This article has a crucial reference to the current national question in Ukraine. Under the revisionist Soviet Union the state ended the process of Ukrainianisation outlined by the Bolsheviks and Stalin. It was replaced by the policy of russification in the name of the creation of a single ‘Soviet Nation’. The end result of russification under Khrushchev and Brezhnev has been inter alia the current ‘national liberation’ war of the Russian state and the puppet Russian states established in eastern Ukraine designed to establish a state of ‘Novorossiya’ on Ukrainian territory.
The revisionist theorizations concerning the national question, and their application in practice. Brezhnev’s thesis on “one single Soviet people” is by no means a “contribution” to Marxist-Leninist theory, but an invention by the revisionists in order to camouflage their efforts to impose the Russian language and culture on the peoples of other nationalities, a characteristic feature of any occupier.
Marxism and revisionism are two opposed ideologies. They express and defend the interests of classes which have nothing in common and which are in mutual struggle and antagonism. The class which is armed with Marxist ideology struggles to overthrow the society of oppression and exploitation, and construct the new society, free of oppression and exploitation and without classes. The other, which is armed with the ideology of the revisionists, strives to consolidate the capitalist order or to return it when it is overthrown. That is why we say that Marxist ideology plays a progressive role in the life of society, while revisionist ideology plays a reactionary role.
Between these two ideologies from the time of Marx and Engels, and continuing to the present day, a struggle has been waged which is connected with the fate of the working class, capitalism, and socialism. The need to prepare the working class and the labouring masses to destroy the exploiting order and build up the new order means that struggle against any alien, hostile ideology, the revisionist ideology included, is indispensable. The struggle against revisionism has its own specific features, inasmuch as its ideologists “swear by all their gods” that they are successors to Marx, quote the classics of Marxism, etc. etc. For this reason the revisionists are deceivers and demagogues, yet despite their great failures both in theory and in practice, they continue to find a certain “market” for their obsolete, rotten line.
In this article we shall try to present some of the revisionist theorizations concerning the national question, which are trumpeted as a “further development of Marxism” and its application in practice. These theorizations were served by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the USSR. On this occasion the Soviets approved “the resolution on the preparations concerning the 50th anniversary of the USSR”. This “resolution”, as well as the anti-Marxist report delivered by Brezhnev at the XXIVth Congress of the CPSU, have served as a source for the revisionist scribblers to write a multitude of articles about the “successes” of the Soviet revisionist party and the “colossal changes” in the field of national relations in the USSR. All this noise has been made in order to camouflage the failures of the Soviet revisionists in this field, too. In the Soviet Union, the old relations of oppression and exploitation have been restored in every aspect of social life, including national relations.
The question of the birth of “one single Soviet people” and the role of Russian language and culture
Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin argued that with the overthrow of capitalism and the building of the socialist society, the exploitation and oppression of man by man is liquidated and new social relations are created. For the first time in history, this was proved in the Soviet Union. The building of socialism in that country, with its many nations and nationalities, had the result that parallel with the elimination of social and political oppression and exploitation, national oppression and exploitation were also eliminated. In the Soviet Union new relations were established both between men and between nations and nationalities, thus turning that country from a “prison of nations” into a community of free, equal and sovereign nations. This was one of the most brilliant victories of socialism in the USSR.
Unfortunately, this progressive process, which was realized under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party with Lenin and Stalin at the head, was interrupted with the advent of the Khrushchevite revisionists to power. These enemies of the working class organized and led that counterrevolutionary change which made possible the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union. With the restoration of capitalism, oppression and exploitation, and the antagonistic contradictions that characterize it, re-emerged. This oppression and exploitation and these antagonistic contradictions became a reality in the relations among nations too.
But all this does not hinder the Khrushchevite revisionists from presenting the situation as if nothing bad has occurred in the Soviet Union, and that the latter is developing, according to Lenin’s instructions, on the road of “communism”. Dealing with “theoretical problems” of this society, the Khrushchevites are attempting to prove that today in the USSR, the relations among nations and nationalities have entered a new stage, so that there have emerged some phenomena which belong to the period of the construction of the classless society. Raising these “problems” and treating them as they please, the Khrushchevites aim to achieve the following objectives; 1) to deceive the masses, nations and nationalities of the USSR, and 2) to justify theoretically the need to “merge” the nations, which in fact is expressed in the policy of russification, and thus of denationalization, pursued by the new Kremlin czars.
