by Olena Palko and Fabian Baumann


In October 1920, Joseph Stalin, then serving as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic’s People’s Commissar for Nationalities, observed that the very success of the Russian Revolution depended on gaining the trust of those living in the former empire’s peripheries:

central Russia, that hearth of the world revolution, cannot hold out long without the assistance of the border regions, which abound in raw materials, fuel and foodstuffs. The border regions of Russia in their turn would be inevitably doomed to imperialist bondage without the political, military, and organizational support of more developed central Russia.[1]

Two months later, Lev Kamenev, another Bolshevik leader, seconded Stalin in an address to delegates from the newly established federation’s autonomous republics. The outbreak of the Russian Civil War in 1919, he said, had taught the party a valuable strategic lesson:

the unity between the center and the periphery is necessary for the survival of both the center and the periphery. Communist society in Moscow cannot be built without establishing a fair relationship with the peoples living around the Donets [coal] basin, or around Baku oil, or Siberian bread, or steppe pastures.[2]

Thеse declarations, voiced amidst the ongoing Polish-Soviet war, led to а major re-assessment of the center-periphery relationship within the Soviet state. Eventually, the central party leadership redefined its treatment of the future constituent republics, paying serious attention to issues concerning the nationalities question, budgeting and planning, and control over resources. Consequently, the state’s peripheries became important targets for Soviet modernization policies, or even laboratories for state-led technical and social innovation.

The applicability of the concept of “modernity” in relation to the Soviet experience has been one of the most contested terminological disagreements within East European historiography. The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed the culmination of the debate between adherents of the modernity paradigm and the so-called “neo-traditionalists.” While the former described the Soviet experience as a socialist alternative to Western modernity, the latter stressed archaic elements in Soviet governing practices, such as corruption, patronage, petitions, and personal ties, over the modernizing, regularizing aspects of the Soviet state.[3] As Michael David-Fox has pointed out, this debate continued (and partially inverted) patterns that long predated it in the discussion between proponents of Russia’s purported authoritarian Sonderweg and those who, in a more universalist spirit, advocated comparison with Western countries.[4] While both approaches continue to have their adherents, many historians have at least implicitly accepted Terry Martin’s dictum that “Modernization is the theory of Soviet intentions; neo-traditionalism, this theory of their unintended consequences.”[5] David-Fox, meanwhile, has suggested resolving the disagreement by understanding Soviet modernity as one, specific instance of what Shmuel Eisenstadt originally termed “multiple modernities” ­– an “intelligentsia-statist modernity” that grew out of Russian intellectuals’ attempt to overcome their country’s backwardness while bypassing the evils of capitalist development. After the revolution, David-Fox argues, the modernizing intelligentsia acquired a powerful tool in the form of the communist coercive state.[6] Yet, if Soviet modernity is just one regional incarnation of modernity, then what is its specificity as opposed to other non-Western, state-sponsored modernities?

Much of this debate has pivoted around the role of Bolshevik ideology in the workings of Soviet society. In a sense, the assertion of a separate Soviet modernity is predicated on the centrality of ideology within the one-party state. In his highly influential 1995 monograph Magnetic Mountain, Stephen Kotkin proposes that Stalinism be treated as a form of “progressive modernity,” an “Enlightenment” phenomenon founded on the ambition to create a harmonious new society based on rational, scientific principles. Accordingly, the Soviet authorities sought to transform the socioeconomic order and refashion society; to this end, the state was ready to employ an unprecedented level of social intervention.[7] These intentions were not unique to the Soviet leadership, however. James Scott equates the tenets of Stalinism to those of Nazi Germany or communist China. Each of these states’ governments exercised what he dubs “high modernism” – that is the state’s desire for “the mastery of nature (including human nature), and, above all, the rational design of social order commensurate with the scientific understanding of natural laws.”[8] Each and every case of extreme state intervention and social engineering ultimately led to societal disaster, as the history of the 20th century’s various homogenizing states has broadly demonstrated.

