The Russians and the Turks: imperialism and nationalism in the era of empires
Central European University Press
27 - 45
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Comparing Russia and Turkey might appear to be a far-fetched enterprise. The differences are obvious, even too obvious to be dwelt upon at any length. There is a problem as to definition—what was nationalism about—and there is a difficulty as regards effect and timing. Russian nationalism (as distinct from empire-loyalism) is a nineteenth-century creation and Turkish nationalism came into being even later. Russian nationalists did not have to create a state until very, very late in the day—the end of the twentieth century, where Lenin’s body still lies in Red Square next to the symbols of imperial Russia. Turkic nationalists came into their own during the War of Independence after 1918, when, in response to Greek and other invasions, a new Turkish State was created. Its makers maybe had a long ancestry in terms of Muslims versus Christians, but their ancestry in terms of Turkish nationalism was quite short, not much longer than a single generation. In fact you can more or less date Turkish nationalism back to a conference in Paris in 1902, when various associations, broadly known as “Young Turks,” established a single “Union and Progress” association (which, like the almost contemporaneous Russian social-democratic congress, famously split).