Nationalities: Soviet Union, or Soviet Republic


  #1  
16th June 2007, 23:45

[Die Neue Zeit]
In the past, the nationalities question in Russia came down to Lenin vs. Stalin (with perhaps Rosa Luxemburg posthumously???):

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761553..._Republics.html

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Some, including Stalin (who was commissar of nationalities at the time), favored a unitary state in which there would be “autonomous” provinces for the minorities, with cultural rights. Lenin espoused a federal system in which the RSFSR would be only one of a number of republics...
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...70249-9,00.html

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When the U.S.S.R. was born, there was a heated debate. Lenin was of the view that the Union should be a federation of equal republics, while Stalin in effect favored a unitary state. Lenin's approach was formally adopted in 1922, but in real life things turned out quite differently.
Now, on to today's stuff, here's a bit of analysis on the current situation for today's nationalities in Russia (and an interesting sidebar in regards to the Muslim demographic, too):

http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/...7f4bd027e8.html

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The plan discussed in the weekly was drafted by the Council for the Study of Productive Resources (SOPS), a little-known but quite influential think tank that works for the office of Russia's government and prime minister. According to the plan, the Russian Federation would comprise 28 federal subjects, instead of the current 88.

...

That the SOPS has formulated such a plan is not to be taken lightly. It was created in 1916, and for the past 90 years has systematically been involved in drafting major national projects both in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. In particular, the SOPS was involved in elaborating the Bolshevik plan of electrification known as GOELRO; it also participated in the preparation of the Soviet five-year economic plans that later became part of Gosplan.

More recently, the SOPS was behind the proposal in 1998 to divide Russia into seven federal districts, which was materialized by Putin in 2000. Today, the SOPS is working on further reshaping Russia' administrative composition.

The SOPS plan recently outlined in "Argumenty i fakty" harkens back to the administrative divisions that existed in Russia prior to the 1917 revolution. The idea to return to prerevolutionary Russia was first raised 15 years ago by the leader of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who often speaks what Russia's ruling elite has in mind. Zhirinovsky referred at the time to the fact that Russia was divided into eight provinces under Peter the Great; into 40 under Catherine the Great; and into 56 just before the 1917 revolution. The current proposal to redefine the administrative configuration of the Russian Federation seems to have been initiated and backed by the Kremlin, and is definitely in line with Zhirinovsky's suggestion.

In practical terms, this proposal would mean that the 1993 Russian Constitution, which set up the current administrative division of the Russian Federation, would have to be revised. The supporters of a centralized, unitarian state have recently become more vocal and are demanding that the process be sped up.


Given the experience of Balkanization, post-Soviet breakups and nationalist tensions (yes, not just the SU itself, but in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia), who was right?

Whose nationalities policy should be pursued in the future (in this instance, I'm HIGHLY critical of Lenin's policy)?

[Vargha Poralli]
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Originally posted by Hammer+--> (Hammer)Given the experience of Balkanization, post-Soviet breakups and nationalist tensions (yes, not just the SU itself, but in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia), who was right?[/b]


Lenin.

It was because of Lenin's policy that the Soviet Union didn't have much problem incorporating not only Ukraine(most important part with fertile land and lot of mineral resources) but also Byleorussia,Transcaucasia and Central Asian Republics(where majority of the population are deeply religious Muslims). This policy was the key for the Bolsheviks in winning the Civil war(The Whites had nothing to offer but the Great Russian Chauvinism).

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Hammer
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Whose nationalities policy should be pursued in the future (in this instance, I'm HIGHLY critical of Lenin's policy)?
Lenin.

I would like to know your criticism of Lenin's policy.

I have seen it adapted successfully by Capitalist India* (with exception to Jammu and Kashmir**) which is more divided than Russian Empire and Soviet Union with no problem to national unity.I don't pretend that everything is fine but still the current situation could be worse.

OTOH in Srilanka where there are just two nationalities(Tamils*** and Sinhalese) different in Language and Religion but the unitary structure. The politicians of the Sinhalese majority naturally taking advantage of their majority position discriminated the Tamils and Muslims.

So even under bourgeoisie system supporting self determination of National Minorities have worked. So I don't have any idea why it would be unworkable in a Socialist Society. I also don't understand what would prevent a majority oppressing minorites even under a Socialist System.

