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Seminar 11

The Imperial Dimension of Stalinism


  • Is there a link between Soviet nationality policy of the 1920s and the 1930s?
  • How autonomous were the Soviet republics and the autonomous territories?
  • Was Stalin a "maker of nations" or a "destroyer of nations"? [debate]
  • How modernising was Soviet policy in Central Asia?


Essential Reading

Martin, Terry, ‘An Affirmative Action Empire. The Soviet Union as the Highest Form of Imperialism’, in Suny/Martin, A State of Nations, pp. 67-89. (Don't wait to the last moment before reading it, only one user license). Try also this link (more licenses).

Slezkine, Yuri, ‘The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism’, Slavic Review 53 (1994), pp. 414-452. JSTOR

Edgar, Adrienne, ‘Bolshevism, Patriarchy, and the Nation: The Soviet “Emancipation” of Muslim Women in Pan-Islamic Perspective’, Slavic Review, 65 (2006), pp. 252-272.


Additional Reading

Martin, Terry, ‘Modernization or Neo-Traditionalism? Ascribed nationality and Soviet primordialism’, in Fitpatrick, Stalinism: New Directions, pp. 348-367.

Suny, Ronald Grigor and Terry Martin (eds), A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (Oxford, New York, 2001).

Beissinger, Mark R.: Soviet Empire as “Family Resemblance”, Slavic Review, 65 (2006), pp. 294-303. JSTOR

Blitstein, Peter A., ‘Cultural Diversity and the Interwar Conjuncture: Soviet Nationality Policy in its Comparative Context, Slavic Review, 65 (2006), pp. 273-293. JSTOR

Conquest, R., Stalin: Breaker of Nations (London, 2000).

Michaels, Paula A., Curative Powers: Medicine and Empire in Stalin’s Central Asia (Pittsburgh, 2003).

Yekelchyk, S., Stalin’s Empire of Memory: Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Soviet Historical Imagination (Toronto, 2004).