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Famine Politics in Maoist China and the Soviet Union$
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Felix Wemheuer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300195811

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300195811.001.0001

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The Burden of Empire

The Burden of Empire

The Crisis of “Indigenization” in Ukraine and Tibet

(p.157) 5 The Burden of Empire
Famine Politics in Maoist China and the Soviet Union

Felix Wemheuer

Yale University Press

This chapter begins with a comparison of the Russian and Chinese empires and the rise of the national question in the early twentieth century. It then analyzes the challenges of transforming the multi-ethnic empires into new Socialist states. Both Communist parties believed that it was essential to win over the “ethnic minorities” for the revolution. The chapter also discusses how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) adopted Soviet policies. The chapter shows that the famines contributed to a crisis in the policy of “indigenization”, which promoted local elites and culture. In the Soviet Union, the famine resulted in massive conflicts between the central government and the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Finally, the chapter explores the impact of famines on relations between the center and the periphery in general, and why the unrest in the periphery did not pose a serious threat to the rule of the Communist parties in the center.

Keywords:   China, Soviet Union, hunger, famine, Chinese Communist Party, socialism, ethnic minorities, Ukrainian Soviet Republic

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