Russification  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Russification is a form of cultural assimilation process during which non-Russian communities, voluntarily or not, give up their culture and language in favor of the Russian one. In a narrow sense, Russification is used to indicate the influence of the Russian language on Slavic, Baltic and other languages, spoken in areas currently or formerly controlled by Russia, which led to the emerging of russianisms, trasianka and surzhyk. In a historical sense, the term refers to both official and unofficial policies of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union with respect to their national constituents and to national minorities in Russia, aimed at Russian domination.

The major areas of Russification are politics and culture. In politics, an element of Russification is assigning Russian nationals to leading administrative positions in national institutions. In culture, Russification primarily amounts to domination of the Russian language in official business and strong influence of the Russian language on national idioms. The shifts in demographics in favour of the ethnic Russian population are sometimes considered as a form of Russification as well.

Analytically, it is helpful to distinguish Russification, as a process of changing one's ethnic self-label or identity from a non-Russian ethnonym to Russian, from Russianization, the spread of the Russian language, culture, and people into non-Russian cultures and regions, distinct also from Sovietization or the imposition of institutional forms established by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union throughout the territory ruled by that party. In this sense, although Russification is usually conflated across Russification, Russianization, and Russian-led Sovietization, each can be considered a distinct process. Russianization and Sovietization, for example, did not automatically lead to Russification – change in language or self-identity of non-Russian peoples to being Russian. Thus, despite long exposure to the Russian language and culture, as well as to Sovietization, at the end of the Soviet era non-Russians were on the verge of becoming a majority of the population in the Soviet Union. Few scholars would now claim that the Russian government had aimed to wipe out all non-Russian cultures and replace them with Russian culture and the Orthodox religion, though some non-specialists continue to keep the notion alive.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Russification" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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