Posted by Alexander on March 09, 2004 at 10:24:16:
In Reply to: Russian Language History posted by Lynn on March 09, 2004 at 07:13:06:
I saw your internal family affair and hope to contribute to a better understanding among each other. To say that Mr. Dzhugashvili (Stalin) encouraged the use of Russian language is an understatement. One could say he encouraged also to travel for those who actualy faced deportation and massacre. That he de-nationlised his surname into Stalin could be a start.
For a better introduction to a possible answer I point your attention on the following lines and hope to have contributed to an answer.
He was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on December 21, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. His parents were both Georgian peasants. Although neither of them spoke Russian, Stalin was forced to learn it because it was the language of instruction at the Gori church school that he attended in 1888-94. He was the best pupil in the school and earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary.
It is a well-known fact that Stalin personally did not liked people in diaspora, ethnic groups etcetera Jews. He also detested the British, the Chechens and several other nationalities. He had a narrow Russian nationalist chauvinist outlook. He was very far removed from the internationalism that was characteristic of Lenin and the Bolshevik party before the party succumbed to the Stalinist degeneration. While he definitely had these traits he also liked to cosy up to different petit-bourgeois nationalist movements in different countries.
Towards the end of the 1920s he had developed a strong relationship with Chang Kai Shek's Kuomintang. In spite of this "friendship" that cosy relationship ended with the massacre of the Chinese communists in Nanking.
Later he was to push the Spanish Communists into an alliance with the so-called "progressive wing" of the Spanish bourgeoisie in the 1930s. This was to lead to the defeat of the Spanish revolution. NKVD agents (the then KGB, or Russian intelligence services) were actively involved in such manoeuvres
During the Second World War Stalin formed an alliance with the Anglo-American bourgeoisie. Part of this was an agreement that was to lead to the liquidation of the Comintern (the Communist International). In Greece it led to the open betrayal of the Greek Communists who were left to be massacred by the British forces after the war.
All these "alliances" ended in big disappoints for "comrade" Stalin and what was even worse, they led to a large number of victims among the workers in the countries where this false policy was applied. However, there are people who never learn, and Stalin was one of these. The Zionist movement thus became the next adventure that Stalin steeped himself in. In the period immediately after the Second World War the Zionists were in conflict with the British masters of Palestine and were looking around for new friends.
Lenin hated Great Russian chauvinism with a passion and fought against it all his life. Stalin, on the other hand, based himself on it. He was himself a Georgian – a nationality oppressed by Russian tsarism for a long time. But just as the Corsican Bonaparte became the most passionate advocate of French centralism, so did Stalin embrace all the most negative features of Great Russian nationalism. In the autumn of 1945, in one of his victory speeches, Stalin referred to the leading role in the defeat of Hitler played by "the Russian people". This was a slap in the face for all the other peoples of the USSR who had fought against the Nazi invaders. It was also the announcement of a revival of Great Russian nationalism.
During the Revolution, most of the people of the Caucasus (except the Georgians who inclined to Menshevism) had supported the Bolsheviks, and they gained a lot from the Revolution. The Bolsheviks built roads and schools and brought civilization to the backward tribes of the Caucasus. They emancipated the women, who had been enslaved and oppressed. Ante Ciliga recalls a discussion at a Party school in Ingushetia in the late 1920s:
"A woman student of the school, chairman of a Soviet in an aoul of Kabardia, spoke in the course of the discussion. This fifty-year old woman expressed with serious enthusiasm, the hopes that mountain peoples were building on the Soviet Rule; with indignation she recalled the age-old oppression by the Czarist colonizers; at last, her eyes ablaze, she spoke of the emancipation of the Caucasian women, at one time uneducated and enslaved – an emancipation, all credit for which belonged to the October revolution." (Ante Ciliga, The Russian Enigma, pp. 42-3.)
But all these gains were undermined by Stalin. In the Second World War, he had whole peoples deported to the icy wastes of Siberia for alleged disloyalty. Seven nationalities – Volga Germans, Crimean Tartars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingushi, Karachai and Balkars - were deported en masse. No exceptions were made – Communists, trade unionists, even soldiers from the front line, decorated for bravery in their fight against Hitler's armies – all were loaded onto the trucks of Stalin's GPU and shipped off to the frozen wilderness of Siberia, where many died of cold and hunger. The total number of deportees exceeded one million. A bitter legacy of hate was left behind, the poisoned fruits of which are still producing suffering and death today.
The most poisonous expression of Russian nationalism is anti-Semitism. The Bolshevik Party waged an implacable struggle against this Black Hundred ideology and fought the racist mobs on the streets arms in hand. After the October revolution, many prominent leaders of the Soviet state were of Jewish extraction. This was not surprising since the Jews, as one of the most oppressed layers of society, had always played a most active role in the revolutionary movement.
As early as the late 1920s, the Stalinists were using anti-Semitic poison in their attacks against the Left Opposition. But this was done in whispers, not publicly. Such a thing would have been considered shocking at that time, when the traditions of Leninist internationalism were not yet dead. But with the advance of the Stalinist political counterrevolution, these anti-Marxist tendencies grew stronger.
After the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, Litvinov, who was Jewish, was removed as foreign minister to please Berlin. There were thinly-veiled anti-Semitic tendencies emerging in the USSR before the German invasion. These tendencies had to be kept under control during the War. But they emerged with redoubled force after 1945. The Bolsheviks had allowed complete freedom for the development of Jewish culture. By 1949 all Yiddish publications were closed, as was the Yiddish theatre. A thinly disguised campaign of anti-Semitism was launched, using words like "rootless cosmopolitan" as a synonym for Jew. In 1953, almost all the leaders of Jewish culture in the USSR were shot. Mass arrests of Jews were taking place and this was only halted by Stalin's death.
The anti-Semitic tendency was exported to the other Stalinist Parties in Eastern Europe, where Stalin organized a series of show trials of the leaders of the "Communist" Parties, like that of Slansky in Czechoslovakia. Many of the defendants were Jewish. Most were shot. As a result, many of the Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union, who had seen the October revolution as their great hope, lost all faith in it and campaigned to go to Israel. The paradox is that at the time of the Revolution the Zionists had almost no support among the Jews of Russia, despite the terrible pogroms and oppression that characterised tsarist Russia. It took Joseph Stalin and the anti-Semitic poison propagated of the Great Russian bureaucracy to create sympathy and support for reactionary Zionism in the USSR.
Chris Ward "Stalins Russia" London 1993, ISBN 0-340-73151-6
Ward reminds that Stalin as early as 1931 disavowed egalitarianism in the treatment of different kinds of employees (p. 48) - an approach that was later extended to, among others, educational policy when fees were introduced in secondary education in 1940 (p. 231). History syllabi were rewritten in a nationalist fashion, and Russian language forcefully introduced as the lingua franca of the Soviet Union. Family policies turned conservative, and male homosexuality was re-criminalized. After the war, the Zhdanovshchina continued earlier trends in Stalinist cultural policy promoting nationalism, xenophobia and ethnic bigotry. Soviet patriotism merged further with Russian nationalism, and an only thinly disguised antisemitic campaign characterized the last years of Stalin's rule (pp. 228-243). A "new conservative ethos" replaced militant radicalism, and "Russian nationalism displaced socialist internationalism," (p. 247).
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