Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia

Towards Explanations and Understandings


Author: Babak Rezvani
Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia combines theory with in-depth description and systematic analyses of ethnoterritorial conflict and coexistence in Central Eurasia. Central Eurasia is at the heart of the Eurasian continent around the Caspian Sea. Much of this macro-region is made up of the post-Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus, but it also covers other areas, such as parts of Russia and Iran. Central Eurasia is subject to a number of ethnoterritorial conflicts. Yet at the same time, a large number of ethnic groups, speaking different languages and following different religions, coexist peacefully in this macro-region. Babak Rezvani explains ethno-territorial conflicts not only by focusing on these conflicts but also by comparing all cases of conflict and coexistence in (post-)Soviet Central Asia, the Caucasus and Fereydan, the so-called Iranian little Caucasus. Aiming at formulating new theories, this book makes use of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), as well as case studies and statistical analyses. It provides an innovative and interesting contribution to Eurasian Studies and Conflict Analysis, and at the same time demonstrates a detailed knowledge of the relevant literature. Based on thorough research, the study offers a deep and insightful history of the areas and conflicts concerned.

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Babak Rezvani, Ph. D. (2013), University of Amsterdam, is a political scientist and geographer, and the chairman of Association for the Study of EthnoGeoPolitics. His publications focus mainly on ethnic relations and conflicts in Central Eurasia, and the Middle East.

Chapter One. Introduction
The Regions
The Structure of the Book

Chapter Two. Theoretical Framework
Ethno-Territorial Conflict
Ethnos and Ethnicity
State, Nation and Nationalism
The Causes of Ethno-Territorial Conflict
Power of Culture: Religion, Language and Ethnic Kinship
Power of History: Traumatic Peak Experiences
Political and Economic Grievances
State in Disarray
Ethno-Political Systems and Opportunity Structures
Ethno-Geographic Configuration

Chapter Three. The Legacy of the Iranian and Soviet Ethno-Political Systems and Policies
The Soviet Union and Its Successor States
The Soviet Nationalities Policy: Historical Underpinnings
The Soviet Union on the Eve of its Collapse and Beyond Iran
Ethnic and Religious Policies in Iran: Historical Underpinnings
Territorial Administrative Policies in Iran: Historical Underpinnings
Ethnic, Religious and Territorial Administrative Policies in Iran: The Contemporary Situation
Conclusion: Ethno-Political Systems and Ethno-Territorial Conflict

Chapter Four. Methods
Ethno-Territorial Groups and Encounters
Ethno-Territorial Conflict
Explaining Conditions
Analyzing the Dataset

Chapter Five. Ethno-Territorial Conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia
Political-Territorial History of the South Caucasus
The Karabakh Conflict
Ethno-Territorial Conflicts in Georgia: South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Political-Territorial History of the North Caucasus
The Ossetian-Ingush Conflict over Prigorodny
Wars in Chechnya
Political Territorial History of Central Asia
The Tajikistani Civil War and the Role Played by Tajiks, Uzbeks and Pamiris
Uzbek-Kyrgyz Conflict in Southern Kyrgyzstan
Conclusion: Patterns of Ethno-Territorial Conflict

Chapter Six. Analysis: Searching for Explanations
The Myth of Shatterbelts
Testing the Explaining Conditions Separately
Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Chapter Seven. It Was a Winter Morning: Conclusions
Research Results


All interested in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Iran. Students and scholars of peace and conflict studies, political geography, methods of social science research, and ethnogeopolitics and ethnic relations.