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.

The Culture of Ethnic Violence: The Osh Conflict
The culture of ethnic violence: The Osh conflict
7.1 Introduction

In studying ethnic conflict and violence in the former Soviet Union we have discovered certain incompatibilities between our own observations and the dominant model of conflict interpretation – the so-called ‘human needs theory’. This approach claims that members of racial, religious, and ethnic groups share feelings of deep-rooted alienation and hostility towards ‘others’ or ‘out-groups’. The source of this hostility and violence is an absence or rejection of a group's ‘developmental requirements’ which comprise absolutely essential needs (Azar, 1990; Burton & Dukes 1990; Sandole, 1992). This approach originates in part from the ‘frustration-aggression theory’ (Dollard et al., 1939) and its later modifications that suggest violence is produced ‘when certain ...

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