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"There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Yes and no. It coincided with a u-turn in nationalities policy from encouragement of the development of cultural ethnicity to the reverse. This reversal was carried with the standard Stalinist methods. The Ukraine was easily the most important of the 'other' nationalities of the USSR, and Ukrainian soviet style nationhood had been especially strongly encouraged within the Ukrainian SSR, in part due to popular pressure, in part because it was right on the border with heavily Ukrainian areas on the other side (and the most nationalist ones) that the Soviets wanted. So for propaganda/foreign policy purposes it was quite important. That meant a hothouse growth of a Ukrainian cultural elite which then got wiped out.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:38:58 PM EST
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