Ethnic Nationalism in Russia's Republics
Publication Year: 2011
Demands for national independence among ethnic minorities around the world suggest the power of nationalism. Contemporary nationalist movements can quickly attract fervent followings, but they can just as rapidly lose support. In Constructing Grievance, Elise Giuliano asks why people with ethnic identities throw their support behind nationalism in some cases but remain quiescent in others. Popular support for nationalism, Giuliano contends, is often fleeting. It develops as part of the process of political mobilization-a process that itself transforms the meaning of ethnic identity. She compares sixteen ethnic republics of the Russian Federation, where nationalist mobilization varied widely during the early 1990s despite a common Soviet inheritance. Drawing on field research in the republic of Tatarstan, socioeconomic statistical data, and a comparative discourse analysis of local newspapers, Giuliano argues that people respond to nationalist leaders after developing a group grievance. Ethnic grievances, however, are not simply present or absent among a given population based on societal conditions. Instead, they develop out of the interaction between people's lived experiences and the specific messages that nationalist entrepreneurs put forward concerning ethnic group disadvantage.
In Russia, Giuliano shows, ethnic grievances developed rapidly in certain republics in the late Soviet era when messages articulated by nationalist leaders about ethnic inequality in local labor markets resonated with people's experience of growing job insecurity in a contracting economy. In other republics, however, where nationalist leaders focused on articulating other issues, such as cultural and language problems facing the ethnic group, group grievances failed to develop, and popular support for nationalism stalled. People with ethnic identities, Giuliano concludes, do not form political interest groups primed to support ethnic politicians and movements for national secession.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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...This book began as a microstudy about why people in the Russian republic of Tatarstan threw their support behind nationalist movements in the early 1990s. It developed into an investigation comparing all of Russia’s republics. Why did people with minority ethnic identities in some other republics—which were analogous to Tatarstan in so many ways—pass through this period with so little...
1. ETHNIC ENTREPRENEURS, ORDINARYPEOPLE, AND GROUP GRIEVANCE
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...In the late 1980s ethnonationalist movements were springing up all over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Initiated by intellectuals but carried out by mass publics through protest cycles, popular referenda, and elections for independence, nationalist movements sought to gain political control of their region away from rulers they considered foreign. As the states of Eastern Europe suddenly...
2. VARIATION IN MASS NATIONALISM ACROSS RUSSIA’S REPUBLICS
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...The dramatic intervention by Mikhail Gorbachev into an ideologically, politically, and economically stagnant Soviet Union in the late 1980s triggered unanticipated political developments that weakened the system it was meant to rescue. The policies of glasnost and perestroika permitted people and organizations to...
3. DOES STRUCTURE MATTER?
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...Did adverse economic conditions at the end of the Soviet era in Russia’s republics inspire people to support republican nationalism? This chapter addresses this question by analyzing socioeconomic stratification among ethnic groups. This theme has received wide attention in the general literature on ethnic politics, perhaps most famously in Gellner’s model in which Ruritanian workers seek...
4. SUPPORTING NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY IN TATARSTAN
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...This chapter provides an in-depth study of the rise of mass support for nationalism by focusing on one of Russia’s most nationalist republics—Tatarstan. This case is particularly revealing because people in Tatarstan supported the opposition nationalist movement to a greater degree than in other republics. The case also suggests, however, the ephemeral nature of nationalism: popular support...
5. NATIONALISM IN A SOCIALIST COMPANY TOWN
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...In 1969, Naberezhnye Chelny, named Brezhnev at that time, was a small rural town located in northeast Tatarstan with a population of thirty-eight thousand and no infrastructural links to the rest of the country. Soviet central planners, in a less than rational moment, decided this was the ideal spot to construct the USSR’s newest and largest truck and automobile production complex. So construction...
6. ETHNIC ENTREPRENEURS AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF GROUP GRIEVANCE
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...It is generally thought that people support programs of nationalist renewal as a result of long-standing cultural, political, or economic grievances. If people maintain a grievance—a feeling of having been wronged—over the course of many years, that grievance, it is assumed, will be deeply felt and therefore likely to shape political attitudes and motivate political action. Though people may...
7. SECESSIONISM FROM THE BOTTOM UP
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...This chapter addresses secessionist campaigns mounted by Russia’s republics vis-à-vis Moscow in the early 1990s. It asks why some republics made strong demands on Moscow for increased autonomy, sovereignty, or even independence while other republics did not. In contrast to existing explanations that see republican wealth as the motivating force behind secession, the approach developed...
8. LESSONS FROM RUSSIA
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...It is by now conventional wisdom in social science that ethnic identity is a contingent, socially constructed phenomenon rather than a primordial one. As the hegemony of primordialist explanations of ethnic mobilization fades, rational choice-based as well as other approaches to the formation of ethnicity and its...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011