Discussion:
Race relations in a non-Bolshevik Russia
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WolfBear
2017-09-28 01:01:11 UTC
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Had Russia avoided the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 (such as by having both Lenin and Trotsky be killed in two separate pre-1917 accidents--or perhaps even by the Tsarist secret police) and thus made it out of World War I in one piece, what would race relations be like in Russia over the next century (1917-2017)?

For instance, are ethnic minority (Ukrainian, Caucasian, Central Asian, et cetera) parties going to closely cooperate with each other in this TL in order to protect and promote their own interests?

Also, could we see a Russian version of our TL's African-American Great Migration in this TL (specifically with huge numbers of Caucasians, Central Asians, and other ethnic groups moving to the Russian heartland)? :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_(African_American)

In addition, are certain ethnic groups in Russia--Caucasians, Central Asians, et cetera--going to demand things such as affirmative action (in order to compensate them for previous Russian Imperialist rule) in this TL?

Finally, how much ethnic intermarriage are we going to see in Russia in this TL? Would the greater freedom of movement (as in, no propiska system) have resulted in greater inter-ethnic contacts and interactions and thus in more intermarriage in Russia in this TL?

Any thoughts on all of this?
WolfBear
2017-09-28 07:21:30 UTC
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Post by WolfBear
Had Russia avoided the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 (such as by having both Lenin and Trotsky be killed in two separate pre-1917 accidents--or perhaps even by the Tsarist secret police) and thus made it out of World War I in one piece, what would race relations be like in Russia over the next century (1917-2017)?
For instance, are ethnic minority (Ukrainian, Caucasian, Central Asian, et cetera) parties going to closely cooperate with each other in this TL in order to protect and promote their own interests?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_(African_American)
In addition, are certain ethnic groups in Russia--Caucasians, Central Asians, et cetera--going to demand things such as affirmative action (in order to compensate them for previous Russian Imperialist rule) in this TL?
Finally, how much ethnic intermarriage are we going to see in Russia in this TL? Would the greater freedom of movement (as in, no propiska system) have resulted in greater inter-ethnic contacts and interactions and thus in more intermarriage in Russia in this TL?
Any thoughts on all of this?
For the record, I am especially curious about Alex Milman's thoughts on this topic.
Alex Milman
2017-09-28 14:53:36 UTC
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Post by WolfBear
Had Russia avoided the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 (such as by having both Lenin and Trotsky be killed in two separate pre-1917 accidents--or perhaps even by the Tsarist secret police)
I'm not sure if there was Tsarist "secret police" routinely engaged in the political assassinations, especially abroad. Probably if it existed at least some problems could be avoided.
Post by WolfBear
and thus made it out of World War I in one piece, what would race relations be like in Russia over the next century (1917-2017)?
Framework defined in the terms that vague is practically meaningless in the terms of any definite predictions. Russia may get out "in one piece" as empire (with or without serious constitutional and economic reforms), a democratic republic with administrative structure similar to one of the Russian Empire, some kind of a federation or union (as the SU), some form of a dictatorship (left-wing, right-wing, centrist) and probably something else. Each of these options will have its own approach to the internal affairs.
Post by WolfBear
For instance, are ethnic minority (Ukrainian, Caucasian, Central Asian, et cetera) parties going to closely cooperate with each other in this TL in order to protect and promote their own interests?
I like "Caucasian" thingy. Do you understand that they were not united by anything, to put in very mildly. For example, there were violent clashes between Azeri and Armenians. Approximately the same goes for "Central Asian": AFAIK, the ethnic relations in some of the "stans" had been rather bloody even recently. I'm not going to get deep into the Ukrainian mess.
There were natural "migrations" within Russian Empire and, as long as the government was not interfering, they did not create noticeable problems. Unlike the government-sponsored mess you are referencing to with well known "by-products" like turning the middle class neighborhoods into the slams, etc.
There are very few things that government can do well and social engineering is not one of them.

Back to the Russian migrations, prior to 1917 there was a noticeable Chinese immigration into the Russian Empire (big enough for the Bolsheviks to use the Chinese mercenaries during the RCW).
Post by WolfBear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_(African_American)
In addition, are certain ethnic groups in Russia--Caucasians, Central Asians, et cetera--going to demand things such as affirmative action (in order to compensate them for previous Russian Imperialist rule) in this TL?
"Compensation for the previous rule" implies a guilt complex combined with an advanced form of a liberal idiocy. It definitely exists in the US but I'm not sure why and how would it develop in post-Tsarist non-Bolshevik Russia. Of course, level of a prevailing idiocy is rather difficult to predict but, based strictly on the known past, the "guilt" part was hardly a dominant even among the Russian liberals.


