Nationalities Policy in the USSR: Explaining the ‘The Pendulum Swing’ by Randall Collins’ Geopolitical Theory
This paper aims to explain the alternation of phases in the Soviet nationalities policy through developments in foreign policy, demonstrating the alternation of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ waves. Drawing upon Randall Collins’ geopolitical theory within a broader historical macrosociology perspective, I examine the effect of geopolitical tensions on the patterns of nationalities policy. Collins argues that geopolitical stability positively affects multiculturalism, while periods of geopolitical tension are associated with assimilation. I test Collins’ theory using a dataset on USSR engagement in international conflicts between 1926 and 1991. The results conform to our theoretical expectations: international security issues have a significant effect on Soviet nationalities policy.