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.
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.
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.
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).