In their many articles, the Soviet scribblers dwell on the words uttered by Brezhnev at the XXIVth Congress of the CPSU; “... during the years of socialist construction in our country there has emerged a new historic community of men – one single Soviet people”. (Italics mine – B.H.) This thesis of Brezhnev on the “single Soviet people” is offered to us as a “contribution” by him to “Marxist-Leninist theory”. “The single Soviet people” is allegedly a new historic community of men, and the highest of all the communities that have existed so far. Society knows various communities of men, beginning with the tribe and ending with the nation. The creation of a new higher community is an invention of the Soviet revisionists.
If we examine the numerous articles by the Khrushchevites closely, we will see what the “single Soviet people” means. It appears to be identical with the Russian people. According to these writers, at the present stage of the development of the USSR, the differences between the nations and nationalities continue to diminish and disappear; thus all the nations are acquiring common features – those of the Russian nation. As well, the Soviet Republics themselves have lost their national character and have been internationalized. Thus, the decision on the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the USSR reads: “Now the working people of each Republic constitute a collective of many nations...”.1 But things do not end there. In these multinational Republics, the main role is allegedly played by the Russians, with their culture and language. Here is what A.A. Soliev writes: “During the direct participation of the Russian people in the life of each Republic, and the day to day contact with them our nations come to know and increasingly appropriate the rich Russian culture”.2
The aim of the entire propaganda fanfare in connection with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the USSR is to prove that national differences are disappearing, and to argue the need to merge all the nations into one single nation. However, since for the time being they cannot deny the existence of nations in the USSR, the revisionists, when speaking of a “single Soviet people”, say that it is “a single multi-national Soviet people”. This “single multi-national Soviet people” has, in their opinion, more common features than the nations and nationalities of the USSR have differences. By mentioning these “common features”, the Khrushchevites are striving to prove that the nations of the USSR have begun to merge. One of these common features is allegedly the Russian language, which has already become, they say, an “international” language of the nations and nationalities. The Khrushchevite revisionists proclaim that the mastering of this language by the other nations and nationalities is a necessity for the development of the Soviet society towards “communism”. Thus they strive to justify their policy of denationalizing the non-Russian peoples. “The use of the Russian language”, A. A. Soliev writes, “everywhere in the country (in the USSR, B.H.) is conditioned above all by co-existence with the Russians and by the role of their language, which ensures the mutual communication of the many nations with different languages. Its use is for us a vital indispensability and a daily necessity”3 (Italics mine, B.H.).
Precisely on this basis, there has emerged the theory of bilingualism. According to this theory, the non-Russian nations, parallel with their mother tongue, also use and speak Russian, which is made the principal language. In order to argue the view that the Russian language is the most important language, the Khrushchevites point out that in the first place, the Russian language gives the non-Russian nations the opportunity to understand the achievements of world culture better and to express their victories more accurately, inasmuch as the languages of the small nations are allegedly unable to meet the demands made by current development. Hence the conclusion drawn by them that the small nations ought to master the Russian language. Also it is not difficult to understand from this that the languages of the non-Russian nations are of a lower rank, are second rate.
However the Khrushchevites do not confine themselves to that. In order to back their chauvinistic thesis about the vital need for all the nations and nationalities of the USSR to master the Russian language as their primary language, they strive to prove that knowing Russian gives the non-Russian nations the opportunity to think more accurately, more scientifically. Thus, the very ancient well-developed languages of the non-Russian nations are supposed to be a hindrance in expressing one’s self clearly and, accurately, and also in thinking scientifically and accurately. This is the root of the theory of bilingual thinking, in the mother tongue and in Russian, where “Russian thinking” is supposed to predominate. Finally, the ideologists of the russification of the Soviet Union, and the denationalization of the nations there, consider that another very important factor, which makes the study and use of the Russian language indispensable is the need to master “the very rich Russian culture”; mastering this has already become, they say, “a vital necessity for the non-Russian nations”.
