Self-determination as a Technology of Imperialism: The Soviet and Russian Experiences

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Self-determination is widely understood as an anti-imperial norm responsible in significant part for the global break-up of empires. But self-determination norms have been utilized as well to justify Great Power territorial expansion. This essay examines the ways in which self-determination norms have been wielded by the Soviet Union and Russia to justify overriding sovereignty norms, challenge the territorial integrity of weaker states, and rationalize an expansion of power and influence—despite opposition by a majority of inhabitants of the affected areas, the conflicting self-determination claims of indigenous populations, massive Russian settler colonization, and the opinions of the international community.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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