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History, Memory and Nation Building in the Post-Soviet Colonial Space

  • Taras Kuzio
Extract

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in December 1991 led to the de-colonization of the world's last remaining empire. Taking this into account, this article seeks to argue two points. Firstly, many of the imperial policies imposed by the imperial core in the Soviet empire were similar in nature to those imposed by imperial powers in Ireland, Africa, and Asia. Secondly, the nation and state building policies of the post-Soviet colonial states are therefore similar to those adopted in many other post-colonial states because they also seek to remove some—or all—of the inherited colonial legacies. A central aspect of overcoming this legacy is re-claiming the past from the framework imposed by the former imperial core and thereby creating, or reviving, a national historiography that helps to consolidate the new national state. All states, including those traditionally defined as lying in the “civic West,” have in the past—and continue to—use national historiography, myths, and legends as a component of their national identities.

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Notes

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4. The Russian SFSR obtained republican institutions only in 1990 with the rise of Russian republican leader and future President Borys Yeltsin.

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11. See Frayling, Canon Nicholas, “An English Repentance,” The Guardian, 11 March 2000.

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13. Said, Edward, Culture and Imperialism (London: Vintage, 1994), p. 266.

14. Paxman, Jeremy, The English. A Portrait (London: Penguin, 1999), p. 45. See also Hickman, Mary J., “Reconstructing, Deconstructing ‘Race': British Political Discourses about the Irish,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1998, pp. 288–307.

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21. In a 1993 poll of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation three quarters believed that Ukrainians were not a separate people and therefore should not have an independent state. See Goble, Paul A., “The Ukrainian Security Trap,” The Ukrainian Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3, 1994, p. 230.

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27. Smith, Anthony D., “Ethnic Myths and Ethnic Revivals,” Journal of European Sociology, Vol. 25, 1984, p. 288. Myths are divided by Smith into six component parts—myths of origin, myths of migration and/or liberation, myths of descent, myths of the heroic age, myths of communal decline and myths of rebirth and reawakening. The entire issue of Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1991 is devoted to “Archaeology and Nationalism.”

28. Friedman, , “The Past in the Future,” p. 801.

29. Kuzio, , “Identity and Nation Building in Ukraine.”

30. Friedman, , “The Past in the Future,” p. 854. See also Parkins, Helen, “Archeology and Nationalism: Excavating the Foundations of Identity,” Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997, pp. 451458; and Kohl, Philip L., “Nationalism and Archeology: On the Reconstruction of the Remote Past,” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 27, 1998, pp. 223–246.

31. Kymlicka, Will, Multicultural Citizenship (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), p. 189.

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36. Chatterjee, Partha, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1986), p. 37.

37. Fanon, Franz, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963), pp. 210211.

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41. Rubin, Barnett, “Conclusion: Managing Normal Instability,” in Rubin, Barnett and Snyder, Jack, eds, Post-Soviet Political Order. Conflict and State Building (London: Routledge, 1998), p. 177.

42. Snyder, Jack, “Introduction: Reconstructing Politics Amidst the Wreckage of Empire,” in Ibid., p. 8.

43. Beissinger, Mark, “Demise of an Empire-State: Identity, Legitimacy, and the Deconstruction of Soviet Politics,” in Young, Crawford, ed., The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism. The Nation-State at Bay? (Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 1993), p. 110.

44. Beissinger, Mark, “The Persisting Ambiguity of Empire,” Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1995, p. 157.

45. Ibid, p. 173.

46. Ibid.

47. See Schopflin, George, “National Identity in the Soviet Union and East Central Europe,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1991, pp. 314.

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50. Calhoun, Craig, “Nationalism and Ethnicity,” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 19, 1993, pp. 225226. See also Alonso, Ana M., “The Politics of Space, Time and Substance: State Formation, Nationalism and Ethnicity,” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 23, 1994, p. 387.

51. Emerson, , From Empire to Nation, p. 150.

52. Skak, Mette, From Empire to Anarchy. Postcommunist Foreign Policy and International Relations (London: Hurst, 1996), pp. 18, 21. See also Weiner, Myron, “Political Integration and Political Development,” Annals of the American Academy of Politics and Social Science, Vol. 358, 1965, pp. 52–64.

53. Emerson, , From Empire to Nation, p. 380.

54. Smolicz, Jerzy J., “Tradition, Core Values and Intercultural Development in Plural Societies,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 11, No. 4, 1988, p. 394.

55. See Eke, Stephen and Kuzio, Taras, “The Socio-Political Roots of Authoritarian Populism in Belarus,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2000, pp. 523547.

56. Ibid.

57. Carr, E. H., What is History? (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), p. 90.

58. Literaturna Ukraiina, 6 October 1988.

59. Kul'tura i Zhyttia, 7 February and 13 March 1988.

60. Pravda Ukrainy, 9 June and 31 July 1987.

61. Radianska Ukraiina, 3 March; and Kul'tura i Zhyttia, 13 March 1988.

62. See Kuzio, Taras, Ukraine. Perestroika to Independence (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 9495 and 101–104.

63. Kolsto, , Political Construction Sites, p. 35. See also Kuzio, Taras, “Historiography and National Identity Among the Eastern Slavs: Towards a New Framework,” National Identities, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2001, pp. 109132.

64. Extracted from Kuchma's speech in the west Ukrainian city of L'viv on the eightieth anniversary of the Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) of 1918 (Uriadovyi Kurier, 3 November 1998).

