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View Diary: Asians in the Soviet Union? (19 comments)

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  •  The racism in Russia is pretty vile. (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like the video is some serious revisionist history.

    •  Lol, that's not surprising. (0+ / 0-)

      It's the anthem of the USSR, made and produced by the USSR. They're definitely glossing over bad parts.

      by Inoljt on Sun May 01, 2011 at 04:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Russian communists didn't care about race. (0+ / 0-)

      They were equal opportunity in their violence against the ethnic minorities and other Russians.  Stalin sent more Russians to their deaths more than any other group.  They dealt with the white Lithuanians as savagely as they did with Asian descendent Kalmyks.

      Russians don't consider themselves even "European".  They are apart from Western Europe and see themselves more Asian in some ways, or at least Eastern.

      The Soviet Union constantly in their propaganda extolled the struggle of African Americans.  Soviet students knew the names of leaders and artists and even sang spirituals.  In a crazy way, the Soviets knew more about the civil rights struggle than many Americans.

      There are certainly national hatreds in the area as anywhere else, but I never saw or heard while I was there anything that resembled hatred based simply on skin color.  Now as Russia has more and more contact with the West, I imagine that Western forms of racism will seep into the country.

      If there was a dispised group of people, it was the Gypsies.  Not sure they constituted a well defined racial group.

      •  Russia's not the Soviet Union (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrWebster, tardis10

        The USSR had nationalities policy. You had to have a registered nationality (it was listed on your internal passport - if you were lucky enough to have one) and your nationality had certain specified collective rights, e.g. to education in your "national language" etc. Sometimes you got a republic of your own, which meant you got independence at the breakup of the Soviet Union.

        Some of the Soviet Republics (e.g. Russia) accepted former Soviet citizens of all nationalities. Others didn't. Remember, citizenship and nationality are different in such a system. In contrast to Marxism, which concluded that national differences were withering away in capitalism, Leninism assumed national differences and tried to control them. It was a major difference also with Nazism, which tried to solve minority "problems" by exterminating the minorities.

        As for Soviet attitudes to the US Civil Rights struggle, they changed over time. Sometimes they supported integration, sometimes black nationalism. They could be very opportunist.

    •  How old are you, Johnny? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrWebster, billmosby, Thestral
      "racism in Russia is"

      "video is ... revisionist history"

      You have conflated "Russia" (presumably the modern one) with the late Soviet Union. Upthread a commenter remarks on the 102 or so ethnicities and regions dominated by them that were part of the Soviet Union (some still are). You should go read up on that. You obviously didn't when you were in school.

      Ever seen the range of ethnic types in Uzbekistan? Kazakhstan? Turkmenistan?  I spent a fair amount of time there in the early '70's.  They were Asians in looks and culture, except to the extent that many were Muslim, which had its own impact on the culture.

      Throughout non-Russian areas, the Soviets had set up separate but relatively equal school systems, one denominated "National" in which the children were instructed principally in their native (non-Russian) languages with Russian as a strong second language, and the other denominated "State", wherein all children were instructed in Russian principally (the language of political hegemony) and only secondarily in their native tongues.

      If you were an ambitious parent or already a Communist Party adherent, then you would send your child to a "State" school, because all advancement in local and national political (and everything was) life could mostly only come from that education and participation.

      Had I been born in any of those areas at that time, I would have wanted to attend a "State" school. The alternative for any female child would have had you married young and breeding for the even more unequal life of a backward-looking fundamentalist religious culture. (That's not a slam on Islam, which --- before the fundamentalist takeover of recent centuries --- held a very universalist view of the world, of humanity, of science, of learning, even. Which is more than we can say of the ideocracy at present gripping American christianity.)

      While I was in Soviet central Asia, I met many families of mixed racial backgrounds. I also met many in the big "Western" cities: Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev. As a rule, I didn't see anything like the racism I saw in the American South and in the Midwestern cities I had grown up in. At least in the Soviet Union, most folks at the time seemed to think themselves lucky to have a one-room apartment in some awful looking concrete box of a building shared with a real duke's mixture of tenants.

      •  Thanks for your insight. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaliope, Thestral

        I spent some time in the Urals region and in Siberia in 2004 and 2005, working with uranium enrichment facility people; seemed to be pretty much all what I would call ethnic Russians in my comparative ignorance of the country. They were a pretty congenial bunch, always up for a party. They work and party equally hard. There didn't seem to be a lot of ill will in them towards anybody. I realize that they were something of a privileged group, though; other people in related programs would occasionally come into contact with skinheads in certain areas. Those people were a different thing altogether.

        One of our interpreters had an almost unique amount of experience in the country, though- her father had been Naval Attache there in the early 60s and she went to a Soviet school on her own volition so she could really learn about the country. That was in the 7th grade, and she said she went into it knowing virtually no Russian. She learned quickly and well, though, and still had friends in the country dating from those times. Her first professional interpretation job was for Adm. Warnke at the SALT talks. During the years while I was in the country, she also interpreted for Laura Bush when the need arose. I learned a number of things about the country from talking to her.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sun May 01, 2011 at 06:44:47 PM PDT

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        •  Wow. Great new story for me. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, billmosby

          It's interesting how so many people I've come across had the opportunity to visit in the USSR under rather open-ended circumstances to see what life was like there.

          Although I now see you were there in '04-'05. Still, people are just folks everywhere, IMO.

          •  Yes, just folks. (0+ / 0-)

            Coming from the U.S. equivalent of the places I worked in there (National Laboratories, that is), I was struck at the similarities in world view between us and our Russian counterparts. I was privileged to be among the first in our program to be let into the UEIP museum in Novouralsk. There is a fine display of artifacts and historical information about the early days of that closed city and its enrichment plant. If you went to a similar museum at Oak Ridge (if there is one, I don't actually know for sure) it would look pretty similar, down to the everyday furnishings, kids's toys, etc of the workers. The cold war was quite the mirror image system, it seems.

            Here's another link to the place, from wikipedia.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Mon May 02, 2011 at 08:02:54 AM PDT

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