Soviet Disunion: A History Of The Nationalities Problem In The U.S.S.R
By Bohdan Nahaylo and Victor Swoboda
Free Press, 1990, 432 pp.
The Nationalities Factor In Soviet Politics And Society
Edited by Lubomyr Hajda and Mark R. Beissinger
Westview Press, 1990, 331 pp.
Giving the historical sweep of the Soviet government's record in dealing with non-Russian nationalities, the authors of Soviet Disunion show how and why, beneath the harmony of official declarations and the fact of central control, the problem was never solved. While the chronological presentation can lead to confusion as events in the several republics and autonomous provinces tumble into the narrative, and while the factors beyond nationalism are not fully explored, the essential information for judging past and future policy is here. The Hajda-Beissinger volume complements Soviet Disunion in that, with admirable scholarship, it digs deeper into the major nationalist movements and into specific fields of inquiry such as the economy, the military and religion. Both books show that Gorbachev has been slow to recognize the magnitude of the problem, which may already be spinning out of control.