Kotkin, however, postulates that the distinguishing feature of the Soviet experience was the process whereby Russian society learned to “speak Bolshevik,” with the wider populace coming to communicate, act, and think in a way compatible with the ruling socialist ideology.[9] Drawing on and developing Kotkin’s concept, historians of the “Soviet subjectivity” school went on to study how individual activists grappled with the new reality of communist society and attempted to write themselves into the Bolshevik project.[10] Thus, for Jochen Hellbeck, Bolshevik ideology was not something imposed on the population from above but “a ferment working in individuals and producing a great deal of variation as it interacts with the subjective life of a particular person.”[11] More recently, Anna Krylova has criticized Kotkin’s conception of Soviet modernity for reproducing outdated, totalitarian-school ideas concerning a direct continuity from Marxist ideology via Stalinism to the purportedly complete stagnation of the post-war period. In particular, Krylova contends that Kotkin, and many of the cultural historians who followed his approach, have taken for granted the notion that the ideology at the heart of Soviet society remained static, collectivist, and anti-individualist – an idea that she deems particularly unsuitable for the developed modernity of post-war Soviet (or “post-Bolshevik”) society.[12] One might also ask whether this preoccupation with the ideological underpinnings of Soviet modernity has led researchers to underestimate the extent to which the managerial and organizational aspects of modernization processes in the Soviet Union were comparable to those in the capitalist West, as evident for instance in the studies of regional healthcare development in this issue.

Regarding Soviet modernity in the periphery, the existing literature’s central concern has been its encounter with the population’s ethno-linguistic diversity. For Terry Martin, Soviet policies in the national republics aimed to fulfil the cultural aspirations of non-Russians in order to depoliticize them. However, the constant national classification required for such nationality-based “affirmative action” ended up reifying those exact cultural differences that the Soviet modernization project had meant to eventually overcome (hence Martin’s insistence on the “neo-traditional” results of the Soviet project).[13] Francine Hirsch has advanced a different interpretation, proposing that the national categorization of populations was meant to lead to a process of “double assimilation,” whereby individuals would first become part of a pre-defined nationality, which would later be dissolved in a unitary Soviet one. Hirsch thus implies that the Bolsheviks had a clear timeline planned for the integration of non-Russians into a future supra-national modernity.[14] A third important account that explores how Soviet modernity was brought to bear on ethnically diverse hinterlands is Kate Brown’s portrayal of the Sovietization of the Polissia region in Northern Ukraine. Brown tells the compelling story of an essentially weak state attempting to drag its borderlands into modernity by applying the “generalizing, standardizing efforts of modern governance.” Through this process, national categories were imposed from above “in a colonial pattern,” including both persuasion and violence, “to replace localized identities and cultural complexities.”[15] Given the co-existence of colonial governance and cultural homogenization, recent historiography tends to argue that the Soviet Union was “neither an empire nor a unitary state but had features of both.”[16] The Soviet regime is thus viewed as a modernizing multi-ethnic state, or, in Adeeb Khalid’s words, a “different kind of modern polity, the activist, interventionist, mobilizational state that seeks to sculpt its citizenry in an ideal image.”[17]

However, Brown’s book also reminds us – as do several contributions to this issue – that while ethnicity very much mattered to Soviet administrators, it did not determine all of their policies, nor did it pre-determine the actions and opinions of local populations. In many Soviet peripheries, the communist state continued and completed processes of administrative integration and technocratic regularization that had been set into motion in the late-imperial period.[18] Indeed, the more closely one examines the workings of the Soviet administration in the provinces, the more Bolshevik ideology seems to vanish behind the everyday worries of administrating an underdeveloped periphery. Nevertheless, it remains contested how relevant these kinds of technical modernization actually were to the more outlying peripheries, particularly the Asian territories of the Soviet state. In a very recent intervention, Botakoz Kassymbekova and Aminat Chokobaeva vigorously reject the modernization paradigm: It has, they argue, led researchers of the Soviet Union to focus on “soft-line” policies relating to culture and identity formation and to neglect the top-down nature of the regime. For Kassymbekova and Chokobaeva, modernization and development are political claims that obscure the violence of governmental practices on the ground and are thus unsuitable as categories of analysis. Accounts of Soviet modernity in Central Asia, they argue, often just reproduce Eurocentric assumptions by ascribing progress to Soviet policies and assigning blame for violence to local communist cadres or ideological abstractions.[19]

If our issue still makes reference to the framework of “Soviet modernity,” it is because modernization was doubtless an aspiration of the various protagonists analyzed in the articles – if not always the outcome of their projects. Each article describes an attempt at bringing peripheral Soviet society into a supposedly more rational and orderly state, whether through categorization of the population, the professionalization of medical services, promoting secularism, or the institutionalization of scholarship. Our contributors highlight how the socioeconomic project of Soviet modernity emanated from elites with a connection to the center, whether represented by Russian medics in Tuva, microbiologists in Tbilissi, or demographers in Volhynia. The issue therefore looks to problematize the implementation of the Soviet leadership’s declared modernizing intentions within their country’s less developed regions. When read together, the articles provide a valuable contribution to the ongoing scholarly debate on the nature of Soviet modernity and offer a new angle for understanding center-periphery relations in the Soviet context.

