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Racial Politics without the Concept of Race: Reevaluating Soviet Ethnic and National Purges

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2017


Eric D. Weitz argues that the Soviet Union promoted the development of national institutions and consciousness and explicidy rejected the ideology of race. Yet traces of racial politics crept into Soviet nationalities policies, especially between 1937 and 1953. In the Stalin period particular populations were endowed with immutable traits that every member of the group possessed and that were passed from one generation to the next. Recent scholarship, he suggests, has been resistant to drawing out the racial elements in the Stalinist purges of certain nationalities. Francine Hirsch challenges Weitz’s argument, arguing that the Soviet regime had a developed concept of “race,” but did not practice what contemporaries thought of as “racial politics.” Hirsch argues that while the Nazi regime attempted to enact social change by racial means, the Soviet regime aspired to build socialism dirough the manipulation of mass (national and class) consciousness. She contends that it is imperative to analyze the conceptual categories that both regimes used in order to undertake a true comparative analysis. Weiner proposes that Soviet population politics constandy fluctuated between sociological and biological categorization. Although the Soviets often came close to adapting bioracial principles and practices, at no point did they let human heredity become a defining feature of political schemes. Race in the Soviet world applied mainly to concerns for the health of population groups. Despite the capacity to conduct genocidal campaigns and operate death camps, the Soviets never sought the physical extermination of entire groups nor did they stop celebrating the multiethnicity of tiieir polity. The radicalization of state violence in the postwar era was triggered by the nature and role of the war in the Soviet world, the alleged conduct of those who failed to rise to the occasion, and the endemic unstable and unassimilated borderlands, and not by the genetic makeup of the internal enemies. Alaina Lemon’s contribution suggests that scholars seek racialized concepts by treating discourse as situated practice, rather than by separating discourse from practice. This allows consideration of the ways people use language not only to name categories but also to point to social relationships (such as “race”) with or without explicidy naming them as such. Doing so, however, is admittedly more difficult when the only available evidence of past discursive practices are printed texts or interviews. In conclusion, Weitz responds to these critics.

Copyright © Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Stuthes. 2002

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The research and writing of this article was generously supported by a Faculty Summer Research Fellowship and a McKnight Summer Research Fellowship from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota, and by the Center for German and European Studies, a consortium of the Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin-Madison that is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

For their very helpful, sharply critical readings of earlier drafts, I would like to thank Ron Aminzade, Kirsten Fischer, Peter Holquist, Mary Jo Maynes, and Amir Weiner; Sheila Fitzpatrick and Ron Suny and the participants in their Russian History Workshop at the University of Chicago; and the two anonymous reviewers for thisjournal. For research help I would like to thank Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen

1 Particularly egregious in this regard is Hobsbawm, Eric, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, 2d ed. (Cambridge, Eng., 1990).Google Scholar For more sober views on the persistence of nationalism and the national form, see Brubake, Rogersr, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge, Eng., 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Connor, Walker, Elhnonationalism: The Quest for Understanding (Princeton, 1994).Google Scholar

2 Ron Suny underscored the stark contrast between popular and scholarly understandings of the nation in a lecture at the University of Minnesota, March 2000.

3 To take the phrase from a book tide: see Burchell, Graham, Gordon, Colin, and Miller, Peter, eds., The Foucault Effect: Stuthes in Governmentality (London, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

4 Sheila Fitzpatrick captures this trend with her use of the term Homo Sovieticus in Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times. Soviet Russia in the 1930s (New York, 1999).

5 Some key works that mark the shift in perspective include: Hoffmann, David L. and Kotsonis, Yanni, eds., Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices (New York, 2000);CrossRefGoogle Scholar Kharkhordin, Oleg, The Collective and the Individual in Russia: A Study of Practices (Berkeley, 1999);Google Scholar Holquist, Peter, “State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism,“ in Weiner, Amir, ed., Landscaping the Human Garden: Twentieth-Century Population Politics in a Comparative Framework (Stanford, 2002);Google Scholar Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism; Hanson, Stephen E., Time and Revolution: Marxism and the Design of Soviet Institutions (Chapel Hill, 1997);Google Scholar Naiman, Eric, Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology (Princeton, 1997);Google Scholar Hellbeck, Jochen, “Fashioning the Stalinist Soul: The Diary of Stepan Podlubnyi (1931–1939),” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 44, no. 3 (1996): 344–73;Google Scholar Plaggenborg, Stefan, Revolutionskultur: Menschenbilder und kulturelle Praxis in Soiojetrufiland zwischen Oktoberrevolution und Stalinismus (Cologne, 1996);Google Scholar and Kotkin, Stephen, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley, 1995).Google Scholar