The true internationalist position is supporting the right of national minorites. To how much extent really depends on particular situations.

----------------------------

* I don't mean the partition of 1947. It was done by the capitalists of Britain,Pakistan and India without respecting the true demands of the people.

** Jammu and Kashmir is very much a complicated one. It is occupied by three Capitalist nations India(State of Jammu and Kashmir),Pakistan(Azad Kashmir) and China(Aksai Chin). Even under occupation Indian and Pakistani occupation those regions have somewhat more autonomy than other regions.

*** We have to include Tamil Muslims as a seperate category. They are oppressed by Sinhalese government and terrorised by the LTTE.
[Leo]
Hammer;

I don't think Stalin's position was really that simple. As the commissar of nationalities, what Stalin really favored for the most part was trying to integrate nationalists to the Communist Parties. Stalin was obviously a supporter of national liberation. As early as in 1919, the left-wings in the Communist Parties of Central Asia reproached Stalin for integrating famous nationalist Sultan-Galiyev. In 1923, when Stalin was attacking the left-wings, he said "[T]hey think that in fighting nationalism everything that is national must be thrown overboard ... I must say that of the two [rights and lefts], the "Left" danger may prove to be the more formidable."

This clearly shows that Stalin's policy had nothing to do actual proletarian politics and it had nothing to do with actually opposing the national liberation paradigm. He was, by the time he clashed with Lenin over this issue, already acting in the interests of the Russian bureaucratic bourgeoisie and thus was coming close to the line of what was called "Great Russian chauvinism", a line which he would also remember when he mentioned Peter the Great along with Lenin as a hero in his "Great Patriotic War" era speeches. It, of course, wasn't an issue of principled nationalism as well - it was an issue of the interests of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie.

Lenin's nationality policies, which were the officially accepted Bolshevik position, the position Stalin too accepted wholeheartedly. From October 1917, the Bolsheviks pushed for the independence of the countries which the Czarist empire had kept subjugated: the Baltic countries, Finland, Poland, the Ukraine, Armenia etc... They believed that such an attitude would guarantee the revolutionary proletariat indispensable support for its efforts to retain power while waiting for the maturation and explosion of the proletarian revolution in the great European countries, especially Germany. These hope were never to be fulfilled, in fact the policy itself proved to be completely catastrophic:

· Finland: the Soviet government recognized its independence on the 18th of December 1917. The working class movement in this country was very strong: it was on the revolutionary ascent, it had strong links with the Russian workers and had actively participated in the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. It was not a question of a country dominated by feudalism, but a very developed capitalist territory. And the Finnish bourgeoisie used the Soviet power's gift in order to crush the workers' insurrection that broke out in January 1918. This struggle lasted nearly 3 months but, despite the resolute support the Soviets gave to the Finnish workers, the new state was able to destroy the revolutionary movement, thanks to German troops whom they called on to help them;

· The Ukraine: the local nationalist movement did not represent a real bourgeois movement, but rather obliquely expressed the vague resentments of the peasants against the Russian landlords and above all the Poles. The proletariat in this region came from all over Russia and was very developed. In these conditions the band of nationalist adventurers that set up the 'Ukraine Rada' (Vinnickenko, Petlyura etc.) rapidly sought the patronage of German and Austrian imperialism. At the same time it dedicated all its forces to attacking the workers' soviets, which had been formed in Kharkov and other cities. The French general Tabouis who, because of the collapse of the central powers, replaced the German influence, employed Ukrainian reactionary bands in the war of the White Guards against the Soviets.