One of the key themes the issue wishes to enhance is that of continuity across 1917. To this end, each article provides a framework for understanding the trajectory of modernity on both sides of the revolutionary divide, linking pre- and post-revolutionary Russia. Bolshevik ideology and propaganda were centered around the idea of a definitive break with the imperial past. The regime’s adherence to homogenizing modern values was meant to mark a radical departure from Tsarist practices of social segregation, unbridgeable distinctions between the Empire’s social “estates” (sosloviya), the perpetual backwardness of remoter regions, and the system of privileges based on belonging to an “official” nationality or religious community. Instead, the Bolsheviks – at least in theory – embraced the modernizing ideology of Marxism and set out to create a new society based on universalistic principles whereby each citizen would be treated equally.

The authors in this volume challenge these Bolshevik propaganda slogans and highlight numerous instances of continuity between the late-imperial period and the interwar decades. The pre-revolutionary context provided a necessary foundation for the Soviet modernization process, either in terms of educated specialists and infrastructure, or knowledge and practices that were in short supply after the October revolution. As such, the Bolsheviks did not come to destroy the old order and build “the new world.” Instead, they often appropriated and made use of previous practices and networks, which were particularly valuable in the early post-revolutionary years. In relation to the mass provision of modern healthcare, for instance, Andrey Zamoisky and Vsevolod Bashkuev convincingly show that the Bolsheviks were faced with problems such as insufficient infrastructure, poor facilities, and popular ignorance concerning health and hygiene, a prominent feature of pre-revolutionary society that had been further exacerbated by the First World War. Most importantly, due to chronic shortages of medical personnel, especially in the countryside and remote peripheries, the Soviet leaders had no other choice than turn to pre-revolutionary specialists and medical experts.

The Soviet political project was founded on the ambition to create a new harmonious society predicated on rational and scientific principles. In this regard, Timothy Blauvelt examines the case of the Georgian microbiologist Giorgi Eliava and his Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi, which endeavored to provide a foundation for modern mass healthcare. Although initially supported by the state, Eliava’s status and success set him in conflict with the increasingly influential secret police, eventually leading to his arrest and execution. Blauvelt’s nuanced study of a nascent field research illustrates the limitations that informal connections, personalized networks, and clientelistic relationships of obligation imposed on the Soviet leadership’s modern aspirations. Such traditionalist features also infiltrated Soviet-sponsored healthcare in the remote Tuvinian People’s Republic (TPR), a semi-independent Soviet protectorate bordering Mongolia that existed from 1921 to 1944. Bashkuev shows how informal connections and personal intrigues amidst the republic’s meagre medical community undermined Soviet endeavors to make medical assistance available to all.

These same limitations also become apparent where the Bolshevik approach to social structure was concerned. Class and nationality – two of the founding principles of Soviet society – came to replace the rigid imperial social hierarchy.[20] By devising the category of nationality (natsional’nost’), the Bolsheviks not only rejected the hereditary and immutable nature of language, religion, or social status, but also declared the primacy of subjective national self-consciousness, whereby each individual could freely decide on the national category to which they felt most affiliated. Olena Palko and Bozhena Kozakevych expose the limitations of these modern aspirations when applied to mixed and ethnically ambivalent communities in Russia’s western provinces. Doubtless a few people did make use of provisions within the census to individually define their nationality: Kozakevych posits that this was especially the case of the Jewish population, who occasionally opted to register as Ukrainians or Russians to avoid any future discrimination on anti-Semitic grounds. However, ethnic categories were still habitually ascribed from above in line with the state’s administrative and economic concerns. Both authors concur in their support of Martin’s argument, according to which the Soviet strategy of ethnic stratification and labelling turned the impersonal category of nationality into a “valuable form of social capital,” ascribing statuses comparable to the traditional estate (sosloviye) divisions.[21] As such, the Soviet category of “nationality” continued the processes of perpetual social segregation that had been in place since imperial times, albeit on ethnic rather than social grounds.

