Soviet people

Soviet people (Russian: Сове́тский наро́д, tr. Sovétsky naród)[1] or citizens of the USSR (Russian: Гра́ждане СССР, tr. Grázhdane SSSR) was an umbrella demonym (politonym) for the population of the Soviet Union. Initially used as a non-specific reference to the Soviet population, the term was eventually declared to be a "new historical, social and international unity of people".[not verified in body]

Nationality politics in the early Soviet UnionEdit

Pomerki child sanatory in Kharkov. Summer 1950

Through the history of the Soviet Union, both doctrine and practice on ethnic distinctions within the Soviet population varied over time. Minority national cultures were not completely abolished in the Soviet Union. The Soviet definition had national cultures to be "socialist by content and national by form" and used to promote the official aims and values of the state. The goal was always to cement the nationalities together in a common state structure, but as a pragmatic step in the 1920s and the early 1930s under the policy of korenizatsiya (indigenisation), the leaders of the Communist Party promoted federalism and the strengthening of non-Russian languages and cultures (see national delimitation in the Soviet Union). By the late 1930s, however, the policy shifted to more active promotion of the Russian language and later to more- overt Russification efforts, which accelerated in the 1950s,[citation needed] especially in Soviet education. Although some assimilation occurred, that effort did not succeed on the whole, as was evidenced by developments in many national cultures in the territory after the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.[2]

Reinforcing the distinctions in national identities, the Soviet state maintained information about "nationality" on many administrative records, including school, work and military records as well as in the periodic censuses of population. The "fifth record" (Russian: пя́тая графа́, tr. pyátaya grafá) was the section of the obligatory internal passport, which stated the citizen's ethnicity (Russian: национа́льность, tr. natsionál'nost').

As political conceptEdit

Nikita Khrushchev had used the term in his speech at the 22nd Communist Party Congress in 1961, when he declared that in the Soviet Union had formed a new historical community of people of diverse nationalities with common characteristics, the Soviet people.

The 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union finalised the definition. The single all-Soviet entity of the Soviet people (Sovietskiy narod) was attributed many of the characteristics that official doctrine had formerly ascribed to nations (Russian: на́ции, tr. nátsii) and nationalities (Russian: национа́льности, tr. natsionál'nosti) composing the multinational Soviet state. The "Soviet people" was said to be a "new historical, social, and international community of people having a common territory, economy, and socialist content; a culture that reflected the particularities of multiple nationalities; a federal state; and a common ultimate goal: the construction of communism".

According to the 2010 Russian Census, 27,000 Russians identified themselves as members of the Soviet people.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ukrainian: Радянський народ, Radyasky narod; Belarusian: Савецкі народ, Savecki narod; Kazakh: Совет халқы, Sovet halqy; Azerbaijani: Совет халгы, Sovet xalqı); Georgian: საბჭოთა ხალხი, sabchot'a khalkh; Armenian: Խորհրդային մարդիկ, Khorhrdayin mardik
  2. ^ Barbara A. Anderson and Brian D. Silver, "Some Factors in the Linguistic and Ethnic Russification of Soviet Nationalities: Is Everyone Becoming Russian?" in Lubomyr Hajda and Mark Beissinger, eds., The Nationality Factor in Soviet Politics and Society (Boulder: Westview, 1990): 95-130.