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Title:Minority rights and democracy: The transitions of post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania
Author(s):Resler, Tamara Jane
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kanet, Roger E.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Science, General
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Abstract:This study examines the broad problem of democratic governance of multiethnic societies by focusing on three post-Soviet states--Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania. In particular, it explores how the three states are attempting to deal with the national question as they seek to institutionalize democracy. The building of democracy--even if considered only in the sphere of minority rights--is a dynamic process. It involves bargaining by political actors and the complex interaction among state policy, societal actors, and domestic and foreign influences. By examining the states' conceptions of nationalities policy, the mechanisms they are enacting to involve minorities in politics, and the nationalities' political activism, this study spotlights the dynamic process of defining and negotiating minority rights. In short, it asks, first, whether--and to what degree--the post-Soviet states are meeting the requisites of democracy in multiethnic societies and, second, how they are accomplishing these.
By exploring the politics of ethnic minority rights in the post-Soviet states this study also seeks to contribute to the theoretical literature on transitions to democracy. In particular, it seeks to address the void in existing theories, which were based on the experiences of Latin America and Southern Europe, by focussing on the reconfiguration of national identity. The results of this study were obtained primarily from field research in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania during academic year 1992-93. In addition to gathering primary source materials, the author interviewed governmental officials, leaders of national minority associations, and scholars. In addition, the author conducted the Minority Rights Evaluation Survey.
The study concludes that Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania have a mixed record of success in democratizing the sphere of nationalities policy. Their varied accomplishments in nationalities policy reflect their particular approaches to the national question, the length of time that mechanisms have been in place, and the informal practice of politics in the three states. The three states' efforts to provide democratic guarantees and opportunities for minorities are most effective when they explicitly sidestep the individualistic assumptions of liberal democracy by incorporating group-level guarantees and mechanisms for minority group participation in politics.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Resler, Tamara Jane
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9522164
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9522164

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