Soviet Union (former) Other Nationalities
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
In the late 1980s, other nationalities, including the Belorussians, Moldavians, Georgians, and Jews, demanded that measures be taken to preserve their cultures and languages. Belorussians centered their demands primarily on recognition of the Belorussian language as the official language of the republic. Moldavians asked the government to allow them to use the Latin alphabet, as do other Romanian speakers, while Georgians appealed for greater religious concessions. Soviet officials, meanwhile, had changed their policy toward Jews and were allowing greater numbers to emigrate. The Soviet press was also giving increased and positive coverage to Jewish cultural activity; and Soviet authorities had promised to permit the teaching of Hebrew and to allow the opening of a kosher restaurant in Moscow, a Jewish museum, and a Jewish library.
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English-language sources on nationalities in the Soviet Union are abundant. The Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities, edited by Zev Katz, provides a very good overview of the fifteen nationalities that have their own union republics, as well as the Tatars and the Jews. Stephen Rapawy's "Census Data on Nationality Composition and Language Characteristics of the Soviet Population: 1959, 1970, and 1979" and W. Ward Kingkade's "USSR: Estimates and Projections of the Population by Major Nationality, 1979 to 2050" give comprehensive statistical analyses of the nationalities listed in the Soviet census of 1979. The Soviet government's Natsionalnyi sostav naseleniia, Chast'II gives data on the 1989 census. Excellent essays on various aspects of the nationality question and on particular nationalities in the Soviet Union can be found in The Last Empire, edited by Robert Conquest; in Soviet Nationality Policies and Practices, edited by Jeremy R. Azrael; and in Soviet Nationality Problems, edited by Edward Allworth. The availability of English-language secondary sources on particular nationalities varies. The history, religion, culture, and demography of Soviet Muslims are covered in great detail in such recent works as Shirin Akiner's Islamic Peoples of the Soviet Union and Alexandre Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush's Muslims of the Soviet Empire. Equally comprehensive is the treatment of Estonians in Toivo U. Raun's Estonia and the Estonians; of Kazakhs in Martha Brill Olcott's The Kazakhs; and of Tatars in AzadeAyse Rorlich's The Volga Tatars and in Tatars of the Crimea, edited by Edward Allworth. Nora Levin's two-volume The Jews in the Soviet Union since 1917, Benjamin Pinkus's The Jews of the Soviet Union, and Mordechai Altshuler's Soviet Jewry since the Second World War are some of the available sources on Soviet Jewry. Orest Subtelny's Ukraine: A History is an excellent general treatment of the relationship between Ukrainians and Russians, while Jaroslaw Bilocerkowycz's Soviet Ukrainian Dissent is particularly valuable for the period since the 1960s. Alexander R. Alexiev's Dissent and Nationalism in the Soviet Baltic sets the scene for the stormy events that took place in the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian republics in the late 1980s. Few or no monographs are available in English on such major ethnic groups as Belorussians, Moldavians, Poles, and Germans or on the large number of smaller nationalities. Analyses of current developments regarding these and other Soviet nationalities are provided, however, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's weekly publication Report on the USSR.
The status of various religions in the Soviet Union and their relationship with the Soviet regime are treated extensively in such works as Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twentieth Century, Cross and Commissar, and Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics, all three edited by Pedro Ramet, as well as in Christianity and Government in Russia and the Soviet Union by Sergei Pushkarev, Vladimir Rusak, and Gleb Yakunin. John Anderson's Religion and the Soviet State deals primarily with religious repression in the 1980s and with Soviet authorities' varying treatment of the different religions. An analysis of the basis of Soviet atheism and a historical analysis of Soviet religious policy is provided in Dmitry V. Pospielovsky's A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Antireligious Policies and Soviet Antireligious Campaigns and Persecutions. A detailed, extensive, and most readable account of Russian Orthodoxy can be found in Jane Ellis's The Russian Orthodox Church, while Bohdan R. Bociurkiw presents a clear and concise history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in his Ukrainian Churches under Soviet Rule. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of May 1989
NOTE: The information regarding Soviet Union (former) on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Soviet Union (former) Other Nationalities information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Soviet Union (former) Other Nationalities should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.