How were minorities viewed in USSR

HIST: Discussions about the last 4000 years of history, give or take a few days.

Moderators: Thanas, K. A. Pital

Post Reply
User avatar
mr friendly guy
The Doctor
Posts: 10017
Joined: 2004-12-12 10:55pm
Location: In a 1960s police telephone box somewhere in Australia

How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by mr friendly guy » 2012-11-27 12:01am

In modern times we hear of the rise of Neo Nazis in Russia, quite ironic given the history the USSR played in fighting the Nazis. In modern day these Neo Nazi's target foreign students, people from former USSR republics etc for racist attacks.

I was wondering how minority groups including foreign students, non Russian minorities were viewed and treated in the times of the USSR. Not just how they were treated by the government, but how they were treated by other minorities and by "average" Russians.
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Countries I have been to.
Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, USA.
Always on the lookout for more nice places to visit.

User avatar
spaceviking
Jedi Knight
Posts: 853
Joined: 2008-03-20 05:54pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by spaceviking » 2012-11-27 12:23am

I do not recall any articles about how the average Soviet citizen viewed minorities, though I assume many of them viewed Russians as the greatest contributor to the Soviet Union. As evidenced by Stalin's toast at the Reception in Honour of Red Army Commanders Given by the Soviet Government in the Kremlin on Thursday, May 24, 1945. I also know the Russian people felt resentment towards German soviets for their standard of living compared to theirs.

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20238
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by K. A. Pital » 2012-12-10 09:45am

Pretty ok if you ask me. Nationalism in the racist/chauvinist sense was heavily disparaged, so... Although of course being a Jew might have led to academic discrimination due to unofficial antisemitism, which was especially strong after the early 50s and until the late 70s I'd say, this is still a system-related treatment; in common life people wouldn't be attacking each other for being a minority. With one notable exception - Germans were subjected to quite a few insults after WWII.
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30761
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Thanas » 2012-12-10 10:17am

Not just insults, also widespread discrimination. It was very hard to become a party member after WWII and get into lucrative positions, nevermind the deportations that happened during the war.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20238
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by K. A. Pital » 2012-12-10 11:34am

Thanas wrote:Not just insults, also widespread discrimination. It was very hard to become a party member after WWII and get into lucrative positions, nevermind the deportations that happened during the war.
The OP specifically asked how people, not govt, viewed minorities:
Not just how they were treated by the government, but how they were treated by other minorities and by "average" Russians.
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30761
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Thanas » 2012-12-10 02:43pm

"Not just how" is not exclusive.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
mr friendly guy
The Doctor
Posts: 10017
Joined: 2004-12-12 10:55pm
Location: In a 1960s police telephone box somewhere in Australia

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by mr friendly guy » 2012-12-10 07:26pm

Since I wrote the OP I wanted both the government and the people, but particularly the people. The reason is I wanted to know whether the racism and xenophobia we hear is a more recent phenomena, or just something that was always under the surface.
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Countries I have been to.
Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, USA.
Always on the lookout for more nice places to visit.

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30761
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Thanas » 2012-12-11 06:51am

I cannot speak much about the USSR but in case of former communist countries like Poland and Eastern Germany it seems to have always been something bubbling under the surface. I'd be surprised if the USSR proper was much different.

However, the extent to which these tendencies were present is pretty hard to quantify considering the extreme hardship caused by the economic collapse of the 90s. No doubt that played a large role in pushing towards extremism as well.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
PeZook
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13237
Joined: 2002-07-18 06:08pm
Location: Poland

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by PeZook » 2012-12-13 06:51am

Well, on Poland I can say that due to antisemitic policies, basically all out of 280-300 thousand Jewish survivors of the Holocaust emigrated, most to the US or Israel, and in 1946 a pogrom happened in Kielce. People blame this one on the secret police, but how the hell do you get crowd into a murderous rage if there's no popular antisemitism present?

Right now only some 1 thousand Jews remain in Poland, according to the latest census.

Obviously, Germans were treated really bad after the war, with mass forced deportations and discrimination. Silesians, on the other hand, were glorified and portrayed as ethnic, patriotic Poles by the state media - I have no idea why, maybe to publically reinforce the idea Silesia rightfully belonged to Poland?
Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30761
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Thanas » 2012-12-13 08:58am

I think it may be harkening back to the Polish takeover attempt of Silesia after WWI, which largely used the polish population there and caused bitter civil fighting between German and Polish settlers there.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
PeZook
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13237
Joined: 2002-07-18 06:08pm
Location: Poland

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by PeZook » 2012-12-13 09:04am

Thanas wrote:I think it may be harkening back to the Polish takeover attempt of Silesia after WWI, which largely used the polish population there and caused bitter civil fighting between German and Polish settlers there.
Yeah, the Silesian Uprisings are a major part of our history and Silesia was fought over, like, all the damn time, so I figured the communist government wanted to underscore how Polish the Silesians were.

