees saw this separation as something artificial. The most usual explanation was that this unnatural disunion was brought forth by corrupt and short-sighted politicians, while the three peoples formed an organic unity and desired to live together in the territory of one and a single state. (21) I am convinced that during the Soviet Union, a very important attempt was made to bring different peoples closer to each other. And, for instance, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Russians, for me this is like one and a single people. I almost like organically feel the closeness of these peoples. I lived in the territory of Belorussia and also in the Ukraine. I lived in the Ukraine shortly after the war, and I can say that we were one and a single people. And what is happening now, we are creating national boundaries, we are tearing peoples apart. I think we are taking a step backwards. (Woman, 60 years). (22) Question: The Slavic Republics, Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia were before joined in one single country. Today, there is a border between them. What do you think about that? Answer: That is something unnatural. That's because it's a single Slavic people, which was specially partitioned by Vladimir Ilich from the year 1918. There always existed only one Russian people, that is, there were the Small Russians (malorossy, i.e., the Ukrainians), the Great Russians, that is, us, and the White Russians. And that was a single unity. And now they have specially divided the peoples, separated the peoples, and today, they have been wholly separated from each other, and borders, completely absurd borders, have been drawn between them. (Woman, 45 years). (23) Question: The Slavic republics - Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia - used to be together in one and a single state. Today they are divided by national borders. What is your opinion about that? Answer: I regard that as the most idiotic thing one can imagine. People have relatives in the Ukraine and Belorussia. And we lived together for so many years, and I think, especially in the Ukraine, it is just absurd that some idiots are trying to invent some special great Ukrainian history there. People who were there in the past, national leaders, military commanders, they were all Russians. And now these Ukrainians wave their weird flag and feel that they are the masters in the country, this is so stupid and astonishing. If we were to separate the Ukraine, we should basically just take Kiev and then, besides, maybe some parts of Western Ukraine there, which, in fact, always were quite alien in a

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 183 cultural sense, because they lived so long under the Polish rule, and so on. But, say, the Odessa oblast, and the Kherson oblast and the Crimea, that's simply Russian, the people are Russian, the life is Russian, everything is Russian. (Man, 31 years). In their bluntness, the three quotations above are very representative. The usual way to interpret the striving of the non-Slavic nationalities, for example the Estonians or Uzbeks, to form their own national states apart from the Soviet Union or the Russian Federation was to perceive this as 'nationalism'. This 'nationalism' expressed by the former Soviet Republics was often seen to be aggravated by self-seeking politicians at the republican level, whose career interests the separation served and who, in severing the bond with Russia, acted to the detriment of their own peoples. The Russian openness to different nationalities was seen to be in sharp contrast with this narrow-minded nationalism. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the right of the different non-Russian nationalities that formed the majority in the Soviet Republics to found their own independent states was recognised - once the people were insistent on making this kind of shortsighted and detrimental decision. As the interview quotations above illustrate, the separation of the three Slavic states was, however, seen to be something more than a mere expression of petty nationalism - it was perceived as a sheer absurdity. The 'Small Russians' and 'White Russians' are meant to form an organic unity together with the 'Great Russians', which is, of course, to be established under the leadership of the latter. The separation of the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Belorussians into different independent states cannot then be perceived as anything else than unnatural. Apart from this widely shared basic feeling of unity of the Slavic peoples, there were also other and more practical considerations against the separation. Mixed marriages between the three Slavic nationalities are common, and a great number of people have relatives on the other side of the new national borders; the separation of the states makes people's daily life more complicated as the communication between relatives has become more difficult. The above-quoted interviewee with the strong distaste for Ukrainian nationalism is also basically right in questioning why the Eastern Ukraine that has a predominantly Russian-speaking population is a part of the Ukrainian national state, even if we accepted the fact of the separation of the Ukrainian-speaking and culturally distinct areas from the unity of Slavic people. The basic sentiment seemed nevertheless to be that the Soviet Union managed to attain certain pan-Slavic goals, it achieved and preserved a unity of the Eastern Slavic people, and this pan-Slavism was an important

184 Timo Piirainen part - if not the core - of the Soviet internationalism. This sentiment was, of course, not expressed in explicit words and concepts or elaborate worldviews. The interview material consisted, in principle, of relatively spontaneous responses in everyday language that the interviews gave to questions concerning Russian national identity and national history. The interpretation that was made on the basis of this everyday speech suggests, that in a sense, the Soviet internationalism was widely seen as having fulfilled the same basic function as did the Russian empire - it created a common home for the Slavic nationalities and it strove to assimilate these nations into a unity under the moral leadership of 'the Great Russians'. The shattering of this common home and the separation of the Slavic nations was an evident breach against a natural order of things, and from the point of view of Russian national identity, it contributed, more than any other single historical event, to the development of a certain sense of insecurity and vulnerability (e.g. Tishkov 1997; Simon 1996). The basic patterns of perceiving the disintegration of the Soviet Union that were outlined above can be said to be quite universal, that is, they were observed to be shared by the majority interviewees, irrespective of, for instance, what their particular opinions were concerning the Soviet Union, the real socialist society, or the Soviet nationality policies. Apart from these widely shared basic forms of sensing and perceiving the world, the opinions concerning the Soviet Union varied, however, greatly among the interviewees. The most common attitude was a critical and reserved one that nevertheless recognised the positive sides of the Soviet society: the stability, the modest but always secured standard of living, the law and order, and the general respect for education and culture - the last mentioned being an especially often emphasized fact, since all the interviewees were schoolteachers. In general, the interviewees who belonged to the older generations tended to evaluate the Soviet Union more positively and the transition to the market economy more negatively than the younger interviewees. Among the youngest interviewees, on the other hand, an idealised nostalgia towards the Soviet era was not an uncommon sentiment. These people belonged, in principle, to an age group who had lived their youth during Perestroika and who had had very little time to gain actual experience of professional life in the Soviet Union; hence the tendency for idealisation. The most critical opinions towards the Soviet Union were expressed by middle-aged interviewees who had concretely felt the Soviet order as a force that constrained their freedoms of thinking and self-expression as well as their professional aspirations. The ambivalence towards the Soviet era was clearly reflected in the interviewees' understanding of Russian history. The interviewees were asked to mention special moments in Russian history that could be regarded as a

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 185 source of national pride, and correspondingly, also moments that were, if not outright shameful, at least something which the nation could not be proud of. Most often, the moments of national pride were found from periods earlier than the Soviet one, the blossoming of the national culture in the 19the century, the victory over Napoleon in 1812, and the modernisation of the country initiated by Peter I being the prime examples. The most shameful and negative moments, by contrast, were in most cases found in Soviet history: Stalin's Great Purge, the Civil War, the collectivisation of agriculture and the ensuing famines, the oppression of the Russian intelligentsia, and the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Soviet history contained, nevertheless, one magnificent moment, a feat without its like in Russian history: the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. The victory and the citizenship of a great and respected world power these were regarded as the main things that are remembered with pride, as Russians look back at the history of the Soviet era. In general, the interviewees saw, however, pre-Revolutionary history in a much more positive and idealised light than the history of the Soviet period - despite the lessons of Soviet history that the interviewees had been taught for years, and which many of them had taught themselves. It is evident that the Soviet Union was perceived to have fostered and preserved certain values and institutions that were understood as particularly Russian, for example, internationalism and the idea of the unity of the Slavic people. The idealisation of the old imperial Russia indicates, however, that the construction of a new Russian national identity is likely to be made predominantly of ingredients that are fetched from periods of history other than the Soviet Russian one. Who is the Enemy? Who is the Helper? So far, the story we have been told is, in its basic outlines, the following. Kindness, generosity, and openness are the features that are the most characteristic ones of Russians. The sum of these features that mark the national character can be called 'the wide Russian soul'. By virtue of this wide soul, Russia and Russians are, almost by definition, opposed to nationalism of all kinds. Because of this open soul, this remarkable gift granted to Russians, and also because of Russia's geographical location between Europe and Asia, the mission of Russia is to create a communion between peoples. The Russian empire accomplished this mission, and so did also the Soviet Union, albeit in a more imperfect and ambiguous manner. Petty nationalism, fostered by self-interested politicians, was the ultimate cause of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This nationalist development was driven to absurdity when the three Slavic nationalities -

186 Timo Piirainen Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians - were separated into three independent states. To create more order and structure to this story and to illustrate the shift from the Soviet pattern of understanding the Russian national identity to the post-Soviet one, we can use the so-called actant model, developed by the Parisian semiotic A.J. Greimas (Greimas 1966). This model is, of course, to some extent a Procrustean bed that over-simplifies the actual story and imposes on it conceptual categories that may often seem alien and artificial. In this case, the illustrative power of the Greimasian actant model seems, however, to be relatively great. This is especially the case when the recent changes in the perception of national identity have to be made visible. All the readers may not be familiar with the Greimasian model, and it is therefore appropriate to make a brief presentation of the key constituents of the model. The basic structure of the actant model is illustrated in Figure 9.1.

Figure 9.1 The Greimasian actant model Sender









The model consists, in principle, of seven different 'actants'. These actants can be understood as general conceptual categories that describe the basic relations between things and events that are repeated in some form basically in every story irrespective of the particular subject matter. The most important relation in the model exists between the subject and the object of the story, and all the other actants relate to this basic relation. The sender motivates the subject to pursue the object, that is, it determines the basic 'mission' of the subject. The helper supports and assists the subject in its quest, whereas the anti-subject and the concrete antagonist try to obstruct the subject. The receiver is the ultimate 'beneficiary' of the subject's mission (Greimas 1966; see e.g. Korhonen and Oksanen 1997). When attempting to reconstruct the 'story' that depicts the role of Russia and the Russians in the Soviet Union, the interviewees' selfunderstanding of the Russian national identity in the Soviet era, we may define the actants as in Figure 9.2. The main relation in the 'story' is the subject-object relation, that is, in this case the mission of Russia to pursue

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 187

internationalism, to establish 'a brotherhood of peoples'. History has the role of the sender: Russia's mission had eventually been attributed to it by history. The whole of mankind and human civilisation were the receivers; the success or the failure of the mission, the progress and happiness achieved by Russia in its revolutionary quest was, in the last instance, evaluated and rewarded by all of mankind. Since world history is, according to its Marxist-Leninist interpretation, essentially a history of class struggle, the anti-subject is naturally the global bourgeoisie and global capitalism. More concretely, the role of antagonist to this quest of brotherhood and happiness was played by the capitalist and 'imperialist' countries, especially the USA.

Figure 9.2 The Soviet Union and the Russian mission History - - - - • 'Brotherhood ----+ Mankind of peoples' The capitalist class

+ The working classes


+----- Capitalist and

imperialist countries

How has this basic plot been transformed since the disintegration of the Soviet Union? What are the basic constituents of the story about postSoviet Russia? The story of the role of Russia in the service of internationalism and brotherhood of peoples was a straightforward story of progress, and the subject-object relationship that was its core -the idea of the 'mission' of Russia - was undoubtedly very believable, especially considering the fact that this view corresponded very much with the official one promoted in the Soviet mass media. The post-Soviet story is inevitably a much more diffuse one, given the fact that the history of the past ten years does not bear any evidence of 'progress' or victory of the internationalist aspirations of Soviet Russia, but on the contrary, it saw the collapse of the entire grand internationalist project. In the post-Soviet situation, it is likely to be much more difficult to assume the subject-object relationship indicated in Figure 9.2, to perceive Russian national identity in terms of openness and quest for the brotherhood of all humankind under the aegis of Russia.

