The policy of Russification
Politica de rusificare
by George Cioranescu

“Russification as a political doctrine and as an administrative practice is something common both to the Tsarist and the Soviet regimes. Its aim is the assimilation of non-Russian peoples by the Great Russian nation, considered to be superior to all others living in the Muscovite empire. Russian nationalist ideology and the techniques of assimilation have evolved over the years, but their aim has remained the same: the creation of a single Russian people through the amalgamation of other nations. The Great Russian people, in the middle of the Muscovite empire, enjoys a favorable position from which it seeks to attain domination over other peoples in Europe and Asia, despite the fact that they today represent only 53% of the empire's population... In order to better attain this aim, the Tsarist policy of Russification made use of certain ideas, such as Russian nationalism, Christian-Orthodox messianism, and the myth of Moscow as the third Rome. The Tsarist motto - Orthodoxy and nationality - impregnated by the idea of world domination inherited from the Mongols and Tartars, served as an ideological front for Russian expansionism. If the declared aim of Tsarism was to liberate the Christian peoples from the Ottoman yoke, the real aim was their cultural Russification and economic exploitation by means of a centralistic administration and persevering colonization.

Soviet mass assassinations and deportations in Bessarabia between 1940-1941 (the first wave) and 1944-1952 (the second wave)

The Soviet regime took up this policy, using Great Russian nationalism and Slavophile ideas, in order to proclaim Soviet Russia as the contemporary worlds' champion of intellectual and moral progress. Religious messianism was thus replaced by proletarian messianism, and the Moscow-as-the-Third-Rome myth was adopted by the Kremlin as the Mecca-of-International-Communism. Communism added to the Tsarist arsenal of Russification a centralized party … Immediately after the war, he (Stalin) commenced the ‘political education’ of the population in the spirit of proletarian internationalism, by fighting the ‘bourgeois ideology.’ In other words, he encouraged Russian nationalism, but condemned non-Russian patriotism. The new Stalinist nationalities doctrine was formulated in the famous speech delivered by the red dictator on 24 May 1945, when he proclaimed the Russian people to be the most ‘eminent’ nation of the USSR… Under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the policy of forced Russification was resumed in a new form, recruiting the Ukrainians and Byelorussians in the process. In this latter phase, Russification gave way to the Slavicization of the non-Russian nations dominated by the Muscovite empire. The Tsarist and communist Russification policies proved effective to a certain extent, thanks to continuity and to the means of ‘persuasion’ used… Soviet Russification methods were both more subtle and more brutal than those of the Tsars…Another step toward the Russification of Bessarabia was the division of the province’s territory… Among the many efficacious and inhumane administrative methods used to denationalize an ethnic group, deportation occupied first place…The grand total of Moldovan deportees was evaluated by Alexandru Nicolae at 1 million. At first glance, one could believe that this is a Romanian exaggeration, but an approximate calculation on the basis of Soviet and Romanian statistic seems to confirm this figure… When the Russians got hold of Bessarabia in 1812, they were represented in the province by 6000 souls, mainly Lipovans belonging to the sect of the Old Believers… Part of the Old Believers had found in Moldova the religious freedom which had been denied them in Russia …”