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Nationalities in a Class War: ‘Foreign’ Soldiers in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War

Whitewood, Peter (2016) Nationalities in a Class War: ‘Foreign’ Soldiers in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Journal of Modern European History.

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Abstract

This article examines Bolshevik attitudes towards the «foreign» soldiers who served in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. It focuses on the treatment of non-Russian soldiers from Europe and Asia, as well as the national minorities of the former Russian Empire, by the Bolshevik Party elite, the Red Army leadership and the political police. It concludes that while «foreign» soldiers were recognised for bringing professionalism to the newly formed and disorganised Red Army, these troops were never properly integrated into the ranks, even though class position assumed greater significance than nationality during the Russian Civil War. The soldiers continued to be faced with the same barriers to integration that had existed under the Russian Imperial Regime. Finally, the article argues that the Bolsheviks’ early experience of using «foreign» soldiers in the Red Army influenced the evolution of Soviet national policy and played a part in the shift towards Russification under Iosef Stalin.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.17104/1611-8944-2016-3-342
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482

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