The role of ethnic nationalism in the breakup of czechoslovakia essay

For more information, please see the full notice. Yugoslavia will cease to function as a federal state within a year, and will probably dissolve within two. Economic reform will not stave off the breakup.

The role of ethnic nationalism in the breakup of czechoslovakia essay

Ethnic Nationalism — University of Minnesota Press

The Unique Experience of Romania Introduction The Soviet Union was a multi-national empire from the revolution of through the final demise of Communism in Multi-national in this context meant that all Soviet citizens were defined by nationality, which was a category associated with birth, but also with native language, regional boundaries, and cultural traditions.

While Russians always made up the largest single national group, they never comprised an absolute majority of the population. All Soviet citizens had their nationality stamped in their passport, which provided one marker of identity. As indicated by the map included with the primary source materials, the territory of the Soviet Union was divided into fifteen republics and more than one hundred autonomous regions, each of which was defined at least partially by nationality.

Soviet schools taught children in their "native" language, and newspapers, periodicals, and books were published in many languages other than Russian. While the Communist Party, the security police, and the military ensured that political power remained centralized, hierarchical, and dictatorial, the everyday experiences of people throughout this period always involved the dual identities that were both national and Soviet.

The role of ethnic nationalism in the breakup of czechoslovakia essay

Nationalities and the Breakup of the USSR Given this historical background, the key question becomes what role nationalities played in the final stages of the breakup of the Soviet Union. To explore this question, it is important to define the meanings of nationality and nationalism, as they apply to this historical situation.

Nationality refers to a population that shares some key characteristics: Nationalism refers to an ideology, in which the identification with the nation becomes an important source of identity, a cause for mobilization, or a point of contention.

Throughout the twentieth century, the extent to which the many nationalities in the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union articulated and experienced a sense of nationalism depended on the historical context. Some nationalities developed a relatively strong sense of nationalism that was based on resentment against incorporation into the Russian and subsequently Soviet empire, dissatisfaction with subordinate status within this system, and some desire for autonomy and even independence.

The three Baltic republics Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia had the strongest sense of nationalism, because of the way they were incorporated into the Soviet Union as a result of the pact with Nazi Germany; other nationalities with a relatively strong sense of nationalism included the Ukrainians, Armenians, and Georgians.

At this same time, other nationalities were characterized by what might be called a weaker sense of nationalism, that did not attach such significance to historical, cultural, territorial, and linguistic differences.

The separation of Czechoslovakia traverses a long time. As early as , the two groups, the Czechs and the Slovaks seemed uncomfortable co-existing due to minor differences. Although various factors are responsible for the break-up of Czechoslovakia, ethic based nationalism played a critical role in the breakup of Czechoslovakia. Indeed, nationalism via certain political elites “filled the ideological vacuum created by the demise of Communism,” and on January 1, , without so much as a referendum, Czechoslovakia. In his book Ethnic Nationalism, Denitch looks at the question of the relationship between nationalism and democracy by focusing on former Yugoslavia. He has written a useful account of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the wider implications of the conflict.

Examples of the weaker definitions of nationalism included Belorussia, Moldavia, and especially the predominantly Muslim populations in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, where religious and cultural identities that transcended territorial boundaries coexisted with patterns of economic underdevelopment.

Within each of these national republics and especially within the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, smaller nationalities also developed stronger or weaker definitions of nationalism. The Russian people, more than any other population, tended to identify their national identity with the overarching system of Soviet power.

While the end of the Soviet Union resulted in the formation of 15 independent republics, both the process of dissolution and the subsequent history of these countries was shaped by these differences in nationalism as a political ideology.

National Independence Movements Recognizing this spectrum of nationalism explains why the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were the first to challenge the Soviet government's claim to be ruling with the consent of nationalities.

During the first years of Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost, in fact, the leaders of the "popular fronts" in these Baltic regions were among his strongest supporters because they shared his goal of decentralizing power, creating opportunities for free expression, and acknowledging the errors and crimes of Soviet history.

