Can the terms "Russians" and the "Soviets" be used interchangeably?
I'm writing a report on Estonia's 20th century history.
- MBKLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
From 1940 until 1991, Estonia was a Soviet Socialist Republic, one of 15 within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The USSR was a sovereign country, one of the most militarily powerful in the world at that time. In 1940, the USSR occupied Estonia militarily and imposed the Soviet system on Estonia.
The word "Soviet" actually refers to an aspect of the political structure in the USSR.
The USSR was commonly called the "Soviet Union", and its government was sometimes referred to as "the Soviets" in much the same way as the USA is sometimes called "the States".
The Russian Federation was the most populous and influential of the 15 Republics in the Soviet Union and therefore people sometimes called the whole country "Russia" in much the same way as some people say "Holland" when they mean "The Netherlands" or "England" when they mean Britain. It was never accurate to call the Soviet Union "Russia" but it was understandable as most of the people who called the shots in the USSR were Russians.
- 1 decade ago
NO, Russians and Soviets are NOT interchangeable terms. Russians did make up the majority of the population of the USSR, but there were also numerous other nationalities in the union and to reduce them all to one term would be ignorant and insulting.
In relation to Estonia and Estonians - you could call Estonians who lived in the USSR Soviets, because they lived in a Soviet Republic and were part of the Soviet Union, although it's better that you don't, because as PlainPat said, Estonia was annexed by the USSR (= didn't join the union voluntarily) and for example, i know my parents who are Estonians and lived in the USSR, would be quite offended.
Now on to the term Russian - no, absolutely not. Russian is a nationality and so is Estonian, so again, no, you can't call Estonians Russians (and due to the painful past including the Soviet occupation, mass deportations of Estonians to Siberian work camps and a general aim to Russificate Estonia and make Estonian culture and language obsolete, it's understandable that most Estonians would find that highly offensive, even more than the term Soviet).
HOWEVER, there is a Russian minority in Estonia and many of them do call consider themselves Russians (some prefer the term Russian-Estonians, some Russian-speaking Estonians etc), so calling the Russian population of Estonia Russians would not be offensive.Source(s): Me, my parents
- Joey100Lv 61 decade ago
Only between the Revolution of 1918 and the fall of the USSR in 1990.
Even then, the Soviets were more like a group of people controlling Russia, than actually all russians being soviets.
Using russians and soviets interchangeably is like using Germans and Nazis interchangeably.
- MoravianEagleLv 71 decade ago
In Eastern Europe, we certainly do. When 1968 USSR invaded Czechoslovakia, we always used that it was Russian occupation. Everywhere in Eastern Europe outside Russia will agree that this is interchangeable meaning for and among us. The core of Soviet power was Russian based, built, and maintained. Everyone there knew that the Soviet control of the Baltics, Ukraine, or Caucasus was in reality Russian occupation and domination.Source(s): I had lived behind the Iron Curtain
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- PlainPatLv 61 decade ago
"Soviets" refers to citizens of the USSR, which no longer exists,. amand did not exist prior to the 20th century and the russian Revolution. Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians would argue that they clearly are not Russians, and never considered themselves Soviedts because they were annexed, not part of a "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." Since the breakup of the USSR, Estonia is no longer a soviet socialist republic, which would include the Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, et al. Russia, although by far the largest, was not ther entire Soviet entity.
- 1 decade ago
Absolutely not. What we call the citizens of what is now Russia depends on the time period. From 1917-1989 you must refer to them as Soviets, and before or after that time period they are Russians. At that point in time the country was not called Russia, but instead the USSR.
You wouldn't call people living in America before 1776 Americans, they were British Colonists.
Hope this helps!
- 1 decade ago
No, Soviet was originally a political term which was used to brand and unite all of the peoples and groups brought under the influence of the Bolshevik Revolution and the new communist union it created.
Russian is a cultural term which refers to a specific ethnic group.
- Anonymous4 years ago
Well here comes a long thing from me about it so brace your self. The make up of a male’s brain and a female’s brain in general is allotted different. A female brain will see sex as the making process of children as a prethought action that women where child bearers in the society for the longest time that was there goal to grow up and raise a child. (I am talking about before this time frame of course) But with those ingrained thoughts threw out generations its kind of a primal instinct; Hints why they talk about a biological clock. Also women are more emotionally able to accept love threw emotional needs. Men are completely different Men threw out time where hunters and workers. Really a completely different bread of human. But men are more physical they tend to thing sexual pleasure with the thought of love. Like o if she loves me she will have sex with me it’s mainly a thing of how men are more physical. (Not an excuse or trying to provide an excuse) Men tend to sleep around most often because of those physical needs they think they need. It’s a Primal instinct to have lots of sex and spread there seed from the massive generations before them where children where able to die and you would have lots of kids just hoping a few would survive. It also is the thing that has been ingrained threw being raised as you where growing up you heard the thing mommy's and daddies have sex because we love each other. Don't have sex unless you love them all of those items we have been told growing up so naturally it becomes a thing to where people go ok we love them we should have sex. It’s the classic nature vs. nurture scenario and you can fight for many sides on it. But basically that’s what I feel threw it sorry for the massive read -Casey
- Naz FLv 71 decade ago
'Plain Pat' has the best answer. ('Soviet' is just another name for a Communist-style labor union.)
When you think about it, the whole 'USSR' name doesn't make sense.
Union of Soviet Socialist republics? It was not a Union (more of an empire), nor Soviet (the so-called labor unions were just extensions of the government), only partly Socialist (since the Communist leaders had great wealth), and not made up of 'Republics', but regions that were terrorized by the central government.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Yes if you specify the era. Russians were Soviets before 1991.