"Ukrainian nationalism... was a mere whim, a folly of a few dozen petty bourgeois intellectuals without the slightest roots in the economic, political or psychological relationships of the country; it was without any historical tradition, since the Ukraine never formed a nation or government, was without any national culture... To what was at first a mere farce they lent such importance that the farce became a matter of the most deadly seriousness - not as a serious national movement for which, afterwards as before, there are no roots at all, but as a shingle and rallying flag of counter-revolution. At Brest, out of this addled egg crept the German bayonets" (Rosa Luxemburg, idem, pages 382-2);

· The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania): the workers' soviets took power in this zone at the same moment as the October revolution. 'National liberation' was carried out by British marines: "With the termination of hostilities against Germany, British naval units appeared in the Baltic. The Estonian Soviet Republic collapsed in January 1919. The Latvian Soviet Republic held out in Riga for five months and then succumbed to the threat of British naval guns" (E.H.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 1, page 317)

· In Asiatic Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: "A Bashkir government under one Validov, which had proclaimed an autonomous Bashkir state after the October revolution, went over to the Orenburg Cossacks who were in open warfare against the Soviet Government; and this was typical of the prevailing attitude of the nationalists" (idem, page 324). For its part the 'national-revolutionary' government of Kokanda (in central Asia), with a programme that included the imposition of Islamic law, the defense of private property, and the forced seclusion of women, unleashed a fierce war against the workers' Soviet of Tashkent (the principal industrial city of Russian Turkestan).

· In Caucasia a Transcaucasian republic was formed, and its tutelage was fought over between Turkey, Germany and Great Britain. This caused it to break up into 3 'independent' republics (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), which fiercely confronted each other, urged on in turn by each of the contesting powers. The three republics supported with all their forces the British troops in their battle against the Baku workers' Soviet, which from 1917-20 suffered bombardment and massacres by the British;

· Turkey: from the beginning the Soviet government supported the 'revolutionary nationalist' Kemal Attaturk. Radek, a member of the CI, exhorted the recently formed Turkish Communist Party thus: "Your first task, as soon as you have formed as an independent party, will be to support the movement for the national freedom of Turkey" (Acts of the first four Congresses of the CI). The result was a catastrophe: Kemal crushed without leniency the strikes and demonstrations of the young Turkish proletariat and, if for a time he allied with the Soviet government, it was only done to put pressure on the British troops who were occupying Constantinople, and on the Greeks who had occupied large parts of Western Turkey. However, once the Greeks had been defeated and having offered British imperialism his fidelity if they left Constantinople, Kemal broke off the alliance with the Soviets and offered the British the head of the Turkish Communist Party, which was viciously persecuted.

· The case of Poland should also be mentioned. The national emancipation of Poland was almost a dogma in the Second International. When Rosa Luxemburg, at the end of the 19th century, demonstrated that this slogan was now erroneous and dangerous since capitalist development had tightly bound the Polish bourgeoisie to the Russian Czarist imperial caste, she provoked a stormy polemic inside the International. But the truth was that the workers of Warsaw, Lodz and elsewhere were at the vanguard of the 1905 revolution and had produced revolutionaries as outstanding as Rosa. Lenin had recognised that "The experience of the 1905 revolution demonstrated that even in these two nations (he is referring to Poland and Finland) the leading classes, the landlords and the bourgeoisie, renounced the revolutionary struggle for liberty and had looked for a rapprochement with the leading classes in Russia and with the Czarist monarchy out of fear of the revolutionary proletariat of Finland and Poland" (minutes of the Prague party conference, 1912).

Unfortunately the Bolsheviks held onto the dogma of 'the right of nations to self-determination', and from October 1917 on they promoted the independence of Poland. On 29 August 1918 the Council of Peoples Commissars declared "All treaties and acts concluded by the government of the former Russian Empire with the government of Prussia or of the Austro-Hungarian Empire concerning Poland, in view of their incompatibility with the principle of the self-determination of nations and with the revolutionary sense of right of the Russian people, which recognises the indefeasible right of the Polish people to independence and unity, are hereby irrevocably rescinded" (quoted in E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol 1, p 293).

While it was correct that the proletarian bastion should denounce and annul the secret treaties of the bourgeois government, it was a serious error to do so in the name of 'principles' which were not on a proletarian terrain, but a bourgeois one, viz the 'right of nations'. This was rapidly demonstrated in practice. Poland fell under the iron dictatorship of Pilsudski, the veteran social patriot, who smashed the workers' strikes, allied Poland with France and Britain, and actively supported the counter-revolution of the White Armies by invading the Ukraine in 1920.

