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The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism

The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism

John B. Dunlop
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 376
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    The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism
    Book Description:

    In contrast to the substantial output of Western works on the revival of nationalism among the non-Russians in the USSR, the critical phenomenon of Russian nationalism has been little studied in the West. Here John B. Dunlop measures the strength and political viability of a movement that has been steadily growing since the mid-1960s and that may well eventually become the ruling ideology of the state. Professor Dunlop's comprehensive discussion depicts for the Western reader the gamut of Russian nationalism from Solzhenitsyn to the vehement National Bolsheviks.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5386-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 The Historical Background (I): 1917-1953
    (pp. 3-28)

    When the Bolshevik party seized power in 1917, it appeared that the days of Russia as a separate cultural and political entity might be numbered. In the words of historian E. H. Carr, “Never had the heritage of the past been more sharply, more sweepingly or more provocatively rejected; never had the claim to universality been more uncompromisingly as serted; never in any previous revolution had the break in continuity seemed so absolute.”⁴ Fervent believers in world revolution, captives of a vision in which national distinctions would be submerged in a rising tide of proletarian internationalism, Lenin and his colleagues...

  5. 2 The Historical Background (II): 1953-1981
    (pp. 29-62)

    After Stalin’s death, the inevitable power struggle occurred, and Nikita Khrushchev, a Russianmuzhikfrom the Western Ukraine, seized the helm. Khrushchev contributed to the growth of Russian nationalism in numerous ways, though this was clearly not his intention. For if Stalin had manifested a visceral, though not ideological, attachment to Russian nationalist symbols, the same could not be said of Khrushchev, a member of the Party since 1918 and a veteran of the Civil War. While not a fanatic, Khrushchev always evidenced a strong and unwavering commitment to the doctrines of Marxism-Leninism. Milovan Djilas, who came to know Khrushchev...

  6. 3 The Voluntary Societies
    (pp. 63-92)

    The preservation of historical and cultural monuments and of the Russian environment stands high on any list of presentday Russian nationalist concerns. It is significant, for example, that, as was noted in the preceding chapter, the editor ofVeche,Vladimir Osipov, chose to name the saving of “our material and spiritual monuments from destruction” first in outlining his journal’s aims to two American correspondents in 1972.⁴ When addressing audiences on the subject of Russian nationalism, one often encounters a perplexity as to why specificallypreservationshould be a Russian nationalist issue. After all, one is frequently asked, are Americans who...

  7. 4 Demographic and Social Dislocations
    (pp. 93-108)

    The previous chapter showed how a concern over the fate of Russian historical monuments and of the Russian land itself had become a major nationalist issue. It is understandable that a fixation with the present and future prospects of the ethnic Russians themselves should have become a second Russian nationalist cause. In the eyes of nationalist spokesmen, the Russian nation is being subjected to unprecedented demographic and socio-moral attrition, the result of governmental policies which are de facto and in essence “anti-Russian.” One finds a consistent awareness of this, for example, in the nationalistsamizdatjournalVeche.The Soviet Union’s...

  8. 5 Cultural Manifestations of Russian Nationalism
    (pp. 109-132)

    As in the case of the nationalists’ concern with preservation and with the social-demographic well-being of the Russian people, it is not difficult to understand why cultural expression should have become a nationalist issue. Due to censorship restrictions, literature and the arts have traditionally served as the cutting edge of social and political inquiry in Russia. Speaking elliptically and, if necessary, in Aesopian terms, the artist is better able to evade the censorship than is, say, the political essayist or historian. This fact is, of course, appreciated in Soviet society, with the result that cultural events can at times take...

  9. 6 The Nationalities Problem
    (pp. 133-165)

    According to the 1979 census, there were 137.4 million Great Russians, 42.3 million Ukrainians, and 9.5 million Belorussians dwelling in the Soviet Union. Central Asian, Transcaucasian, and other non-Slavic peoples amounted to 72.9 million—including 12.5 million Uzbeks, 6.6 million Kazakhs, 6.3 million Tatars, 5.5 million Azerbaidzhani, and 4.2 million Armenians—and, as noted previously, fertility trends promise to increase their proportion of the population significantly in the years to come. Russian nationalists are keenly aware of the relevance of what is commonly called the “nationalities problem” to the future well-being of their country. Academician Igor’ Shafarevich, a contributor to...

