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Destalinization as Decolonization

Dates:
  • Mon 12 Mar 2018 17.00 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2018-03-12 17:00 2018-03-12 19:00 Europe/Paris Destalinization as Decolonization

This paper seeks to connect destalinization and decolonization. It will focus on the new rights devoted to the Soviet Republics during Khrushchev’s reforms and the new possibilities they opened. In international law, the term decolonization is generally linked with political independence. In the case of Russia and the Soviet Union, it has been applied to the post-1917 and post-1991 periods of political dismantling (Sanborn, Plokhyi). In contrast, the scholarship on the disintegration of colonial Empires in the post-war period has stressed different aspects, such as the ideas of federalism in which post-colonial states could be decolonized without being independent (Cooper). Regarding destalinization, some historians have already explored the rebirth of the national policy (Smith) and analysed the new perspectives for the Republics in the framework of decentralization/deconcentration (Kibita). Kalinovsky developed the idea of inner « decolonization » in Central Asia that echoed the new challenges met by decolonized countries and was based on claims of equality and development.

In my presentation, I would like to knit together decolonization and destalinization, opening a double reflection on nationhood and sovereignty, as it was understood and put in practice in the evolving federal Soviet system and as it was discussed in the international debate on federalism. Three main Soviet sources will be used in order to develop my argument. First, the archives that illustrate the rise of international activity of the Soviet Republics, based on the 1944 constitutional amendments that gave them competence in foreign policy. Second, the archives of the central and republic Institutes for State and Law, that played a central role in the emergence of new legal conceptions in the 1950s and the 1960s. Third, the archives of the Constitutional Committee established by Khrushchev on 15 June 1962, particularly the sub-committee on nationalities policy headed by deputy prime minister Anastas Mikoyan. As for the Stalin Constitution (1936) and the Brezhnev Constitution (1977), the public debate that surrounded constitutional work provides a rare opportunity to observe Soviet approaches to federalism, nationhood and law.

Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

This paper seeks to connect destalinization and decolonization. It will focus on the new rights devoted to the Soviet Republics during Khrushchev’s reforms and the new possibilities they opened. In international law, the term decolonization is generally linked with political independence. In the case of Russia and the Soviet Union, it has been applied to the post-1917 and post-1991 periods of political dismantling (Sanborn, Plokhyi). In contrast, the scholarship on the disintegration of colonial Empires in the post-war period has stressed different aspects, such as the ideas of federalism in which post-colonial states could be decolonized without being independent (Cooper). Regarding destalinization, some historians have already explored the rebirth of the national policy (Smith) and analysed the new perspectives for the Republics in the framework of decentralization/deconcentration (Kibita). Kalinovsky developed the idea of inner « decolonization » in Central Asia that echoed the new challenges met by decolonized countries and was based on claims of equality and development.

In my presentation, I would like to knit together decolonization and destalinization, opening a double reflection on nationhood and sovereignty, as it was understood and put in practice in the evolving federal Soviet system and as it was discussed in the international debate on federalism. Three main Soviet sources will be used in order to develop my argument. First, the archives that illustrate the rise of international activity of the Soviet Republics, based on the 1944 constitutional amendments that gave them competence in foreign policy. Second, the archives of the central and republic Institutes for State and Law, that played a central role in the emergence of new legal conceptions in the 1950s and the 1960s. Third, the archives of the Constitutional Committee established by Khrushchev on 15 June 1962, particularly the sub-committee on nationalities policy headed by deputy prime minister Anastas Mikoyan. As for the Stalin Constitution (1936) and the Brezhnev Constitution (1977), the public debate that surrounded constitutional work provides a rare opportunity to observe Soviet approaches to federalism, nationhood and law.


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Organiser:
Alexander Etkind (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Pieter M. Judson (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Kolar Pavel (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Speaker:
Sabine Dullin (SciencePo Paris)

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