When in response to this aggression the troops of the Red Army entered Polish territory and advanced on Warsaw in the hope that the workers would rise up against the bourgeoisie, a new catastrophe befell the cause of the world revolution: the workers of Warsaw, the same workers who had made the 1905 revolution, fell in behind the 'Polish Nation' and participated in the defence of the city against the soviet troops. This was the tragic consequence of years of propaganda about the 'national liberation' of Poland by the Second International and then by the proletarian bastion in Russia.*

The outcome of this policy was catastrophic: the local proletariats were defeated, the new nations were not 'grateful' for the Bolsheviks' present and quickly passed into the orbit of British imperialism, collaborating in their blockade of the Soviet power and sustaining with all the means at their disposal the White counter-revolution which provoked a bloody civil war.

"The Bolsheviks were to be taught to their own great hurt and that of the revolution, that under the rule of capitalism there is no self-determination of peoples, that in a class society each class of the nation strives to 'determine itself' in a different fashion, and that, for the bourgeois classes, the stand-point of national freedom is fully subordinated to that of class rule. The Finnish bourgeoisie, like the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, were unanimous in preferring the violent rule of Germany to national freedom, if the latter should be bound up with Bolshevism." (Rosa Luxemburg, 'The Russian Revolution', Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, page 380)

*On the other hand the proletarian revolution can never be extended by military methods alone, as was made clear by the Executive Committee of the Soviets: "Our enemies and yours are deceiving you when they tell you that the Soviet government wants to implant communism on Polish territory with the bayonets of the soldiers of the Red Army. A communist revolution is only possible when the immense majority of workers are convinced of the idea of creating it with their own force" ('Calling the Polish People', 28.1.20). Despite an important internal opposition - Trotsky, Kirov, etc - the Bolshevik party, increasingly devoured by opportunism and falling into a false understanding of internationalism, encouraged the adventure of the summer of 1920, which radically forgot this principle.

And what policy should we pursue? We will put forward the call for proletarian revolution instead of national liberation.

[source: http://en.internationalism.org/ir/066_natlib_01.html]
[More Fire for the People]
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Given the experience of Balkanization, post-Soviet breakups and nationalist tensions (yes, not just the SU itself, but in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia), who was right?
The argument at first appears semantics. A federation of republics of different minorities and a unitary state with minority and cultural rights appear at the highest level to be equal concepts. However, this appearance fades away to the real essence of the dispute when we examine what constitutes as republic in Lenin’s eye.

“The people need a republic in order to educate the masses in the methods of democracy. We need not only representation along democratic lines, but the building of the entire state administration from the bottom up by the masses themselves, their effective participation in all of life’s steps, their active role in the administration. Replacement of the old organs of oppression, the police, the bureaucracy, the standing army, by a universal arming of the people, by a really universal militia, is the only way to guarantee the country a maximum of security against the restoration of the monarchy and to enable it to go forward firmly, systematically and resolutely towards socialism, not by “introducing” it from above, but by raising the vast mass of proletarians and semi-proletarians to the art of state administration, to the use of the whole state power.” (Lenin)

Lenin viewed the republic as a source of democratic and socialist training of the masses of proletarians and semi-proletarians. For Lenin, a federation of republics would entail a federation of Ukrainian masses in democratic training, Georgian masses in democratic training, etc. Despite whatever position Stalin advocated in 1917 by 1925 he was upholding the same line as Lenin.

There is talk about model republics in the Soviet East. But what is a model republic? A model republic is one which carries out all these tasks [develop industries, agriculture, cooperatives, ‘national’ composition, ‘national’ culture] honestly and conscientiously, thereby attracting the workers and peasants of the neighbouring colonial and dependent countries to the liberation movement. (Stalin)

In other words, ‘republics’ were centers of national development or otherwise known as the accumulation of capital. (the logical consequence of Lenin’s concept of the republic in an era of state-capital)

Had Stalin’s original position of uniting all against the capitalist onslaught we might have avoided the defeat of the Makhnovites and the German Revolution.

What policy should we pursue? If this were 1950s-1970s the pursuit of national independence as a movement of the indigenous proletariat, peasant, and lumpenproletariat in the colonies would have a number one priority. This is not 1970. In terms of politics most nations are independent: this independence was led by the indigenous bourgeoisie and consequently led to neo-colonialism. The same political tactics that worked against colonialism will not work against neo-colonialism.

