In the 1930’s, the Soviet Union’s intentions were to create a more strongly collected, unified nation. While nations were an inevitable product of modernization through the massive uprooting and relocation of the working classes, there was a shift from a nation being modern in it’s fundamentals to focusing on the primordial roots of the citizen. What spawned from creating a national identity through the conduit of modernization was Neo-traditionalism. Neo-traditionalism in essence is the simultaneous cooperation of both modern and traditional aspects, and was the Soviet Union’s unexpected outcome. A pre-industrial state could not be considered a modern nation, because modernity cannot exist without the technology. However, industrialization exterminates old folk culture and is a catalyst for new culture. As the sense of nationalism developed, the game began to change with shifting ideologies with the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks saw nationalism as something which was on a different plane than class, and socialism would be the unifying principle. However, Soviet affirmative action made class and ethnicity an issue because of discriminatory institutions, a product generated by over zealous statism. The Neo-traditional outcome of modernization is what shaped Soviet nationalities.
This article made me think of how we view the ethnicity of each other in America. When people ask me what I am in regards to ethnic background, I say I am South African and Irish. Most people would answer this way I believe, even though all who were born in America are Americans. What is the line between immigration and a true, newfound sense of nationality? Why do many of us feel a sense of pride to our ethnic backgrounds despite the fact that we have never experienced the culture?