These theorizations prove that the new Kremlin czars are determined to russify the non-Russian nations, but are camouflaging this policy. Thus, they make out the study of Russian, as the primary language of the non-Russian peoples, to be a voluntary choice of these peoples themselves, not something imposed on them. In order to prove this, they give some “objective reasons”, for instance, the fact that in the USSR, the majority of the population is made up of Russians, that the Russian language is spoken by the major part of the non-Russian population in all the republics, etc., etc. The Soviet writers do not say how many Russians living in the non-Russians republics have learned and speak the local language. History proves that the occupier has always striven to impose his language on the oppressed people, but he himself has not even attempted to learn the local language. This is a characteristic feature of any occupier.
In the Soviet Union, there is no equality in the field of language, just as there is no equality in the other relations between the nations. Real equality in the field of language is not created by statements and empty words. It emerges as a result of the equality which exists in other fields of social life, in the political, economic, cultural and other fields. As such equality does not exist in the Soviet Union, then there can be no talk about any equality in the field of language.
Language is an element, a feature, of each nation. Without language there can be no nation, although that is not the only feature which determines it. The exploiting classes knew this in the past and know it today too. That is why they have always begun the policy of denationalizing a people by attacking their language. On the one hand, they have striven to lessen the use of the language of the oppressed nation, and on the other they have done their utmost to ensure that their language is used as much as possible, compelling the oppressed people, by various methods, to learn it, as is the case in the USSR. That is why we frequently find in history cases in which, among the main demands of the national movement, the question of the study and use of the mother tongue and the development of national culture figures largely.
We must not conclude from this that the national question of the oppressed nation is solved by fulfilling these demands. History proves that the exploiting class of the ruling nation often does not deny the oppressed nation the use of its language, or schools, newspapers and other institutions in its mother tongue. Indeed, this was sometimes allowed, though certainly not for all nations, by the Turkish empire. The Austro-Hungarian empire went even further. But despite this, in both these empires, the nations were not free. Not for nothing did Lenin and Stalin fight and expose the ill-famed opportunist theory of the “educational and cultural autonomy” of the Austrian social-democrats, such as Bauer, Roener, etc., which allegedly solved the national question of the oppressed nations. Lenin and Stalin worked out the principles on the basis of which the national question was solved in the land of the Soviets, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was created. The “Declaration of the rights of the peoples of Russia”, which was approved by the 3rd Congress of the Soviets of the worker and soldier deputies of all Russia, held at the beginning of the year 1918, proclaimed the equality and sovereignty of the peoples of Russia, the right of nations to self-determination up to separation and the creation of an independent state, the abolition of all and every kind of national privileges and restrictions, and the free development of the national minorities and ethnic groups which lived on the territory of Russia. Today all these principles have been violated by the Khrushchevite revisionists.
Internationalization of social life and the national question
For a long time now, the Soviet revisionist press has treated the question of the factors in the internationalization of social life, and their operation under the conditions of socialism, in a particular way. Their objective is to prove that the factors in the internationalization of social life lead, in the USSR, to the rapprochement and merging of the nations, as they understand this.
