Brigid O’Keeffe on the USSR and successor states

Brigid O’Keeffe, Professor of History, Brooklyn College, is quoted in this History channel website backgrounder on the Soviet Union, its constituent parts, and successor states.

According to Brigid O’Keeffe, professor of history at Brooklyn College, fears of nationalist revolts by non-Russians led the Bolsheviks in the early days of the Soviet Union to guarantee the right to national territories, native-language schools and cultural organizations while using those institutions to saturate the population with socialist values and practices. “In many ways, the Bolsheviks’ nationality policy worked as intended—in the sense that it helped to integrate non-Russian peoples into the evolving Soviet state, society, economy and culture,” she says. “But it also relentlessly demanded that Soviet people think about themselves in national terms, and it placed ethnicity at the center of Soviet politics.”

March 8, 2022