188 Timo Piirainen The interview data suggest nevertheless that this seems to be the case even in the late 1990s. There is no evidence of a re-definition of the Russian national identity on new terms that emphasise ethnicity instead of communication with shared meanings in a common cultural space. On the contrary: nationalism is seen as the root of all the evil, the main cause for the disintegration of the common space, and the most un-Russian trait of character imaginable. The quest continues even after the dissolution of the empire, but now in an abstract, tragic and Sisyphean form. It was usual that the interviewees emphasised suffering and the readiness to suffer and sacrifice as something essentially Russian. The reference to suffering was, of course, often made with regard to the concrete suffering caused to millions of Russians due to the falling standard of living, but even more often, suffering and sacrifice meant enduring pain in a more abstract sense, that is, they signified the recognition of the tragic and at the same time heroic existential situation of Russia. In this sense, the mood in St. Petersburg, as reflected through the interviews, is not very dissimilar from the 'heroic pessimism' expressed by Viennese intellectuals after the First World War. The actants denoting the basic outlines of the new 'story' -the tale of a Sisyphean mission and not of progress and victories - would then be the ones indicated by Figure 9.3.

Figure 9.3 The Sisyphean mission History --+'Brotherhood of peoples'




Mankind Nationalism



Two actants, the helper and the antagonist are in Figure 9.3 replaced with question marks. As the new story of Russia's national identity and geopolitical role unfolds, it is these actants, of course, that are of the most crucial interest and significance. Who are the friends and the foes of the new Russia? Which forces are perceived to strengthen the national identity and which ones are felt as threats? We may begin by exploring who or what is perceived to be the antagonist. The following interview quotation is a long one. The talkative interviewee combines, however, in a very illustrative manner the central themes

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 189 and patterns of perceiving that are repeated again and again in the interviews. (24) Question: What do you think, do there exist some people somewhere, either in Russia or outside the country, who are a threat to Russians? Answer: Well, you know, I'd like to repeat the words of Alexander III and Peter I, who, I think, said that Russia does not have allies - its only two allies are the Russian army and the Russian navy. There are no friends. If we think about that, we'll see that the Serbs were our friends, whom we then let down in every respect during the past few years. This, I think, is a disgrace for Russia and Russians that we acted like that towards Orthodox Serbs. I don't mean those war criminals, who irrespective of nationality should, of course, be brought to court and punished as severely as possible. But that we betrayed our historical friendship with these people, that was terrible. That's all, we don't have other friends. Are there any enemies? Russophobia - its existence is a fact, why deny it? Well, you know, I might cite the words of a classic, this was something that Dostoevsky wrote in his diaries: 'They do not love us in Europe. For them we smell bad. And the least of all do they love us when we dash to them with brotherly embraces.' And I agree completely with that. Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin said that Europe has always been as ignorant about Russia as it has been unthankful towards her. There's no need to dash to them with brotherly embraces. I completely agree. Do they threaten us? I think that it is a fact that we threaten them more. It's a fact that our conduct during the twentieth century, during the Soviet rule, during the Bolshevik rule, was unpredictable, and we were full of ideas of world revolution and international communism, and if something, this, of course, must have turned many people against us. And it did, as Afghanistan showed, everybody united against us - China, the Muslim countries, the Americans, Western Europe, Japan. That is, we succeeded in getting the whole world against us. Although geopolitical interests, that is also a question. And that's why to speak of somebody threatening us - that somebody is threatened in the same way, too. China, say, threatens us, but China is at the same time equally under a threat. The destiny of great countries is that they follow certain very peculiar rules when they build their relations with other great countries. If we do not want to be present somewhere, be it a land or a sea, then some other great country is going to be there instead of us. Historically, there's nothing else you can do, this is the only logic there can be. And this is the only sense in which one can ponder whether there is somebody who threatens us or not. Well, if we think about NATO approaching close to our borders, I see hostility and threat in this. I don't believe in the sincerity of American and western politicians. I feel great respect and love towards the people of the United States, for instance, towards their ability to work hard and everything, but I don't trust the bankers and politicians. That is why we have to think ourselves. The people of America, we have always lived with them... and basically with all the peoples, on this level there aren't any problems with any-

190 Timo Piirainen body. But politicians and big money - that is a different thing. They act according to their own laws, and these laws are not always those of the people. Question: And how about inside Russia? How are the interests of Russians protected here? Answer: Well, traditionally... traditionally and also during the last seventy years, as a matter of fact, in the Russian empire, that was a special empire in the sense that the national territories were, in any case, at least compared to the colonies of other empires - the fate of these territories that were annexed to the Russian empire was entirely different. For instance, at the court of a Russian tsar one could see a Georgian prince and a Khan from Central Asia. That is, at that time there was no oppression of other nationalities. They were equal with the Russians. That is, the thesis that was presented by the revolutionaries - that Russia is a prison of peoples, that is not supported by any historical facts whatsoever. Finland was the first country to have common suffrage in Europe, even for women, and Finland was at the time part of the Russian empire. There were also many other things, that is, many different things. The Caucasus, for instance. All in all, it was peaceful there, blood feuding was forbidden, and such things as, for instance, the Karabakh conflict - it was simply impossible to even imagine things like that happening during the empire. For the Russians, in this sense... I think the situation of Russians has become awful during the past few years. After the Belovezh treaty, how many million Russians became foreigners overnight because of these absurd borders? How many people got in the situation of refugees? And Chechnya. Who is speaking for the rights of Russians there? They are talking about compensation that should be paid to the Chechens for the damage, but who would - somebody of us, or, this is of course sheer fiction, somebody from the Chechnyan side - who would raise the question about the rights of the Russians who were driven away from Chechnya? And Shafarevich, who was on television, I was quite amazed when Academician Shafarevich, who is regarded as the foremost apologist for our nationalism, he just gave us simple facts about the genocide of Russians in Chechnya. And who else speaks about that? Nobody is interested in the fate of Russians. And if we think about those people who had to escape from the former Soviet republics. What should we say, for example, of Kazakhstan, of Cossacks who had lived there for centuries and then suddenly happened to find themselves in a country called Kazakhstan - a country that has never existed in history before? A nuclear power was just created one day with a single stroke of a pen in December 1991, that's Kazakhstan. And there is very little written also about this: Russians are forced to escape from there, too, deserting their apartments, ruining their lives and fates. And our government is not a bit interested in solving these national problems. (Man, 43 years). Stories from actual life, historical anecdotes, rumours and exaggerations, as well as sheer products of imagination merge together into a self-

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 191 confident interpretation of history. The history and culture of smaller neighbouring peoples - in this example of the Kazakhs in Kazakhstan - is certainly not met with very great respect in this great-power interpretation. Among the neighbouring nations, the favourite target for criticism was, of course, Estonia, a small country close to St. Petersburg that so obviously has failed to show gratitude for the generosity of Russia. The struggle of the Estonians to protect their national and cultural identity against the massive wave of Russification during the decades of Soviet occupation was for the majority of interviewees nothing more than a manifestation of nationalism and lack of goodwill. Nationalism of this kind has now triumphed everywhere in the former Soviet republics, bringing suffering to Russians throughout the former empire. Who is to blame? Who is the concrete antagonist of the story? As also in the quotation above, 'bankers and politicians' are most often perceived to be the culprits. The centrifugal forces of 'nationalism' serve the interests of the bankers and politicians who can now without constraints enrich themselves at the expense of the people. For the anti-Semite, the 'politicians and big money' are almost synonymous with the Jews - who, as a matter of fact, are strongly represented in the new political and economic elite in Russia. These villains, the bankers and the politicians, are the concrete representatives of the new post-totalitarian institutions, the market economy and the multi-party democracy, and the unanimous disdain towards these characters of the drama does certainly not look very promising for the popular legitimacy of these basic institutions of the pluralist society - and correspondingly, for the development of a popular sentiment that could be called civic nationalism. On the other hand, it certainly would have been evidence of unsurpassed idealism, if the new economic and political elite of the country was still found to have enjoyed widespread respect among the citizens, considering the sad history of Russian domestic policy in the 1990s and the immoral conduct and the ensuing total collapse of the Russian banks. Russia has no friends. Because of its greatness, history has condemned it to loneliness. It is surrounded by smaller peoples and nations that, because of their far lesser role in history, are unable to understand and appreciate it. The Promethean mission of Russia was to bring culture to the surrounding peoples and nations, and of course, a giant task like this is bound to be misunderstood by the lesser nations. (It remains, however, beyond the scope of this article to judge whether the present painful condition of Russia has been brought about due to a punishment ordained by the god of history for hubris - the most serious of all transgressions). This all is, however, stated by the interviewee with an air of solemnity, as a statement of a basic existential fact. The friends may be few, but there are no evil and aggressive enemies, either; geopolitics is similar to a chess

192 Timo Piirainen game where the players are compelled to follow the rules and the logic of the game. It is essential to note that the Manichean view that saw the world divided in two mutually hostile camps belonged to the Soviet gallery of thinking patterns. Although the subject-object relationship in the Soviet story and the post-Soviet one (see Figures 9.2 and 9.3 above) is essentially the same, the change of the other actants makes the new story very different. As the representative and champion of the international working class, the Soviet state was, naturally, encircled by capitalist and imperialist enemies, which also spared no efforts to infiltrate the Soviet society with spies and saboteurs. The question was of a global class struggle, a fight between the forces of progress and reaction - and ultimately between good and evil - and given this situation of continuous confrontation with the forces of evil, it was necessary to be well prepared for attack as well as purge their own society from the evil elements. Unscrupulousness was a virtue, because the enemy, too, was unscrupulous and also evil/reactionary by definition. The notions of class and race or ethnicity appear to be, if not outright brothers, then at least cousins: they both serve as basic constituents of a Manichean pattern of thinking that draws a strict demarcation line between us and them, the insiders and the others. This property of the notion of the class is also likely to be a major explanation to the schizophrenic features of the Soviet nationality policy - the peculiar coexistence of xenophobia and internationalism, violent Russification and brotherhood of the 'Soviet people', tolerance and disregard towards other cultures. This fundamental source of tension could not be done away with any ad hoc 'dialectics', borrowed from the awkward conceptual arsenal of Lenin and Stalin. Interest in the culture of one's own nationality was nationalism, and all nationalism was bourgeois; as a consequence of this simple syllogism, the classless society could only be achieved through Russification and emasculation of the national cultures, through a production of a fabricated version of the national culture that could be displayed for children and tourists in museums (e.g. Vihavainen 1998). The new story does not contain a similar dichotomy. The historical quest of Russia continues, but now without powerful antagonists and helpers. This time, Russia is not perceived as the hero of a drama whose plot consists of a global confrontation of the forces of progress and reaction. The attempts of certain right-wing intellectuals to create a new Manichean scenario - for example the theory of a global struggle between 'Eurasianist' and 'Atlantist' forces (see e.g. Dugin 1995) - have not gained any significant popularity among ordinary Russians. In the new drama, Russia is the only major actor, and the quest of Russia is a lonely one. The antagonists - the corrupt bankers and politicians - are more likely to be found inside Russia instead of being powerful and aggressive outer enemies. And

