From February to October 1992, Valery Tishkov served as Minister of Nationalities of the government of Russia. This book is his account of ethnicity, nationalism, and conflict in the territory of the former Soviet Union, focusing particularly on the Russian federation, and drawing on his personal political experience and inside knowledge of major events. He analyzes the demographic, ecological, and cultural backgrounds of ethnic tensions and conflict, and carefully measures grassroots ethnic attitudes and cultural interactions, which do not always correspond to intellectual and political statements and claims.
Chapter 11: Post-Soviet Nationalism
Ethnonationalism has played two very different roles in the cause of the deep societal transformations occurring in and after the Soviet Union. On the one hand, the rise of ethno-politics was a major factor in tearing apart the unitary Soviet state and undermining its Communist ideology. Nationalist movements fueled concerns about cultural integrity among ethnic groups and mobilized citizens demanding democratic reform and self-governance. And today, in its cultural and political forms, ethnonationalism is contributing to the process of state-building from the wreckage of the old Soviet system.
On the other hand, ethnonationalism has made the post-Soviet space an arena of destruction, ethnic cleansing, and uncontrolled violence. Thousands of people have been killed, and millions more displaced, in addition to the enormous material ...