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.

What is Rossia? Identities in Transition

What is Rossia? Identities in transition

12.1 Debates on Legitimacy and Threshold

After the demise of the Soviet Union, Russia rather unexpectedly found itself a multi-ethnic country with an open agenda – as did the other Soviet successor states. Besides the necessary economic and political transformations, the most serious challenge was and remains how to legitimize and govern such a sprawling multi-ethnic entity. Even established democracies do not always have a good record in this field – what then of the sudden and poorly institutionalized emergence of the Russian Federation? There are perhaps still more questions than answers concerning this new Russia. Many of these questions are relevant also for the other successor states: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldavia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine all ...

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