A great concentration and internationalization of the economy begins right from the advent of capitalism. With the emergence and development of capitalist relations of production, nations emerge and national cultures are formed. The great concentration and internationalisation of the economy does not lead these national cultures, which develop in the fold of capitalism, towards a merger with the culture of the bigger nations, as the ideologists of the exploiting classes are trying to prove. The theory of the internationalization of national cultures is aimed at proving the inevitability of such a process. Comrade Enver Hoxha exposed this theory at the 4th Plenum of the CC of the PLA, and showed its danger. He says: “The imperialist bourgeoisie has always striven to denigrate or eliminate the cultural traditions of the smaller nations, and the national spirit of their art and culture. This is one of the ways it practices cultural aggression and the subjugation of the peoples. The bourgeois reactionary concept about the “internationalisation” of culture and art, and the idea that the stage of “national schools” has been already been overcome, aim at eliminating the cultures of other peoples”.4
This is precisely the aim of all the fuss being made in the Soviet Union about the great role of Russian culture, and the necessity of its being mastered by other peoples. In the opinion of the Soviet revisionists, this culture together with the Russian language has become a vital necessity for all Soviet men and women. Things have gone so far that right now there is a tendency not to see a national language and culture as a distinctive feature of a nation. Here is what V. Zh. Kelle writes: “The sphere where national differences are preserved longer than any other thing is livelihood, national traditions, customs etc.”5 Hence, the national language and culture will disappear before these traditions and customs, which are allegedly sufficient to distinguish one nation from another. Therefore the Khrushchevite revisionists take the Russian language and culture to be one of the important factors contributing to the internationalization of social life in the Soviet Union.
The aggression of the Soviet revisionists in the field of culture also rears its head in science. Science is mentioned as one of the factors in the internationalization of social life. But science, in their opinion, can be promoted by the great nations who have so much potential, whereas the small nations must learn that they have to get it from the big ones. Allegedly, science can be taught best of all by the Russians and the Americans. Thus, in this field, too, they seek to establish their monopoly, and to tie the hands of other peoples. This is a thoroughly reactionary view.
The various nations all make their contribution to science, because science develops on a given national ground and it is precisely this ground that allows us to carry out studies at the level of contemporary science. Therefore we can say that the hegemonistic policy of the Soviet revisionists is reflected in the field of culture and science.
In the Soviet Union the internationalization of social life is reflected in many ways. In the first place it finds its expression in the subjugation of the non-Russian nations, and in their national repression, which is mirrored in national antagonisms. Then, the policy of internationalizing culture is reflected in the tendency to proclaim the Russian culture as an all-Soviet culture, and the Russian language as the language of the Soviet Union. This is why we say that the phenomenon of the internationalization of social life in the Soviet Union, as in any other capitalist country, is utilized to hinder the development and growth of the non-Russian nations and their cultures. The thesis that in the Soviet Union a unified economy has been created is used to prove the inevitability of its reflection in all spheres of social life, and in the creation of one single Soviet people, one Soviet man, one Soviet language and one Soviet culture. If this goes on, it will not be long before, during future censuses in the Soviet Union, people will be compelled to declare that they are “Soviet”, not according to the nation concerned.
Proletarian internationalism and the national question
The principles of proletarian internationalism were formulated by Marx and Engels. They have shown the international nature of the proletariat as a class, and have expressed this in the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” with the words: “Workers of all countries, unite”.
To characterize the idea of internationalism means to point out its many aspects and, above all, its world outlook, in its political and ethical aspect. This has been forcefully stressed by Lenin, who, when opposing the principle of internationalism to bourgeois nationalism, says: “Bourgeois nationalism and proletarian internationalism are two incompatible, hostile slogans which respond to two class camps throughout the capitalist world and express two policies (moreover, two world outlooks) on the national question”.
In every aspect of the national question, proletarian internationalism is the opposite of nationalism, beginning with overt chauvinism and ending with its camouflaged forms. Nationalism is alien to the proletarian ideology. It divides the forces of the working people of various countries. Lenin has more than once pointed out that the international interests of the working class stand higher than the interests of individual sections of the working class. Internationalism shows us the road leading towards the rapprochement, union, solidarity, and mutual assistance of the working class and all the labouring masses. But proletarian internationalism does not deny national distinctions. It does not exclude national differences and therefore it rejects any kind of national nihilism which does not accept national distinctions, and does not take into consideration national differences. A world outlook which ignores national forms and relations, and detaches itself from the actual basis of the life of a nation, affects national feelings and stimulates nationalist attitudes. Therefore, we are against such nationalism and national nihilism alike.
