The New Russian Diaspora: Russian Minorities in the Former Soviet Republics

The New Russian Diaspora: Russian Minorities in the Former Soviet Republics

The New Russian Diaspora: Russian Minorities in the Former Soviet Republics

The New Russian Diaspora: Russian Minorities in the Former Soviet Republics

Synopsis

"In the wake of the USSR's collapse, more than 25 million Russians found themselves living outside Russian territory. Just as uncertain as their citizenship status was the role they would play in the future - whether as homeless refugees in an unstable Russia or as a minority group of uncertain loyalty in other former Soviet republics. This volume, prepared under the sponsorship of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, offers a comprehensive and amply documented examination of these questions." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

It is clear that by 1989-90, Russian minorities in the republics had become one of the most crucial political agents in the process that ultimately led to the death of the Soviet empire and the turbulent events that ensued on the territory of the former Soviet Union.

Prior to 1987, Russian minorities within other national entities had not been much in evidence as independent political agents. In the 1970s, of course, in association with the growth of nationalist sentiments in certain organizations and the increasing autonomy of local officials, the Russians had already begun to experience the eclipse of their Big Brother role and even discern evidence of subtle discrimination. But serious efforts on the part of Ukrainian nationalists to strengthen their position (recall the arrests that took place in Kiev and Lvov, the Ivan Dziuba affair, the persecution of the poet Lina Kostenko, and other incidents) were ruthlessly crushed by Brezhnev.

At first Russian minorities reacted with surprise to the growth after 1985 of local nationalism which was, after all, unprecedented in Soviet history. Then came the realization that their lives in the far-flung regions where many of them had been born or had lived for decades would never be the same. New processes required of every Russian a reevaluation of fundamental conditions that most had never even questioned. This secondary ideologization of the Russian population (which took place in one form or another among all Soviet people, even the most politically naive) made the differentiation of this minority inevitable. This happened very differently in various regions, depending on specific conditions.

The idea of holding a conference on the fate of Russian minorities in the USSR was conceived in 1989. To those who realized as early as the 1987 events in Nagorno-Karabakh that the Soviet Union's ways were irreconcilable with democratic processes (one of the authors published an article on this subject at the beginning of 1987), it had already become clear that in many parts of the country the Russians' status would change from that of representatives of an . . .

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