By Andrea Chandler
This examine examines why the USSR - a political procedure that initially prided itself on its internationalism - committed such efforts to controlling its borders, sealing its society from the surface global. It presents a revealing case learn of the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet nation.
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Extra resources for Institutions of Isolation: Border Controls in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States, 1917-1993
13 The Paradox of Socialist Isolation suing sovereignty. The Soviet Union's boundaries between republics and regions may have been politicized, but they were none the less boundaries between Soviet citizens whom the regime considered to be politically unified under socialism. Therefore, this study as a whole does not focus on the fascinating yet complex intricacies of the boundaries between Soviet republics, autonomous republics, or regions, except in the very final section, which treats the period when the borders between Soviet republics suddenly became international boundaries.
Exit controls originated not to choke off travel and emigration for its own sake but from the desire to 31 Borderline Sovereignty Struggles limit and regulate them to encourage positive forms of "internationalism" rather than the negative international contacts associated with capitalism and counter-revolution. 10 As the first self-defined workers' state, the USSR became a sort of a haven for "fellow-travellers" and victims of political persecution. But there was increasing concern to screen incomers who might secretly harbour opposition towards the regime.
61 Nationalism is rightly considered to have been one of the Soviet government's biggest problems. A case in point was the Ukrainian nationalist movement, which had sought to establish links with the Galician Ukrainians, formerly under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and who came under Polish rule after the First World War. 6* The Soviet Union thus had an obvious interest in suppressing communication with Western Ukraine, Turkey, Finland, and Poland. Border controls in this context could serve to thwart the prospective nation-building processes of groups who spanned the Soviet border and prevent their access to potentially hostile foreign governments.
Institutions of Isolation: Border Controls in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States, 1917-1993 by Andrea Chandler