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 193 even though Soviet internationalism is vanishing, and consequently, the popular sentiment is somewhat shifting towards ethnic nationalism, the new situation seems nevertheless also to imply the gradual dissolution of the Soviet schizophrenia with regard to national identities and nationality policy. In fact, Russia has a longer tradition with multicultural ism than most of the western European nation states - and the interviewees are not entirely wrong in emphasising this side of the former empire. It is likely that there will be a rise of ethnic nationalism to a certain degree as a denominator of new collective identities in Russia, but it is important to understand that this re-definition of national identities is not necessarily a process that is incompatible with the development of a multicultural society. New and open identities, even if they are claimed and consolidated in a more confrontational manner than before, without the constraint of the taboos and pathologies of the totalitarian ideology, are a necessary precondition for the development of genuine multiculturalism. Given its imperial heritage, Russia has a good starting point to develop towards this direction - and given the multi-ethnic character of the Russian Federation, it hardly has any other realistic alternatives. In the absence of any other powerful actors in the drama, help and the helpers are, above all, to be sought in Russia's own history and culture. It was very common among the interviewees to emphasise the importance of knowledge of Russian history and the Russian culture as the means of orientation to the future. Of course, the knowledge of one's culture and history is something that is held dear by schoolteachers throughout the world, and in this respect, the selection of the interviewees may, to some extent, influence the conclusions of the study. The contemplation of national culture and national history may, of course, partly be soothing self-delusion, an attempt to seek consolation in the difficult present from the images of the past grandeur. It is doubtful whether history has ever taught anybody a lesson, but in the case of Russia, there certainly seems to be room for a fruitful historical introspection. Help is to be found in the own culture and in a new and more realistic interpretation of the history of the Russian nation. Those, indeed, are the guides that may usher the way from the vale of tears towards a prosperous future: (25) There is a notion called 'the historical memory'. I would like to help my pupils to develop this kind of historical memory. To give them a historical memory, a sense of history, so that they would remember how things could be better. And there are such things in our history, which should never be forgotten - that would be a great sin. And when I have developed in them the historical memory, this takes, of course, many years, when I have read together with them both

194 Timo Piirainen the heroic pages and victorious pages of our history and also the bitter ones that have to do with defeats and misfortunes, then I can tell them how complex and full of contradictions history is. And this is why one should have a special attitude towards history. That is not only a subject for teaching, it is our whole life, the life of our forefathers, and of the coming generations, which we, as Pushkin said, should know and take pride in the glory of our forefathers. (Man, 48 years). Conclusion One of the basic questions in this study was whether Russia is moving towards a predominance of ethnic nationalism, that is, whether ethnicity will become the main criterion on which the inclusion to or exclusion from the 'imagined community' of Russians would be decided. The evidence of the small case study reported in this article suggests that this will hardly be the case. It is, of course, to be emphasised that one has to be cautious when making generalisations concerning the entire country are on the basis of a case study that covers only one specific professional group in one particular city. A case study can never be 'representative' in the sense a randomsample survey can. The case study data contained little evidence of a widespread sentiment favourable to something that could be called civic nationalism. The new civic institutions of the Russian Federation were not regarded as the most important constituents of the new Russian national identity. Instead of civic or ethnic nationalism, the dominant sentiment may be characterised as cultural nationalism. Russia was in the first place perceived as a cultural entity and not an ethnic or a political one. In essence, Russia is seen as a cultural space whose inhabitants - or citizens - share the same patterns of thinking, communicating, and perceiving the social world. This strong emphasis on communication and common culture implies a remarkable degree of openness with regard to citizenship and inclusion in the category of the Russians - that is, virtually anybody, irrespective of ethnic origin, who is willing and able to acquire the necessary cultural competence has, in principle, the right to become a member of the 'imagined community' of the Russians. An important question is whether this 'imperial' popular emphasis on Russian culture will be persistent. Would it not be plausible to assume that it is a remnant from the days of the Soviet empire and will thus gradually give way to an understanding of the Russian national identity in ethnic terms? It seems evident that to some extent this assumption about a gradual shift towards a national consciousness on more ethnic terms is viable. It is,

The Fall of an Empire, the Birth of a Nation 195 however, very difficult to imagine a development of a national consciousness akin to that typical of mono-ethnic European national states in Russia. The fundamental notion of the Russian culture as a factor that unites peoples - or whose mission is to bring about unity and community - is strongly rooted in the popular consciousness. Given the strength of this basic notion, the growing emphasis of a civic nationalism seems a more likely alternative - a development that admittedly will take time, considering the current weakness of the public institutions and the widespread cynicism towards them. The popular question has been whether Russia has the risk of repeating the German experience in the 1930s. Most of the basic social preconditions of the German development are present: large strata of the population that have lost their savings due to inflation, impoverished middle classes, high unemployment, a weak state that cannot adequately maintain law and order, and a general sense of national humiliation. Two important factors that contributed to the rise of fascism in Germany are, however, absent. First, totalitarian thinking is not fashionable today like it used to be in the 1930s. And second, ethnicity can hardly function as a basis to a new Russian totalitarianism. If Russia is going to experience a rise of political extremism - which in any case cannot be regarded as a very likely scenario then this extremism will have an imperialist rather than a fascist character. It will build on and emphasise the traditional Russian imperial virtues both real and imagined - rather than the images of a nation that is strong in its ethnic purity and homogeneity. Literature Dugin, Aleksandr (1995), Tseli i zadachi nashei revoljutsii, Fravarti, Moscow. Greimas, A.J. (1966), Semantique structural, Larousse, Paris. Hellberg-Hirn, Elena (1998), Soil and Soul. The Symbolic World of Russianness, Ashgate, Aldershot. Korhonen, Inkeri and Oksanen, Katja (1997), 'Kertomuksen semiotiikkaa', in Pekka Sulkunen and Jukka T6rr6nen (eds), Semioottisen sosiologian nakokulmia, Gaudeamus, Helsinki. Simon, Gerhard (1996), 'Rossia kak velikaya derzhava. Problemy stanovleniya samosoznaniya: proshloe i nastoyashchee', in T. Zaslavskaya (ed.), Kuda idyot Rossia? Sotsialnaya transformatsiya postsovetskago prostranstva, Mezhdunarodnyi simpozium 12-14 yanvarya 1996 g., Aspekt Press, Moscow. Tishkov, Valerii (1997), 'Identichnost i kulturnie granitsy', in M. Olcott, V. Tishkov and A. Malashenko (eds), Identichnost i konflikt v postsovetskikh gosudarstvakh, Moskovskii Tsentr Carnegie, Moscow.

196 Timo Piirainen Verhovskii, Aleksandr, Papp, Anatoli and Pribylovskii, Vladimir (1996), Politicheskii ekstremism v Rossii, Moskovskii antifashistskii tsentr, Informatsionnoekspertnaya gruppa 'Panorama'. Moscow. Vihavainen, Timo (1998), Stalin ja suomalaiset, Otava, Helsinki.

10 Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy JEREMY SMITH

The Chechen conflict of 1993-6 has focused attention on the existence of national minorities within the Russian Federation, which have their own identities, cultures, traditions, institutions and territories but which, unlike the 15 republics which previously constituted the Soviet Union, were unwilling or unable to take advantage of the collapse of communism in order to establish their own separate, independent states. In addition to the Chechen war, there have been serious outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence in North Ossetia, and rather less serious ones in Tannu-Tuva and Sakha (formerly Yakutia). Demands for political sovereignty and freedom from interference and exploitation have been most marked in Sakha and Tatarstan. National political parties, both moderate and extreme, have sprung up almost everywhere since the collapse of communism, while members of minority nationalities all over the Russian Federation have increased their interest in their own national histories and cultures. And yet with the exception of Chechnya, no nationality has made any serious attempt to break away from the Russian Federation, in fact we shall see that independence is far from the thoughts of most non-Russians. An ill-defined concept of sovereignty, not independence, dominates nationalist thought among the non-Russians. Although the Russian state (and in particular its president) are widely mistrusted, its existence is regarded as essential for the well-being of the non-Russians. Behind this attitude lies what may be termed an 'incomplete national identity' which is based on and itself contributes to a series of contradictory factors: most of the major nationalities of the Russian Federation are the titular nationality in one of the Autonomous Republics which provide a political and institutional focus for national aspirations; but almost as many members of each minority live outside as inside their 'own' republic or region, while in most cases the 'titular nationality' in each republic or region constitutes a minority or a bare majority of the overall population. Language is seen as the principle defining national characteristic, and yet language retention and usage of the 'mother-tongue' are declining over the long term; financial and material assistance is expected from the centre, and yet the resources

198 Jeremy Smith of the republics and regions themselves are jealously defended from Moscow's rapacious hands. Finally, many of the attitudes towards intranational and inter-republican relations are shared by the Russian populations of the republics to almost the same degree as their non-Russian neighbours suggesting that what is at issue here is less nationalism than regionalism. Much of the basis for these contradictory attitudes can be traced back to the Soviet period and the policies of the ruling communists, themselves inconsistent and changing. On the one hand the development of the system of national autonomy was aimed at promoting and developing national consciousness, on the other hand through most of the Soviet period real power locally and federally lay largely in the hands of Russians. Languages and cultures were studied and promoted, but from the 1930s onwards the superiority of the Russian culture over all others was boasted, the school curricula gradually became Russified, and written scripts were adapted to the Cyrillic form. Finally, there is a special group of nations, those most feared by Stalin, who were deported wholesale from their homelands during the course of World War II and were resettled in other parts of the Soviet Union in response to an imagined fear that they would side with the German invaders. In the long run, Stalin's fears may have been ironically self-fulfilling, as following their return from exile in the fifties and later these peoples, the Chechens among them, have emerged with their national identities strengthened and given a more anti-Russian bent as a result of the national trauma they have suffered. These contradictions and the apparent weakness of non-Russian national identity have led a number of people to the conclusion that national identity can be dispensed with altogether and replaced with a civic identity and the concept of a non-ethnic Rossia. Under the most radical form of this concept, all the inhabitants of the Russian Federation can be united by a single identity based on the state, and all special administrative distinctions based on nationality can be abolished with the wholesale approval of all of Russia's nationalities. Only a few safeguards and special measures with regard to language would be necessary to preserve national rights. Certainly it would seem that the height of ethnic tension was achieved in 1990-2, and there is little to suggest that any outbreak of conflict should be expected in the near future. But this is not to say that national identity for minorities does not exist, or that it could be turned into a more radical nationalist direction in certain circumstances. One such set of circumstances would be a defensive violent backlash should any move against the status of Russia's autonomous territories be attempted. Another might result from the manoeuvrings of nationalist politicians combined with sufficient economic grievances and distrust of the centre to mobilise a significant portion of the population.

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 199 After all, the Chechen war did happen, and while there may be good cause to argue that the Chechens were anyway a special case and that there was a particular set of circumstances in operation, the possibility of national conflict breaking out elsewhere in the federation should not be ruled out in the future. An incomplete national identity is by no means one1 that can never be manipulated by politicians cynical and calculating enough to exploit national sentiment, or which can not be provoked into defensive acts by an overbearing central government. Overall, the picture of national identity among Russia's minorities is too inconclusive in any case to be able to draw definite conclusions or to offer firm prognoses. The break-up of the Soviet Union was preceded, accompanied and followed by an apparent upsurge in the national demands of those nonRussian nationalities who now make up 18.5 per cent2 of the population of the Russian Federation. The temptation to talk of a 'rebirth' or 'revival' of national identity in this context should be avoided, as in many cases national identity as such has always been weak, and indeed demands for political independence or sovereignty can be seen as a new development. Nor should vocal demands for sovereignty be confused with aspirations for independence. Chechnya apart, the nationalities with autonomous status within the Russian Federation showed little inclination to follow the larger Union Republics of the USSR on the path to independence. In fact Russia's minorities in general disapproved of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. According to surveys conducted at the end of 1993, with only two exceptions, a majority of every national group in every autonomous republic considered the break-up to be either 'bad', or 'more bad than good'. The exceptions were the two groups who, as we shall see, have shown the strongest sense of national identity for somewhat different reasons, the Tatars of Tatarstan and the Yakuts of the Sakha republic. Of these, 48 per cent of the Tatars surveyed disapproved of the break-up, against 30 per cent who approved. Only among the Yakuts was the level of approval equal to the level of disapproval at 40 per cent of respondents.3 Although the surveys were conducted two years after the separatist movements in the Union Republics reached their crescendo, they are a clear indication of a very different attitude towards state separation between the union republics of the USSR on the one hand, and the autonomous republics of the Russian Federation on the other. These surveys are themselves enough to suggest a different level of national assertiveness, if not national identity, between the nationalities of the autonomous republics of the Russian Federation and those of the union republics of the USSR. The relative weakness of autonomous vs. federative identities is also reflected in higher rates of assimilation into the dominant nationality, Russian, which was already apparent in the Soviet

