Contingent Communities: Regional Ethnic Mobilization in the Yeltsin Era

in Russian History
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Scholars disagree regarding the interests and impulses that drive secessionist ethnic nationalism. In Constructing Grievance: Ethnic Nationalism in Russia’s Republics, Elise Giuliano argues that, in the first decade of the Russian Federation’s independence, nationalist groups that highlighted economic discrimination by ethnic Russians against titular ethnic minorities were more able to spark ethnic and territorial separatist demands. She argues that the precise nature of economic experience, where often the actual economic discrimination was more ambiguous than that perceived, was less important than the nationalist groups’ message. In all, this book offers a compelling counterpoint to other work on ethnic separatism in Russia, which has emphasized long-standing historical grievances, institutional legacies, and the interests of political entrepreneurs rather than public interests.



Charles King, Extreme Politics: Nationalism, Violence, and the End of Eastern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 37.


Stuart Kaufman, The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).


Monica Duffy Toft, The Geography of Ethnic Violence: Identity, Interests, and the Indivisibility of Territory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).


 See, for example, Valerie Bunce, Subversive Institutions: The Design and the Destruction of Socialism and the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Svante Cornell, “Autonomy as a Source of Conflict: Caucasian Conflicts in Theoretical Perspective,” World Politics 54, no. 2 (January 2002): 245-276; and Philip Roeder, “Soviet federalism and ethnic mobilization,” World Politics 43, no. 2 (January 1991): 196-232.


Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).


Jack Snyder, From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2000).


Ted Robert Gurr 1993, “Why Minorities Rebel: A Global Analysis of Communal Mobilization and Conflict since 1945,” International Political Science Review 14, no. 2 (April 1993): 161-201.


John Dunlop, 1998, Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).


Charles King, “The Benefits of Ethnic war: Understanding Eurasia’s Unrecognized states,” World Politics 53, no. 4 (July 2001): 524-552.


Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity without Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006).


Dmitry Gorenburg, Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).


Elise Giuliano, Constructing Grievance: Ethnic Nationalism in Russia’s Republics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011). 147.


Daniel Treisman, “Russia’s ‘Ethnic Revival’: The Separatist Activism of Regional Leaders in a Postcommunist Order,” World Politics, 49, no. 2 (January 1997): 212-249; Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, “Federalism and Regionalism,” in Developments in Russian Politics 4, Stephen White, Alex Pravda, and Zvi Y. Gitelman, eds. (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), 229-250; and Henry Hale, “The Parade of Sovereignties: Testing Theories of Secessionism in the Soviet Setting,” British Journal of Political Science 30, no. 1 (September 2000): 31-56.


Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983) and Donald Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).


Giuliano, Constructing Grievance, 15.


Giuliano, Constructing Grievance, 134.


 See, for example, Valery Tishkov, Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004) and Matthew Evangelista, The Chechen Wars: Will Russia go the Way of the Soviet Union? (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2002).


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