The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

By Alexander Dallin; Gail W. Lapidus | Go to book overview
in Pravda warned: "Nationalistic ideas and manifestations ... only strengthen the position of the opponents of perestroika." (May 22, 1989, p. 2.)
4.
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, both scenes of considerable ethnic violence, also have the highest rates of adults not employed in socialized production—23 percent and 27 percent, respectively, compared to 8 percent in the Russian Republic. (From "Ideologicheskiye problemy mezhnatsionalnykh otnoshenii," in Izvestiya TsK KPSS, no 6, 1989, p. 79.)
5.
On July 1, 1989, responding to spreading ethnic violence in Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Gorbachev delivered a somber speech on national television appealing for an end to ethnic strife. Warning that those who sought to stir up national hatreds were playing with fire, Gorbachev stated: "The present generation and our descendents will curse both those who pushed us onto this path and those who did not wam in time and halt the madness." (Pravda, July 2, 1989.)
6.
Pravda, Jan. 28, 1987.
7.
Pravda, July 15, 1987.
10.
Ekonomicheskaya gazeta, Apr. 15, 1989, pp. 4-5.

32 Dilemmas of
Russian Nationalism

ROMAN SZPORLUK

The present state of ethnic relations in the Soviet Union, writes Aleksandr Zharnikov in the June 1989 issue of Kommunist, results from the literal collapse of the "command-administrative system." This system had consistently undermined the principle of self-determination of nations, replacing it with the concept of the Russians as "elder brother" of the other Soviet peoples. This substitution lies at the root of recent expressions of anti-Russian sentiments. It is not surprising, argues Zharnikov, that the sins of the compromised command-administrative system tend to be attributed in some degree to the "elder brother," i.e., to the Russian people. Unfortunately, there are also people who deliberately "speculate" on the problems of their nations—"and which nation has no problems?"—and try to make the "elder brother" responsible for all their troubles. 1

Zharnikov's is only one of many voices that have explicitly or implicitly argued recently that the relationship between the Russian nation and the Soviet state—let us call it the Russian national problem—is the central ethnic problem in the Soviet Union today, not least because it also defines the nature of the other nationality problems in the USSR. For the non-Russians tend to formulate their own

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