|Primarily Russian, also others|
(incl. Ukrainian, Uzbek)
|Primarily Eastern Orthodox or Atheism, also others|
(incl. Judaism, Islam)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, others|
Through the history of the Soviet Union, both doctrine and practice on ethnic distinctions within the Soviet population varied over time. Minority national cultures were not completely abolished in the Soviet Union. The Soviet definition had national cultures to be "socialist by content and national by form" and used to promote the official aims and values of the state. The goal was always to cement the nationalities together in a common state structure, but as a pragmatic step in the 1920s and the early 1930s under the policy of korenizatsiya (indigenisation), the leaders of the Communist Party promoted federalism and the strengthening of non-Russian languages and cultures (see national delimitation in the Soviet Union). By the late 1930s, however, the policy shifted to more active promotion of the Russian language and later to more overt Russification efforts, which accelerated in the 1950s, especially in Soviet education. Although some assimilation occurred, that effort did not succeed on the whole, as was evidenced by developments in many national cultures in the territory after the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In contrast to Soviet national identity politics, which declared the Soviet people as an international and supranational community, the Russian Constitution speaks of a "multinational people of the Russian Federation". From the outset, the idea of the Russian nation as a community of all Russian citizens has met with the opposition.
In December 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pointed out the lack of an all-Russian unifying idea as a problem during a discussion in the State Council and proposed "all-Russian patriotism" as a replacement for the idea of "the Soviet people".
Assessments of the success of the creation of the new community are divergent. On the one hand, the ethnologist V. A. Tishkov and other historians believe that "for all the socio-political deformities, the Soviet people represented a civil nation." The philosopher and sociologist B. A. Grushin noted that sociology in the USSR "recorded a unique historical type of society that had already gone into oblivion". At the same time, according to the sociologist T.N. Zaslavskaya, it "did not solve the main task associated with the typological identification of Soviet society".
In an interview with Euronews in 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recalled the use of the term "Soviet people" as a "single community" in the Soviet Union but added that "these constructions were largely theoretical".
Russian researchers have also paid attention to the topic of the formation and functioning of the consciousness of the Soviet people.
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