. 44
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ply retooled these same hierarchies for modern usage. Accordingly, Mus-
lims lived in the past; Christians in the present. The nation-state represented
progress; multinational empire, backwardness. In this manner, “moderniza-
tion” implied the overcoming of all aspects of backwardness and disorder,
and Tsarist of¬cials were accordingly charged with overcoming them. It is
also the reason for the expedited pace with which they worked to level the
Because modernizers within the Tsarist bureaucracy remained ¬xed to the
idea of nationalization and homogenization, empire, with its uncomfortable
diversity, became a potential danger. Ethnic differences were now perceived
as threats, especially in the Caucasus and Central Asian regions, where the
“barbarian” nature of life was most evident. If they failed to adopt Euro-
pean lifestyles or if they resisted “modernization,” nomads and Muslims were
termed “wild men” and “lepers.”85 Government of¬cials in the Petersburg gov-
ernment saw matters no differently. Thus, the governor of the Caucasus spoke
of “criminal tendencies,” of “savage customs,” and of “the spread of disease”
when he reported to the the Interior Minister in St. Petersburg on the life of
Muslims and nomads. Furthermore, these diseases were appropriated ethnic
identities. As such, recalcitrant and unassimilated ethnic groups were treated
and considered just as one does a virus in a sick body.86

Holquist, “To Count,” 111“44.

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv (RGIA), f. 932, op. 1, d. 319, l. 43; RGIA,

Biblioteka (1894“1917), op. 1, d. 25, l. 75; RGIA, f 396, op. 5, d. 719, ll. 3“6; Baberowski,
Der Feind, 42“3, 72“4.
Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel

This endeavor evolved from the colonial context, in Russia just as in Europe,
and it was the colonial experts “ ethnologists, legal anthropologists, orientalists,
and doctors “ who biologized ethnic difference.87 With such a perspective, even
Tsarist generals were able to justify ethnic cleansing, as they did during the mid-
nineteenth-century Caucasus Wars, during which Tsarist troops evicted more
than 500,000 Circassians and Chechens from their homes, destroyed their
villages, and resettled Cossacks in their stead. Resettlement experts justi¬ed this
action by placing it in a broader European context that included the expulsion
of Arabs from Spain in the early-seventeenth century.88 Only with the First
World War, however, did population strategists receive the opportunity to
implement their fantasies of a reordered empire. When Kazakh and Kirgiz tribes
rose against colonial subjugation in 1915, for example, Russian settlers and
soldiers engaged in a deliberate campaign of annihilation against the nomads in
order to expel them and to transform the steppe into an ethnically homogeneous
space. Several hundred thousand men and women were killed or evicted from
their homeland.89
Although the methods of expulsion ¬rst developed within the colonial con-
text, they were not limited to that context. In the course of the First World War,
the Tsarist military created havoc in European regions of the empire. In 1915,
the Tsar™s Chief of the General Staff, Ianushkevich, ordered the retreating army

Holquist, “To Count,” 122“4; Weindling, 73“108; Andrei M. Pegushev, “Pervaia mirovaia

voina i kolonial™nyi mir: Retrospektiva s uchetom etnofaktora,” in Pervaia mirovaia voina:
Prolog XX veka, ed. Viktor Mal™kov (Moscow: Nauka, 1998), 408“19; Strazhas; Gesine
¨ ¨
Kruger, Kriegsbewaltigung und Geschichtsbewußtsein: Realitat, Deutung und Verarbeitung des
deutschen Kolonialkrieges in Namibia 1904 bis 1907 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1999); Tilman Dedering, “˜A Certain Rigorous Treatment of All Parts of the Nation™: The
Annihilation of the Herero in German South-West Africa 1904,” in The Massacre in History,
ed. Mark Levene, Penny Roberts (New York: Berghahn, 1999), 205“22; Stephanus B. Spies,
Methods of Barbarism? Roberts and Kitchener and Civilians in the Boer Republics, January
1900“May 1902 (Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1977).
A. P. Berzhe, “Vyselenie gortsev s Kavkaza,” Russkaia starina, no. 1 (1882): 161“76, 337“63;