Something similar to the affirmative action existed in the SU (not sure if it was or was not borrowed from there) but the basis was totally different: the SU was OFFICIALLY multi-ethnic state so each ethnicity was given a quota in, say, educational institutions to reflect country's ethnic composition. In other words, this had nothing to do with the issues of guilt, oppression, etc.
Post by WolfBear
Finally, how much ethnic intermarriage are we going to see in Russia in this TL?
AFAIK, not too many problems with that even in Tsarist Russia, except for some religious issues that could make things complicated in each specific case.
Post by WolfBear
Would the greater freedom of movement (as in, no propiska system) have resulted in greater inter-ethnic contacts and interactions and thus in more intermarriage in Russia in this TL?
There was no unrestricted freedom of movement in the Empire: traveler required to have some document issued by the local authorities. However, this seemingly did not impact the big migrations and the Russians had been the bigger migrating group. I suspect that the only explicitly restricted group were the Russian Jews but even then there were numerous ways to bypass these restrictions.

As for the "intermarriages", they did exist from the very beginning of the traceable Russian history. Not sure if the Soviet system inhibited or promoted them to any serious degree.
Rich Rostrom
2017-09-29 02:30:50 UTC
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Post by WolfBear
Had Russia avoided the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917
(such as by having both Lenin and Trotsky be killed
in two separate pre-1917 accidents--or perhaps even
by the Tsarist secret police) and thus made it out
of World War I in one piece, what would race
relations be like in Russia over the next century
(1917-2017)?
The question is not so much "race" relations, as
"ethnic" relations.

OT1H - Imperial Russia did not make a Big Thing of
race. (Unlike the US South and other areas where
race-based slavery had been the social order.)

Russia (even the core area) swarmed with non-Russian
minorities: Kalmucks, Tatars, Mordvins, Bashkirs,
Votiaks, volksdeutsch, Arctic peoples. Then as Russia
expanded, it added Balts, Finns, Poles, Belarusians,
Ukrainians, Romanians, the various Caucasus peoples,
Mongols, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Tajiks.

I don't really know what the average Russian-Russian's
attitude toward all of these groups was. Many of them
seem to have done quite well in the Empire at some level.
Intermarriage was not unusual. (Perhaps not with the more
exotic groups, like the Moslem Central Asians, but that
might have changed with time.)

OTOH - Pan-Slavism and Russification were both significant
trends in Imperial Russia, and anti-Semitism was present
at a truly poisonous level. One of the few good things
achieved by Soviet Communism was the abolition of anti-
Jewish laws and the end of quasi-official anti-Jewish
propaganda. There was residual anti-Semitism in the USSR,
especially in the 1970s, but even then nothing to compare
to the pogroms and the Black Hundreds.

It would depend very much on what shape the Russian
government takes. A "liberal" regime (in the 19th century
sense) would foster relaxation, relative tolerance. A
hotly Russo-nationalist regime might push ethnic rivalry
as a political engine (think Milosevic in Yugoslavia).
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-09-29 16:22:38 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by WolfBear
Had Russia avoided the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917
(such as by having both Lenin and Trotsky be killed
in two separate pre-1917 accidents--or perhaps even
by the Tsarist secret police) and thus made it out
of World War I in one piece, what would race
relations be like in Russia over the next century
(1917-2017)?
The question is not so much "race" relations, as
"ethnic" relations.
Indeed. Of course, ethnicity was mostly an issue of a self-identification because AFAIK the only "identifier" in the official documents was religion.
So, for example, a Jew was a Jew only as long as he stuck to Judaism; baptism was making him a 100% kosher Orthodox (like General Grulev or General Geyman). Or, Witte was Russian (see Wiki :-)) because his father, who descended from a Lutheran Baltic family of Dutch origin converted to Russian Orthodoxy to marry his (Orthodox) mother. Actually, in the Russian version of Wiki (where author seemingly has a clue), there is "Religion" (Orthodox) instead of "Nationality" (item that did not exist in the official documents).
Post by Rich Rostrom
OT1H - Imperial Russia did not make a Big Thing of
race. (Unlike the US South and other areas where
race-based slavery had been the social order.)
Russia (even the core area) swarmed with non-Russian
minorities: Kalmucks, Tatars, Mordvins, Bashkirs,
Votiaks, volksdeutsch, Arctic peoples. Then as Russia
expanded, it added Balts, Finns, Poles, Belarusians,
Ukrainians, Romanians, the various Caucasus peoples,
Mongols, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Tajiks.
I don't really know what the average Russian-Russian's
attitude toward all of these groups was.
Keep in mind that most of the Russian top aristocracy and a big part of a nobility had either Lithuanian or Mongolian ancestry (not to mention Rurik who was Scandinavian) and the Baltic Germans became an integral part of the Empire in the early XVIII with the numerous intermarriages to follow. Members of, for example, Wrangel or Yusupov families would be quite surprised if identified as anything but "Russian".