65. Wanner, Catherine, Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine. Post-Communist Cultural Studies (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), p. xxiv.

66. Ibid, p. 103.

67. Kuzio, Taras, “Ukrainians in Search of Their Identity,” RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 193, 5 October 2000.

68. See Kuzio, Taras, “Borders, Symbolism and Nation-State Building: Ukraine and Russia,” Geopolitics and International Boundaries, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1997, pp. 3656; and Kuzio, Taras, “Russia Continues to Hold Up Border Demarcation with Ukraine,” RFE/RL Newsline, 30 October 2001.

69. See chapter 9, “History, Myths and Symbols” in Kuzio, , Ukraine. State and Nation Building, pp. 198229.

70. Quoted from L. Kuchma's Preface to Mykhailo Hrushevs'kyi (Kyiv: Ukraiina, 1996).

71. Popson, Nancy, “History Textbooks in Ukraine: Introducing Children to the ‘Ukrainian Nation',” paper prepared for the annual convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, New York, 13–15 April 2000, p. 8. Published as “The Ukrainian History Textbook: Introducing Children to the ‘Ukrainian Nation',” Nationalities Papers, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2001, pp. 325350.

72. See Stepanenko, Victor, The Construction of Identity and School Policy in Ukraine (Nova Science, 1999); and Janmaat, Jan G., “Identity Construction and Education: The History of Ukraine in Soviet and Post-Soviet Schoolbooks,” in Taras Kuzio and Paul D'Anieri, eds, Nation Building and National Security in Ukraine (Westport: Praeger, 2002).

73. Jilge, Wilfried, “Staatssymbolik und Nationale Identitat in der Postkommunistischen Ukraine,” Ethnos-Nation, Vol. 6, Nos 1–2, 1998, pp. 85113.

74. For example, see Bich, Pavel, “Ruskaia kul'tura, belaruski kharakhtar i ekanomika,” Litaratura i mastatsva, 19 February 1993.

75. Sanford, George, “Nation, State and Independence in Belarus,” Contemporary Politics, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997, p. 230.

76. Lindner, Rainer, “Besieged Past: National and Court Historians in Lukashenka's Belarus,” paper delivered to the Annual Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, Columbia University, 16 April 1999.

77. Bic, Michas, “On the National Conception of History and Historical Education in the Republic of Belarus,” Belarusian Historical Journal, March 1993, p. 23.

78. Mihalisko, Kathleen J., “Belarus: Retreat to Authoritarianism,” in Dawisha, Karen and Parrott, Bruce, eds, Democratic Change and Authoritarian Reaction in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 246.

79. Zvyazda, 18 August 1995.

80. See Kuzio, Taras and Nordberg, Marc, “Nation and State Building, Historical Legacies and National Identities in Belarus and Ukraine: A Comparative Analysis,” Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, Vol. 26, Nos 1–2, 1999, pp. 6990.

81. IFEX Action Alert, 15 July 1999.

82. Zvyazda, 18 August 1995.

83. RFE/RL Newsline, 25 February 1999.

84. Burant, Stephen R., “Belarus and the ‘Belarusian Irrendenta’ in Lithuania,” Nationalities Papers, Vol. 25, No. 4, 1997, p. 654.

85. As Marples, David writes, “Contemporary Belarusians tend to look to the Soviet past with nostalgia.” See his Belarus. A Denationalised Nation (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999), p. 23.

86. Batt, Judy, “Federalism Versus Nationalism in Post-Communist State Building: The Case of Moldova,” Regional and Federal Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1997, p. 25.

87. Ibid., p. 29.

88. Infotag, 11 February 1998.

89. King, Charles, “Moldovan Identity and the Politics of Pan-Romanianism,” Slavic Review, Vol. 53, No. 2, 1994, p. 368.

90. Ibid., p. 357.

91. Moskovskiy Komsomolets, 29 January 1998.

92. King, , “Moldovan Identity and the Politics of Pan-Romanianism,” p. 368.

93. See “The Central Asian States as Nationalizing States,” in Smith, Graham, Law, Vivien, Wilson, A., Bohr, Annette and Allworth, Edward, Nation-building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands. The Politics of National Identities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 139166.

94. See Akiner, Shirin, “Melting Pot, Salad-Bowl or Cauldron? Manipulation and Mobilization of Ethnic, and Religious Identities in Central Asia,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1997, pp. 362398.

95. See Boudreaux, Richard, “5 Nations in Search of Identity,” Los Angeles Times, 25 December 1996.

96. Delovaya nedelya, 11 June 1998.

97. See Kolsto, Pal, “Anticipating Demographic Superiority: Kazakh Thinking on Integration and Nation Building,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 50, No. 1, 1998, pp. 5169; Bremmer, Ian, “Nazarbaev and the North: State Building and Ethnic Relations in Kazakhstan,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, 1994, pp. 619–635; and Bhavina Dave, “National Revival in Kazakhstan: Language Shift and Identity Change,” Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1996, pp. 51–72.

98. See Kuzio, Taras, “Nationalist Riots in Kazakhstan,” Central Asian Survey, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1988, pp. 79100.

99. Michnik, Adam, “Speaking with the Kazakh President,” Transitions, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1997, p. 29.

100. See Kuzio, Taras, “Nationalising States or Nation Building: A Review of the Theoretical Literature and Empirical Evidence,” Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001, pp. 135154; and Kuzio, Taras, “The Myth of the Civic State: A Critical Survey of Hans Kohn's Framework for Understanding Nationalism,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1,2002, pp. 20–39.

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