M. Ia. Ol™shevskii, “Kavkaz i pokorenie vostochnoi ego chasti, 1858“1861,” Russkaia starina,
no. 9 (1894): 22“43; no. 4 (1895): 179“89; no. 6 (1895): 171“84; no. 9 (1895): 105“17; no.
10 (1895): 129“66; Dmitrii A. Miliutin, Vospominaniia general-fel™dmarshala grafa Dmitriia
Alekseevicha Miliutina 1816“1843 (Moscow: Studiia TRIT E, 1997), 306“14; “Pereselenie
tuzemtsev Kubanskoi oblasti v Turtsiiu i na ukazannye im mesta v predelakh oblasti,” in T.
Kh. Kumykov, Vyselenie adygov v Turtsiiu- posledstvie Kavkazskoi voiny (Na™lchik: El™brus,
1994), 88“112; G. A. Dzagurov, ed., Pereselenie gortsev v Turtsiiu (Rostov on Don, 1925),
36“7; “O vyselenii Tatarov iz Kryma v 1860 godu: zapiska general-ad”iutanta E. I. Totlebena,”
Russkaia starina, no. 6 (1893): 531“50; “Pereselenie Tatarov iz Kryma v Turtsiiu; iz zapisok
G. P. Levitskogo,” Vestnik Evropy, no. 5 (1882): 596“639.
Daniel R. Brower, “Kyrgyz Nomads and Russian Pioneers. Colonization and Ethnic Con¬‚ict

¨ ¨
in the Turkestan Revolt of 1916,” Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 44 (1996): 41“
53; Edward Sokol, The Revolt of 1916 in Russian Central Asia (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1954); Kusbek Usenbaev, Vosstanie 1916 goda v Kirgizii (Frunze: Ilim, 1967);
A. V. Piaskovskii and S. G. Agadzhanov, eds., Vosstanie 1916 goda v srednei azii i Kazakhstana
(Moscow: Izdatel™stvo AN SSSR, 1960); G. I. Broido, “Materialy k istorii vosstaniia Kirgizov v
1916 godu,” Novyi vostok 6 (1924): 407“34.
The Quest for Order and the Pursuit of Terror 203

to lay waste to border territories, remove their populations, and outright expel
any “enemy” ethnic groups. “Enemy” nations included Jews and Germans,
as well as Turkish Muslims in the Caucasus. There were pogroms against
the German population in Moscow and several other large cities; in many
small towns and villages, Russian and Ukrainian soldiers massacred Jews and
expelled thousands from their villages, deporting them into the Russian inte-
rior; in the Caucasus, Armenian soldiers openly terrorized Muslim civilians.90
Tsarist generals considered Muslims, Poles, and Germans spies and potential
traitors to the fatherland; Jews were considered politically unreliable. The war
enabled the murder and deportation of these imagined enemies.
The Tsar™s generals were absolutely certain that Russia™s multiethnicity was
its greatest weakness. Europe™s modern military powers were ethnically homo-
geneous nation-states with national armies. Tsarist generals understood Ger-
many™s military superiority in precisely this regard.91 Militarized nations were
superior to multiethnic, fragmented societies. It appeared to be a natural law.
Russia would only be able to withstand external threats when it removed “unre-
liable” national minorities from its border regions, when it separated ethnic
groups from one another and reorganized the army according to national cat-
egories. Indeed, this occurred during the course of the First World War when
the General Staff created and deployed exclusively Ukrainian and Armenian
military formations.92
Ethnic cleansing refuted the very raison d™ˆ tre of empire; it destroyed its
multiethnic basis without creating the desired sense of nationhood. At a mini-
mum, the Tsar™s civilian ministers and many of his governors in the provinces
recognized this dilemma, but they could do little against the fervor of the of¬-
cers and nationalists who sought to translate their dreams into reality under the
cover of war. The ethnic composition of Russia was not all that changed during
the First World War. Millions were forced from their homes and hundreds of

Eric Lohr, “The Russian Army,” 404“19; Eric Lohr, Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The

