‘Citizen of the Soviet Union – it sounds dignified.’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores how petitions for the removal of passport ethnicity from the 1960s and 1970s can and should be read as statements simultaneously of national indifference and civic (Soviet) nationalism. By looking at these nationally ambiguous letter writers in a historical and geographical context outside of nineteenth-century East Central Europe, Whittington offers new insights that complicate and enrich the existing literature, most notably with regard to the state as an engine and locus of national indifference. She demonstrates that national indifference is not necessarily an early-stage reaction to the construction of ethno-national identity by nationalists. It can also be a later by-product of the state’s continued but disputed emphasis on ethnicity in what citizens themselves describe as a post-national context. In her analysis, national indifference furthermore appears as an explicitly political manifestation of agency of ordinary Soviets, a form of positive engagement with ideological mobilization from above rather than a merely negative reaction to it.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNational Indifference and the History of Nationalism in Modern Europe
EditorsMaarten Van Ginderachter, Jon Fox
ISBN (Electronic)9781315145402
ISBN (Print)9781138503489, 9780367661922
StatePublished - Feb 5 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Modern European History


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