6 I have adapted diis phrase from Thompson’s, E. P. classic article, “Eighteenth- Century English Society: Class Struggle without Class?Social History 3, no. 2 (1978): 133–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

7 The first phrase comes from Omi, Michael and Winant, Howard, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1980s, 2d ed. (New York, 1994)Google Scholar, the second from Fredrickson, George M., Difference and Power: A Short History of Racism (Princeton, 2002).Google Scholar

8 For some examples based on stuthes of liberal polities, see Gersde, Gary, American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, 2001);Google Scholar Fredrickson, George M., The Comparative Imagination: On the History of Racism, Nationalism, and Social Movements (Berkeley, 1997);Google Scholar Tabili, Laura, We Ask for British Justice: Workers and Racial Difference in Late Imperial Britain (Ithaca, 1994);Google Scholar and Horsman, Reginald, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge, Mass., 1981).Google Scholar On the issue of race in the French Revolution, see Hunt, Lynn, ed., TheFrench Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History (Boston, 1996), 5159, 101-18;Google Scholar Singham, Shanti Marie, “‘Betwixt Catde and Men’: Jews, Blacks, and Women, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man,” in Kley, Dale Van, ed., TheFrench Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789 (Stanford, 1994), 114–53;Google Scholar Geggus, David, “Racial Equality, Slavery, and Colonial Secession during the Constituent Assembly,” American Historical Review 94, no. 5 (1989): 12901308;CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Thibau, Jacques, ed., Le Temps de Saint-Domingue: L'Esclavage et la révolution française (Paris, 1989).Google Scholar

9 See, for example, Chevalier, Louis, Laboring Classes and Dangerous Classes in Paris during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, trans. Jellinek, Frank (New York, 1973);Google Scholar Walkowitz, Judith R., Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class, and the Stale (Cambridge, Eng., 1980);CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Pick, Daniel, Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder, c.1848 —c.1918 (Cambridge, Eng., 1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar Note also Kolchin, Peter, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (Cambridge, Mass., 1987), 170–71Google Scholar, who makes a parallel argument about the racialization of serfs by Russian nobles.

10 See Smith, Anthony D., The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford, 1986).Google Scholar For some of the first scholarly stvithes, see Hayes, Carlton J. H., Essays on Nationalism (New York, 1926);Google Scholar Hayes, The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (New York, 1931); Kohn, Hans, A History of Nationalism in the East (New York, 1929);Google Scholar Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background (New York, 1944).

11 Brubaker, Rogers and Laitin, David D., “Ethnic and Nationalist Violence,” American Review of Sociology 24 (1998): 428nlCrossRefGoogle Scholar, contend that the term ethnic encompasses nationalist, but this seems misplaced to me.

12 On the nation as a “category of practice,” see Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed, 21.

13 On the definitions of ethnicity and nationality, see some of the excellent collections that have appeared in recent years, such as Guibernau, Montserrat and Rex, John, eds., The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Migration (Cambridge, Eng., 1997);Google Scholar Eley, Geoff and Suny, Ronald Grigor, eds., Becoming National: A Reader (New York, 1996);Google Scholar Dahbour, Omar and Ishay, Micheline R., The Nationalism Reader (Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1995);Google Scholar and Hutchinson, John and Smith, Anthony D., eds., Nationalism (Oxford, 1994).Google Scholar

14 I am drawing here on the recent theoretical and historical literature on race, for example, Aminzade, Ronald, “The Politics of Race and Nation: Citizenship and Africanization in Tanganyika,” Political Power and Social Theory 12 (2000): 5188;Google Scholar Cornell, Stephen and Hartmann, Douglas, Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World (Thousand Oaks, Calif., 1998);Google Scholar Fredrickson, Comparative Imagination; Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, “Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural InterprÉtation,” American Sociological Review 62, no. 3 (1997): 465–80;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Omi and Winant, Racial Formation; Balibar, Etienne and Wallerstein, Immanuel, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (London, 1991);Google Scholar Roediger, David R., The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (London, 1991).Google Scholar I leave aside some differences on particular issues among these authors and stress the common features of their interprÉtations.

