Policy Memos

Russia's Nationalist Consolidation: Love it or Leave it?

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More than sixty years ago, Russia experienced a radical ideological transition that in some respects strikingly resembles the processes taking place today. In the late twenties, Communist ideology in Russia was in a profound crisis. The austere and naive economic policies of so-called Military Communism were abandoned in 1920. The New Economic Policy, which allowed some private entrepreneurship, eased the social tensions that had to be ruthlessly suppressed in the early twenties, but only at the price of undermining the ideological legitimacy of the Communist government. The world revolution failed to materialize. Instead, a large part of Europe was increasingly an arena for various nationalist parties and regimes. The Communist idea of a cosmopolitan proletariat who had no fatherland and whose only enemy was the international bourgeoisie obviously did not work. The price paid for the sake of Communism was immense. In general, Russian Communism seemed a major failure. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Department of Sociology
Higher School of Economics, Moscow