By Dina Zisserman-Brodsky
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Additional info for Constructing Ethnopolitics in the Soviet Union: Samizdat, Deprivation, and the Rise of Ethnic Nationalism
24 Almost all ethnic minority movements championed the democratization of the Soviet system. They recognized the relevance of universal human values and democratic changes to their ethnic interests. Their documents demonstrate a strong non-isolationist trend, advocating close cooperation between peoples, countries, and cultures and the exchange of information, ideas, opinions, and the like. Levko Luk’ianenko, in his Petition to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet pointed to the dangers inherent in the official policy of self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world.
During the brief but significant period of Khrushchev’s “thaw,” the Soviet leadership dissociated itself from the extremes of Stalin’s nationality policies. Soon after Stalin’s death, the vigorous anti-Semitic campaign ceased, and its surviving victims were rehabilitated. 23 Large groups of exiled Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, and Western Ukrainians were granted amnesties and allowed to return home, while more moderate views concerning Russian annexations and the national liberation movements of ethnic minorities were adopted by official Soviet historiography.
The Soviet drive toward industrialization demanded utilizing the enormous scientific resources. That could have been achieved only on the basis of mass education, which brought about the growing level of professional training and broadened the access to information. The wide stratum of intelligentsia that had emerged as a result of this process, not only served the operational needs of the technological modernization, but also adopted the new societal standards. In this respect, Khrushchev’s political–legal reforms might be considered an uncompleted attempt of synchronizing the elements of the modernization process.