15 See Fredrickson, Difference and Power, 5 (of the manuscript), who writes: “when ethnic differences are regarded as innate, indelible, and unchangeable … a racist attitude or ideology can be said to exist. “

16 Notably, one strand in the development of racial ideology originated as a defense of aristocratic class privilege in eighteenth-century France. See the discussion of the Comte de Boulainvillier’s writing in Arendt, Hannah, “Race-Thinking before Racism,” Review of Politics 6, no. 1 (1944): 4247 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and in Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West (Washington, D. C, 1996).

17 See especially Cornell and Hartmann, Ethnicity and Race, 15-38, and Omi and Winant, Racial Formation.

18 Étienne Balibar, “Is There a ‘Neo-Racism'?” in Balibar and Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class, 22; emphasis in the original. See also the similar formulation in George M. Fredrickson, “Understanding Racism: Reflections of a Comparative Historian,” in Fredrickson, Comparative Imagination, 84-85.

19 For some examples of this literature going back to the 1950s, with varying degrees of scholarly detachment, see Allworth, Edward, ed., Soviet National Problems (New York, 1971);Google Scholar Armstrong, John A., Ukrainian Nationalism, 1939-1945 (New York, 1955);Google Scholar Bilinsky, Yaroslav, The Second Soviet Republic: The Ukraine after World War II (New Brunswick, 1964);Google Scholar Connor, Walker, The National Question in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Strategy (Princeton, 1984);Google Scholar Conquest, Robert, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (London, 1970);Google Scholar d’Encausse, Hélène Carrère, L'Empire éclaté: La Révolte des nations en U.R.S.S. (Paris, 1978);Google Scholar d’Encausse, Carrère, The Great Challenge: Nationalities and the Bolshevik State, 1917-1930 (French original, 1987; New York, 1992);Google Scholar Pipes, Richard, The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923 (Cambridge, Mass., 1954);Google Scholar Reshetar, John S. Jr., The Ukrainian Revolution, 1917-1920: A Study in Nationalism (Princeton, 1952).Google Scholar See also uie individual volumes of the Hoover Institution series on the nationalities of the Soviet Union.

20 Notable exceptions include Suny, Ronald Grigor, The Making of the Georgian Nation (Bloomington, 1988)Google Scholar, and Suny, , The Baku Commune, 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution (Princeton, 1972).Google Scholar

21 Among the works to which I am responding are: Francine Hirsch, “Empire of Nations: Colonial Technologies and the Making of the Soviet Union, 1917–1939” (Ph.D., diss., Princeton University, 1998); Hirsch, “The Soviet Union as a Work-in-Progress: Edinographers and the Category Nationality in the 1926, 1937, and 1939 Censuses,” Slavic Review 56, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 251–78; Holquist, Peter, “To Count, to Extract, to Exterminate: Population Statistics and Population Politics in Late Imperial and Soviet Russia,“ in Martin, Terry and Suny, Ronald Grigor, eds., A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (Oxford, 2001);Google ScholarHolquist, “State Violence as Technique“; Holquist, “'Conduct Merciless Mass Terror': Decossackization on the Don, 1919,” Cahiers du Monde russe 38, nos. 1–2 (1997): 127–62; Holquist, “A Russian Vendée: The Practice of Revolutionary Politics in the Don Countryside” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1995); Martin, Terry D., “Terror gegen Nationen in der Sowjetunion,” Osteuropa 50, no. 6 (2000): 606–16;Google Scholar Martin, “The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” Journal of Modern History 70, no. 4 (1998): 813–861; Martin, “An Affirmative Action Empire: Ethnicity and the Soviet State, 1923-1938” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1996); Slezkine, Yuri, “N. la. Marr and the National Origins of Soviet Ethnogenetics,” Slavic Review 55, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 826–62;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Slezkine, “The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism,” Slavic Review 52, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 414–52; Slezkine, “From Savages to Citizens: The Cultural Revolution in the Soviet Far North, 1928–1938,“ Slavic Review 51, no. 1 (Spring 1992): 52–76; Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (Princeton, 2001); Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism,” American Historical Review 104, no. 4 (1999): 1114–55.

22 See especially Slezkine, “USSR as a Communal Apartment,” and Suny, Ronald Grigor, The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Stanford, 1993).Google Scholar

23 See Brubaker, “Nationhood and the National Question in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States,” Nationalism Rejramed, 23–54.

