The Russian Empire as a Multicultural Society: Between Assimilation and Ethno-Religious Segmentation

Authors

  • Volodymyr BUREHA Київська богословська академія Української православної церкви, Київ, Україна

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29357/2521-179X.2020.v18.2.5

Keywords:

Multiculturalism, Multicultural Society, Russian Empire, Inorodtsy

Abstract

The article analyzes the policy of the Russian Empire government in relation to various ethno-religious communities in the XVIII – early XX centuries. In that time the official ideology represented the Russian Empire as a monoethnic state, in which there were national minorities, which were numerically significantly inferior to the titular nation. The officially titular nation in the Russian Empire was the “Russian people”, which included not only Russians, but also Ukrainians and Belarusians. The prospect of recognizing Ukrainians and Belarusians as separate nations was seen by the government as a threat to the internal strength of the state. Therefore, the development of Ukrainian national culture in the Russian Empire has always been considered in a political context. Hence the severe restrictions on the Ukrainian national movement.
Based on the classification of Göran Therborn, the author shows that the Russian Empire was a pre-modern multicultural society. However, the government’s approach to different «inocultural» communities was extremely heterogeneous. The author considers the national and cultural policy of the Russian government in relation to the Grand Duchy of Finland, the Kingdom of Poland, the Baltic provinces, Central Asia, the Caucasus. Particular attention is paid to the status of so-called «Inorodtsy». This category in the Russian Empire included, first of all, the indigenous tribes of Siberia, Chukchi, Kalmyks, Kyrgyz, nomads of Central Asia and the North Caucasus, as well as Jews. The author shows that the strategic goal of the government has always been to form a Russian political nation, ie a multinational and multicultural community that would be loyal to the ruling dynasty and realize itself as a single political entity. Achieving this goal involved providing varying degrees of national-cultural or even political autonomy to different groups of citizens.

Author Biography

Volodymyr BUREHA, Київська богословська академія Української православної церкви, Київ, Україна

Volodymyr Bureha, Ph.D. in History, PhD in Theology, Vice-rector on scientifical and theological work of Kyiv Theological Academy of Ukrainian Orthodox

References

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