An analysis of nationalism in a specific country in the past and today. Has nationalism in this country changed over the years and is it for better or worse? Why?
Has nationalism in Russia changed over the years and is it for better or worse? The answer to this question is not simple. Besides, the theme is too actual for my family. I will try to compare nationalism in Russia nowadays and at the time of the Soviet Union.
I' ll begin to analyze this question since the time of the October Revolution. The policy of the country taught that all nations should disappear with time. Soon there will be only one nation – the Soviet people. Nationalism was supposed to be a bourgeois ideology. « Not nationalism, but internationalism!» - cried Vladimir Lenin. During Leonid Brezhnev's leadership the slogan Friendship of Nations became the rule. There were fifteen Soviet republics in the USSR. People all over the large country had to move or migrate: they travelled about the country, went on business, married, tried to find a partner or a happier life. That is they had to live and communicate with each other. However, the friendship of nations existed more on paper than in reality. By the way, I live in Primorye Territory, Vladivostok. Our city was founded in 1860. The aborigines of this place had died long before and the government had to send there a lot of people from central part of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and so on. Besides, Tatar, Jewish, Tadjik and Uzbek families arrived to live in Primorye. It became one multinational family. I am only ten and can not be a witness of such living. But according to my parents' words, people being generally tolerant to each other, did not want to forget about their national roots. Thus, some Russians disliked Jews, Tatars blamed Russians for eating pork and drinking vodka, Ukrainians spoke their dialect, sang their national songs and called Russians «moskali». Some of Gypsies from time to time stole horses in the villages. In short, people followed their national traditions and did not hurry to turn into the Soviet nation. I can not say at all that there were permanent fights, conflicts or any antagonism among different nationalities. However, their relationships were not ideal. My mother Larisa Nikolaevna recalls that when she was a schoolgirl, she suffered a lot at the lessons of History. The matter is my parents and grandparents are Lithuanians. A teacher of History constantly tormented my mother, who had a Lithuanian surname, reminding her that during the Great Patriotic War a lot of Lithuanians fought on the side of the Nazis. As a result, a twelve - year old girl had to bear such humiliation at ordinary Soviet school in far Vladivostok! Maybe, this teacher forgot the principles of Marxist – Leninist ideology about nations to self-determination? Moreover, there was another principle of the ideology concerning freedom and cultural development for national minorities. It was also forgotten! What about real life? My great grandmother Yevdokia Prokofyevna recalled that in 1930s when she was a young girl, she lived in Chernigovka village, Primorye Territory. At that time a lot of Koreans lived there. Most of them were poor, wore dirty and torn clothes. They often went about the village and picked up excrements in order to fertilize the fields. The majority of the villagers did not respect them and from time to time humiliated them and their children. Nowadays it is rather popular to idealize Soviet period of Russian history. Is it true? As far as I understand, the official declaration of the principles and a real life differ very much. In the 70th of the last century children could name a Kazakh « black ass» or an Uzbek «narrow-eyed», and nobody protested. How did people try to solve such conflicts? In different ways. Some of them fought openly, the others fought secretly. I know that during last years of the Soviet Union a lot of Jews emigrated to Israel. By the way, the Soviet people treated them as traitors to the Motherland. For example, the Rosenblums family, who lived in my parents' block of flats. When they left the Soviet Union, their former neighbors told about them with disgust! To my mind, there was one period in the life of our large country when people forgot about their nationalities. I mean the Great Patriotic War. According to the memories of the participants, soldiers of all nationalities fought shoulder to shoulder and shared the last piece of bread.
To sum up, I am sure that different nations in the Soviet Union harmoniously co-existed with some difficulties. That's why when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the Soviet Republics declared their independence one by one. Nevertheless the end of the Soviet Union was not the end of multinational co-existing. A lot of people from former republics stayed to live in Russia.
I was born in 2005. What do I feel about nationalism in my country? Unfortunately, the problem of nationalism still exists. Surely, Russia is a multi-national country and our government calls us for national tolerance. There are several nationalist movements in Russia but the President tries to control their activity. As for the ordinary civilians, there are different points of view on nationalism. Some of them demand «Russia for Russians». Some of them call for tolerance. I know that there is a political movement against immigrants from other countries. A year ago I even met a group of strange young people, they behaved rather aggressively. Our teacher Valentina Fyodorovna told us that they were skinheads. On the one hand, I hate violence and can not understand such people. On the other hand, I can not feel tolerance to the Uzbeks, who rape our women and girls, the Moldovans who arrive in Russia in order to commit fraud and theft or Tajiks who sell drugs. I can't bear impudent behavior of members of criminal groups from the Caucasus. They can organize the shooting during the wedding or ride a race with the police on the streets of Moscow. Many of them are very rich. It is funny to say, but the majority of ordinary Russian people hate oligarchs. But if these oligarchs are not Russians, they hate them more!
Russia has suffered a huge increase in terrorists attacks the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the frequency of terrorist attacks has been steadily increasing. Who are the members of such terrorist groups? Mainly, they are people from Muslim republics. Everybody remembers about the Domodedovo International Airport bombing on 24 January 2011. A faction of the Caucasus by Docu Umarov claimed responsibility for the attack. It is very difficult for me to comment such cases. Frankly speaking, I reject the split of my country. I am against the privileged status of the Russians in it but I am against Russophobia either. I do not want our state to be an instrument of nationalism. What do I call for? National tolerance, of course. What does it mean for me and my family? Do not take part in any extremist groups or political movements, reject any fascism or chawvinism, respect culture, religion and traditions of all nationalities. It is rather easy for me because I am Lithuanian, my best friend Sergei Kim is Korean and my dance partner Yulia Kazakevich is Jewess.
As far as I understand, there are both positive and negative aspects of nationalism. Positive is interconnected with the culture, traditions and historical values of any nationality. Negative is interconnected with nationalist ideology to promote unity against some opposition. I am for the positive one! I want to be a citizen of strong state and to be respectable as a citizen of my state. This is very important for me.
In conclusion, I want to say that nationalism in Russia has changed over the years and, to my regret, it is for worse. Why? There are a lot of reasons. First, it is dissolution of the Soviet Union when Russia stopped being Motherland for many nationalities. Second, it is rather difficult to control situation on such large territory as Russia. Third, conflicts on religious grounds . Fourth, there are some political parties which revived the slogan "Russia for Russians". Fifth, the activity of ethnic criminal groups from the Caucasus. Sixth, illegal criminal immigration from former republics. Seventh, imperfect inner laws. That's why the problem of nationalism in our country is still very actual nowadays. It promotes criminalization of the country and hinders the development of it. Consequently, the duty of the President is to control the situation in the country and the duty of the citizens is to avoid any conflicts and not to provoke them. As for me, I believe in solving the problem. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, but I am sure it will be solved. As a result, tolerance, freedom and cultural development for all nationalities will be not only words from our Constitution but daily lifestyle.