Byhowever, these popular fronts moved ahead of Gorbachev in their demand for greater independence, a Western style market economy, and multi-party political systems with elected legislators. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in Novemberleaders in the Baltic republics pushed ahead even more quickly in their demands for independence, which also provoked a stronger response from the Soviet government as well as from ethnic Russians living in the republics.

During the course ofall three Baltic republics declared their formal independence from the Soviet Union.

Nationalities in the USSR

Facing this direct challenge to the authority and integrity of the Soviet political system, Gorbachev responded by declaring these steps illegal. In Januaryone of the most visible confrontations between central authority and regional autonomy occurred in Vilnius, Lithuania, when Soviet forces attacked a television station that had been outspoken in support of the popular front forces.

The forces breaking up the Soviet system were strengthened when Boris Yeltsin, as leader of the Russian republic, declared his solidarity with the Baltic movements and even sought foreign support for this separatist push. The overwhelming support for independence was reflected in outcomes of the referenda held in February and March pushed these Baltic states even further from the Soviet system even before the failed August coup by anti-Gorbachev hardliners in Moscow and the subsequent end of the Soviet Union in December.

In the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia itself emerged as another leading force in the movement to claim independence from the Soviet Union.

These steps included a declaration that Russian law took precedence over Soviet law, preparation of a Russian constitution, and negotiations with the governments of other republics that bypassed the Soviet administrative system.

Project MUSE - Nationalism, Ethnic Pressures, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union

In earlywhen Gorbachev scheduled a referendum on the new federal union, the chairman of the Russian Communist Party, Yeltsin, added a question about whether voters favored a direct election of the Russian president.

This provision passed overwhelmingly, and in JuneYeltsin was elected President of Russia, thus acquiring a kind of democratic legitimacy never pursued by Gorbachev, who refused to subject his authority to any kind of electoral approval. When the attempted coup failed in AugustRussia was well positioned to declare formal independence, and to assume many of the governmental functions that the Communist Party was no longer able to provide.

In the Caucasus, the movement towards independence was complicated by the tensions among and within national groups. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan focused on the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in which Armenians made up a majority of the population, yet the district was administered by Azerbaijan.

As the Armenian republic government escalated its pressure for a union with this territory, the government of Azerbaijan as well as the Azeri population in and around Nagorno-Karabakh also escalated its resistance to Armenia's attempt to incorporate the region into its territory. In Januarya series of violent attacks on Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh provoked intervention by Soviet troops, which established order but further emboldened independence movements in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, even as both sides accused Moscow of showing favoritism to their rivals.

In Georgia, by contrast, the emergence of a nationalist movement also provoked one of the most violent incidents of this period, an attack by Soviet troops on demonstrators in April that resulted in 19 deaths.Nationalism cannot be limited to one definition because there are far too many aspects of nationalism such as cultural, ethnic, civic, relationship to land, etc.

Nationalism can be seen as a double-edged sword which can be used to protect and aid its people.

The role of ethnic nationalism in the breakup of czechoslovakia essay

Jan 01,  · A multi-ethnic nation born at the end of World War I in the glow of pan-Slavic brotherhood, Czechoslovakia survived dismemberment by the Nazis and more than four decades of Communist rule only to.

On the contrary, different in ethnicity and ideologies do not inevitably translate into violent political action (Fearon et. al., ), for instance: the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in underwent peacefully with no bloody ethnic conflict involved between the Czechs and Slovaks.

The Role of Ethnic Nationalism in the Breakup of Czechoslovakia Essay Sample. Background. The Slovaks and Czechs are ethnic relatives who share a common ancestry dating back to the Great Moravian Empire of the ninth century. Nationalities and the Breakup of the USSR Given this historical background, the key question becomes what role nationalities played in the final stages of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

To explore this question, it is important to define the meanings of nationality and nationalism, as they apply to this historical situation. Jan 18,  · Czechoslovakia's commendably peaceful breakup and the tragic civil war in Yugoslavia are evidences of a nationalist reaction sweeping across the lands of .

The Role of Ethnic Nationalism in the Breakup of Czechoslovakia | Essay Example