200 Jeremy Smith period. By comparing the returns of the 1959 and 1970 censuses, Barbara Anderson has demonstrated that there was a greater drop among nationalities with autonomous status in the number of people aged 0-19 in 1959 who were still identified as belonging to the same nationality in 1970 (see Table 10.1). Table 10.1 Survival rates of 11-30 year olds in 1970 compared to 0-19 year olds in 1959 Nationality Union Republic Level Russian Latvian Estonian Ukrainian Lithuanian Moldavian Belorussian Georgian Armenian Kirghiz Azerbaijani Tadzhik Uzbek Turkmen Kazakh Autonomous Republics Karelian Mordvinin Mari Chuvash Udmurt Komi Yakut Bashkir Darginian Tatar Avar Kabardin Kumyk

Survivors per 1,000 in 1970

Source: Anderson 1978, pp. 314-5

949 904 910 911 919 919 920 941 955 919 920 943 945 948 956 698 726 785 817 844 879 893 808 814 891 912 917 977

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 201 Table 10.1 shows, for example, that for every thousand declared Mordvinians aged 0-19 in 1959, there were only 726 declared Mordvinians aged 11-29 in 1970, compared with 955 for Armenians. According to Anderson, the average survival ratio under normal conditions should fall in the range 909-936. Of the nationalities with Union Republic status, the survival rate of Latvians alone falls below this range Gust)> while it would appear that as well as Russians, the number of Kazakhs was being swelled by ethnic re-identification, most likely on the part of Karakalpaks. Amongst the nationalities with Autonomous Republic status, by contrast, all but three of the national groups fell well below the normal range, and in the case of Karelians and Mordvinians ethnic re-identification appears to have been at a critical level. Only the Avar and Kabardins fell within the normal range, while the unusually high level of survival among Kumyks suggests that members of other, smaller nationalities within the Dagestan Republic were redefining themselves as Kumyks. Although Anderson examines other variables as explanations of low survival rates, such as religion and demographic dispersal, it does seem clear that there is a definite link between territorial status and assimilation.4 This ethnic re-identification took place in spite of the fact that in the Soviet period your official nationality was usually not a matter of choice but was determined by the authorities from the nationality of the parents: In fact, the Soviet administrative practise of ascribing ethnicities bases the criteria of ethnic affiliation on blood or genes, and in many cases bases ethnic borders on heredity. An individual cannot change his [sic] ethnicity through legal action if and when he wishes; it is prescribed to him; he must always belong to the ethnicity of his parents. Only if he is an offspring of a mixed marriage, has he the right to a limited choice: he can choose either his father's or his mother's ethnicity.5 While a certain amount of re-identification can be ascribed to the children of mixed marriages, this is unlikely to account for very much of the change, suggesting that respondents to the census were defining their nationality regardless of their official, ascribed nationality. It is too soon to say whether this process of assimilation is continuing at the same rate since the collapse of communism, but in any case it is clear that in the recent past the self-identification of Russia's minorities has been under severe pressure, thus weakening national identity in the long run. The establishment of official national territories in the form of autonomous republics has played a major part in preserving and developing national identity for a number of groups which might otherwise have become fully assimilated, but the territorial basis for national identity is itself only partial or incomplete. While most of the major nationalities of the Russian

202 Jeremy Smith Table 10.2 Autonomous Republics in the Russian Federation: Population, proportion of population belonging to titular nationality, head of Republic, proportion of total population of titular nationality living in the Autonomous Republic

Republic Adygeia Altai Bashkortostan Buryatia Chechnya Chuvashia Dagestan Ingushetia KabardinoBalkaria Kalmykia KarachaevoCherkessia Karelia Khakasia Komi Mari El Mordovia North Ossetia Sakha (Yakutia) Tatarstan Tuva Udmurtia

% from titular nationality (1989) 22 31 22 24 58* 67 80 13* 48/9

Year Republic formed j^9~] 1991 1919 1923 1920 1925 1921 1991 1936

% of titular nationality living in Republic 77 84 60 68 77 49 n.a. 69 93/83




435 700 789 000 584 600 1 201 000 766 000 959 000 658 300

31/10 10 11 23 43 33 53

1922 1923 1991 1936 1936 1934 1936

83/77 60 78 84 48 27 56

1 035 000 3 754 800 308 000 1 640 000

33 49 64 31

1922 1920 1961 1934

96 27 96 67

Total Population (1995) 450 000 200 000 4 080 000 1 052 000 1 000 000 1 360 000 2 067 000 227 500 789 900 319 700

* Checheno-Ingushetia. Sources: A.G. Zdravomyslov, Mezhnatsionalnye konflikty v postsovetskom prostranstve (Moscow, 1997), pp. 67-68; Valery Tishkov, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in and after the Soviet Union - the Mind Aflame (London, 1997), p. 267. Federation had their own autonomous republic by 1991, Table 10.2 shows that in most cases the 'titular nationality' - the nationality after which the autonomous republic is named - formed a minority in their own republic.

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 203 Usually the other major population group consists of Russians, but in some cases other nationalities are also significant, especially in Bashkortostan where Tatars outnumber Bashkirs (28 per cent against 22 per cent of the total population in 1989).6 Although the titular nationality forms a majority in Chechenia (about 70 per cent after the separation of the Chechen and Ingush republics), Chuvashia and Tuva, in none of these cases can the republic be said to be even approaching monoethnicity. The fact that the nationalities are a minority or a bare majority within their own states has a dampening effect on nationalism and calls for independence. Apart from the fact that ethnic Russians would be able to continue to dominate politically in the event of independence, years of living in close proximity to the Russian population has had its inevitable effect. On the other hand, where there are pockets of ethnically more pure population within the republics, national identity might be expected to be stronger. This is generally true of rural areas in republics like Tatarstan where, as we shall see, nationalism is much stronger than in the towns. The existence of an official territory is likely to have a greater effect on national identity where the territory can be identified with a known historic past, especially where a 'golden age' or era of greatness can be referred to. This is another of the factors strengthening national identity in Tatarstan. Moreover, the final column of Table 10.2 also shows that in several republics only a relatively small proportion of the total membership of a particular nationality lives within the borders of 'their' republic. This is particularly true of the nationalities of the Volga region: Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvash, Mari and Mordva, who are dispersed among each other's territories as well as across the rest of Russia. The fact that the large numbers of nationals living outside their 'own' republic are less likely to identify with moves towards strengthening statehood has a weakening effect on the independence movements and helps to promote a Russia-wide, non-ethnic identity. But most autonomous republics are home to a large majority of the titular nationality, and in the cases of the Tuva and Sakha republics, home to 96 per cent and 95.6 per cent of their titular nationality respectively, this may contribute to the relative strength of national identity. Both the proportion of the population of each republic belonging to the titular nationality, and the proportion of each nationality living within its titular republic, have been on the decline since the 1920s in all cases. The former is due to the resettlement of increasing numbers of Europeans mostly Russians and Ukrainians - in non-Russian lands, a trend officially encouraged in the Stalin and Brezhnev eras. But the apparent exodus of nationals from their titular republic, especially marked in the case of the Tatars, 40 per cent of whom lived in the Tatar republic in 1926 as com-

204 Jeremy Smith pared to 27 per cent indicates the relatively low level of attachment to one's own republic in the Soviet period.8 The clearest indication of incomplete national identities is the low level of 'mother-tongue' language retention. A common language is generally accepted as one of the key attributes of nationhood, and indeed surveys among Russia's minorities have consistently revealed that language is regarded by the respondents themselves as the most important indicator of national identity.9 And yet the mini-census of 1994 indicates low levels of mother-tongue usage, especially at work and in education, but also at home (Table 10.3). It is clear that for the majority of nationalities in Russia native language retention is relatively low, even at home. At work and in educational establishments the figures for native language use are even lower, as would be, but the absence of 'native tongue' workplaces in such autonomous republics as Kalmykia, Mordvinia, Khakassia, Karachai-Cherkessia, North Ossetia etc, which is apparent from these figures, is striking. On the other hand, it is apparent that there is a relatively high level of native tongue retention at home (over 84 per cent) among the Avars, Dargin, Lezgin, Kumyks and Adigei of Dagestan, and the Yakuts, Kabardi, Ingush, Tuvin, Karachai and Balkars. Of especial interest is the fact that all the major nationalities of Dagestan display a high level of native language retention at home in spite of the multi-ethnic character of the republic. It is also noticeable that there is a relatively high level of native language use in educational institutions and workplaces only among the Yakuts and Tuvins, indicating a high level of 'nativisation' of their respective republics. These figures can be misleading in a number of ways, however. First of all, the respondents to the census were given no opportunity to declare bilingualism, which would be especially common at work and in education. Secondly, a certain amount of loss of native tongue usage at home can be accounted for by mixed marriages. There has been a high rate of intermarriage in Russia throughout the Soviet period, predominantly between Russians and non-Russian minorities, so that in 1970 as many as 18.4 per cent of Russians living in the RSFSR were members of ethnically mixed families.10 In almost all cases where one partner in a marriage is Russian, and frequently when each partner comes from a different non-Russian background, the bilingualism of most non-Russians means that the Russian language will predominate in the domestic setting. The frequency of inter-ethnic marriage itself might be an indicator of a general weakening of national identity, or rather, adherence to a Soviet or rossiskii identity. But equally, the dominance of Russian as the language of communication in mixed marriages does not necessarily imply the loss of mother-tongue use or of national identity on the part of the non-Russian partner(s), nor indeed that the children are unaware of their dual identity.

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy


Table 10.3 Use of the 'language of your own nationality 9 according to the mini-census of 1994 (%) Use of language of own nationality Nationality Russian Tatar Chuvash Bashkir Udmurt Mordva Mari Avars Ossetian Buryat Yakut Kabardi Komi Dargin Lezgin Kumyk Ingush Kalmyk Tuvin Karachai Adigei Karelian Balkar Khakass Altai Cherkess

At home


60.8 50.8 55.8 42.3 23.6 52.7 91.2 75.3 64.8 90.7 93.3 39.9 89.3 84.2 89.6 96.0 35.1 95.6 90.7 85.8 14.6 89.6 41.8 74.3 69.9

In education


13.7 23.9 19.9 14.7


11.9 15.3


27.0 75.2 28.2 24.0








22.6 -

7.4 1.2



At work 99~!9 20.5 31.4 25.5 26.2 10.3 26.0 45.6 16.1 27.4 76.5 39.4 25.4 34.4 39.5 25.9 20.1


69.8 16.2 25.1




56.7 18.5

% living in own AR 26.6 49.2 59.6 66.5 27.2 48.3 82.5 56.0 68.2 95.6 93.0 84.6 76.8 43.9 82.2 69.0 84.2 96.0 83.0 76.5 60.3 83.2 78.3 83.5 76.9

Source: Goskomstat, Rossiiskii statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1996), pp. 4647.