  10. 7 The Church
    (pp. 166-200)

    Most contemporary Russian nationalist spokesmen believe that in order to be Russian one must be Orthodox. “I believe in the power of Orthodoxy, and I believe in Russia!” exclaimed one contributor toVeche.“Russia is saved by Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is indestructible. It is God’s work, and a Russian can only be Orthodox . . .”⁵ In its statement of purpose, the journalZemliastates categorically: “Any form of pagan or atheistic nationalism is demonic. . . . People without mercy, magnanimity, and love for God and man are not Russian.”⁶ Like preservation, cultural expression, and the nationalities question, the fate...

  11. 8 Mentors from the Past
    (pp. 201-216)

    Present-day Russian nationalists are listening intently to voices from the past which, in their time, contested currents of thought and political movements—the Decembrists, Westernizers, populists, Marxists—which led, directly or circuitously, to the October Revolution. No single voice is being taken as infallible; rather, today’s nationalists are casting about for concepts and structures which can serve to extricate Russia from her perceived catastrophic predicament.

    In April 1969, at a seminar of literary critics held in Moscow, Feliks Kuznetsov, an influential Marxist purist, remarked upon a new “pole” which he had observed emerging in recent Soviet literature and thought. After...

  12. 9 Ideological Struggle
    (pp. 217-241)

    The emergence of Russian nationalism as a powerful ideational current and inspirer of patriotic sentiment has not, of course, gone unchallenged in the Soviet Union. Marxist-Leninist purists, neo-Marxist reformers, Western-oriented liberals, and “Catholicizing” Christians have all done battle with the nationalists—the first-named group in the official press, the others insamizdat.In this chapter, I shall focus upon three politically significant disputes which occurred during the Brezhnev period: (1) the so-called “Chalmaev aflair,” which was sparked by two articles published by critic Viktor Chalmaev (b. 1932) in the Komsomol journalMolodaia gvardiiaduring 1968; (2) a searing attack on...

  13. 10 The Contemporary Russian Nationalist Spectrum
    (pp. 242-273)

    No task is more urgent and necessary for Western analysts of the Soviet Union than to distinguish between the various tendencies of contemporary Russian nationalism. A failure to do so will inevitably lead to misreadings of ideological alignments in the USSR and to flawed and potentially misleading policy recommendations. Unquestionably, the two most significant tendencies in present-day Russian nationalism are (1) what Solzhenitsyn has named the “Russian national and religious renaissance” whose adherents I shall callvozrozhdentsy(from the Russian word for “renaissance”);³ and (2) the tendency usually termed National Bolshevism. The vozrozhdentsy will be treated first.

    Virtually all dissenting...

  14. 11 Theoretical Considerations and Policy Recommendations
    (pp. 274-290)

    This concluding chapter will deal with several theoretical questions connected with the study of Russian nationalism and then essay some recommendations concerning the policy which the West, and more particularly the United States, ought to develop toward the phenomenon examined in this book. It will be shown that present attitudes toward Russian nationalism in the West are often ill-informed and counterproductive and may even be potentially threatening to world peace.

    I have frequently employed the word “nationalism” in this study without, however, addressing the theoretical issue of whether or not the phenomenon being discussed does in fact constitute a nationalism....

  15. Postscript
    (pp. 291-294)

    The following recent developments and events, which were not covered in the text of this book, seemed worthy of mention.

    During 1981-1982, there occurred what might be called the “Nash sovremennikaffair,” an episode perhaps approaching in political significance theMolodaia gvardiiaaffair of the late sixties. Early in 1982,Kommunist,chief ideological organ of the Party Central Committee, published two sharp attacks on Vladimir Soloukhin for his “flirtation with goddie” (zaigryvanie s bozhen’koi) and his “religio-mystical ideas and sentiments” contained in aphoristic meditations, which had appeared in an article entitled “Pebbles in the Palm [of a Hand],” in an...

  16. Appendices
    (pp. 295-354)
  17. Index
    (pp. 355-363)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 364-364)