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"We are not Russia!"

 
USSR was an unusual empire: emphasis on socio-economic and cultural development of ethnic fringes
Ethnic elites evolved into organised groups with their own identity and interests. They became the prime movers of Soviet disintegration
National identity in the new states was formed on the principle “we are not them” (Russia/Russians) and on distancing from Russia
Nation building in the republics brought to the fore pro-Western and nationalist forces
Leaders of the new generation of politicians used nationalism and Western support to stage “orange revolutions” and to remove from power “pro-Russian” clans
 
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