No less important was the Soviet desire to overcome the legacy of imperial colonial practices, which had resulted in economic and social backwardness and a considerable degree of animosity in ethnically mixed peripheries. Soviet ideologists and propagandists established a dichotomy between the Russian Empire’s colonialism and the Union’s purported anti-colonialism. However, were Soviet practices that different to imperial ones where the extension of state power was concerned? In this collection, the TPR offers the best example of Soviet colonizing endeavors. In its dealings with the Tuvinian people, the Soviet leadership used medicine as a “soft power” tool to transmit Soviet ideology and convert locals to the socialist cause. Iryna Pupurs’s discussion of Soviet Kyrgyzstan presents a similar observation. In this particular periphery, Soviet leaders managed to embed themselves within Kyrgyz society, gradually transforming the traditional lifestyle from within through the use of familiar elements of nomadic life. While the early Soviet Union largely eschewed violence as a means of territorial expansion, its colonizing aspirations were no less concerted than those of its imperial predecessors.

The case studies covered in this issue support the view that Soviet modernity was a state-driven process. In the context of a vast, economically underdeveloped and socially backward periphery, the success of Soviet modernizing intentions hinged on unprecedented levels of state intervention. Indeed, the state controlled not only the mechanisms of modernization, but also its extent, deciding which social and ethnic groups could benefit from its achievements, and which would be excluded in their entirety. In this regard, laboring populations were seen as the primary benefactors of Soviet policy. This was especially the case for the peasantry, as Zamoisky argues. The promise of political rights and benefits on a scale previously unseen was meant to overcome latent rural resistance, as well as ensure a stable future influx of workers into the urban labor force. Yet in practice, at least during the early 1920s, the Bolsheviks possessed very limited resources to fulfil their promises, thus failing to utilize rural healthcare as a tool of political control. The primacy of state interests also meant that no modernizing objective could contradict the ideological purity of a “class-less” Soviet society. Thus, the modernization process could not be championed by individuals of “untrustworthy” social origin, regardless of their qualifications or professional experience. Such was the case among the medical expeditions to the TPR, or the Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi, where professionals were often refused leading positions due to links to the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia. Overall, universal modernizing values could only be promoted inasmuch as they did not challenge the security of the newly established state. To this end, entire social groups viewed as dangerous to the stability of the Soviet state would be labelled as counter-revolutionary and excluded from society, as in the case of the Soviet Poles.

Focusing on the primacy of the state in the modernizing process implies a certain chronology: the stronger the state was, the greater its capacity for intervention in the process of economic and social transformation. Indeed, throughout the 1920s, the tempo of modernization (or sovietization, which was often used as a synonym) of Soviet society increased tremendously. As the state grew more powerful, it came to replace other agents and mechanisms of modernization, making the entire process an exclusively state-run and state-controlled endeavor. Kozakevych and Blauvelt’s respective assessments of the transformation of Jewish life in Soviet Berdychiv and the fate of the Bacteriophage Institute in Tiflis, attest to this gradual political consolidation. When addressing the population, the Soviet government wanted to present itself as the only agent of change. This image of linear progress is reflected in the travelogues written during the Ukrainian expedition to Central Asia and analyzed in Pupurs’ article. Composed in the early 1930s, these propaganda accounts attributed the region’s development to the growing presence of the state in all spheres of public and private life.

At the same time, other articles in this issue seek to challenge this conventional, linear periodization of Soviet history, according to which the years 1928 and 1929 marked a victorious turning-point in the development of the Soviet hegemonic state. Bashkuev demonstrates that the challenges to public healthcare in the TPR after 1928 were not dissimilar to those that Soviet Belarus experienced in the first years after the revolution, as discussed by Zamoisky. Even in the early 1930s, Bashkuev maintains, the position of the Soviet state in this semi-independent periphery remained weak, forcing the state to incorporate pre-revolutionary practices, facilities, and experts. In a similar vein, Palko’s article examines the prerequisites of the Soviet minorities policy, arguing that ethnic heterogeneity remained a feature of society well into the 1930s.[22]

While modernization projects in the periphery depended on the acquiescence of the central government, local actors played key roles. As this issue demonstrates, it was often specialists from the periphery who lobbied, devised, and implemented practices which were later appropriated by the center. Blauvelt presents a particularly interesting case, demonstrating that the Georgian capital was set to become a center of Soviet biological research, on par with other European scientific institutions. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic played a pioneering role as a testing ground for minorities policies that were subsequently implemented Union-wide. It was here that an innovative administrative reform first provided each national minority with the possibility of self-rule within a linguistically homogeneous national territory. Nevertheless, the center accepted the leading role of the periphery only to the extent that developments there did not contravene its centralizing and homogenizing intentions, as is evident from the reinforced position of the secret services network across the peripheries from the early 1930s.