Thirdly, the lingering Soviet practise of ascribing an official nationality which stays with you for life complicates any comparison of the population of Russia with other parts of the world. In general, we might expect those individuals who have lost the use of their 'native tongue' altogether to simply redefine themselves as members of another national group. In Russia, however, force of habit makes such re-identification less likely,

206 Jeremy Smith even for second or third generation citizens. Thus in this data, as in all Soviet and post-Soviet data on nationality, a number of individuals are included as members of particular nationalities who have, for all practical purposes other than their passports, lost (or have never had) any connection with that nationality. These three points all suggest that national identity, as measured by language retention, may not be quite as weak as the 1994 data suggests. A more significant point about this data is that it is for non-Russians throughout the Russian Federation, and without being broken down by area it gives no clear indication of the level of titular nationality language retention within the autonomous republics. Thus, for example, the figure of 60.8 per cent of all Tatars using their mother-tongue at home could be much higher or much lower for the Tatars living in Tatarstan, comprising as they do a mere 26.6 per cent of the total Tatar population. At least since 1990/91 the titular native language is usually one of two declared official state languages, alongside Russian, in each of the autonomous republics.11 The existence of compact communities of the titular nationality (even if still a minority) providing social settings in which the mother tongue can be used is also likely to encourage language retention among individuals. It would therefore be reasonable to suppose that use of one's 'native tongue' is higher for the titular nationality in the autonomous republic than it would be for members of the same nationality living outside their own republic. In order to give an indication of how far language retention can be associated with habitation in your own republic, Table 3 also shows the percentage of each titular nationality living within the borders of their own autonomous republic. In general, the figures support (without providing absolute proof) the expectation that an individual is more likely to use his or her mother tongue if living in their own republic - the higher the percentage of the total population of a titular nationality living in its own republic, the higher the level of mother tongue use at home, as a rule. This correlation is further confirmed by numerous anecdotal observations that the children of non-Russians who have been born and bred in Moscow have little or no knowledge of their mother tongue, but still define themselves as members of their parents' nationality. Such second or third generation migrants to the large cities would account for a substantial number of nationals shown as not using their mother tongue. All of this might suggest that use of the mother tongue at home is prevalent among non-Russians living in the titular republic of their own nationality and not living in ethnically mixed families, while language retention is weak for those living elsewhere. But it is also clear from Table 3 that there is a great deal of variation between the different republics. To take the Volga region alone, for the Bashkirs, Chuvash, Mordvinians and

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 207 Mari, the overall percentage of nationals using their mother tongue at home is within 5 per cent either side of the figure for those living inside their autonomous republics, giving strong support for the above hypothesis. For the Tatars, by contrast, it is clear that even if mother tongue retention within Tatarstan itself were total, it would still leave almost half of Tatars outside Tatarstan using the Tatar language at home. On the other hand, it is clear that a substantial proportion of Udmurts living in Udmurtia do not speak Udmurt even at home. Even lower retention rates within their own republics are apparent for the Komi, Kalmyk, Karelian, and Khakasian peoples, whilst mother tongue usage must remain relatively high among those Ingush, Ossetians, Dargin and Lezgin living outside their republics. A longer study would be able to describe specific demographic, historical, geographical or cultural factors which might explain individual variations - the compact Tatar population of Bashkortostan, the recent formation of the Khakas republic, the lower frequency of mixed marriages by Muslim peoples12 etc. What can be said for now is that, firstly, it seems likely that overall non-Russians living within the autonomous republic of their own nationality are more likely to use their mother tongue than those members of the same nationality living elsewhere in the Russian Federation; secondly, that mother-tongue retention is generally more frequent among nationalities from the North Caucasus than those from elsewhere; thirdly, that apart from the North Caucasian peoples two significant national groups have high levels of mother tongue usage: the Yakuts (90.7 per cent in the home) and the Tuvinians (95.6 per cent). These two nationalities also share the characteristics that the overwhelming majority of both live inside their republics, and both also have high levels of mother tongue use at work and in educational institutions - 76.5 per cent and 75.2 per cent respectively for the Yakuts, 69.8 per cent and 70.3 per cent for the Tuvinians. This would suggest that these two peoples have been most successful in 'nativising' their republics, although they appear to have little in common with each other. One area in which the demographic composition of the two differs greatly is in the share of the titular nationality in the total population. Whereas Tuvinians make up 64.3 per cent of the population of the Tuva republic, the Yakuts comprise only 33.4 per cent of the total population of the Sakha republic. On the other hand Sakha has a much larger overall population (1,035,000) than Tuva (308,000). It is notable that use of the mother tongue by almost all titular national groups has been on the decline between the censuses of 1959 and 1979, and between 1979 and 1989.13 But more recent surveys indicate a greater identification with the mother tongue since the end of communism. While the responses are likely to reflect changes in the respondents' own percep-

208 Jeremy Smith tion of themselves more than any actual changes in conversing habits, they are enough to show that, far from Russia's minorities becoming assimilated into the Russian nation, separate national identities, if not complete, are flourishing.14 On the basis solely of examining the general linguistic and demographic situation then, the Tuva Republic would appear to be the one with the most clear-cut national identity. The political reality is, needless to say, very different. The most compelling evidence of nationalism among the Tuvinians can be found in a spate of inter-ethnic violence in the republic in the summer of 1990. It seems likely that these incidents were exaggerated by the Russian media: although it was the death of three Russians at the hands of Tuvinians in a drunken brawl that sparked off the wave of violence, there is little to indicate that the assault was racially motivated. Of the 75 subsequent deaths investigated by the authorities, only seven were found to have been of Russians killed by Tuvinians. The disturbances were marked by widespread looting, and generally appeared to have been motivated by the economic decline of the region rather than by ethnic rivalry or racism. 5 In fact the only serious instance of inter-ethnic violence within the Russian federation itself has been between Ingush and Ossetians in North Ossetia in 1992, where there was a specific issue of territorial rights behind the conflict.16 Even the Chechen crisis bore the character of a conflict between states, rather than between different nationalities living within one state.17 The absence of inter-ethnic conflict at a time of political and economic crisis cannot itself be taken as a sign of a weak or incomplete national identity, although many of the circumstances in which ethnic conflicts can be expected to occur, and which did occur on a large scale in other parts of the former Soviet Union, were in place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Evidence for the strength or weakness of national identity can be found in two further ways, by examining the general political indicators and by looking at the results of opinion surveys. The progress towards sovereignty in the autonomous republics since 1991, combined with voting behaviour in the Russian parliamentary elections of 1993 as well as in republican elections, constitute the first type of evidence. A series of surveys conducted by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, a part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in 1993-4 is the main source for the second. The declaration of sovereignty from the USSR by the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic on 12th June 1990 was followed only eight days later by a similar declaration on the part of one of its constituent units - the North Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Less than a year later. 16 autonomous republics had declared their sovereignty within Russia. In each of the declarations the people (narod) was declared the bearer of sovereignty and source of state power, but only in the case of the

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 209 Bashkir, North Ossetian and Chechen-Ingush republics was any reference made to the multi-national character of the republics. The precise implications of declaring sovereignty remained vague, but the fact that sovereignty was declared at all indicates that at least the political elites in the autonomous republics were displaying a level of nationalism unseen previously. Russia's autonomous republics were not far behind the union republics of the USSR in declaring sovereignty. And while in the case of the Baltic republics the demand for sovereignty was clearly a stage in the struggle for independence, elsewhere in the Soviet Union at this time it was not envisaged that proclamations of sovereignty would end up in complete state separation and independence. Sovereignty was rather an assertion of nationhood and a warning to Moscow that the submission of Russia's and the Soviet Union's republics could not be taken for granted. At the same time, such declarations were aimed at marginalising the more radical nationalist groups, which were emerging within the republics at the time. One area in which the autonomous republics certainly strove to assert a national character was on the question of the official state language. Between 1990 and 1992, a series of laws were adopted in the republics establishing the special position of the titular language, but again this national assertion was limited, in that invariably the Russian language was accorded equal status. The first such law, passed in the Chuvash Republic in October 1990, is almost defensive in tone in that it recognises the equality in rights of all languages in use in the territory, but lays on the state the responsibility for 'preserving, reviving and developing the Chuvash language as the most important national symbol and the basis of all its spiritual culture'.19 There is no requirement for official documents to be provided in Chuvash, as long as they are written in either Chuvash or Russian.20 In the law passed shortly afterwards in the Tuva Republic, language development is seen not as a means of asserting nationhood, but as a way of harmonising inter-ethnic relations, and bilingualism and the teaching of both languages from the pre-school level is explicitly encouraged.21 Dagestan, with its 13 official indigenous languages, also promoted bilingualism in a language law two years later, with Russian as the common language.22 A law of the RSFSR itself in October 1991 confirmed the admissibility of such arrangements for the autonomous republics, while dictating that Russian should be learnt at all schools from the middle level onwards. For the most part, the law talks about the general language rights of the peoples (narod) of Russia, without recognising any special status for the autonomous republics.23 From the point of view of both the federal government and the republican governments, then, the language issue, which could have provided the battleground for a struggle over national

210 Jeremy Smith distinctiveness, was instead marked by compromise and the absence of any aggressive nationalism, even at the height of the sovereignty movement. The break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991-2 led many commentators and politicians, including the Russian President Boris Yeltsin himself, to fear that the declarations of sovereignty in the autonomous republics would be followed by moves towards full independence, as they had been in the union republics.24 In a move aimed at ensuring the continued unity of the Russian Federation Yeltsin devised a Federal Treaty which was signed on 31 March 1992 by all of the autonomous republics apart from Tatarstan and Chechenia. Separate treaties were signed by the provinces and autonomous regions. Under these treaties the status of the republics was considerably enhanced and clearly differentiated from that of the lesser regional bodies. In return for recognising the unity of the Federation, the autonomous republics were given some tax-raising powers, were responsible for the land and natural resources on their territories, and were even able to develop their own foreign trade and diplomatic relations. In addition, the republics were heavily subsidised from the federal budget as opposed to the other regions, which were net contributors to the budget. 5 Such concessions were more than enough to satisfy the political leaders of the autonomous republics in which the Federal Treaty was applied. The problem was that it was precisely in the two republics, which refused to sign the treaty, Chechenia and Tatarstan, that the secessionist tendencies were at their strongest. The situation in Chechenia was to lead eventually to all-out war. In Tatarstan, the movement for a completely independent republic, spearheaded by the Tatar Party of National Rebirth {Ittifak) became powerful enough to persuade the republican government to organise a referendum on state sovereignty instead of signing the Federal Treaty. A narrow vote in favour of sovereignty led Tatarstan and Russia to the brink of a secession crisis, but the ambiguous wording of the question was among the factors persuading the republic's leaders to use the referendum result as a means of extracting more concessions from the Russian government rather than pushing towards independence. Valery Tishkov, who as well as being director of Russia's Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology was for a time in 1992 Yeltsin's chief adviser on nationality affairs, has concluded from a combination of a study of attitude surveys and his own personal experience that the demands for sovereignty and separation which emerged at this time reflected to a large extent the personal ambitions of members of the non-Russian political elites rather than any deep-rooted popular nationalism.27 While he may be stretching the point slightly, it is at least true to say that there is little evidence of any potential for ethnic mass mobilisation outside the North Caucasus in this period. As it turned out, the period 1990-2 was the high point of the movement towards sovereignty and/or independence in the

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 211 Russian Federation. Following his armed defeat of the parliamentary opposition in October 1993, Yeltsin was able to use the new constitution of December 1993 to replace the Federal Agreement and successfully restrict the rights of the autonomous republics. Article 5 of the constitution allows each autonomous republic to have its own constitution and legislation, the only difference between a republic and any other type of region.28 According to article 11 the division of powers is to be determined by the Russian Constitution and Treaties of Federation.29 But article 71 defines the areas of sole jurisdiction for the federation, including the protection of civil rights, the legal structure, finances, federal taxation, energy, foreign policy, trade and defence.30 Article 72 lists another set of activities which fall within the joint jurisdiction of the federal and regional authorities, such as education, land use, the environment and further taxation.31 Article 73 states that Outside of the limits of the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and the powers of the Russian Federation with regard to the objects of joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and the subjects of the Russian Federation, the subjects of the Russian Federation shall hold the whole entirety of state power.32 The official commentary on the Russian Constitution explains that the rights of the federal units are not specifically defined in the constitution precisely because this article means they enjoy all the powers of a state apart from those assigned to the federal government under articles 71 and 72.33 The problem with this interpretation is that there is not really anything left uncovered by these two articles. In fact the only area in which the republics could claim a clear right under the constitution was in declaring a state language for the republic. But the titular language could only have equal status with Russian, and even this article is merely a confirmation of Yeltsin's 1991 law.34 While the constitution does acknowledge the multinational character of the people of Russia,35 sovereignty over the whole territory is explicitly invested in the federation, while federal laws always over-ride local legislation.36 Given that there are no restrictions on the areas of federal legislation, this means that nothing is left of the sovereignty declarations of 1990-1, while the existence of a Council of the Federation was the only surviving federal feature of the state. The lack of any significant struggle over the constitutional rights of the autonomous republics is indicative both of the renewed self-confidence of the Yeltsin administration and of the nationalist movements having passed their peaks. However some latitude was allowed in the treaties of federation provided for by the constitution for the republics individually or collectively to negotiate an area of special competence. Most significantly, the treaty of February 1994, which settled the troubled fiscal relationship