Probably helped that most of the ethnic Germans were kicked out after the war :P
Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20238
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by K. A. Pital » 2012-12-13 09:09am

If there were no Germans left, then probably Poland was correct that Silesians were Polish... from now on, heh. But seriously, the anti-German animosity in Poland is even easier to understand than the anti-German sentiment in the USSR - Poland lost like almost 20% of the population, didn't it?
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

User avatar
PeZook
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13237
Joined: 2002-07-18 06:08pm
Location: Poland

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by PeZook » 2012-12-13 09:16am

Stas Bush wrote:If there were no Germans left, then probably Poland was correct that Silesians were Polish... from now on, heh.
Well, it's not like you can just erase the centuries of mixing German, Polish, Hungarian and Czech influences in the culture of Silesia. It's a real melting pot of ethnicities, and the language and customs have elements from all over.

Same for the kasebe people who live in my own area: they have a very mixed and unique language, descended from Pomeranian tribes and then mixed for centuries with German, Lithuanian, Russian and Polish influences. Still, there is no question that they consider themselves Polish now, even though a somwhat vocal autonomy movement exists.
Stas Bush wrote:But seriously, the anti-German animosity in Poland is even easier to understand than the anti-German sentiment in the USSR - Poland lost like almost 20% of the population, didn't it?
Yeah, around that percentage - about 6 million, half of that were Polish Jews, the rest ethnic Poles.
Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

User avatar
spaceviking
Jedi Knight
Posts: 853
Joined: 2008-03-20 05:54pm

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by spaceviking » 2012-12-13 02:53pm

What is interesting is how early Soviet policies were kind of a mixed bag. The Bolsheviks encouraged nationalism among smaller non-Russian minorities, but with the assumption that this nationalism was only a temporary and would be given up as the people modernized and industrialized. Despite the opposite being true.

Pelranius
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3539
Joined: 2006-10-24 11:35am
Location: Around and about the Beltway

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Pelranius » 2012-12-14 11:17am

PeZook wrote:.

Obviously, Germans were treated really bad after the war, with mass forced deportations and discrimination. Silesians, on the other hand, were glorified and portrayed as ethnic, patriotic Poles by the state media - I have no idea why, maybe to publically reinforce the idea Silesia rightfully belonged to Poland?
Don't the vast majority of ethnic German Polish citizens live around Opole in Silesia nowadays?
Turns out that a five way cross over between It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the Ali G Show, Fargo, Idiocracy and Veep is a lot less funny when you're actually living in it.

User avatar
CaptHawkeye
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2939
Joined: 2007-03-04 06:52pm
Location: Korea.

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by CaptHawkeye » 2013-01-04 06:25pm

spaceviking wrote:What is interesting is how early Soviet policies were kind of a mixed bag. The Bolsheviks encouraged nationalism among smaller non-Russian minorities, but with the assumption that this nationalism was only a temporary and would be given up as the people modernized and industrialized. Despite the opposite being true.
The Bolsheviks had a lot of things they would have liked to do but often had to pick more pragmatic options. Russia was in a state of anarchy when they took over after all. It wasn't until Stalin that some of the party's plans like the collective farming and industrializing actually happened. Mainly because he was utterly ruthless about the implementation of those ideas. He had no more enemies after Trotsky was defeated and booted out of the country. Public opinion didn't matter once the Whites were gone and Lenin was dead. So he didn't have to be very careful.

Nationalism was encouraged amongst minorities because the Bolsheviks believed communism should not be identified as exclusive to Slavs. Many of the Slavic minorities living in Russia identified themselves with their territory. Like Ukrainians and Lithuanians. Other things like religion were seen as obstacles to true acceptance of communism. And not just the Orthodox Church, their was a large Muslim minority living in Soviet Russia as well.

Of course once Stalin came to power the nationalist agenda came to full force since it helped him control the state. By then the Bolsheviks had given up the idea of world-wide acceptance of communism anyway.
Best care anywhere.

Pelranius
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3539
Joined: 2006-10-24 11:35am
Location: Around and about the Beltway

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Pelranius » 2013-01-05 02:52pm

Quick PoO: Lithuanians aren't Slavic, they're Balts.
Turns out that a five way cross over between It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the Ali G Show, Fargo, Idiocracy and Veep is a lot less funny when you're actually living in it.

User avatar
Iron Bridge
Youngling
Posts: 118
Joined: 2012-12-19 10:23am

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by Iron Bridge » 2013-01-05 04:18pm

Aside from internal divisions between various white national groups, does anyone know about the USSR's immigration laws? Given that the USSR was richer than most of Africa and fairly well regarded there at the time, it is surprising that the Warsaw Pact remained pretty much entirely mono-racial. Was it possible for an African to become a Soviet citizen?

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20238
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: How were minorities viewed in USSR

Post by K. A. Pital » 2013-01-06 06:44am

Iron Bridge wrote:Aside from internal divisions between various white national groups, does anyone know about the USSR's immigration laws? Given that the USSR was richer than most of Africa and fairly well regarded there at the time, it is surprising that the Warsaw Pact remained pretty much entirely mono-racial. Was it possible for an African to become a Soviet citizen?
Yes, but only if said African was lucky enough to enroll as a student in a Soviet university. Which required passing in a quota. Before the late 1980s Western Europe did not have as many migrants as it has now, too - immigration was a lot weaker back then. Not to mention that the USSR mostly accepted personnel from nations it had friendly relations with at the time (e.g. Vietnam).
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

Post Reply