An average person may (or may not) have usual phobias of multi-ethnic society. While being openly anti-Semitic was not 100% popular among the "educated classes" by the end of the XIX, being anti-Polish was OK and so was having a condescending attitude toward the people from the Central Asia, Chinese, etc.

On the lower levels things were worse but they many not even hear about the "exotic" nations.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Many of them
seem to have done quite well in the Empire at some level.
Yeah, like making it into the top ranking aristocracy or holding the highest positions in the imperial administration with much more on the lower levels.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Intermarriage was not unusual. (Perhaps not with the more
exotic groups, like the Moslem Central Asians, but that
might have changed with time.)
Witte was married to a Jewish women (converted into Orthodoxy).
Mannerheim had been married to a Russian heiress.
Felix Yusupov had Mongolian (all the way to Genghis Khan) ancestry on mother's side and (as was rumored) Hohenzollern plus some French and Austrian ancestry
ancestry on father's side (it seems that Wilhelm II recognized validity of the rumors).
Post by Rich Rostrom
OTOH - Pan-Slavism and Russification were both significant
trends in Imperial Russia,
They were but isn't it a little bit ironic (or illustrative) that one of the most prominent figures in the area of Russification was Vyacheslav VON Plehve?
Not to mention that the Russian monarchs were "Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov" (percentage of the "Russian blood" in Nicholas II was negligible).
Post by Rich Rostrom
and anti-Semitism was present
at a truly poisonous level.
Yes.
Post by Rich Rostrom
One of the few good things
achieved by Soviet Communism was the abolition of anti-
Jewish laws and the end of quasi-official anti-Jewish
propaganda.
Don't give too much credit where it is not due. :-)

"On March 20 (April 2 N.S.), 1917, the Pale was abolished by the Provisional Government decree, On abolition of confessional and national restrictions"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement

De facto enforcement ended much earlier, with the beginning of the WWI.
Rich Rostrom
2017-10-01 00:51:33 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
One of the few good things
achieved by Soviet Communism was the abolition of anti-
Jewish laws and the end of quasi-official anti-Jewish
propaganda.
Don't give too much credit where it is not due. :-)
"On March 20 (April 2 N.S.), 1917, the Pale was
abolished by the Provisional Government decree, On
abolition of confessional and national restrictions"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement
De facto enforcement ended much earlier, with the beginning of the WWI.
Good point - but OTOH, some of the White armies were murderously
anti-semitic; Bolshevik victory insured there would be no reversion
to the old ways.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-10-01 11:08:20 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
One of the few good things
achieved by Soviet Communism was the abolition of anti-
Jewish laws and the end of quasi-official anti-Jewish
propaganda.
Don't give too much credit where it is not due. :-)
"On March 20 (April 2 N.S.), 1917, the Pale was
abolished by the Provisional Government decree, On
abolition of confessional and national restrictions"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement
De facto enforcement ended much earlier, with the beginning of the WWI.
Good point - but OTOH, some of the White armies were murderously
anti-semitic;
Well, the same goes for some of the Bolshevik troops and the troops of their "associates". The most notorious anti-Semitic had been troops of the Ukrainian nationalists, not to be confused with the "whites". Personally, I never heard about the Volunteer Army being engaged in the pogroms.The best record (no irony), AFAIK, had anarchists of Nestor Makhno.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Bolshevik victory insured there would be no reversion
to the old ways.
I doubt that the White movement was about real return of the "old ways" (none of the leaders was a true monarchist).
David Tenner
2017-10-05 07:04:59 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
Good point - but OTOH, some of the White armies were murderously
anti-semitic;
Well, the same goes for some of the Bolshevik troops and the troops of
their "associates". The most notorious anti-Semitic had been troops of
the Ukrainian nationalists, not to be confused with the "whites".
Personally, I never heard about the Volunteer Army being engaged in the
pogroms.The best record (no irony), AFAIK, had anarchists of Nestor
Makhno.
On the Volunteer Army and pogroms:

"The second half of 1919 was the most tragic period for Ukrainian Jewry. N.
I. Shtif, on the basis of documents collected by a Jewish committee in 1922,
distinguished three phases in the pogroms carried out by the Volunteer Army.
He characterized the first weeks as a period of "quiet pogroms." In June and
July 1919, in regions that had just come under White rule, the Cossacks
attacked individual Jews, looted some villages and here and there raped
women. In August, at a time when the Volunteer Army was advancing most
rapidly, the pogroms turned into a mass phenomenon. Now looting occurred on a
large scale. In this second period many Jews were murdered, but the
attackers' main desire was to take Jewish property. It was still possible to
buy off the murderers. The third period, November and December 1919, was
contemporaneous with the decisive defeats of the Volunteer Army. This was a
time for mass murder: the defeated took revenge on the defenseless..."
https://books.google.com/books?id=T3D7CmSOMfIC&pg=PA298

OTOH, it has been argued that "Most of the White pogroms were committed by
Cossack units attached to the Volunteers, troops over which Denikin had only
very limited control" and that "the core units of the original Volunteer
Army" were largely inoocent of such atrocities.
https://books.google.com/books?id=X7ZHIVhazHUC&pg=PA147 Yet even the author
who writes this acknowledges that "Even so, Denikin and his subordinates
could and should have done more to curb the violence."
https://books.google.com/books?id=X7ZHIVhazHUC&pg=PA148
--
David Tenner
***@ameritech.net
Alex Milman
2017-10-05 19:29:50 UTC
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Post by David Tenner
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
Good point - but OTOH, some of the White armies were murderously
anti-semitic;
Well, the same goes for some of the Bolshevik troops and the troops of
their "associates". The most notorious anti-Semitic had been troops of
the Ukrainian nationalists, not to be confused with the "whites".
Personally, I never heard about the Volunteer Army being engaged in the
pogroms.The best record (no irony), AFAIK, had anarchists of Nestor
Makhno.
"The second half of 1919 was the most tragic period for Ukrainian Jewry. N.
I. Shtif, on the basis of documents collected by a Jewish committee in 1922,
distinguished three phases in the pogroms carried out by the Volunteer Army.
He characterized the first weeks as a period of "quiet pogroms." In June and
July 1919, in regions that had just come under White rule, the Cossacks
The Cossacks were not a part of the Volunteer Army. They belonged to the Don Army with its own commanders (and government) and were allowed a considerable degree of independence. Strictly speaking, they were "whites" just by a virtue of not being "red": their goals were quite different.
Post by David Tenner
attacked individual Jews, looted some villages and here and there raped
women. In August, at a time when the Volunteer Army was advancing most
rapidly, the pogroms turned into a mass phenomenon. Now looting occurred on a
large scale. In this second period many Jews were murdered, but the
attackers' main desire was to take Jewish property. It was still possible to
buy off the murderers. The third period, November and December 1919, was
contemporaneous with the decisive defeats of the Volunteer Army. This was a
time for mass murder: the defeated took revenge on the defenseless..."
https://books.google.com/books?id=T3D7CmSOMfIC&pg=PA298
OTOH, it has been argued that "Most of the White pogroms were committed by
Cossack units attached to the Volunteers,
Formally, they were allies of a rather peculiar type: Volunteer Army had been using territory formally controlled by the Don government as their base while at the same time acting as some kind of an overlord. However, they did not control mobilization of the Don forces and the issues of subordination were quite vague.
Post by David Tenner
troops over which Denikin had only
very limited control" and that "the core units of the original Volunteer
Army" were largely inoocent of such atrocities.
Exactly.
Post by David Tenner
https://books.google.com/books?id=X7ZHIVhazHUC&pg=PA147 Yet even the author
who writes this acknowledges that "Even so, Denikin and his subordinates
could and should have done more to curb the violence."
https://books.google.com/books?id=X7ZHIVhazHUC&pg=PA148
They probably should but I doubt that they could. See above what you quoted about "very limited control". The Cossacks had been interested in 2 main things: (a) their own regional independence (in practical terms, not giving away they land to the non-Cossacks and not being subjected to the Bolshevik extortions) and (b) loot. The Whites were something of a marriage of convenience with no excessively warm feelings on both sides (except in general Wrangel's proclamations "Mountain eagles!", etc.).
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