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Through Language and Power in the Creation of the USSR, Micheal G. Smith demonstrates the power of language as both a unifying and resisting force. In particular, this volume tracks the years following 1921, the end of the Russian Civil War. At that time, the Bolshevik party had inherited a disjointed Russian nation in which language and custom were defined by local communities. Consequently, the Bolsheviks attempted to enforce class consciousness and nationhood. They turned to linguists and policy makers in defining and promoting formal attributes of Russian language and custom. In order to combat the coercive nature of the state, the people turned to creativity, preserving their local identity through literature, song, anecdotes etc. Within this tension, language demonstrated how the Bolshevik party controlled its people and in some ways, never could. Turning to such issues, Smith states, illuminates a crucial aspect of Russian history.
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- Language policy
- Political aspects
- Politics and government