In a revolutionary situation, we must pursue integralism of all revolutionary forces. This, almost without exception, means a unified dictatorship of the proletariat in all revolutionary regions. But we must also be at the forefront of defending the rights of minority cultures in regions of hitherto dominance by majority cultures. The unity of Turks and Kurds, Jews and Arabs, Mexicans and rural Amerindians, would mean nothing if it led to the dominance of Turks over Kurds, Jews over Arabs, and Mexicans over rural Amerindians.
[Die Neue Zeit]
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Originally posted by g.ram+June 18, 2007 06:19 pm--> (g.ram @ June 18, 2007 06:19 pm)
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Originally posted by Hammer+--> (Hammer)
Whose nationalities policy should be pursued in the future (in this instance, I'm HIGHLY critical of Lenin's policy)?[/b]


Lenin.

I would like to know your criticism of Lenin's policy. [/b]

As Leo said above, the prime example of my criticism of said policy is the Finnish question. I can recognize the need for the existence of nationalities even in the proper transitional period, but entire nations? No thanks.

Just look at the Canadian example with Quebec. There was recently passed that "nation within a united Canada" bill, which will help in the long run to diffuse separatist tensions in that province.

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Leo
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@
I don't think Stalin's position was really that simple. As the commissar of nationalities, what Stalin really favored for the most part was trying to integrate nationalists to the Communist Parties. Stalin was obviously a supporter of national liberation. As early as in 1919, the left-wings in the Communist Parties of Central Asia reproached Stalin for integrating famous nationalist Sultan-Galiyev. In 1923, when Stalin was attacking the left-wings, he said "[T]hey think that in fighting nationalism everything that is national must be thrown overboard ... I must say that of the two [rights and lefts], the "Left" danger may prove to be the more formidable."

This clearly shows that Stalin's policy had nothing to do actual proletarian politics and it had nothing to do with actually opposing the national liberation paradigm. He was, by the time he clashed with Lenin over this issue, already acting in the interests of the Russian bureaucratic bourgeoisie and thus was coming close to the line of what was called "Great Russian chauvinism", a line which he would also remember when he mentioned Peter the Great along with Lenin as a hero in his "Great Patriotic War" era speeches. It, of course, wasn't an issue of principled nationalism as well - it was an issue of the interests of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie.

Lenin's nationality policies, which were the officially accepted Bolshevik position, the position Stalin too accepted wholeheartedly.
I didn't know that Stalin was a bourgeois sellout on the nationalities question THAT early! I was under the impression that, even with his "accommodationist" views re. the Provisional Government, he was internationalist in scope UNTIL the debate with Lenin.

But what about this remark by Hopscotch:

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Hopscotch
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Had Stalin’s original position of uniting all against the capitalist onslaught we might have avoided the defeat of the Makhnovites and the German Revolution.
???



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Despite an important internal opposition - Trotsky, Kirov, etc - the Bolshevik party, increasingly devoured by opportunism and falling into a false understanding of internationalism, encouraged the adventure of the summer of 1920, which radically forgot this principle.
THE Sergei Kirov was a rising star that early?!

The funny thing about your statement is that, had the Bolsheviks mobilized the army much sooner instead of de-mobilizing after October as a show of goodwill to the Deutschen on the other side, they could have helped out Hungary, and they would NOT have needed to relinquish control over Finland.
[Leo]
Hammer;

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I didn't know that Stalin was a bourgeois sellout on the nationalities question THAT early! I was under the impression that, even with his "accommodationist" views re. the Provisional Government, he was internationalist in scope UNTIL the debate with Lenin.
Oh, his bourgeois sellout goes way back, after the February revolution he started supporting Kerensky and the war at first.

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But what about this remark by Hopscotch:
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Had Stalin’s original position of uniting all against the capitalist onslaught we might have avoided the defeat of the Makhnovites and the German Revolution.
I don't think Stalin really had a position like that.