212 Jeremy Smith between the Russian Federation and Tatarstan, took the form of a bilateral treaty between equal parties. However, the success of Tatarstan's negotiations could confirm the interpretation that the Constitution was deliberately open on the question of the republics' powers in order to lock the republics into continual negotiations and bargaining rather than pursuing more radical paths. The new constitution, which was only just approved by a majority of the electorate by referendum in the Russian Federation as a whole, was opposed by a margin of as much as 4:1 in the republic of Dagestan.38 To the republican leaders, this was just another chip to be used in the bargaining process, rather than a pretext for demanding an upgrading of the constitutional position of the republics. Elsewhere, such as in Buryatia, the new constitution was more heavily endorsed,9 confirming the impression that the republic benefits from its place in the federation and that the voters prefer not to upset the status quo. On the whole, the republican leaderships' tactics of winning concessions under the slogan of sovereignty without striving for all-out independence was endorsed by the electorate in the 1993 parliamentary elections, although here again the picture is contradictory. In the voting for singlemandate seats established leaders did particularly well. In the Republic of Sakha, the republican president since 1990, Mikhail Efimovich Nikolaev was backed by 66 per cent of voters in his constituency, with his Minister of Education. E.P. Zhirkov topping the poll in another constituency with 32 per cent.4 In Tuva, the candidate of the pro-sovereignty Popular Party of Sovereign Tuva (NPST), K.D. Arakchaa comfortably topped the poll. * In North Ossetia, the Chair of the Supreme Soviet A.Kh. Galazov was endorsed by 57 per cent of voters in the elections for the Federal Council, followed by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, S.V. Khetagurov with 44 per cent, although support for the republican government was less apparent in the voting for the State Duma.42 The chair of the Chuvash Council of Ministers, V. Viktorov, was comfortably elected to the Council of the Federation with 40 per cent support43, and so on. In Tatarstan, support for the more confrontational stance of the republican government was indicated by a generally successful boycott. In the party list section of the parliamentary elections, under which regional parties were not favoured, there was less scope for expressing opinions on federal relations, although higher than usual support for Sergei Shakhrai's Party of Russian Unity and Accord in some republics (23 per cent in Buriatia, 11 per cent in Sakha, 35 per cent in Tuva) is likely to have been based on Shakhrai's moderate stance as Russia's Minister of Nationalities at the time, receiving some endorsement from Russians and nonRussians alike. High votes for Zhirinovsky's far right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia - 23 per cent in Buryatia, 18 per cent in North Ossetia, between 20 and 25 per cent in some districts of Sakha - mostly reflects the

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 213 exaggerated fears of separatism on the part of ethnic Russians. But it is also clear that large numbers of non-Russians also supported the far right. In Udmurtia, 16 per cent of voters supported Zhirinovsky in Alnashch district, where only 12 per cent of the population were Russian. The vote for the LDPR in the Glazov district, where 79 per cent of the population was Udmurt, at 17.2 per cent exceeded the 16.8 per cent support in Sarapul district, which was 77 per cent Russian.44 Along with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Agrarian Party, these parties dominated this part of the election. Thus here, in contrast to the single mandate and local voting, parties which were at worst explicitly Russian nationalist and at best would not contemplate any loosening of the Russian Federation received the bulk of electoral support. Elections at the republican level confirmed the ascendancy of moderate, pro-sovereignty national parties. In Tuva, the People's Party of Sovereign Tuva won 63 per cent of the vote in the December 1993 republican elections, well ahead of the Tuvin Republican Organisation of Communists (37 per cent) and the more radical nationalist Khostug Tyva ('Free Tuva'). Among the plethora of republic-based political organisations, few were restricted to one nationality and the more radical nationalist parties tended to be marginalised, while there is little evidence of voting for candidates purely on grounds of ethnicity.45 The principal exception is the Ittifak movement in Tatarstan, which refuses to recognise membership of the Russian Federation. But their influence should not be exaggerated, with over 60 per cent of Tatars in the republic approving the agreement reached between Tatarstan and the Russian Federation in February 1992.46 What is noteworthy is the much higher levels of political activism among the members of the titular nationalities than among the Russian and minority populations. This is reflected in both the numbers of candidates for political office, and the success of members of the titular nationality in achieving office, in both federal and republican elections, out of all proportion to the nationality's share in the overall population of each republic. This is particularly marked in the Sakha republic, where Yakuts make up only 33 per cent of the population, and Russians approximately half. Even in 1990, 46 per cent of elected deputies in the republican elections were Yakut, only 34 per cent Russian.4 Of the 254 candidates for election to both houses of the Sakha parliament in 1993, 154 were Yakut, 52 Russian, 48 from other nationalities. The final result was that out of 51 seats in both houses, 31 Yakuts were elected, 14 Russians, three Ukrainians, two Evenki and one German.48 It is this curious phenomenon of a political bias in favour of the titular nationality, which enables the republic of Bashkortostan to retain its Bashkir national character in spite of Bashkirs being only the third largest national group.

214 Jeremy Smith Political behaviour and voting patterns in the republics indicate in general terms the ambiguity, or incompleteness, of national identity in the Russian Federation; in most cases, there is a strong bias in favour of maintaining and reinforcing the special position of the republics and their titular nationalities. But separatism is weak, and there is little to suggest that members of the titular nationality see other ethnic groups as a threat. A more detailed, if equally inconclusive, picture of the state of national identity in the republics has emerged from a number of detailed surveys carried out since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In particular, the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology conducted a survey project 'Postcommunist nationalism, ethnic identity and conflicts in the Russian Federation' in the republics of Tatarstan, Tuva, Sakha and North in 1993-4. Based on these results, one of the directors of the study, Leokadia Drobizheva, has identified five categories of nationalism in the Russian Federation: Classic Ethnocentric Nationalism aimed at independent statehood and a dominant role for the titular ethnic group, e.g. Tatarstan at the height of the nationalist movement. Parity Nationalism aimed at self-sufficiency in a genuine federation, e.g. Tatarstan today, Sakha, Tuva. Economic Nationalism combining loyalty to the centre with demands for economic sovereignty, common in Sakha. Defensive Nationalism based around territorial/demographic disputes, as in North Ossetia. Modernising or Reformist Nationalism a form of Russian nationalism displayed by reformers such as Yegor Gaidar.49 The weakness of the independence movements is shown by the fact that only between 27 and 38 per cent of respondents of the titular nationality in each republic supported the most radical interpretation - that the republics should have the right to leave the Russian Federation, with Tatars and Ossetians showing more support for this position than Tuvins and Yakuts. Even this result is ambiguous, as this 'right to leave' could be interpreted as an affirmation of the Leninist principle of national self-determination, which was included in previous Soviet constitutions for the union republics, and does not at all imply a positive desire to secede. A control question showed that only 21 per cent of Tatars and 13 per cent of Tuvins were prepared to exercise such a right in the event of the Constitution of the Russian Federation proving unacceptable. Only around 40 per cent of Tatars, Yakuts and Tuvins indicated an insistence on sovereign statehood

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 215 within the Russian Federation, while this rose to 64 per cent among Ossetians. 50 On more concrete questions, however, support for sovereignty becomes clearer. In all four republics, around two-thirds of respondents believed that the forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs ought to be subordinated to be controlled by the republics; in Tatarstan, Tuva, and Sakha, around 60 per cent held that social services should be a matter for the republic, while between 40 and 50 per cent (Tuva) thought the army should be under republican control. In North Ossetia, only 40 per cent thought social security, and under 30 per cent that the army should be in the republic's competence, indicating the population's greater perception of their dependence on the Russian Federation.51 Significant, if still a minority, support for independent control of the armed forces is perhaps the clearest indication that the concept of sovereignty espoused by Russia's minorities goes way beyond what is granted under the Constitution and by Yeltsin's presidency. While these results overall indicate that the secessionist tendencies are weak for the time being at least, they also suggest that any moves to further weaken the status of Russia's republics could be expected to meet resistance. The survey confirms the loyalty of titular nationals to their own republics. Table 10.4 shows that for all four nationalities, respondents who gave a positive answer put far more trust in the authorities in their own republics than in the Russian Federation. Interestingly, in Sakha and Tatarstan, faith in the republican authorities as opposed to the all-Russian was also marginally stronger among Russians in the republics. The opposite was true in North Ossetia and Tuva, where perceptions of ethnic conflict were higher, although faith in the Russian authorities was still relatively low. A broader survey of 16 republics of the federation in NovemberDecember 1993, quoted in Tishkov (1997, 262), shows more support for the notion that non-Russians hold onto a mixed identity. When asked 'Of what polity do you consider yourself a representative?', the most common answer for all nationalities was 'Equally my republic and Russia'. But it is equally clear that identity with the republic of residence is stronger than with the Russian Federation, especially among Chechens, Tuvins, Yakuts, and the peoples of Dagestan. It is also apparent that Tatars living in Bashkiria identify with the republic to almost the same extent as Bashkirs, indicating that regional, territorial identity is perhaps in some ways more important than ethnicity. The volatility of such identities is shown by the survey carried out in Tatarstan in the summer of 1994, after the agreement was reached between the republic and the Russian Federation. When asked 'What do you most feel yourself to be?', Tatars answered as shown in Table 10.5 (divided bet-

216 Jeremy Smith Table 10.4 Responses to the question 'Which authorities do you most entrust?' (%) North Ossetia













More the republican









Equally the republican and allRussian









More the allRussian


















No answer









Source: A.R. Aklaev, 'Etnopoliticheskie konflikti v Rossiiskoi Federatsii iproblemi legitimosti vlasti' in: L.M. Drobizheva (ed.), Suverenitet i etnicheskoe samosoznanie: ideologiya ipraktika (Moscow, 1995), p. 29. Table 10.5 Responses by Tatars living in Tatarstan to the question asked 'What do you most feel yourself to be?' (Summer 1994)

More a Tatar Equally a Tatar and a Russian (rossiyanin) More a Russian No answer

City dwellers

Rural dwellers



32 3 6 100%

11 1 2 100%

Source: R.N. Musina, 'Respublika Tatarstan: mezhetnicheskie otnosheniia, etnichnost i gosudarstvennost* in L.M. Drobizheva (ed), Suverenitet i etnicheskoe samosoznanie: ideologiia ipraktika (Moscow, 1995), p. 164.

