Matvey Katkov on Vesti FM: the national question changed radically in the 20th century

Matvey Katkov on Vesti FM: the national question changed radically in the 20th century

The significant adjustments to the issue of national relations were made in the 20th century, for this reason, today, this topic appears in the eyes of the public in a slightly different light, analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza Matvey Katkov said today during Vesti FM’s National Question program.

According to the expert, the national self-consciousness of certain peoples and conflicts between them are not identical to the problem that we call a national issue today.  The changes that occurred in the society in the 20th century affected many areas, including the national one.

"Of course, the multinational states existed since the ancient times, there were conflicts on religious and ethnic grounds between the peoples who inhabited them, but the ethnic conflicts that occurred in the world before the beginning of the 20th century do not seem to fall under the definition of the national question that is on the agenda today, " the expert said.

According to the historian, this is due to the fact that for the most empires, at least at the official level, the national question was not an urgent one.

In some cases, the national issue in the Russian Empire could receive serious attention, but often this took place in the context of the larger geopolitical tasks. For example, the Polish issue in the 19th century was urgent, primarily due to its influence on the country's foreign policy.

However, since the end of the 19th century, when the prerequisites for the creation of the sovereign national states began to form, this issue became more urgent, but usually the authorities were not ready to solve it, the expert said.

According to Katkov, in the 20th century, another trend called etatism appeared. "Etatism, from the French word État, state, refers to the ideology that affirms the leading role of the state in the life of society. The specificity lies in the fact that in the democratic countries the national question is replaced by a civil question. On the one hand, this leads to a new form of the interethnic and intercultural dialogue, largely contributes to its development, but on the other hand, some aspects of the national relations move to a secondary position, it becomes uncomfortable or unacceptable to speak about them, which can lead to an aggravation of the national question. Maybe, the process that takes place in Europe recent years is partly due to this ",  the expert concluded.

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