The history of the Soviet Union and its nationality policies has rarely been placed in the context of the twentieth century trends toward decolonization in a manner which takes the state's self-presentation of its anti-colonial project as essential to the nationalities' experience of Soviet rule. Because the Soviet state proclaimed itself the global champion of the colonized "Peoples of the East" and the vessel that would carry them toward a better modernity, it was able to legitimize itself as the harbinger of internationally valued concepts such as self-determination and modernization. But while the state sought to create a moral and inclusive multinational community via cultural representations of a decolonized socialist modernity, it also viewed the nationalities as backward peoples in need of Russian modernization. This set the stage for the increasing mobilization by nationalist movements to lay claim to the very rights set out in the state's own discourse. My 1998-99 dissertation research in Uzbekistan will examine shifting representations of Soviet modernization and decolonization in the Uzbek language press between 191 7 and 1997 and the ways in which Uzbeks narrate the structures of feeling which clustered around them in order to better understand the intersection between international framings of political rights, the cultural practices of the Soviet state and the constitution of a moral Uzbek community.