24 See especially Martin, “Affirmative Action Empire. “

25 Martin, “Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing. “

26 See Hirsch, “Soviet Union as a Work-in-Progress. “

27 See Werth, Nicolas, “Un État contre son peuple: Violences, répressions, terreurs en Union soviétique,” in Courtois, Stephane, ed., Le livre noirdu communisme: Crimes, terreur et répression (Paris, 1997), 112–17Google Scholar, and Holquist, “Russian Vendee. “

28 Holquist, “Russian Vendee,” 381.

29 Martin, “Affirmative Action Empire,” 562.

30 Weiner, Making Sense of War, and Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory. “

31 Martin, “Affirmative Action Empire,” 956–60.

32 Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1122.

33 Hirsch, “Soviet Union as a Work-in-Progress,” 276–77.

34 Stalin, J. V., “The National Question and the Soviet Constitution (1936)”, Marxism and the National Question: Selected Writings and Speeches (New York, 1942) ,218.Google Scholar

35 All these examples from Martin, “Affirmative Action Empire,” 944-47, 964-65

36 Naimark, Norman M., Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, Mass., 2001), 8992.Google Scholar

37 For summaries of the various deportations, see Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 85–107; Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory“; and N. F. Bugai, “K voprosu o deportatsii narodov SSSR v 30-40-kh godakh,” Istoriia SSSR, 1989, no. 6:135–44. Summaries can also be gleaned from some of the documents published by N. F. Bugai, for example, “‘Pogruzheny v eshelony i otpravleny k mestam poselenii …’: L. Beriia-I. Stalinu,” Istoriia SSSR, 1991, no. 1:143-60, and “20-40-e gody: Tragediia narodov,” Vostok, 1992, no. 2:122–39. See also Marie, Jean-Jacques, Les Peuples deportes d'Union sovietique (Brussels, 1995)Google Scholar, and the older but still useful work by Aleksandr M. Nekrich, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation andFate of Soviet Minorities at theEnd of the Second World War, trans. George Saunders (New York, 1978).

38 Martin, “Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” 839.

39 Ibid., 847. Other historians would date the beginning of this transition a bit later, to 1937.

40 Martin, “Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” 815.

41 See Gelb, Michael, “An Early Soviet Ethnic Deportation: The Far-Eastern Koreans,“ Russian Review 54 (1995): 389412 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and N. F. Bugai, “Vyselenie sovetskikh koreitsev s dal'nego vostoka,” Voprosy istorii, 1994, no. 5:141–48.

42 Germans were expelled from the Red Army by a decree of 8 September 1941, the others somewhat later. As late as March 1949, some 63,000 ex-Red Army solthers from targeted nationalities were counted in the special settlements, including 33,615 ethnic Germans; 8,995 Crimean Tatars; 6,184 Kalmyks; 4,248 Chechens; 2,543 Karachai; and 946 Ingush. See Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1134, and Nekrich, Punished Peoples, 83.

43 Gelb, “Early Soviet Ethnic Deportation,” 401.

44 Martin, “Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” 855, 858. Martin, though, exaggerates by claiming that the “the Great Terror had evolved into an ethnic terror” (858) since one still has to explain the other two-thirds of the victims for whom ethnicity was not the decisive factor. I diank Peter Holquist for emphasizing diis point to me.

45 Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 241, 242.

46 Bugai, “Kvoprosu o deportatsii,” 135, 137; Bugai, “20-40-e gody,” 122.

47 Werth, Nicolas, “Logiques de violence dans l'URSS stalinienne,” in Rousso, Henry, ed., Stalinisme et nazisme: Histoire et mémoire comparées (Paris, 1999), 122.Google Scholar Werdi, though, persists in labeling these actions “retrograde and regressive,” “a resurgence of obscurantist aspects“ (123), rather dian seeing their highly modernist character. In this sense, Peter Holquist’s arguments are more convincing, as in “State Violence as Technique. “

48 For a very effective general description of how these operations work, see Jacques Semelin, “Analysis of a Mass Crime: Ethnic Cleansing in the Former Yugoslavia, 1991–1999” (paper presented at the Comparative Genocides Conference, Barcelona, Spain, December 2000). Semelin emphasizes diree elements: “a hierarchy in the structure of command, a sealed up theater of operations, [and] a culture of impunity” (12–13). See also Wolfgang Sofsky, Traktat iiberthe Gewalt (Frankfurt am Main,1996).

