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The Formation of the Soviet Union

The Formation of the Soviet Union

Communism and Nationalism, 1917–1923, Revised Edition

Richard Pipes

ISBN 9780674309517

Publication date: 04/25/1997

Here is the history of the disintegration of the Russian Empire, and the emergence, on its ruins, of a multinational Communist state. In this revealing account, Richard Pipes tells how the Communists exploited the new nationalism of the peoples of the Ukraine, Belorussia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Volga-Ural area--first to seize power and then to expand into the borderlands.

The Formation of the Soviet Union acquires special relevance in the post-Soviet era, when the ethnic groups described in the book once again reclaimed their independence, this time apparently for good.

In a 1996 Preface to the Revised Edition, Pipes suggests how material recently released from the Russian archives might supplement his account.


  • Reviews of the first edition:
    Simply to chronicle the highly complicated sequence of events in the ethnic borderlands of Russia during the tumultuous years between 1917 and 1923 is a difficult problem by itself. Richard Pipes has not only accomplished this task…but he has given this complex story meaning and perspective.

    —Political Science Quarterly


  • Richard Pipes is Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 392 pages
  • 6 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press