The Plan

Reading through today’s selection in “Stalin’s Forgotten Zion,” I noticed that we seem to get a full picture of Stalin’s plan concerning the diverse nationalities in the Soviet Union over time with the Jews as the example. Both Lenin and Stalin seemed to have believed that religion and national identity would eventually fade away completely as the Soviet culture became more dominant. In the reading, we see the Kremlin start out by “respecting” the Jews to completely forgetting all about the JAR by the time we reach page 71. Instead of the Jewish nationality fading away, the government seems to just close its eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist. This seems to me like the perfect example of why Lenin and Stalin were completely wrong. Culture and the sense of nation do not just disappear. It seems to me that the Soviet government just uses the idea of the JAR as a public relations tool for the rest of the world. Does anyone else see that too, or am I delusional on a Sunday night? We know the Soviets did not actually care what happened to the Jews since Weinberg points out that the government heavily promoted the program, but did not actually provide any assistance or prepare the settlers for the harsh conditions of their new home. Is this evidence that Stalin knew a nationality could only be suppressed, not eliminated?

One Reply to “The Plan”

  1. I think the questions you pose are interesting ones. As the material we have seen so far in this course seem to support an overarching theme of the Soviet Union using nationalism as a tool to push their true goals forward, while having a support system of different nations. The JAR in this instance also seems like a tool to support this “surface level” nationalism. Thus, I do believe Stalin was aware that nationality was such a deep rooted ideal in the lives of people that the only option is to suppress it. As nationality seems to be a bargaining tool to keep people compliant, however, when nationality gets in the way of Soviet goals it is pushed to the side.

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