[OPE-L:2098] Re: Non-Russians lot in USSR was not a happy one [digression]

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 7 May 1996 01:47:26 -0700

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>It should be stressed that Stalin's policies toward non-Russian
>nationalities within the USSR represented a radical departure from the
>policies initiated after the revolution by Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
>This question, IMHO, is *essential* for understanding the dissolution of
>the USSR. I believe that, in the last instance, it was not the question
>of bureaucratic inefficiencies in the planning structure, lack of
>consumption goods or even the lack of workers' democracy that led to the
>ending of the USSR. Rather, it was the *national question*.

It represented a radical departure because it was a retreat to the
Austro marxist position of cultural autonomy. The new republics had
ideological state apparatuses which proceeded to create national cultures,
national interpretations of history etc, and thus provided the grounds
for the creation of future bourgeois states.

The original argument in 'On the national question' was that one should
have a clear choice between a unitary state and independent states, that
a policy of national autonomy could only in the long run aggravate national
distinctions. In hindsight, Stalins original pre-revolution, Jacobin sentiments
seem to have been sounder.
Paul Cockshott