An interesting question, which entirely applies to Russia, was raised by historian Kamil Galeyev in his blog: how are so-called nations formed and why there are no “natural nations” in the world? For example, the Aliyev clan, which has been ruling Azerbaijan for the third decade, does not hide its Kurdish origin, and nevertheless considers itself to be an Azerbaijani nation. Galeyev explains with several examples how nations are formed:
“Perhaps the most idiotic argument I have heard regarding the Karabakh conflict is that Azerbaijanis are a“ fictional people”. It will be useful to parse this argument outside the context of the conflict, since it represents one of the most common logical errors. This is what it is about.
Most people think in words. This means that they believe in a magical connection between a word and a phenomenon: if there is a word, then there is a phenomenon that it denotes, and vice versa. By the way, from this it follows that the best way to focus public attention on a phenomenon is to give it a biting name, without which no one will think about it.
This is especially true for nations. The argument about the "invented nation" is based on such a paradigm that there are, as it were, natural nations, such immanent entities, but there are artificial ones. The first were kind of like always, and the second arose the day before yesterday, and therefore they have no rights to anything and are fake.
Meanwhile, a minimal acquaintance with the history of nations and nationalism is enough to know that there are no natural nations. Without exception, all modern nations are completely artificial and were formed in their modern form quite recently.
Until very recently, the overwhelming majority of the planet's inhabitants were essentially nationalless. People defined themselves by religion, by regional affiliation, by tribes, by class status, etc. The idea that there is such a thing as a nation to which we all belong and which in some way equalizes us is in its pure form a product of Modernity.
If the Azerbaijanis are an artificial nation, because the idea that there is such an Azerbaijani nation spread among the Azerbaijani intelligentsia only in the 1890s, then according to this logic, the Chinese are also an artificial nation. The term han minzu - a Chinese ethnic nation - was coined in the 1890s by a nationalist named Liang Qichao. The Chinese civil nation zhongguo minzu ("the nation of the middle state") was invented a little earlier, in the 1860s - and that is characteristic of the Japanese. Already from Japanese newspapers, this term migrated to Chinese. Based on this, one could say that there are no Chinese either, but there is only one invention of the Tokyo General Staff.
Further more. The average man thinks about European nations that they are certainly very ancient and natural. But no. Do you know what percentage of the Italian conscripts in the 1860 draft could speak Italian? 3%. Worse, neither the king of Italy nor his first minister spoke Italian. Those. the unification of Italy is not an Italian nation that acquires statehood, but one semi-French state of geographical Italy subjugates the rest with sword and fire, after which it is taken to bring them all culturally to a common denominator. What caused some bewilderment among those cited: when the first teachers of Italian arrived in Sicily, they were mistaken for Englishmen.
Okay, Italy was recently united, but what about ancient France - the model nation-state of Europe? And it's not much better there. The problem of conscripts who do not understand French persisted until the very 20th century. Back in the 1870s, only about a third of the population used French in everyday life. Most spoke "dialects", often much closer to Italian or Spanish than to the official Parisian dialect. You can look at the map of the distribution of the French language in France in 1835, borrowed from the Peasants to Frenchmen, to see this.
In short, the characterization of Azerbaijanis as an artificial nation implies the existence of natural nations. And such in nature does not exist. Everywhere there is a primary soup of languages, dialects, religions, estates, tribes, etc., which only a centralized state begins to ram into a single homogeneous monolith. It is from this compaction and homogenization that a nation is formed...".