Lenin and Stalin on the Development of the National Question




The Soviet Union was the first positive experience in building a multinational state, a union of federated republics which were equal and fought under a single banner. Other attempts, Austria-Hungary, for example, were based on the subjugation of the Slavic peoples. The genesis of the thinking that culminated in this victory was the national policy of the great V.I. Lenin, the leader of Great October who always insisted against great-power chauvinism and local splittist chauvinism, the latter of whom attempted to create independent states after Tsarism. Great Lenin foresaw that these nations would be swallowed up by imperialism if not united by the other states striving for socialism — in 1922, the USSR was formed. His life was cut short, however, and the burden fell to his chief on the nationalities policy for almost two decades, the architect of the Soviet state, J.V. Stalin. The son of a Georgian cobbler, he knew national oppression intimately. Great Stalin linked the building of socialism with the elimination of national antagonisms and the emergence of new fraternal bonds — the most wealthy republics helping the poorest to industrialize. His native Georgia, along with Byelorussia, Armenia and Azerbaijan blossomed as it had never before, while the Kazakh, Uzbeck, Tajik and other Central Asian peoples, where feudal slavery reined and the women were put in chains, emerged into the light for the first time. Pre-revolution, none of these aforementioned countries had universities — by 1950, they had hundreds combined. The Ukraine also gained its own written language for the first time in this period.

The USSR was a beacon for the colonial peoples around the world to rise with arms in hand, proving wrong once and forever the theories of the nazis and the U.S. imperialists that some people were superior on the basis of race, proving that a prison of nations, as Lenin called Tsarist Russia, can be transformed by the people into the bastion of liberty and freedom for national development.