49 The organized nature of the operations comes dirough in the documents; see, for example, Bugai, “20-40-e gody. “

50 For descriptions see Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 96–99, 101–4, and Nekrich, Punished Peoples.

51 As was the case with Balkarians. See Bugai, “K voprosu o deportatsii,” 140.

52 Norman M. Naimark, Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth Century Europe, The Donald W. Treadgold Papers in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Stuthes, no. 19 (Seatde, 1998), 22–24.

53 Werth, “Logiques,” 121–22.

54 Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 261–62, and Martin, “Terror gegen Nationen,“ 608.

55 See Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 269–76.

56 Weiner, Making Sense of War, 198; Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 276; Ronald Grigor Suny, The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States (New York, 1998), 374. Weiner writes: “[the] portrayal of Jews in the press assumed an unambiguous racial character” (Making Sense of War, 198).

57 Holquist, “Russian Vendee,” 381.

58 Martin, “Terror gegen Nationen,” 612.

59 David L. Hoffmann, “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism,” in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 255.

60 Holquist, “State Violence as Technique. ”

61 Slezkine, “USSR as a Communal Apartment,” 444.

62 Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 106.

63 Weiner, Making Sense of War, 149–50.

64 Among many works on race, see Gilman, Sander, Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul: Race and Psychology in the Shaping of Aesthetic Surgery (Durham, 1998)Google Scholar, and Mosse, George L., Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (Madison, 1985).Google Scholar

65 Weiner, Making Sense of War, 207.

66 Martin, “Terror gegen Nationen,” 611.

67 Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 106.

68 Hoffmann, “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism,” 257.

69 Hirsch, “Empire of Nations,” and Hirsch, “Soviet Union as a Work-in-Progress. “

70 Holquist, “State Violence as Technique,” 27 (of the manuscript).

71 See, again, Gerstle, American Crucible, and Tabili, We Ask for British Justice.

72 The point is emphasized by Hirsch, “Empire of Nations“; Holquist, “State Violence as Technique“; Weiner, Making Sense of War; Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity; and Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain, among others.

73 Yanni Kotsonis, “Introduction: A Modern Paradox—Subject and Citizen in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Russia,” in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 11. Or as Terry Martin argues in the same volume, “[the Bolsheviks’] attempts to organize, classify and reward their population according to sociological categories led them to reify categories they themselves viewed as constructed rather than essential. ” Martin, “Modernization or Neo-Traditionalism? Ascribed Nationality and Soviet Primordialism,“ in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 170.

74 See Martin, “Modernization or Neo-Traditionalism?“

75 See Kiernan, Ben, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 (New Haven, 1996).Google Scholar

76 Getty, J. Arch, Rittersporn, Gabor T., and Zemskov, Viktor N., “Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence,” American Historical Review 98, no. 4 (1993): 1017–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Weiner, Making Sense of War, 201-9.

77 See Klemperer, Victor, Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 2 vols., trans. Chalmers, Martin (New York, 1998–1999);Google Scholar Stoltzfus, Nathan, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany (New York, 1996);Google Scholar and Stein, George H., The Waffen SS: Hitler’s Elite Guard at War (Ithaca, 1966), 179–85.Google Scholar

78 On the dilemmas inherent in the multinational character of the empire, see Hosking, Geoffrey, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917 (Cambridge, Mass., 1997)Google Scholar, and Kappeler, Andreas, Rutland als Vielvblkerreich: Entstehung, Geschichte, Zerfall (Munich, 1993).Google Scholar Their divergent emphases can be read in tandem. See also the interesting exchange between Josh Sanborn, “The Mobilization of 1914 and the Question of the Russian Nation: A Reexamination,” and S. A. Smith, “Citizenship and the Russian Nation during World War I: A Comment,” with a rejoinder by Sanborn, “More than Imagined: A Few Notes on Modern Identities,” in Slavic Revieio 59, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 267–89, 316–329, and 330–35.

79 I thank Peter Holquist for emphasizing this point to me. On the development of the terminology of people, ethnicity, and nationality, see Nathaniel Knight, “Ethnicity, Nationality and the Masses: Narodnost' and Modernity in Imperial Russia,” in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 41–64.