Proletarian internationalism does not allow specifically national features to be absolutized, because such absolutism means renunciation of the class proletarian stand in the field of national relations. We know that the absolutism of national theories nourishes the remnants of nationalism and, what is worse, creates suitable grounds for revising Marxism-Leninism as an internationalist theory. The revisionist theses of the “pluralism” of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, and the possibility of the existence of various “Marxisms” in various countries, or even within a country, stem from the absolutization of distinctive national features. All this is done to limit the labour movement within a country and, consequently, to divide the international labour movement. The partisans of these anti-Marxist theses seek to deprive the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of its internationalist character. We reject such a view, when we say that the Marxist-Leninist doctrine is one and indivisible. At the same time, Marxism-Leninism, as an internationalist doctrine, must be implemented in a creative manner, in conformity with the specific historical conditions of various countries. This means that we are also against dogmatism which does not take these conditions into account.
The indispensability of the unity of the international labour movement, which is an expression of the idea of proletarian internationalism, is connected with the other principles of Marxism-Leninism, such as, for example, the correct solution of the national question. This solution is directly realized with the establishment of complete, actual equality between nations, granting them the right to self-determination up to separation, and so on. Therefore, this idea also combats chauvinism and nationalism, which are enemies of the working class.
But the principle of proletarian internationalism is not just a slogan used as propaganda. In connection with this, Lenin stresses: “The essence of internationalism does not consist in “proclamation”, but in knowing, even in difficult times, how to be an internationalist in deeds”. Thus, a major distinctive feature of proletarian internationalism just as of Marxist-Leninist theory, is the idea that words must not be separated from deeds. This means that internationalism is not just an idea, but also an actual practice. The unity of word and deeds is an indispensable condition for putting into practice the principle of proletarian internationalism. We say this because even a slight separation of theory from practice, word from deed, impairs the confidence of the peoples. This is just what is happening in the Soviet Union today. Comrade Enver Hoxha has said, “the present Soviet leaders have replaced proletarian internationalism with big state egoism and chauvinism”. The tendency towards national oppression and chauvinism is opposed by the revival of nationalist trends; this has become a reality in the USSR.
Proletarian internationalism is the principle of our ideology and the policy of every genuine Marxist party in the field of national relations. In the conditions of capitalism, this principle finds its expression in developing the solidarity of the proletariat throughout the world, in assisting the world proletariat and in help being given to the proletariat of the capitalist countries by the proletariat of those countries where they are in power, and vice-versa. In the conditions of socialism, this principle finds its expression in the actual establishment of the equality of nations, in the establishment of friendship among the peoples, in the development of relations of collaboration and mutual assistance among nations, and in the right of nations to self-determination, up to separation when the state is multi-national. Formally, the Khrushchevite revisionists accept this right, but in reality they make it impossible to realize. This right to self-determination, up to separation, as well as the other rights which are stipulated in the Soviet constitution, are formal, because since it was usurped by the Khrushchevite revisionists, the Soviet state can no longer express the interests of its working masses and nations.
However, the Soviet leaders swear by all their gods that they remain “loyal” to proletarian internationalism, that they “aid” the revolutionary movement of the time, the newly liberated nations, etc. They use this slogan in order to camouflage their expansionist and aggressive aims, and to deceive other people. In reality, their whole practical activity shows that the Soviet revisionists have long ago given up this great principle of the labour movement, just as they have given up the Marxist-Leninist doctrine.
