The development of Russian nationalism under Gorbachev (1985-91)
This thesis examines the development of Russian nationalism under Gorbachev, with special reference to new political organisations. Nationalism is defined as a combination of sentiment, political principle and movement. The political principle 'holds that the political and national unit should be congruent'. For Russia, this was not a straightforward matter: some considered the political unit to be a greater (imperial) Russian state; whilst others considered it to be a Russian national state (based on the RSFSR). In addition, the Russian language has two terms to define the national unit: russkii androssiiskii narod. Russian nationalism existed to a limited degree in the Soviet Union before 1985. Glasnost and perestroika reduced the limitations on expressions of Russian nationalism and provided an opportunity for opinions to coalesce, resulting in the appearance of organised movements. At first, most Russian nationalists welcomed this change, although some soon started to display elements of caution - they were worried about possible threats to their conceptions of the Russian state. This work aims to show that Russian nationalism under Gorbachev was not a unified movement, but a collage of opinions attempting to define the Russian state and its national values. The thesis examines: the development of new groups connected with Russian nationalism; the relationship between Russian nationalism and the centre; the issues which became Russian nationalist causes; and the tendencies which became apparent in Russian nationalism. The thesis contends that Russian nationalism can be divided into three tendencies: imperialist nationalism, concerned with the maintenance of a greater Russian/Soviet state; isolationist nationalism, which sought to establish a specifically 'Russian' state, untainted by foreign influence and separated from the non-Russian Union republics; and liberal nationalism, which respected other republics' independence, was receptive to foreign influence and, yet, was concerned with the Russian national identity of a new Russian state.