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Despite an important internal opposition - Trotsky, Kirov
Sergei Kirov was a rising star that early?!
I don't think Kirov opposed Stalin at all until 1934.

g.ram;

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Did you ever take the effect of this policy in rest of the Russian Empire ?
It was catastrophic: [This one is from my previous post]

· Finland: the Soviet government recognized its independence on the 18th of December 1917. The working class movement in this country was very strong: it was on the revolutionary ascent, it had strong links with the Russian workers and had actively participated in the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. It was not a question of a country dominated by feudalism, but a very developed capitalist territory. And the Finnish bourgeoisie used the Soviet power's gift in order to crush the workers' insurrection that broke out in January 1918. This struggle lasted nearly 3 months but, despite the resolute support the Soviets gave to the Finnish workers, the new state was able to destroy the revolutionary movement, thanks to German troops whom they called on to help them;

· The Ukraine: the local nationalist movement did not represent a real bourgeois movement, but rather obliquely expressed the vague resentments of the peasants against the Russian landlords and above all the Poles. The proletariat in this region came from all over Russia and was very developed. In these conditions the band of nationalist adventurers that set up the 'Ukraine Rada' (Vinnickenko, Petlyura etc.) rapidly sought the patronage of German and Austrian imperialism. At the same time it dedicated all its forces to attacking the workers' soviets, which had been formed in Kharkov and other cities. The French general Tabouis who, because of the collapse of the central powers, replaced the German influence, employed Ukrainian reactionary bands in the war of the White Guards against the Soviets.

"Ukrainian nationalism... was a mere whim, a folly of a few dozen petty bourgeois intellectuals without the slightest roots in the economic, political or psychological relationships of the country; it was without any historical tradition, since the Ukraine never formed a nation or government, was without any national culture... To what was at first a mere farce they lent such importance that the farce became a matter of the most deadly seriousness - not as a serious national movement for which, afterwards as before, there are no roots at all, but as a shingle and rallying flag of counter-revolution. At Brest, out of this addled egg crept the German bayonets" (Rosa Luxemburg, idem, pages 382-2);

· The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania): the workers' soviets took power in this zone at the same moment as the October revolution. 'National liberation' was carried out by British marines: "With the termination of hostilities against Germany, British naval units appeared in the Baltic. The Estonian Soviet Republic collapsed in January 1919. The Latvian Soviet Republic held out in Riga for five months and then succumbed to the threat of British naval guns" (E.H.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 1, page 317)

· In Asiatic Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: "A Bashkir government under one Validov, which had proclaimed an autonomous Bashkir state after the October revolution, went over to the Orenburg Cossacks who were in open warfare against the Soviet Government; and this was typical of the prevailing attitude of the nationalists" (idem, page 324). For its part the 'national-revolutionary' government of Kokanda (in central Asia), with a programme that included the imposition of Islamic law, the defense of private property, and the forced seclusion of women, unleashed a fierce war against the workers' Soviet of Tashkent (the principal industrial city of Russian Turkestan).

· In Caucasia a Transcaucasian republic was formed, and its tutelage was fought over between Turkey, Germany and Great Britain. This caused it to break up into 3 'independent' republics (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), which fiercely confronted each other, urged on in turn by each of the contesting powers. The three republics supported with all their forces the British troops in their battle against the Baku workers' Soviet, which from 1917-20 suffered bombardment and massacres by the British.

[source: http://en.internationalism.org/ir/066_natlib_01.html]
[Vargha Poralli]
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Finland: the Soviet government recognized its independence on the 18th of December 1917. The working class movement in this country was very strong: it was on the revolutionary ascent, it had strong links with the Russian workers and had actively participated in the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. It was not a question of a country dominated by feudalism, but a very developed capitalist territory. And the Finnish bourgeoisie used the Soviet power's gift in order to crush the workers' insurrection that broke out in January 1918. This struggle lasted nearly 3 months but, despite the resolute support the Soviets gave to the Finnish workers, the new state was able to destroy the revolutionary movement, thanks to German troops whom they called on to help them;
Emphasis mine.

How it could be blamed on Bolshevik policy ?

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The Ukraine: the local nationalist movement did not represent a real bourgeois movement, but rather obliquely expressed the vague resentments of the peasants against the Russian landlords and above all the Poles. The proletariat in this region came from all over Russia and was very developed. In these conditions the band of nationalist adventurers that set up the 'Ukraine Rada' (Vinnickenko, Petlyura etc.) rapidly sought the patronage of German and Austrian imperialism. At the same time it dedicated all its forces to attacking the workers' soviets, which had been formed in Kharkov and other cities. The French general Tabouis who, because of the collapse of the central powers, replaced the German influence, employed Ukrainian reactionary bands in the war of the White Guards against the Soviets.
But it failed.