Campaign against Enemy Aliens during World War I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 2003); Sanborn, 119“22; Mark von Hagen, “The Great War and the Mobilization of Eth-
nicity in the Russian Empire,” in Post-Soviet Political Order: Con¬‚ict and State-Building, eds.
Barnett R. Rubin and Jack Snyder (London: Routledge, 1998), 34“57; Holquist, “To Count,”
124“5; S. G. Nelipovich, “Nemetskuiu pakost™ uvolit™, i bez nezhnostei,” Voenno-istoricheskii
zhurnal 1 (1997): 42“52; Victor Donninghaus, Die Deutschen in der Moskauer Gesellschaft:
Symbiose und Kon¬‚ikte 1494“1941 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2002), 367“516; Baberowski, Der
Feind, S. 84“96; Eli Weinerman, “Racism, Racial Prejudice and the Jews in Late Imperial
Russia,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 17 (1994): 442“95; A. B. Tsfasman, “Pervaia mirovaia
voina i evrei Rossii 1914“1917,” in Chelovek i voina: Voina kak iavlenie kultury, eds. Igor
V. Narskii and Olga Iu. Nikonova (Moscow: AIRO-XX, 2001), 171“80; Wolfgang J. Momm-
sen, “Die Anfange des Ethnic Cleansing und die Umsiedlungspolitik im Ersten Weltkrieg,”
in Mentalitaten “ Nationen “ Spannungsfelder, ed. Eduard Muhle (Marburg: Herder, 2001),
Among other Russian generals, General Brusilov saw it this way; see Aleksei A. Brusilov, Moi

vospominaniia (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2001), 73, 77.
Sanborn, 74“82; von Hagen, “The Great War,” 34“57.
Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel

thousands died in pogroms and ethnic cleansing actions. These pogroms and
forced population transfers confronted population groups unfamiliar to one
another under circumstances that inevitably made them into enemies.93
Deportations and interethnic con¬‚ict continued during the Revolution and
the Civil War. More than 100,000 Jews died in pogroms perpetrated by rev-
olutionary and counterrevolutionary armies. In the Caucasus and in Central
Asia, the Revolution developed into a bloody con¬‚ict between Muslims and
Christians, nomads and Russian settlers, locals and refugees. In the city of
Baku alone, more than 10,000 inhabitants died as a result of violence between
Armenians and Turks in 1918. Contact with strangers “ soldiers, refugees, or
migrants “ now regularly ended up in violence. And where social and ethnic
hierarchies mirrored one another, social con¬‚ict invited interethnic pogroms.94
Add to this the “mass violence” of the Bolsheviks against their real and imag-
ined enemies, such as the Cossacks in the Don region, and the encompass-
ing nature of violence becomes glaring. The interethnic violence and psychic
destruction that the Great War had wrought upon the Tsar™s empire were over-
whelming. Under the conditions of a multinational empire, the modern search
for a homogeneous order led to absolute catastrophe.
The Bolsheviks dreamed of a comprehensive and well-de¬ned order. Social-
ism understood itself as the realization of modern desires to transform ambigu-
ity into certainty. In this sense, the multinational empire was, for Lenin and his
supporters, a provocation that had to be eradicated. But the Bolsheviks wanted
to do more than simply register, categorize, and control the population. They
sought to change the very soul of their subjects, to transform their ways of
life, and to release them from the disease of backwardness. This differenti-
ated them from the Tsar™s of¬cials and generals. In the Bolshevik view of the
world, one belonged to a class, and, thus, the Bolsheviks registered Russia™s
multinational population according to social categories. Individuals became
members of classes “ and, as Marxists believed that classes waged war against
one another, they implicitly classi¬ed people as friends and enemies.95
However, people understand themselves in cultural contexts and they
describe the conditions under which they live in differing manners and in
different languages. They communicate in language and culture, not in class
structures. Put differently: classes existed within nations; and whoever wished

Peter Gatrell, A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees during Russia in World War I (Bloomington:

Indiana University Press, 1999), 15“32.
Charles Steinwedel, “To Make a Difference: The Category of Ethnicity in Late Imperial Russian

