Political Inequalities and the Formation of Russian Ethnic Minorities in Post-Soviet States (1993 – 2014). Comparative Study.

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Olena OLEKSIYENKO, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
The main aim of this paper is to compare the patterns of non-electoral political participation in the former soviet states namely, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan during the process of transformation with a special focus on differences between majority and the Russian-speaking minority populations of these countries.

All post-soviet countries share the “legacy” of the common Soviet past, i.e., Russian-speaking minority, which consists of not necessarily ethnic Russians, but people using common language and characterized by certain social identity opposed to the full integration (Hagendoorn et al.2001). During the Soviet Period ethnic Russians were the most mobile group among all nationalities. Some experts perceived this mobility as an “empire expansion to the peripheries” (Tishkov et al. 2005). Ethnic Russians in republics were settling mostly in urban and capital areas and belonged to privileged social classes (Kolstø 2011). After the USSR dissolution, they status changed to minority group.

Currently post-soviet scenery presents a great variety of the scope conditions for the political participation. There are differences in regime types- from democratic to authoritarian, different attitudes toward Russian minority-from exclusion to favoring, as well as different levels of the economic development. All these factors, along with social policies toward ethnic minorities in countries of settlement, shape different pattern of participation typical for minority and majority groups. Minority status influences the political participation, but the nature of this influence is to the great extent context-specific and associated with the state characteristics.

In this paper processes of ethnically and linguistically based political inequality formation will be put into historical context and examined using statistical analysis of the available secondary data from the international survey projects (e.g. World Values Survey and Life in Transition) conducted in former soviet republics from 1993 to 2014.