Ethnic Conflict and Russian Intervention in the Caucasus
AbstractThe collapse of the Soviet Union was remarkably peaceful, but its aftermath has been remarkably violent. To keep its multiethnic empire together, the Soviet regime used a mixed bag of political and economic instruments, developed over decades of Communist power and centuries of Russian imperial rule. The sudden end of the Soviet system destroyed most of these instruments and left the leaders of the new states of Eurasia holding the bag. As a result, these countries have become fertile ground for demagoguery, separatism, and ethnic strife. The ongoing conflict in Chechnya is the most visible manifestation of the potential for ethnic violence that exists throughout the region. To assess the likelihood of further conflict in the former Soviet states, and to debate various approaches for its control and moderation, IGCC invited some of the regionâ€™s leading specialists on ethnic affairs to a conference held at the University of California, Davis in March 1995. Part of the Instituteâ€™s project â€œThe International Spread and Management of Ethnic Conflict,â€ the meeting featured an animated panel discussion on the causes and consequences of the war in Chechnya. The articles collected in this Policy Paper are based on presentations by panelists Sergei Arutiunov, Andranik Migranyan, Emil Payin, and Galina Starovoitova. Their contributions reflect the pronounced political and intellectual controversies over ethnic issues now underway in the former Soviet states. Although they adopt widely varying perspectives and advocate very different solutions to problems of ethnic conflict, three major themes run throughout each presentation: 1) the legacy of imperialism; 2) federal supremacy versus local authority; and 3) Russiaâ€™s role as regional peacekeeper. As with many contemporary conflicts, it remains to be seen whether ethnic violence in the former Soviet states will be a transitory artifact of the end of the Cold War or a defining feature of a new era in global politics. The persistence of ethnic conflicts in Russia and its neighbors, and their susceptibility to peaceful and violent means of resolution, will set major precedents for conflict management and other political questions far beyond the borders of the late USSR.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California in its series Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, Working Paper Series with number qt2c88p87t.
Date of creation: 01 Aug 1995
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Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/igcc/
ethnic conflict; Russia; Chechnya; Soviet disintegration; security;
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