The Khrushchevite revisionists use this principle for their chauvinistic and aggressive aims and put all sorts of interpretations on it. Thus, any principled stand adopted towards the Soviet Union, exposing its aggressive, reactionary nature, is denounced by them as a betrayal of proletarian internationalism. The state interests of the Soviet Union are made out to be the common interests of the international labour movement. The new Soviet-U.S. agreements reached in recent years, particularly during Brezhnev’s 1973 visit to the U.S.A., which aim at securing the domination of the two superpowers in the world, are presented as if they were made for the good of mankind. Criticizing the “proletarian internationalism” of the Soviet revisionists, our party has continually pointed out that the Soviet revisionist leaders seek to speculate and to impose on the revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces the wrong concept that allegedly the stand taken towards the Soviet Union is a basic criterion, a “touchstone”, of proletarian internationalism, and that the entire struggle and all revolutionary actions must be submitted to the interests of the Soviet Union and to its policy. “The speculations about the past and the use of theses which were once correct”, comrade Enver Hoxha points out, "convince nobody today, when the Soviet revisionists have betrayed Marxism-Leninism and have transformed the Soviet Union into an imperialist country. Today, the stand taken towards the Soviet Union does once again constitute a criterion of proletarian internationalism, but in the opposite sense to that in Lenin’s and Stalin’s time, when it was the centre of world revolution, and its base. Today, the revolutionary and internationalist is he who fights the Soviet revisionists, exposes their betrayal, and opposes their anti-Marxist and imperialist policy and line with all his energy”.6
“Soviet democracy, democratic centralism and the sovereignty of the Soviet Republics”
The Khrushchevite revisionists have long made a great fuss about the essence of the Soviet order, the consistent implementation of the principle of democratic centralism in the relations among nations, and the sovereignty of the Soviet Republics. They go so far as to present the current Soviet reality as the most perfect in the world, and even attack Stalin for allegedly not having observed “Leninist principles in relations among the nations”.
Let us first of all see what the Soviet democracy has been reduced to in this respect. It is a democracy, but as a form of the contemporary exploiting state, it is a tool in the hands of the new exploiting class, to oppress and bring to heel the working masses. The content of Soviet democracy radically altered after the counterrevolutionary turning-point organized and realized by the Khrushchevite revisionists. In these conditions it becomes clear that there can be no talk about putting the Leninist principle of democratic centralism into practice. Is there centralism in the Soviet Union today? Yes, there is, but it is bureaucratic centralism. In order to justify the necessity of strengthening this centralism, the Khrushchevite revisionists resort to all sorts of practices and arguments which make the right of the Federated Republics to withdraw from the USSR, a right which formally remains in the Constitution of the Soviet Union, completely useless and unrealisable.
Let us consider the relationship of democratic centralism and Soviet federalism. Before the counterrevolutionary turning-point, this relationship in the USSR was correct, because it was based on Marxist-Leninist theory. After the degeneration of the Soviet State into a capitalist state, this relationship ceased to the correct. The question of the independence and sovereignty of the Federal Republics is in contradiction with the centralism which the Khrushchevite leaders are constantly strengthening. To justify this, the Khrushchevites admit that in the co-operation of these two principles, “democratic” centralism (really bureaucratic centralism) and Soviet federalism, the first principle becomes increasingly more important, because with the development of the USSR towards “communism”, national differences become smaller or are “extinguished”. From the reasonings of the Khrushchevites there clearly follows this anti-Marxist conclusion of theirs about the future of federalism and centralism in the USSR: The principle of federalism is temporary and transitory, whereas the principle of centralism is permanent.
Even if the Soviet Union were a socialist state, there could be no talk for the time being about the extinction of national differences, i.e., of nations, when capitalism continues to exist in the major part of the world. Marx, Lenin and Stalin teach us that we can talk about the extinction of nations only when communism has definitely triumphed on a world scale. But even at that stage of the development of human society, we must not think that the extinction of the nations will be realized through the assimilation of the small nations by the big ones, and that the languages of the big nations, which they call “international”, will become world languages. This is advocated by the Khrushchevites for the Soviet Union, when they give the Russian nation, and Russian language and culture, the major, decisive place in that state. The classic writers of Marxism-Leninism have argued that in the communist society, when distrust, hatred, national and social oppression and exploitation will have disappeared once and for all, nations will gradually be extinguished, and the language through which men all over the earth will communicate will not be Russian, English, or any other so-called international language. The historic experience shows that the aim of imposing the language of the big nation on other peoples is an expression of the policy of assimilation and denationalization. It is also opportune to point that the nations will not disappear by growing weak. The extinction of nations is realized through their all-round strengthening and flourishing. This very Marxist-Leninist thesis is fought by the Khrushchevite revisionists.