80 David Hoffmann and Peter Holquist, Sculpting the Masses: The Modern Social State in Russia, 1914-1941 (Ithaca, forthcoming). I thank Peter Holquist for sending me an excerpt of this work in progress. See also Engelstein, Laura, The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle Russia (Ithaca, 1992).Google Scholar

81 Engelstein, Keys to Happiness, 128–64.

82 On the strong attraction eugenics held for the left in general, see Schwartz, Michael, Sozialistische Eugenik: Eugenische Sozialtechnologien in Debatten und Politik der deutschen Sozialdemokratie 1890-1933 (Bonn, 1995);Google Scholar Gruber, Helmut, Red Vienna: Experiment in Working-Class Culture, 1919-1934 (New York, 1991);Google Scholar Paul, Diane, “Eugenics and the Left,” Journal ofthe History of Ideas 45, no. 4 (1984): 567–90;CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed Freeden, Michael, “Eugenics and Progressive Thought: A Study in Ideological Affinity,” Historical Journal 22, no. 3 (1979): 645–71;CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed and Loren R. Graham, “Science and Human Values: The Eugenics Movement in Germany and Russia in the 1920s,” American Historical Review 82, no. 5 (1977): 1133–64.

83 Graham, “Science and Values,” 1146-50.

84 See, for example, Knight, “Ethnicity, Nationality and the Masses,” and Charles Steinwedel, “To Make a Difference: The Category of Ethnicity in Late Imperial Russian Politics, 1861-1917,” both in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 41–64 and 67–86, and Hagen, Mark von, “The Great War and the Mobilization of Ethnicity in the Russian Empire,” in Rubin, Barnett R. and Snyder, Jack, eds., Post-Soviet Political Order: Conflict and State Building (London, 1998), 3457.Google Scholar Knight writes: “Deeply rooted in the world view of Romantic idealism, narodnost’ provided a model of ethnicity that was bodi essentialist— derived from a concept of immutable identity—and at the same time cultural rather than biological in its manifestations. This is, perhaps, one reason why the racial obsessions of Western Europe throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century evoked (with a few significant exceptions) only a limited response in Russia” (“Ethnicity, Nationality and the Masses,” 58). But this seems to me to draw too sharp a distinction between biologically and culturally based essentialisms.

85 See Weinerman, Eli, “Racism, Racial Prejudice and Jews in Late Imperial Russia,“ Ethnic and Racial Stuthes 17, no. 3 (1994): 442–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar, who discounts the seriousness of racist thought in imperial Russia, while Hans Rogger,Jewish Policies and Right- Wing Politics in Imperial Russia (Berkeley, 1986), sees an advance in racial anti-Semitism, especially in the decade before World War 1.1 thank Amir Weiner for bringing these sources to my attention.

86 On the issue of continuities, see Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity; Hirsch, “Empire of Nations“; Peter Holquist, “'Information Is the Alpha and Omega of Our Work': Bolshevik Surveillance in Its Pan-European Context,” Journal of Modern History 69, no. 3 (1997): 415–50; Holquist, “To Count, to Extract, to Exterminate“; and Holquist, “State Violence as Technique. “

87 J. V Stalin, Marxism and the National Question (1913), Works, vol. 2, 1907–1913 (Moscow, 1953), 300-81.

88 See Carrére d'Encausse, Great Challenge, 35–39.

89 Ibid., 38–39.

90 Stalin, Marxism and the National Question, 307.

91 Ibid.

92 Stalin, “Deviations on the National Question” (1930), Marxism and the National Question: Selected Writings and Speeches, 208–9.

93 Ibid., 212.

94 See Hirsch, “Empire of Nations“; Hirsch, “Soviet Union as a Work-in-Progress“; Slezkine, “N. la. Marr“; and Slezkine, “USSR as a Communal Apartment. “

95 See Adams, Mark B., “Eugenics in Russia, 1900-1940,” in Adams, , ed., The Wellborn Science:Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, andRussia (New York, 1990), 153216;Google Scholar and Graham, “Science and Values. “

96 See especially Adams, “Eugenics in Russia.” Moreover, recent research on countries other than Britain and Germany has shown that eugenics is not necessarily linked to Darwinism and Mendelian genetics; it can flourish just as well with neo-Lamarckism, as in France, Brazil, and elsewhere, where greater attention was placed on environmental factors. See Dikötter, Frank, “Race Culture: Recent Perspectives on the History of Eugenics,“ American Historical Review 103, no. 2 (1998): 467–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

97 Hirsch, “Empire of Nations,” 235–36, 264–65, 278–79.

98 See Kenneth M. Pinnow, “Cutting and Counting: Forensic Medicine as a Science of Society in Bolshevik Russia, 1920–29,” and Frances L. Bernstein, ‘“The Dictatorship of Sex': Science, Glands, and the Medical Construction of Gender Difference in Revolutionary Russia,” both in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 115–37 and 138–60.

