“Soviet Nation” vs “Soviet People”: on the Issue of Problematization of Supranational Identity

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This discussion is devoted to the methodological aspects of the concept of the "Soviet people" from the emergence of the USSR to its collapse. The participants of the discussion raised a number of important questions about the existence of such entities, sometimes representing dichotomous series: the Soviet nation/civil nation, the Soviet people/Soviet nation, ethnic education/supra-ethnic education, etc. Relying on a broad historical base and the conclusions of modern historiography, the authors place the “Soviet people” as a group community in specific regional and temporal aspects, consider the change in its meaning and content depending on state policy, the established relationship between government and society, the influence of ideological factors. An important aspect of the discussion participants’ reflections is a comparative analysis of ethnic communities in the country and the «Soviet people». Of particular note is the authors’ emphasis on the evolution of the concept: from the concept of “friendship of peoples” to the idea of the “Soviet people” itself, with the consistent identification of the characteristic features of a particular period, the analysis of those factors that determined these changes at one stage or another. In this context, it is important to change the accents of the formation of Soviet identity: multinational Soviet, national, and finally, international Soviet identity. The latter, in fact, is presented by the authors as a meta-education, which, in fact, was defined as the “Soviet people”. The desired concept is considered as part of a broader social and linguistic context. The authors determined the reasons for the formation of this concept, named the main authors and ideologists, investigated the ways and mechanisms of its formation, determined the place and role in the international communist discourse.

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