Presentation Title

Ethnic Nationalism Hastened Soviet Collapse

Faculty Mentor

Michaela Reaves

Start Date

18-11-2017 9:30 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 9:45 AM

Location

15-1802

Session

Interdisciplinary 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

The resurgence of ethnic nationalism in Soviet republics throughout the 1980s, coupled with the regime’s failure to respond accordingly, became a significant factor in the fall of the Soviet Union. A crackdown on cultural liberties and practices, accompanied by a growing interest in religion, contributed to economic and political tensions that divided those who identified as Russians and those who identified as non-Russians. In addition, the increase in distrust of Soviet elites among ethnic minorities led to further divide in the USSR. An unbalanced allocation of resources between the Soviet Republics and the ethnic Russians also fueled discontent between these nationalities. These factors are examined through the use of CIA documents collected in the 1980s, which show that regions such as the Ukraine, Central Asia, and Georgia emphasized the failures of Soviet leadership through widespread public dissent and a general decline in the acceptance of the core Soviet values of a secular state and uniform national identity.

Summary of research results to be presented

These changes can be traced and quantified through analysis of declassified CIA documents of the Reagan Era. The documents demonstrate that the growth of religion, implementation of repressive social policies, unfair distribution of resources, and development of national desires and identities led to a resurgence of ethnic nationalism throughout Soviet republics and eventually contributed to the dissolution of Soviet control over the republics. Nationalism within the republics acted as a catalyst for independence movements throughout the Soviet Union, and eventually led to the breakdown of the relationship between the republics and the central government.

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Nov 18th, 9:30 AM Nov 18th, 9:45 AM

Ethnic Nationalism Hastened Soviet Collapse

15-1802

The resurgence of ethnic nationalism in Soviet republics throughout the 1980s, coupled with the regime’s failure to respond accordingly, became a significant factor in the fall of the Soviet Union. A crackdown on cultural liberties and practices, accompanied by a growing interest in religion, contributed to economic and political tensions that divided those who identified as Russians and those who identified as non-Russians. In addition, the increase in distrust of Soviet elites among ethnic minorities led to further divide in the USSR. An unbalanced allocation of resources between the Soviet Republics and the ethnic Russians also fueled discontent between these nationalities. These factors are examined through the use of CIA documents collected in the 1980s, which show that regions such as the Ukraine, Central Asia, and Georgia emphasized the failures of Soviet leadership through widespread public dissent and a general decline in the acceptance of the core Soviet values of a secular state and uniform national identity.