99 On the Soviets’ obsessive drive to categorize and control the population, see Paul M. Hagenloh, “Police, Crime, and Public Order in Stalin’s Russia” (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1999); Golfo Alexopoulos, “Rights and Passages: Making Outcasts and Making Citizens in Soviet Russia” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1996); and Fitzpatrick, Sheila, “Ascribing Class: The Construction of Social Identity in Soviet Russia,“ Journal of Modern History 65, no. 4 (1993): 745–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar In the 1920s and early 1930s the Soviets were already discussing sending into exile “socially dangerous” and “undesirable elements,“ including the Roma and Sinti. See the secret police documents, 7 July 1925 and 10 July 1933, in Werth, Nicolas and Moullec, Gaël, eds., Rapport secrets soviétiques: La société russe dans les documents confidentiels, 1921-1991 (Paris, 1994), 33, 4344.Google Scholar

100 Weiner, Making Sense of War, 35.

101 Martin, “Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” 816.

102 Slezkine, “USSR as a Communal Apartment,” 415.

103 Holquist’s comments strike me as too categorical: “The Soviets did not believe that an individual was irrevocably tainted by his or her biological composition … the Soviets did not believe individuals were organically malevolent from birth.” He does, however, go on to say that “at times Soviet categories operated in similar ways to deterministic racial categories (the dynamic of ethnic repression bearing the greatest similarities).” See “State Violence as Technique,” 28–29 (of the manuscript).

104 For one argument that the connection between science and racism was “accidental,“ that race thinking can thrive in association with all sorts of other modes of thought, see Jeremy Waldron, “Whose Nuremberg Laws?” London Review of Books, 19 March 1998.1 thank Thomas Lindenberger of the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung, Potsdam, for emphasizing this point to me.

105 For various examples of the use of such terms as Red Holocaust, see the stuthes in Rousso, Stalinisme et nazisme. For just two examples of the need to distinguish sharply between the Nazi and Soviet projects, see Tonyjudt, “The Longest Road to Hell,” a commentary on Courtois, ed., Le livre noir du communisme in the New York Times, 22 December 1997, and Holquist, “State Violence as Technique,” 23–24 (of the manuscript).

106 Stéphane Courtois, “Les crimes du communisme,” in Courtois, ed., Le livre noir du communisme, 9–41, as well as numerous interviews, including those in “Der rote Holocaust,“ the Zeit 48 (21 November 1997): 17–18, and “Glaube und Schuld,” the Woche (29 May 1998): 22–24, the latter also with Joachim Gauck.

107 On the Soviets’ own rejection of any comparison with the Nazis, see Hirsch, “Empire of Nations,” 266–67, 281–83; Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1122–23, 1141–49; and Holquist, “State Violence as Technique,” 25–27 (of the manuscript).

108 The work that probably best reflects this synthesis is Herbert, Ulrich, ed., Nationalsozialistische Vernichtungspolitik 1939–1945: NeueForschungen und Kontroversen (Frankfurt am Main, 1998).Google Scholar

109 From another vantage point, see Hagen, William W., “Before the ‘Final Solution': Toward a Comparative Analysis of Political Anti-Semitism in Interwar Germany and Poland,” Journal of Modern History 68, no. 2 (1996): 351–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Hagen finds extensive similarities in the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazi regime and various eastern European countries, especially Poland, in the 1930s, that is, just prior to the onset of the Holocaust. For Hagen, these similarities reflect the structural crisis of central and east European Jewry that emerged with the rise of nationalism and capitalism.

110 Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1116.

111 Ibid., 1119.

112 Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain, 364; Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1114.

113 Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory,” 1114.

