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Sheila Fitzpatrick: Soviet Nationhood, 2 December 2021

The Soviet Myth of World War Two: Patriotic Memory and the Russian Question in the USSR 
by Jonathan Brunstedt.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £29.99, July, 978 1 108 49875 3
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Nested Nationalism: Making and Unmaking Nations in the Soviet Caucasus 
by Krista A. Goff.
Cornell, 319 pp., £41, January, 978 1 5017 5327 5
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... It’s​ a puzzle to know how to think about the Soviet Union, now that it is gone. Was it a Russian empire in disguise, which broke apart when its oppressed colonies finally liberated themselves? Was it a benevolent federation in which the Russian big brother generously subsidised its younger siblings and paid for their education? Or was it, perhaps, a multinational state in which the leaders of its constituent republics acquired so much freedom of action that in the end they could just walk out of the union and declare themselves presidents of sovereign nations? The first version is understandably the most popular ...

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