Gorbachev and the "National Question": Restructuring the Soviet Federation

The structural context of Soviet-ethno nationalism

In the course of five years of perestroika, the "nationality problem" of the Soviet Union emerged as the key dilemma of Soviet politics. It was entwined with, and indeed has become a metaphor for, all the major issues of reform: the dilemmas of decentralization, the scope and limits of de-Stalinization, the interdependence of domestic and foreign policy, and the tension between democratization and control. Its fate is as problematic as the future of the Soviet system as a whole.