Politics 1861“1917,” in Russian Modernity, eds. David L. Hoffmann and Yanni Kotsonis (New
York: St. Martin Press, 2000), 79“81; Gatrell, 128“40, 171“96; Holquist, Making War; B.
Baikov, “Vospominaniia o Revoliutsii v Zakavkaz™e 1917“1920 gg.” Arkhiv Russkoi Revoliutsii
9 (1923): 120“36; Baberowski, Der Feind, 133“6, 148“9.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Ascribing Class: The Construction of Social Identity in Soviet Russia,”

Journal of Modern History 65, no. 4 (1993): 745“68. Idem, ed., Stalinism: New Directions
(London: Routledge, 2000), 20“46; Golfo Alexopoulos, Stalin™s Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and
the Soviet State, 1926“1936 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), 1“11.
The Quest for Order and the Pursuit of Terror 205

to transform the class structure of society had to know how to operate within
the very cultures and languages that one sought to void. The act of overcoming
ethnic diversity presumed its existence. Thus, socialism became an imperial
project. The Bolsheviks transformed the Soviet Union into a state of nations,
into a multinational community in which every nation lived independently. In
each of the national reservations, national languages dominated and the local
ethnicity enjoyed privileges not applicable to other and minority ethnicities.
For, in the Bolshevik state there were advanced and backward, new and old
nations. Backward nations were at an advantage relative to advanced nations
in that their cultural autonomy was preserved. This resulted from the belief
that the Bolshevik order would only prevail once it had been communicated to
the backward nations in their own language and culture.96
Practical considerations were not alone in de¬ning the nationalization of
the Soviet Union. Lenin and his Marxist followers considered the nation-state
to be an expression of modernity as it could be found in Western Europe.
In contrast, multinational empires were anachronistic and the expression of
backward relations. Empires arose only in order to be destroyed by the national
virus in the course of history. Even those Bolsheviks who were not in favor
of nationalization shared this belief in historical determinism.97 For Stalin,
Ordzhonikidze, Mikoian, Kaganovich, and those second-tier Bolsheviks who
knew what it meant to belong to an ethnic minority, nations were more than
just a transitional stage on the way to socialism. They considered nations to be
communities of fate. People belonged to nations, just as they belonged to their
class; one could not leave this community at one™s own discretion.
Stalinist functionaries, in contrast to Lenin and European socialists, nurtured
romantic, essentialist ideas of the nation. These ideas stemmed from their expe-
riences with violence at the periphery of empire during the 1905 Revolution, the
First World War, and the Civil War. At the empire™s periphery, social con¬‚icts
were always also ethnic con¬‚icts, and wherever nomads rose against settlers,
Muslim unskilled laborers rose against skilled laborers, or Ukrainian farm-
ers rose against Jewish artisans, class con¬‚ict disappeared in pogroms. Stalinist
functionaries typically came from the periphery and learned their political craft
in the empire™s multiethnic zones of violence. In these zones, friends and ene-
mies appeared as members of self-de¬ned social and ethnic collectives. Central
authorities knew that in order for these collectives to be effectively incorporated

Yuri Slezkine, “The USSR as a Communal Appartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted

Ethnic Particularism,” Slavic Review 53 (1994): 415“52; Terry Martin, The Af¬rmative Action
Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923“1939 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Uni-
versity Press, 2001); Baberowski, Der Feind, 184“214, 314“22.
Vladimir I. Lenin, “Uber das Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Nationen,” in Vladimir I. Lenin, Aus-

gewahlte Werke, vol. 1 (Berlin [East]: Dietz Verlag, 1978), 688; Jeremy Smith, The Bolsheviks
and the National Question, 1917“1923 (London: Macmillan, 1999), 7“28. Cf. also the debates
of the Eighth Party Congress and of theTwelfth Party Congress of the RKP(B) in 1919 and
1923, respectively, Vos™moi s”ezd RKP(B). Mart 1919. Protokoly (Moscow, 1959); Dvenadt-
satyi s”ezd RKP(B) 17“25 aprelia 1923 goda. Stenogra¬cheskii otchet (Moscow, 1968).
Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel

within a meaningful order, they would have to be able to recognize themselves


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( 115 .)