114 Still, many observers persist in talking about only the class and political purges; see, for example, Wippermann, Wolfgang, Totalitarismustheorien: the Entwicklung der Diskussion von den Anfängen bis heute (Darmstadt, 1997).Google Scholar

115 See Werth, “État contre son peuple. “

116 The whole process of accommodation and complicity has been sorely neglected in the historiography on the Soviet Union. Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 295, closes his study with a suggestive comment along these lines, but diat is all. Similar shortcomings are evident in other recent general histories of the Soviet Union, for example, Service, Robert, A History of Twentieth-Century Russia (Cambridge, Mass., 1998).Google Scholar

117 I am drawing here especially from Ludtke, Alf, “Einleitung: Herrschaft als soziale Praxis,” in Luddce, , ed., Herrschaft als soziale Praxis: Historische und sozial-anthropologische Stuthen (Gottingen, 1991), 963;Google Scholar Ludtke, “the DDR als Geschichte: Zur Geschichtsschreibung iiber the DDR” (unpublished manuscript, Göttingen, 1998), 32–40; and Lindenberger, Thomas, “the Diktatur der Grenzen: Zur Einleitung,” in Lindenberger, , ed., Herrschaft und Eigen-Sinn in der Diktatur: Stuthen zur Gesellschaftsgeschichte der DDR (Cologne, 1999), 1344.Google Scholar See also Scott, James C., Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven, 1990)Google Scholar, and for a less metaphorical treatment of “face,” Alexander Laban Hinton, “Why Did You Kill? The Cambodian Genocide and the Dark Side of Face and Honor, “Journal of Asian Stuthes 57, no. 1 (1998): 93–122.

In regard to recent histories of ethnic cleansings or genocides, I would argue that an approach focused exclusively on the explicit actions of the state is too limited and loses sight of the way that, in the twentiedi century, such actions become societal projects. This criticism is applicable, for example, to the enormously important recent work by Naimark, Fires of Hatred, and to Ben Kiernan’s more general statements in, for example, “Sur la notion de genocide,” Le Débat (March-April 1999): 179–92, though not necessarily to his highly significant major study, Pol Pot Regime.

118 Vasily Grossman, Forever Flowing, trans. Thomas P. Whitney (New York, 1972).

119 Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, trans. Raymond Rosenthal (New York, 1988), 36–69.

120 See Bartov, Omer, “Defining Enemies, Making Victims: Germans, Jews, and the Holocaust,” American Historical Review 103, no. 3 (1998): 771816 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, on the mutually constitutive process of making victims and perpetrators.

121 The usefulness of the U.N. definition was a major point of conflict at the Comparative Genocides Conference, Barcelona, Spain, December 2000, sponsored by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and organized by the Genocide Stuthes Program at Yale University and the Center for Holocaust Stuthes at Clark University. The fact that current and potential war crimes trials are based on the U.N. Convention is a strong argument for maintaining the definition in scholarly as well as legal work. This is especially Ben Kiernan’s argument. See Kiernan, “Sur la notion de genocide,” and Kiernan, “Comparing Genocides: Some Underlying Themes” (paper presented at the Comparative Genocides Conference, Barcelona, Spain, December 2000).

122 Quoted in Totten, Samuel and Parsons, William S., “Introduction,” in Totten, Samuel and Parsons, William S., and Charny, Israel W., eds., Genocides in the Twentieth Century: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts (New York, 1995), xiv.Google Scholar

123 Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 98. On the question of genocide, Naimark writes in relation to the Chechens, Ingush, and Tatars: “That tens of thousands thed during the deportations and after they arrived at their destinations did not overly concern Soviet authorities, though killing off these nations in a genocidal attack was clearly not the Soviets’ intention. Instead, policies were implemented to reeducate the Chechens-Ingush and Crimean Tatars…. The ‘human material’ was salvageable; just the nations—as nations— were slated to disappear through assimilation and detachment from their homelands“ (105). On the basis of the U.N. definition, the events Naimark describes would constitute genocide.

124 For a forceful statement on the applicability of genocide to colonial states, see Elazar Barkan, “Indigenous Peoples Genocide: Terminology or Human Rights?” (paper presented at the Comparative Genocides Conference, Barcelona, Spain, December 2000).

125 On providing provisions and establishing institutions for some of the purged groups, see, for example, resolutions of the State Defense Committee, May 1944 and July 1944, and communique from the Kazakh Communist Party to the National Commissariat of the Interior, 10January 1945, all in Bugai, “20-40-e gody,” 132-36.