Russia *s Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 217 ween city dwellers and rural dwellers). While allowance should be made for the difference in the question, reflecting personal identity more than regional loyalty, it appears that there had been a shift in favour of the Tatar identity in the period between the end of 1993 and the summer of 1994. Table 6 makes one other point - that titular national identity is much stronger among the rural population of Tatarstan than among urban dwellers. This picture is confirmed by other data.52 Rural dwellers are more likely to live in communities separate from Russians, and are therefore less likely to be influenced by multi-ethnic influences. The regional, as opposed to ethnic, nature of titular republican identity is supported by the importance attached to economic sovereignty in the republics. In the four surveyed republics, between 25 and 57 per cent of respondents from the titular nationality supported the statement that 'Economic sovereignty is a necessary condition for the revival of the people (narod)'. On the more concrete statement 'Only the republic should manage the land and resources' support was much higher, ranging from 57 to 68 per cent.53 The strongest responses were in Sakha, where significant support for economic sovereignty could also be found among the Russian population (30 per cent and 26 per cent respectively). The Sakha Republic is rich in mineral resources, and the movement to enjoy to the full the benefits of the local economy has been marked in recent years, suggesting the predominance of'economic nationalism' over 'ethnic nationalism'. Taking together political developments, language data and survey results, the picture of national identity among Russia's minorities is very mixed; membership of the Russian Federation and even a non-ethnic Rossian identity are broadly accepted, and non-Russian language retention is at a relatively low level. But it is equally clear that non-Russians living in their titular republics identify strongly with their nationality in many ways. This territorially based incomplete national identity can be ascribed directly to the policies of the Soviet period. A national territory was, after all, a central component of Stalin's 1913 definition of a nation: A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.5 It was during Stalin's period of office as People's Commissar for Nationality Affairs (1917-23) that most of the present-day autonomous republics were formed. Stalin believed that endowing the nationalities of Russia and the other Soviet republics with the attributes of nationhood, including a specific territory, would bring forward their economic and cultural development to a level where they would be sufficiently advanced

218 Jeremy Smith to embrace socialism. This scheme dovetailed with the plans of the moderate and left-wing nationalists who sought to promote national aspirations within the Soviet framework and who actively participated in the formation of autonomous territories within it. As well as forming autonomous republics and regions for the weaker minorities, the Soviet government and the People's Commissariat for Nationality Affairs {Narkomnats) sought to develop indigenous political leaderships through the policy of korenizatsiia and laid the foundations for a new generation of nationally conscious Soviet citizens through the development of a network of national schools.55 Valery Tishkov has referred to this policy as 'ethnic engineering',56 although the expression 'national engineering' might be more accurate. In the first place, it is hard to see how anyone other than God or a genetic scientist would be able to engineer an ethnos. Manipulation of national characteristics and identities is, by contrast, a common exercise in the modern nation-state. More significantly, the policy was aimed specifically at developing nationhood on the criteria mentioned above. While ethnicity played a significant role in the investigation of suitable candidates for autonomous status, it was by no means the only consideration, as is witnessed by the creation of autonomous territories even where the titular ethnic group was in a minority. All the same, Tishkov's concept is of great use in analysing the long-term impact of early Soviet policies on national identity, as the growth of national consciousness proceeded more as a result of deliberate policies introduced from above than under the impact of nationalist strivings from below. The end of the 1920s saw a reversal of many of the positive aspects of Soviet nationality policy as Stalin viewed non-Russian nationalism in any form as a potential source of opposition to his drive to industrialisation and collectivisation. At the same time, and particularly as the likelihood of war increased, he began to see advantages in promoting a form of all-Soviet identity based on the leading role of the Russian nation. This is most clearly seen in the rewriting of national histories in order to emphasise the positive effects of Russian imperial expansion before the revolution on the non-Russian peoples. Russification was introduced into the schools, alphabets underwent a series of reforms towards a Cyrillic standard, and political autonomy became meaningless, with most of the national leaders promoted in the 1920s falling victim to the purges. Nevertheless, in most cases the territorial base of Russia's minorities remained untouched or was adjusted to reflect more accurately the actual demographic map. Several autonomous regions were upgraded to republic status, and new republics were formed in the 1930s. The exceptions were the nationalities, which fell victim to Stalin's policy of deportation. In 1943-4 Kalmyks, Karachai, Balkars, Chechens, Ingush, Germans and Crimean Tatars were removed en masse from their home territories and

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 219 dispersed across Siberia and Central Asia on the basis that they might sympathise with the invading Germans and formed a potential fifth column in the Red Army's rear. Whatever Stalin's real motives (and this question awaits conclusive investigation) the deportations represented the height of Stalin's drive to eliminate non-Russian nationalism. Ironically, the end result may have been the opposite of what Stalin intended, as the traumatic experience of the deportations has served to provide the affected nationalities with a focal national tragedy around which a more militant nationalism has crystallised. The subsequent return of deported people and their descendants has contributed to ethnic conflict in the North Caucasus as returnees compete with later settlers for land and accommodation. An attempt in the 1990s to unite all the victims of deportation in the Confederation of Repressed Peoples of the Russian Federation ended in recriminations and rivalries between the different national groups.57 Following Stalin's death, the Politburo of the CPSU resolved on 24 November 1956 to reverse most of the deportations,58 signifying an end to the excesses of Stalin's later rule. But Russification in education and culture proceeded under Khrushchev, while increased Russian migration into the national republics and regions diluted the national population and weakened national identity. In the Brezhnev era, the promotion of a non-ethnic Soviet patriotism, bolstered by sporting excellence and the conquest of space, did not mean the elimination of minority national identities: The content of education, which was permeated with ritual, presented young people with the preferred behaviour patterns of the young patriot and internationalist in a personalised manner, emphasising the importance of a young person's local, ethnic, regional and republic identities as building blocks toward the desired goal of Soviet patriotism. Thus, patriotic and internationalist socialisation did not preclude the properly channelled expression of different ethnic identities within theframeworkof the Soviet identity it aimed to create.59 There is therefore a certain continuity to Soviet nationality policies particular national identities were encouraged, but as a means to an end the creation of a Soviet, socialist identity. But since the 1920s the parameters of national identity have been progressively narrowed, which has been the decisive factor in producing a mixed, or incomplete, form of national identity today. The latent force of nationalism exploded onto the Soviet arena under Gorbachev's glasnost, but in most of the Russian Federation its impact was confined to demands for more local autonomy, and later sovereignty. The nationalities granted Union Republic status, most of which had enjoyed a period of independence immediately after the revolution, broke away from the Union almost as if they were under obligation to

220 Jeremy Smith do so. The autonomous regions and republics for the most part confined themselves to demands for sovereignty and language rights, as we have seen. But without the autonomous territories to provide a political focus, it is doubtful whether many of Russia's minorities would have been able to display even this level of national organisation. The existence of national republics is by no means the only factor contributing to the strength of national identity. Deeper historical factors certainly play a role. One reason for the relative strength of Tatar identity is the memory of a semi-mythical 'Golden Age' of Tatar greatness before Ivan the Terrible's conquests. Prolonged resistance to Russian rule in the North Caucasus, while it should not be exaggerated, nevertheless contributed to the strength of Chechen national feeling. Above all, it should be stressed that national consciousness is highly volatile and variable, in as much as demands for independence and mass public expressions of national solidarity change enormously in response to particular circumstances. As an example, we have already seen how minority nationalism peaked in the year following the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, only to tail off slightly afterwards. Among the most important variables affecting nationalism are, on the one hand, the actions of national political elites, and on the other, the vagaries and inconsistencies of Yeltsin's national policies, neither of which can be discussed in any detail here,60 but whose importance cannot be exaggerated. The importance of having a national territory has been recognised by representatives of those smaller nationalities whose numbers have been dwindling and who face extinction or assimilation without one. The glasnost era saw demands for independence from the 140,000 Gagauz people and even the 700 Selkups.61 More recently, an autonomous district was formed in 1994 for the Veps people inside the Karelian republic. Although only about 2,000 out of the remaining 12,000 Veps inhabit the territory, constituting about half the population, it is hoped that this move will arrest the declining numbers of Veps. Small groups like the 16,700 Shortsi have managed to preserve their identity because of their relative isolation in remote mountain regions. Other national groups, like the 800 Izhortsi of the Leningrad region, face possible extinction in a short time. Other significant minorities without territorial status are the 73,700 Nogai, the 33,000 Abasynnians of the North Caucasus, the 19,400 Tati and 11,300 Mountain Jews of Dagestan. While the weakness of national identity suggests that the national minorities of the Russian Federation would be unwilling to risk all in defence of their national rights, the Chechens proved not only willing to fight and die for their cause but also capable of resisting the Russian armed forces for a year and a half. Jane Ormrod names three specific factors, which differentiate the Chechens from other nationalities and put them in a hos-

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 221 tile position towards Russia. Firstly, the strength of national identity and cohesion, as well as hostility towards the Russians, was reinforced not so much by the collective memory of the struggles of the nineteenth century as by the first and second-hand memories of deportation under Stalin. Secondly, the fact that the Chechens are a clear majority in their own republic puts them in a stronger position than those titular nationalities who were in a minority - 57.8 per cent in 1989, rising to nearer 70 per cent after hiving-off the Ingush territory in 1992. Thirdly, following the successful partition of the Chechen-Ingush Republic, the Chechens were not involved in any conflicts with local nationalities, and indeed could rely on the traditional bonds between most North Caucasian peoples and the solidarity of the Islamic world.63 To this needs to be added Chechnya's economic position as a smallscale oil producer in its own right and, more significantly, as controlling a portion of the crucial oil pipeline from Transcaucasia into Russia. And finally there is the subjective factor - the personalities and actions of the key actors on both sides of the conflict, Boris Yeltsin, Dzhokar Dudaev and others.64 The reality is that all of these factors contributed to a complex process in which individual whims and accidents of circumstance played at least as great a role as 'national character' or historic grievances. But the Chechen experience should at least act as a warning that ethnic conflict and revolt in the name of independence are far from impossible in the future for the Russian Federation. However much blame can be attached to the personal ambitions and cynical manipulation of Dudaev and his cronies, such individuals are more likely to flourish in certain circumstances than in others.65 While the subjective factor makes it impossible to deduce precisely which circumstances might lead to national revolt, from the above survey and other general considerations it is possible to identify certain factors which will lead to a stronger, or more complete national identity. A national territory in the form of a republic or other entity named after the nationality, together with the political, linguistic and cultural rights which that status entails, will help preserve identity. This holds even where the titular nationality is in a minority, although the effect will be stronger if the titular nationality predominates, affecting particularly the Chechens, Chuvash and Tuvins. The presence of a majority of a particular nationality in its own territory has a major statistical effect in Russia-wide surveys, but also strengthens the cohesiveness and thereby the confidence of the national group, as with the Tuvins and Yakuts. Mother tongue use is both a reflection of strong national identity and an important factor contributing to it. Interest in the mother tongue among national minorities has been on the increase across the Russian Federation, but it is only the Tuvins and

222 Jeremy Smith Yakuts who are generally able to employ there own mother tongues in their professional as well as their personal lives. Nationalism is stronger among rural populations than among towndwellers, as the data for the Tatars shows. In addition we could expect a lowering of standards of living and rising unemployment to contribute to national tensions. The Tuva republic has one of the lowest standards of living in the entire Russian Federation, and poverty seems to have been one of the major factors in the disturbances of 1990.66 There might be some justification in blaming poverty in the republic on the Russian authorities as Tuva is rich in gold, silver, minerals and livestock. 'Economic nationalism' is also an important factor in the Sakha republic, as the local population of all nationalities would like to see more benefit coming to the region from the exploitation of its natural resources. Historical memory is important in reinforcing national identity. While more or less every nationality of the Russian Federation enjoys some kind of myth of a Golden Age, the Tatars can lay the most realistic claim to a glorious past, and can certainly boast a rich cultural and political heritage. A history of struggle against Russian invasion is also a powerful myth in mobilising nationalism among the peoples of the North Caucasus, especially the Chechens. In the more recent past, the period of independence from the Soviet Union between the wars might have been expected to leave its mark on the Tuvin population in much the same way as it did on the three Baltic republics. But unlike Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia between 1918 and 1938, Tuva was a communist satellite state, had no tradition of democracy, and joined the Soviet Union voluntarily.6 Most significant of all in recent history are Stalin's deportations of 1941-4, from which there are still many survivors today among the Chechens, Balkars, Ingush, Kalmyks and Karachai. On all these counts taken together, it is among the Chechens, Tatars, Tuvins and Yakuts that one might expect to find signs of separatist tendencies, if anywhere. These nationalities have rightly been the focus of investigation, but such a calculation can be misleading. In the first place, by simply totting up the characteristics shared by each of these nationalities we would expect the Tuvins to be the most prone to revolt. And yet, in spite of the events of 1990, separatism seems to be weaker here than in Tatarstan or Sakha, and certainly than in Chechnya. Secondly, this accounting should not lull us into believing that national identity is insignificant among the nationalities not on this list. National identity can take on unexpected guises and move in unforeseen directions, such as the revival of paganism among the Mari. It is impossible to predict when and where national conflict might break out. There is enough evidence to show that, if the status quo is left undisturbed, there is no reason why the Russian Federation should not continue