The Khrushchevites argue that it is necessary to reinforce centralism and extinguish federalism both in matters dealt with by the central power, that is by Moscow, and in matters dealt with by the federal or autonomous Republics. The central power solves the most important problems, those of “general”, “common” interest, etc., whereas “the federal or autonomous Republics and the other regions”, V. M. Chikvadze writes, “solve in an independent way affairs of local importance.”7
In the same spirit they examine the relationship of the sovereignty of the Union of the Soviet Republics with the federal Republics. It is worth mentioning that the Khrushchevites raise the question of the sovereignty of the federal Republics for propaganda purposes alone, as in fact there can be no talk whatever about their sovereignty. As long as an exploiting class is ruling in the Soviet Union, as in any other capitalist state, that class exercises sovereignty. As to what extent the Soviet Federal Republics are sovereign, this is clearly seen in the role played by the communist parties of those republics. The Soviet press says that the communist parties are the leading and guiding force in the Republics. This is not so. The parties in the Federal Republics are in reality completely dependent on the centre, Moscow, and do nothing but carry out its instructions and orders. Whenever Moscow does not approve of them, the leaders of these parties are removed; they are discharged without any consultation whatsoever with the members of the said parties, which is another proof that the Soviet Republics are not sovereign. Therefore we say that there is no equality among the Soviet Federal Republics in either state affairs or party affairs, and that without this equality the republics can never exercise sovereignty. The proclamations on sovereignty are purely formal. We may rightfully say that as long as the most elementary principles of federalism are violated in the relations among the Soviet Republics and the parties which allegedly lead them, there can be no talk of any kind of sovereignty belonging to them.
It is interesting to note that recently Soviet publications have shown a tendency to truncate and distort the concepts of “federalism” and “federation”. Thus, we read in the ‘Brief Political Dictionary”: “Federalism – 1) a form of construction of the multinational state on principles of federation. 2) A political trend aimed at the establishment of the principles of federation”.
“Federation – 1) Union of states into a federated state (for example, Russian F... – RSFSR)”.8
Another proof of the lack of sovereignty on the part of the Soviet Republics is the fact that some other East European states, which do not belong to the USSR, and which are members of the aggressive Warsaw Treaty, are not sovereign. The revisionist theory about “limited sovereignty” is itself a clear expression of this situation. Consequently, in such a state, every policy, including national policy, every action in every field, is determined by the interests of the ruling class.
Some conclusions can be drawn from the experience of the Soviet Union in the field of national relations. It follows first of all that with the triumph of the working class and its party, armed with the Marxist-Leninist ideology, new relations are established among nations, diametrically opposed to those existing in the conditions of the exploiting order. It follows also that if this class loses its power and capitalism is restored, the old inter-nation relations, characteristic of the given country, are also restored. The experience of the Soviet Union once more proves that never, in any country, can an exploiting class solve the national question of the oppressed nations.
Lenin, exposing the expansionist, aggressive and imperialist policy of czarist Russia, once described that Russia as a “prison of nations”. With the triumph of the great October Revolution, this “prison of nations” was wiped from the face of the earth. With the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, the old expansionist, aggressive and imperialist policy, has revived and Lenin’s words sound extremely pertinent, but they become: “The Soviet Union is a prison of nations”. Will this “prison of nations” be permanent? Certainly not. When the working class of that country, which has such marvellous revolutionary traditions, takes political power into its hands, it will wipe out all the evils of capitalism and, together with them, will destroy national oppression and exploitation.
1) Pravda, March 22, 1972.
2) Voprosi filosofii, Nr. 4, 1972, page 23.
3) Idem, page 29.
4) E. Hoxha deepens ideological struggle against alien manifestations and liberal stands towards them. Page 28.
5) Voprosi filosofii, Nr. 12, 1972, page 34.
6) E. Hoxha, Report to the 6th Congress of the PLA, 1971, page 24.
7) Voprosi filosofii, Nr. 8, 1972, page 20.
8) Kratkij politiceskij slovar, Moskva 196,. p. 358,
From: Albania Today, 1974(4).
Note: The author is Professor, titular of the Chair
of historic materialism at the State University of Tirana.
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