Each of the articles in this issue therefore represents a challenge to an established perspective, according to which a “highly-developed” center undertook an “enlightening mission” towards the underdeveloped periphery, bringing its people “from backwardness towards civilization.” The Russians assume a top position in this imagined scale of progress, with the non-Russian populations of Eastern Europe placed in the middle of the hierarchy, while the indigenous communities of the Soviet East are positioned at the very bottom. The imperial legacy of discrimination and linguistic russification had long helped preserve the historically dominant role of Russians throughout the empire. Yet, were Russian (and more generally, European) settlers in Central Asia more “modern” than indigenous populations? The sources analyzed in Pupurs and Bashkuev’s contributions to this volume challenge this Eurocentric assumption, prevalent among Soviet administrators. Both note that despite the privileged position these communities came to enjoy as representatives of a colonizing power in the region, emissaries from the Soviet center found that their personal hygiene, the upkeep of their households, and their skills often lagged far behind those of local populations.

The contributors also point to the relative nature of center-periphery dynamics within the Soviet Union. In the travelogues analyzed by Pupurs, the “Orient” is presented as an exotic mirror in contrast to the “modern civilization” of the West, as represented by Ukrainian members of the expedition to the Tian Shan mountains. Such accounts tended to emulate the same orientalist stereotypes and conceptualizations of Asiatic cultures that had previously been used to define and legitimize Russian imperialism. Thus, Ukrainian settlers and visitors appeared as representatives of metropolitan Soviet culture in remote areas of Kyrgyzstan. However, from Moscow’s perspective, the same Ukrainian travel writers were also cultural agents of a smaller nationality – a constellation that raises important questions about Ukrainians’ implication in the colonization of others both in the imperial and later Soviet context. This dual role played by populations from the Soviet Union’s western peripheries also becomes visible elsewhere: Belarusian villagers or the Jews and Poles of Soviet Ukraine were the objects of top-down Soviet modernization attempts, but in the TPR, doctors of Armenian, Latvian, and Jewish origin worked alongside their Russian colleagues in a venture that reflected the colonial and geopolitical aspirations of the Soviet Union in Asia. The involvement of certain populations as both purveyors and recipients of Soviet state-driven modernization efforts is reminiscent of what Kate Brown has described as “colonialism in one country.” And yet, while a detailed discussion of the Soviet Union’s colonial nature is beyond the scope of this single issue, the very diversity of peripheral experiences described in its contributing articles challenges the coherence of this all-Union perspective.[23]

Overall, the six papers convincingly show that the reverse perspective on Soviet modernity – the modernizing strategies read from the peripheries – enhances our understanding of the Soviet regime and its mechanisms. Developments in the Soviet periphery were never completely detached from events in the center. However, the periphery still remains an ideal vantage point from which to challenge conventional approaches to Soviet history as a linear and well-devised progression towards a strong homogenizing entity.

About the authors

Olena Palko is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. She was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia in 2017 and has held research fellowships at Humboldt University (Berlin) and Basel University. Her first book, Making Ukraine Soviet. Literature and Cultural Politics under Lenin and Stalin (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) was awarded the Prize for “Best Book in the field of Ukrainian History, Politics, Language, Literature, and Culture (2019-20)” from the American Association for Ukrainian Studies. She is also a co-editor of Making Ukraine: Negotiating, Contesting, and Drawing Borders in Twentieth Century, forthcoming from McGill Queens University Press in the spring of 2022. Her research interests lie in the field of early Soviet cultural history and the interwar history of Eastern Europe.

Fabian Baumann is an SNSF Postdoc. Mobility fellow at the University of Chicago. Having previously studied in Geneva, Saint Petersburg, and Oxford, he earned his doctorate at the University of Basel in 2020 with a dissertation on the Shul’gin/Shul’hyn family and the entangled history of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism. His first book, provisionally titled Diverging Paths: An Intimate History of Russian and Ukrainian Nationalism in Late Imperial Kiev will be published by NIU/Cornell University Press in 2023. His research interests include the history of nationalism, empire, and the family, as well as Russian-Ukrainian relations in the imperial and Soviet periods.