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 223 to enjoy national harmony. Tatarstan and Sakha appear to have the strongest national movements at the moment, for different reasons. But these are not the only nationalities, which need to be treated with caution. There are a number of factors - a decline in economic performance, the emergence of a charismatic populist leader, a blundering move by Yeltsin or his successor - which might spark off revolt. National identities are sufficiently strong to respond with protest, and even violence, to any moves to reduce sovereignty from its existing levels, and to provide a focus for discontent arising from economic hardship. If Russia's authorities wish to avoid national confrontation with the republics, they would be best advised to leave the federal structure well alone and concentrate on paying wages and fulfilling budgetary obligations. I have referred to national identity among Russia's minorities as being incomplete. This may be a case of calling the bottle half empty rather than half full. Tishkov and others prefer to see in their work on Russia's minorities evidence for the emergence of a non-ethnic, civic Rossian identity which might be able to flourish and predominate if only the policies of the Russian government were to encourage it. Were this to happen, ethnic rivalry and conflict would become a thing of the past.68 It is another question whether any of the potential successors to Boris Yeltsin would ever have the strength of will to see such a project through. But what is clear from this examination is that the republics of the Russian Federation remain a powerful latent force; any attempt to reduce their status or infringe on national rights and sensibilities by administrative means would come up against resistance entrenched not so much by centuries of tradition as by the policies of Yeltsin's communist predecessors. Endnotes 1

Barbara A. Anderson, 'Some Factors Related to Ethnic Re-identification in the Russian Republic' in Jeremy R. Azrael (ed.), Soviet Nationality Policies and Practices (New York, 1978), pp. 314-5. 2

On 1989 figures. Goskomstat, Rossiiskii statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1996), pp. 42-4. 3 Valery Tishkov, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in and after the Soviet Union - the Mind Aflame (London, 1997), p. 253. 4 Anderson 1978, pp. 309-33. 5

A.M. Khazanov, The Current Ethnic Situation in the USSR: Perennial Problems in the Period of "Restructuring"' in Nationalities Papers Vol.XVI, no. 2, Fall 1988, p. 152.

224 Jeremy Smith 6

M.N. Guboglo, Bashkortostan i Tatarstan. Paralleli etnopoliticheskogo razvitiia. Ocherk 1. Plody suverenizatsii; Issledovaniia po prikladnoi i neotnolozhnoi etnologii no. 77 (Moscow, 1994), p. 10. 7 Dagestan is exceptional in that it is not named after one nationality, but instead contains 10 officially recognised nationalities. 8

Compare Table 2 with the 1926 data given in Lee Schwartz, 'Regional Population Redistribution and National Homelands in the USSR' in Henry R. Huttenbach (ed.), Soviet Nationality Policies - Ruling Ethnic Groups in the USSR (Mansell, 1990), pp. 131-3. 9 U.A. Vinokurova, 'Stereotipy natsionalnogo samosoznaniia naroda sakha i russkikh-iakutian' in L.M. Drobizheva et al. (eds), Suverenitet i etnicheskoe samosoznanie: ideologiia ipraktika (Moscow, 1995), p. 126; R.N. Musina, 'Respublika Tatarstan: mezhethicheskie otnosheniia, etnichnost i gosudarstvennost' in ibid., p. 163. 10 Rasma Karklins, Ethnic Relations in the USSR: the Perspective from Below (Boston, 1986), pp. 155-63. 11 M.N.Guboglo (ed.), Perelomnye gody torn 2 - iazikovaia reforma - 1989. Dokumenty i materialy (Moscow, 1994), pp. 214-78. 12

Karklins, p. 157. Graham Smith (ed.), The Nationalities Question in the Post-Soviet States (London and New York, 1996), p. 503. 14 Valery Tishkov has pointed out that the ambiguous phrasing of the question in the 1989 census, and the fact that it came immediately after respondents were asked to give their nationality, and has correctly concluded that the responses to this question exaggerate the actual extent of mother tongue use. But the declared mother tongue, even where it is not actually used at home, is a strong indicator of national identity. Tishkov, p. 87. 15 Mergen Mongush, 'Ethnic Disturbances in Tannu-Tuva in 1990' in Nationalities Papers vol. XXI, no. 2, Fall 1993, pp. 171-8. For a more pessimistic view, see Zoia V. Anaiban and Edward W. Walker, 'On the Problem of Interethnic Conflict - the Republic of Tuva' in Leokadia Drobizheva, Rose Gottemoeller, Catherine McArdle Kelleher and Lee Walker (eds), Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Soviet World: Case Studies and Analysis (Armonk, 1996), pp. 179-94. 13


A.G. Zdravomyslov, Mezhnatsionalnye konflikty v postsovetskom prostranstve (Moscow, 1997), pp. 85-93. 17 Tishkov, p. 225. 18 Guboglo, Bashkortostan i Tatarstan (1), pp. 6-7. 19 Guboglo (ed.), Perelomnye gody, p. 214. 20 Ibid., p. 216. 21 Ibid., pp. 223-6. 22

Ibid., pp. 297-9.

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy



Ibid., pp. 236-46. Ann Sheehy, 'Russia's Republics: A Threat to Its Territorial Integrity?' in RFE/RL Research Report Vol. 2, no. 20, 14 May 1993, p. 34. 24


Zvi Gitelman, 'Nationality and Ethnicity in Russia and the Post-Soviet Republics' in Stephen White, Alex Pravda and Zvi Gitelman (eds), Developments in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics (3rd edn., London, 1994), p. 262. 26 Allen Frank and Ronald Wixman, 'The Middle Volga: exploring the limits of sovereignty', in Ian Bremmer and Ray Taras (eds), New States, New Politics: Building the Post-Soviet Nations (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 168-70. 27

Tishkov, pp. 44-46 and elsewhere. 'Konstitutsiia Rossiskoi Federatsii' in Novye konstitutsii stran SNG i Baltii sbornik dokumentov (2nd edn., Moscow, 1997), p. 357. 28


Ibid., p. 359. Ibid., pp. 373-4. 31 Ibid., pp. 374-5. 32 Ibid., p. 375. 30


L.A. Okunkov et al. (eds), Kommentarii k konstitutsii Rossiiskoi Federatsii (Moscow, 1996), pp. 45, 320. 34 Konstitutsiia Rossiskoi Federatsii, p. 372. 35

Ibid., pp. 356-7. Ibid., p. 357. 37 Frank and Wixman, p. 170. 38 E.F. Kisriev, 'Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v Respublike Dagestan' in M.N. Gubogio (ed.), Razvivaiushchiism elektorat Rossii. Etnopoliticheskii rakurs. Tom II. Vybori -93 (Moscow, 1995), p. 262 36


L.L. Abaeva and B.P. Krianev, 'Sotsialno-politologicheskii analiz vyborov v respublike Buriatiia' in ibid., p. 279. 40 F.M. Zykov, 'Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v Respublike Sakha do i posle vyborov 12 dekabriia 1993 g.' in ibid., p. 315. 41

A.K. Kuzhuget and M.P. Tatarintseva, 'Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v respublike Tyva nakanune i posle vyborov)' in ibid., p. 306.


L.K. Gostieva and A.B. Dzadziev, 'Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v Severnoi Osetii' in ibid., p. 238.


I.I. Voskhodov and G.A. Komarova, 'Predvybornaia situatsiia v Chuvashskoi respublike (osen - zima 1993 goda)' in ibid., p. 103. 44

K.I. Kulikov and L.S. Khristoliubova, 'Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v Udmurtskoi Respublike v 1993 g.' in ibid., p. 176.

226 Jeremy Smith 45

The breakdown of election results in most of the autonomous republics, as well as summary descriptions of the programmes and composition of the main national parties and organisations, are to be found in M.N. Guboglo (ed.), Razvivaiushchiisia elektorat Rossii. Etnopoliticheskii rakurs. Tom II Vybori -93.


L.M. Drobizheva, 'Opyt natsionalizma i demokratizatsiia v respublikakh Rossiskoi Federatsii' in L.M. Drobizheva and T.S. Guzenkova (eds), Suverenitet i etnicheskoe samosoznanie: ideologiia ipraktika (Moscow, 1995), pp. 37-8. 47 Zykov,p. 313. 48 Ibid., pp. 314-5. 49 Drobizheva, 'Opyt natsionalizma', pp. 39-40. 50 Ibid., pp. 40-41. 51

Ibid., pp. 41, 50.


R.N. Musina, 'Respublika Tatarstan: mezhetnicheskie otnosheniia, etnichnost i gosudarstvennost' in L.M. Drobizheva (ed.), ibid., pp. 143-66. 53

V.V. Koroteeva, 'Ekonomicheskii natsionalizm v respublikakh Rossii' in L.M. Drobizheva (ed.), ibid., p. 93. 54 J.V. Stalin, Works, vol. 2 (Moscow, 1953), p. 307. 55 Jeremy Smith, The Origins of Soviet National Autonomy' in Revolutionary Russia, vol. 10, no. 2, December 1997, pp. 62-84. 56 Tishkov, pp. 24-35. 57 M. Guboglo and I. Aliev (eds), Konfederatsiia repressirovannikh narodov Rossiiskoi Federatsii 1990-1992: dokumenty, materialyi (Moscow, 1993), pp. 20916. 58 Ismail Aliev (ed.), Reabilitatsiia narodov i grazhdan 1954-1994 gody (Moscow, 1994), pp. 44-9. 59 Karen A. Collias, 'Making Soviet Citizens: Patriotic and Internationalist Education in the Formation of a Soviet State Identity' in Henry R. Huttenbach (ed.), Soviet Nationality Policies: Ruling Ethnic Groups in the USSR (Mansell, 1990), pp. 79-80. 60 Tishkov, op. cit., deals with both these issues in depth. 61 Khazanov, p. 155. 62 S.V. Sokolovskii, Prava Menshinstv - antropologicheskie, sotsiologicheskie i mezhdunarodnye aspekti (Moscow, 1997), pp. 150-1. 63 Jane Ormrod, 'The North Caucasus: confederation in conflict' in Bremmer and Taras (eds.), op. cit., p. 103. 64 Ormrod does refer to the role of Yeltsin and Dudaev, but Tishkov places much more emphasis on the 'subjective factor'. See Ormrod, p. 104. 65 In this respect there are clear parallels between ex-President Dudaev of Chechenia, President Milosevic of Serbia, and President Tudjman of Croatia.

Russia's Minorities and the Soviet Legacy 227 66

Mergen Mongush, 'Ethnic Disturbances ...', pp. 172, 175.


Mergen Mongush, 'The Annexation of Tannu-Tuva and the Formation of the Tuvinskaya ASSR' in Nationalities Papers, vol. XXI, no. 2, Fall 1993, p. 49.


Tishkov, pp. 228-98.