Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Neither the Russian Empire nor the USSR were nation-states but in many ways both favoured Russian culture and language. In the pre-revolutionary period it was difficult to discern a consistent ‘nationality policy’, in particular as the Tsar and his servitors were themselves hardly exemplars of pure Russian ethnicity. Thus policies described as ‘russification’ seldom aimed at cultural assimilation; rather, they sought to minimize the perceived danger posed by certain ‘troublesome’ nationalities (in particular Poles and Jews, to a lesser extent Muslims). In the Soviet period a far more activist nationality policy can be observed, in which—officially, at least—all language and cultures were seen as worthy of support and respect. In its first decades, the USSR did expend significant resources in support for cultural works (standardization of languages and alphabets in Central Asia, for example) and even to the very end an official bilingualism was observed in the non-Russian republics of the Union. In the end, however, USSR was far more effective at ‘russifying’ (in the sense of culturally assimilating) diverse ethnic populations than the Russian Empire had been.

Keywords: USSR, Russian Empire, russification, korenizatsiia, Poles, Central Asia

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.