What words would you use to describe the figure of Stalin in the image? What message does the image send about life in the Soviet Union? What difficulties might a dictator experience when trying to control a huge country with so many ethnic and cultural nations?
The former Soviet Union – which included the modern day countries of Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, along with several others. The reality of the USSR was Stalin was a dictator, who is responsible for the deaths of up to 60 million people, including women and children as a result of state-created famines, forced labour camps, and deportation.
What is Ultranationalism? An extreme form of nationalism, an exaggerated sense of national interest. Ultranationalism occurs when people of a nation put the interests of their nation above everything else, often at the expense of other people and nations. Leads to a belief that the people of a particular nation are inherently ‘better’ than the people of other nations. Can lead to racism and ‘ethnocentrism’ Ultranationalists often promote their own national interests, whether they are economic, social, or cultural, while ignoring the national interests of others.
From Nationalism to Ultranationalism Many people agree that ultranationalism includes elements of racism and fanaticism It can lead to conflict However the ‘line in the sand’ between nationalism and ultranationalism is hard to determine, not everyone shares the same ideas concerning the two For example: Building a strong military may be viewed as nationalistic in your own country, but ultranationalistic in another, especially if it threatens your national security. (Cuba/Russia/USA)
Kosovo In February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. This forced long standing tensions to surface between the people who lived there. Traditionally Kosovo has endured religious intolerance and persecution. 80% of Kosovars are Muslim, 10% are Orthodox Christians. 90% of the population are ethnic Albanians, 10% are ethnic Serbian. National Identity is very closely tied to Religious identity. During the 1990’s conflict between the two groups was so severe, the United Nations was called in to run the territory of Kosovo. Serbians living in the area had to live in UN protected areas.
Kosovo UN peacekeepers as well as NATO troops patrolled the border between Kosovo and Serbia The declaration of independence by Kosovo has led many Serbians to the brink of Ultranationalism since they fear not only the loss of territory, but the loss of National Identity associated with sites linked with Serbian culture and traditions since the 14 th century. Many Serbians state “Kosovo is ours” and “Kosovo is Serbia”, this often leads to violence.
Russia Up to 1919, Russia was ruled by an Absolute Monarch. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was an attempt to force change upon Russia to improve the living conditions of the Russian people. The revolution ended with the assassination of the Royal family, and millions of people suffering the effects of hunger and hardships due to the First World War. In 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed and in 1928 Joseph Stalin emerged as the leader of the nation. He alone would decide what was in the national interest of the USSR.
Russia and the Ukraine The Ukraine made up one of the largest ethnic groups in Russia When Stalin implemented the Collective Farms, many people in the Ukraine refused to comply, and as a result, Stalin confiscated all of their crops using force and intimidation. Up to 10 million people died as a result of starvation in the 1930’s. Stalin also outlaws the Ukrainian language and customs in public The Ukrainians were the largest ethnic group of political prisoners in the slave labour camps
Russia Stalin’s first act was to confiscate all farmers’ land and order them to work the new collective state farms. Approximately 5 million people rejected the new work order and were sent to prison camps in Siberia or Central Asia. Stalin wanted Soviet Nationalism to replace any of the 100 distinct national loyalties in Russia. Any group that objected was treated as a criminal nation and sent to slave labour camps in Siberia. Stalin cleared any of the potential “enemies to Communism” from political office. Millions were sent to prison camps, among them… an 85 year old woman who made the sign of the cross, a writer that insulted Stalin in a private letter, and a man who took down the picture of Stalin to pain a wall.