Lenin on the Question of Nationality

Lenin on the Question of Nationality

Lenin on the Question of Nationality

Lenin on the Question of Nationality

Excerpt

This work is an attempt to analyze and evaluate Lenin's writings on the nationality question--the question primarily of the relation of the dominant Great Russian people to the numerous other nationalities in Russia. These writings date from 1894, the year he published the first book touching on this problem, to the February Revolution. Lenin discusses in the pertinent, largely polemical, essays and articles of this period the basic conceptions of his and the Bolsheviks' nationality policy which are tied together in the slogan of the right of national self-determination.

The most important of Lenin's essays on the nationality question, measured both quantitatively and qualitatively, fall into the period from about 1913 to the February Revolution. While Lenin, prior to 1913, had occasionally written one or the other brief article on selected aspects of the national problem and had some definite views on them, one can hardly speak of Lenin's having a doctrine of nationality or a nationality policy before this time. Most of what he had to say on this question prior to 1913 was limited to the problem of Party organization, a problem which was foremost in the intra-Party disputes of those days. His interest was then focused on the organizational implications of national-cultural autonomy, a concept expounded by the Austrian socialists Rudolf Springer (Karl Renner) and Otto Bauer. It was not until the year 1913 that Lenin began to give fuller consideration to the problem of nationality and its importance for the proletarian and socialist movement.

Did Lenin's thought on the nationality question undergo any change prior to 1917? There is little evidence of it in his writings. If Lenin after 1913 returned to a discussion of some . . .

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