[1] “Politika partii po natsional’nomu voprosu [The Party’s Policy in the National Question],” Pravda, October 10, 1920; I. V. Stalin, Sochineniya [Works], Vol. 4 (Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1947), 351.

[2] Quoted from Elena Borisenok, Fenomen Sovetskoi Ukrainizatsii, 1920-30-e gody [The Phenomenon of Soviet Ukrainization, 1920s-30s]. (Moscow: Evropa, 2006), 67.

[3] For a brief overview of this debate, and the preceding one between “totalitarians” and “revisionists,” see Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Introduction,” in Stalinism: New Directions, ed. Sheila Fitzpatrick (London: Routledge, 2000), 1–14.

[4] Michael David-Fox, Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia and the Soviet Union (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), 39–40.

[5] Terry Martin, “Modernization or Neo-Traditionalism? Ascribed Nationality and Soviet Primordialism,” in Stalinism: New Directions  ed. Sheila Fitzpatrick (London: Routledge, 2000), 361.

[6] David-Fox, Crossing Borders, 48–71.

[7] For the first attempt at providing a comprehensive account of Russian modernity, see David L. Hoffmann and Yanni Kotsonis (eds.), Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices, (New York: Macmillan Press, 2000). For a similar approach to modernity in the Russian context, see: David L. Hoffmann, “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism,” in Russian Modernity, 245–60; David L. Hoffmann, Cultivating the Masses: The Modern Social State in Russia, 1914–1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011); Peter Holquist, “To Count, To Extract, To Exterminate: Population Statistics and Population Politics in Late Imperial and Soviet Russia,” in A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin, eds. Terry Martin and Ronald Grigor Suny, 111–144 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia’s Continuum of Crisis, 1914–1921 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).

[8] James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 4. Also see Lynne Viola, “The Aesthetic of Stalinist Planning and the World of the Special Villages,” Kritika 4, no. 1 (2003): 101–28.

[9] Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995).

[10] Cf. their critique of Kotkin in Igal Halfin and Jochen Hellbeck, “Rethinking the Stalinist Subject: Stephen Kotkin’s ‘Magnetic Mountain’ and the State of Soviet Historical Studies,” Jahrbücher Für Geschichte Osteuropas 44, no. 3 (1996): 456–63.

[11] Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary under Stalin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 12. For a reading of Soviet ego documents that challenges Hellbeck’s, see Andrii Portnov’s Introduction to Viktoriya Kolosova, Kyivskyy Shchodennyk, 1941-45 [Kyiv Diary, 1941-45] (Kharkiv: Prava Lyudyny, 2021).

[12] Anna Krylova, “Soviet Modernity: Stephen Kotkin and the Bolshevik Predicament,” Contemporary European History 23, no. 2 (2014): 167–92.

[13] Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001).

[14] Francine Hirsch, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005).

[15] Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 12, 14.

[16] Adrienne Edgar, “Bolshevism, Patriarchy, and the Nation: The Soviet ‘Emancipation’ of Muslim Women in Pan-Islamic Perspective,” Slavic Review 65, no. 2 (2006), 272.

[17] Adeeb Khalid, “Backwardness and the Quest for Civilization: Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective,” Slavic Review 65, no. 2 (2006): 231–51; Adeeb Khalid, Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015). Cf. Marianne Kamp, The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, Modernity, and Unveiling Under Communism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006); Moritz Florin, “Beyond Colonialism? Agency, Power, and the Making of Soviet Central Asia,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 18, no. 4 (2017), 828.

[18] Cf. Holquist, Making War.

[19] Botakoz Kassymbekova and Aminat Chokobaeva, “Writing Soviet History of Central Asia. Frameworks, Challenges, Prospects,” Central Asian Survey 40, no. 4 (2021): 483–503.

[20] Cf. Sheila Fitzpatrick, “The Bolsheviks’ Dilemma: Class, Culture, and Politics in the Early Soviet Years,” Slavic Review 47, 4 (1988): 599–613.

[21] Martin, “Modernization or Neo-Traditionalism?,” 355.

[22] Cf. Krista A. Goff, Nested NationalismMaking and Unmaking Nations in the Soviet Caucasus (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2021).

[23] Brown, A Biography of No Place, 115. For a wider discussion on the Soviet Union’s imperial nature, see for example: Krista A. Goff and Lewis H. Siegelbaum eds., Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019).