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Title: Construction of national identities in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in Soviet historiography (1936-1953)
Author: Yilmaz, S. Harun
ISNI:       0000 0003 6937 6025
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation aims to explain how Soviet national historiographies were constructed in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, in 1936-1953 and what the political and ideological reasons were behind the way they were written. The dissertation aims to contribute to current scholarship on Soviet nationality policies; on Stalinist nation-building projects; and to the debate on whether the Soviet period was a project of developmentalist modernization or not. This dissertation aims to examine the process of national history writing in three republics from the local point of view, by using the local archival sources. For this research, archival materials that have been overlooked by scholars up to this point from the archives of the communist parties, academy of sciences, and central state archives in Kiev, Ukraine, Baku, Azerbaijan, and Almaty, Kazakhstan have been collected. The timeline starts with Zhdanov’s commission in 1936, which summoned historians and ideologues of the Communist Party in Moscow to write an all-Union history because a parallel campaign of writing national histories had been initialized by the local communist parties. The first two chapters cover the pre-war (1936-1941) period, when national histories were written after the demise of Pokrovskiian historiography. Although there was one ideology, there were different preferences in solving the problem of ethnogenesis, defining national heroes, and also different preferences among the sections of the past that national histories emphasized. The third chapter explains the construction of national histories during the war period (1941-1945). The chapter also presents how national histories were used for wartime propaganda. Finally, the last chapter is about the post-war discussions and the shift of emphasis from ‘national’ to ‘class’ that occurred in the non-Russian national narratives in the Zhdanovshchina period. While there was an ‘imperial design’ for the necessities of managing a multi-national state, the Soviet Union also appears as a modernization project for all three cases by constructing national narratives. Though non-Russian Soviet historiographies produced contradictory narratives in different decades, they also homogenized, codified and nationalized the narrative of the past. Regional, dynastic, religious, tribal figures and events incorporated into grandiose national narratives. Nations were primordialized and their national identities armed with spatial and temporal indigenousness within the borders of their national republics. Modern national identities of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gained from this homogenization and codification by the Soviet regime. Although modernism is not only about construction of national narratives, the latter points out the developmental and modernizing character of the Soviet period.
Supervisor: Service, Robert ; Herzig, Edmund Sponsor: Geoffrey and Fay Elliott Bursary ; St Anthony's College, Oxford ; Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Russia and Eurasia ; Middle East ; Near East ; International,imperial and global history ; Russia ; Soviet Union ; Azerbaijan ; Kazakhstan ; Ukraine ; Stalinism ; historiography ; nationalism ; World War II