The geography of nationalism in Russia and the USSR


The geography of nationalism in Russia and the USSR

Robert J. Kaiser

Princeton University Press, c1994

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Bibliography: p. [417]-446

Includes index



This addition to the research on the collapse of the Soviet empire attempts to construct and test broad theoretical propositions about "place" and "territoriality" in the making of nations. Specifically, it examines the critical social processes underlying the formation of nations and homelands in Russia and the USSR during the 19th and 20th centuries. Robert Kaiser finds that, for the most part, national self-consciousness was only beginning to supplant a localist mentality by the time of World War I. The national problem faced by Lenin was fundamentally different from the more difficult nationalist challenge that confronted Gorbachev. In Kaiser's theory, the homeland, once it has been created in the imaginations of the indigenous masses, powerfully structures national processes and international relations. "Indigenization" becomes an active competitor with nationality policies that promote Russia. The revolutionary changes occurring since 1989, Kaiser argues, should therefore be seen as part of a longer process of indigenization.

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