Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Konstantin Zamyatin (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Power Sharing or Ethnic Domination? Methods of Diversity Management in the Republics of Post-Soviet Russia

The purpose of this study is to explore the methods of diversity management employed in the republics of Russia in order to better understand the ethnic specifics of the Russian model of federalism. The place of federalism among existing strategies of conflict prevention or resolution will be observed in the first part of the paper. Scholars list territorial pluralist solutions among varieties of an accommodationist strategy. Federalism was famously defined by Ronald Watts as a normative concept according to which 'multi-tiered government' should combine 'elements of shared-rule and regional self-rule'. Thus, in addition to the creation of self-ruling ethnic regions, a pluralist federation can accommodate ethnic diversity also as part of shared-rule arrangements between regional and central government both at the federal and regional levels. Accordingly, the paper will in its second part diachronically and structurally outline the functioning of federalism as a diversity managing device in the political system formed in Russia. In the third part, the paper will study regional politics and focus will present the data of a comparative study on power distribution along ethnic lines in six republics of the Volga federal district. Political participation in decision-making, including ethnic political representation, is taken as a qualitative indicator of political regime varieties depending on their methods of diversity management. Finally, the paper will discuss the combination of methods used in republics and directed at eliminating or managing differences and deduce their possible impact on the state of ethnic diversity. This study demonstrates that, while the Russian federal system had institutionalised the power-sharing mechanisms neither at the federal nor at the regional level, two patterns of power distribution in its ethnic dimension emerged in republics. In the republics, regional regime varieties were based either on ethnic domination of the titular or Russian elites or on power sharing between larger ethnic segments of elites. With the decline of federalism and curtailment of regional self-governance since the early 2000s, the patterns had not largely changed, although it became more difficult to sustain power sharing.