Ukraine was a part of Soviet Union until its break up.

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· The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania): the workers' soviets took power in this zone at the same moment as the October revolution. 'National liberation' was carried out by British marines: "With the termination of hostilities against Germany, British naval units appeared in the Baltic. The Estonian Soviet Republic collapsed in January 1919. The Latvian Soviet Republic held out in Riga for five months and then succumbed to the threat of British naval guns" (E.H.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 1, page 317)
Again you must explain how Bolshevik policy afected here.

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In Asiatic Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: "A Bashkir government under one Validov, which had proclaimed an autonomous Bashkir state after the October revolution, went over to the Orenburg Cossacks who were in open warfare against the Soviet Government; and this was typical of the prevailing attitude of the nationalists" (idem, page 324). For its part the 'national-revolutionary' government of Kokanda (in central Asia), with a programme that included the imposition of Islamic law, the defense of private property, and the forced seclusion of women, unleashed a fierce war against the workers' Soviet of Tashkent (the principal industrial city of Russian Turkestan).
Again you are missing the point.

Central Asian SSR's remained with Soviet Union until its break up.

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In Caucasia a Transcaucasian republic was formed, and its tutelage was fought over between Turkey, Germany and Great Britain. This caused it to break up into 3 'independent' republics (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), which fiercely confronted each other, urged on in turn by each of the contesting powers. The three republics supported with all their forces the British troops in their battle against the Baku workers' Soviet, which from 1917-20 suffered bombardment and massacres by the British.

The biggest threat came from Caucasian was when the menshevik controlled Georgian Soviet opened up and collaborated with the Wrangel's forces. A problem well took care by the Red Army.



So if you actually look closely the National Policy of Bolsheviks helped them in the Civil War. At the beggining the Bolsheviks controlled only the area around the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets.Almost evertything where under the forces hostile to the Bolsheviks. And the victories in other places would not have come without the support of those nationalites for the Bolsheviks.The whites had nothing to offer to people except Russian Chauvinism.

The failure in Finland and the Baltics should not be taken as the result of the Bolshevik National policy alone.

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Originally posted by Hammer

I didn't know that Stalin was a bourgeois sellout on the nationalities question THAT early! I was under the impression that, even with his "accommodationist" views re. the Provisional Government, he was internationalist in scope UNTIL the debate with Lenin.
Actually Stalin was the one who is key in Building this policy.

And you could never understand him as he had not been consistent in anything. Until 1924 he too wrote that victory of Russian Revolution solely depends of quick international revolution only to be changed later.
[Leo]
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Emphasis mine.

How it could be blamed on Bolshevik policy ?
Because they accepted the bourgeois government in Finland, because they recognized its independence. More importantly, however, this shows that the slogan of national liberation is a slogan which suits imperialism.

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But it failed.

Ukraine was a part of Soviet Union until its break up.
Not because there was a proletarian revolution though - because Russia and Poland signed a peace treaty splitting Ukraine into two.

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Again you must explain how Bolshevik policy afected here.
It emphasizes that the slogan of national liberation is a slogan which suits imperialism.

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Again you are missing the point.

Central Asian SSR's remained with Soviet Union until its break up.
Again, not because of proletarian revolutions but because the nationalist leaders in central Asia accepted to carry red-flags to please Russia.

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So if you actually look closely the National Policy of Bolsheviks helped them in the Civil War.
No it didn't, national liberation forces prefer imperialism.

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At the beggining the Bolsheviks controlled only the area around the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets.
This is wrong: local soviets had seized power in almost all industrial cities, incluiding cities such as Baku and Tashkent.

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Almost evertything where under the forces hostile to the Bolsheviks.
Except workers' councils. National liberation was not a friend either.

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The whites had nothing to offer to people except Russian Chauvinism.
They too, obviously in line with the major imperialist powers, offered national liberation and they were more popular.
[Die Neue Zeit]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopscotch Anthill
What policy should we pursue? If this were 1950s-1970s the pursuit of national independence as a movement of the indigenous proletariat, peasant, and lumpenproletariat in the colonies would have a number one priority. This is not 1970. In terms of politics most nations are independent: this independence was led by the indigenous bourgeoisie and consequently led to neo-colonialism. The same political tactics that worked against colonialism will not work against neo-colonialism.

In a revolutionary situation, we must pursue integralism of all revolutionary forces.
This, almost without exception, means a unified dictatorship of the proletariat in all revolutionary regions. But we must also be at the forefront of defending the rights of minority cultures in regions of hitherto dominance by majority cultures. The unity of Turks and Kurds, Jews and Arabs, Mexicans and rural Amerindians, would mean nothing if it led to the dominance of Turks over Kurds, Jews over Arabs, and Mexicans over rural Amerindians.


http://www.revleft.com/vb/left-and-l...080/index.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5jc_...eature=related

In the Q&A portion of the discussion, Boris Kagarlitsky had this to say:

"After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new left - the anti-Stalinist left - had to become somewhat more critical towards what can be called 'minority nationalisms.' In that sense, it doesn't mean we support Great-Russian chauvinism or imperialist approaches, but at this stage there is a growing suspicion about minority-nationalist projects as basically representing very much the same kind of policy as the big empire but in a kind of miniature format."



Was "Comrade" Stalin indeed right in his 1922 opposition to Lenin (which is NOT the current "Marxist-Leninist" position)?

My "post-revolution constitutional laws" thread follows the Stalin approach in 1922 (with NO secession clause or "free association"):

Quote:
The state superstructure of the Soviet Republic is both integral and international, and is established on the principle of an association of nations and multinational regions, drawing them together for the purpose of jointly building socialism and communism.

[Die Neue Zeit]
Here's another article:

Stalin, Man of the Borderlands

(Excerpt)

Quote:
Stalin's position on federation had shifted in response to the experience of the civil war, the intra-party debates on the future of the Soviet state, and his disagreements with Lenin. By 1922, Stalin envisaged three types of federalist ties: within the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, between the Russian republic (RSFSR) and the other Soviet republics such as Ukraine that had been part of the Russian Empire, and a "confederation" between the Soviet Union and other soviet republics such as Hungary and Germany that had not been part of Russia. Stalin's tripartite formula sought to address real problems that had surfaced during the civil war between the center and periphery. In a letter to Lenin dated September 22, 1922, but only recently published, he argued that his federal plan would eliminate the chaos of conflicting jurisdictions, which created constant conflict between the center and the borderlands. The alternatives were either to grant the republics real independence, which would shatter the economic unity of the state (and split the proletariat), or to grant them real autonomy, that is, non-interference "in the areas of language, culture, justice, internal affairs, agriculture, etc.," which would maintain both the diversity of ethnic identities and the unity of the proletariat.

What has gone unnoticed in the abundant literature on this question is how Stalin's formula foreshadowed the establishment of a ring of dependent states, subsequently called "popular democracies," outside the borders of the old Russian Empire. While Lenin's state structure was designed to accommodate the future voluntary adhesion of independent revolutionary states in the advanced capitalist countries to a socialist federation, Stalin took a more limited view based on the old imperial, territorial principle. In Stalin's eyes, the Russian Revolution and the building of a socialist state catapulted the Soviet Union into the most advanced stage of development. Subsequent adherents to the system, particularly those countries adjacent to the Soviet Union, would have to earn their passage. In 1928, he made this explicit in his first major speech to the Comintern. He argued that, in countries with weak capitalism and feudal remnants, such as "Poland, Romania, etc.," where the peasantry would play a large role in a revolution, "the victory of the revolution in order that it can lead to a proletarian dictatorship can and probably will demand some intermediate stages in the form, let us say, of a dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry."

Later, Stalin changed the terminology of transitional stages but not the concept. In early 1945, he harshly reminded Tito that "your government is not Soviet—you have something between de Gaulle's France and the Soviet Union." In May 1946, he repeated the same message to the Polish communists. "The democracy that has been established in Poland, in Yugoslavia and partly in Czechoslovakia is a democracy that draws you close to socialism without the necessity of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat and the Soviet system." Twenty years earlier, Stalin had constructed the state system on the basis of the what he perceived to be a special relationship between Russia and its borderlands that could never be duplicated.