1990s' Experience and Cultural Diversity Management

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 8

The article analyses the lessons that the state and society could learn from the institutional contradictions and violent conflicts that were overcome in Russia in the 1990s. Ethnic mobilization and ways of getting out of conflict situations are analyzed. Based on specific materials, it is shown that the most important lesson was the ability to find compromise, dialogue ways to remove contradictions in the field of language, ecology, requests for participation in the use of local natural resources, increasing independence in the economy, and developing culture.

Most of the controversy was related to the institutional sphere, violation of the constitution and federal laws. The author shows that the regulation of such conflicts in multi-component federations is facilitated by the understanding that the ethnic nationalism of elites in the republics is different. On the example of the analysis of the discourse and legislative practice of Bashkortostan, North Ossetia-Alania, Tatarstan and Tuva, it is shown that divided sovereignty (not secession) was discussed in Tatarstan, but in it, as in Sakha and Bashkortostan, economic and cultural nationalism, defensive in North Ossetia - Alania, mainly cultural in Tuva. Accordingly, the agreements between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the republics differed. Compromise solutions were temporary and as soon as a strong legitimate government was formed in the Centre, they ceased to operate, this is also one of the lessons of the 1990s.

Interethnic contradictions within the republics were also achieved by compromise solutions. However, the problem of ensuring equal opportunities in the labour and political spheres still remains.

The lesson in preventing the escalation of power conflicts was the recognition of the legitimate monopoly of power on the part of the state. The protection of society is based on the rule of law, but compliance with the law needs control from both the state and society.

The final part of the article is devoted to the regulation of interethnic relations in the second decade of the 2000s. The author supports the idea of calling this process the management of cultural diversity, since the term nation-building used earlier contains a double understanding of the nation, both ethnocultural and civil.

The cited research results in the country and the republics show that ethnic identity remains very stable. But nowhere does it appear as a confrontational all-Russian identity, but is combined with it among the majority of the population. It can be assumed that the idea of the people as co-citizenship, aimed at consolidating social, spatial and ethnocultural communities, realizing their interests in the economy, politics, culture, contributes to the provision of solidarity in the country.

This is the last article by L. M. Drobizheva in our journal. The editorial board left the author's text unchanged.

Keywordsethnic mobilization, institutional and violent conflicts, ethnic nationalism, cultural diversity management, civil nationalism
AcknowledgmentThis article is a translation of: Дробижева Л.М. Опыт 1990-х и управление культурным многообразием // Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniia. 2021. No 8: 49–61. DOI: 10.31857/S013216250015254-2
Publication date27.09.2021
Number of characters40555
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1 Introduction.The 1990s in multi-ethnic Russia, characterized by violent conflicts, spread of new ideas about federalism and tensions in inter-ethnic relations in national republics, are evaluated differently by the researchers and public figures. According to G. T. Toshchenko, that was the period of the establishment of ethnocracy, and its definition hides the pain for the Union fallen apart, built on the principles of internationalism1, and the past management based on the socialist centralism. Others called this time an ethnic revival, especially in the republics, where people began to speak their ethnic languages without hesitation in public places, on the street, in trams and shops. Historians and writers began to remember the cultural figures who were repressed or went abroad, ethnic folk songs were played at meetings and rallies. Such mobilizing moments were experienced not only by Bashkirs, Tatars, Chuvash people, Yakuts, Karelians, but also by ethnic Russians, who were happy, for example, that Shalyapin was again openly recognized as their respected singer and not as an emigrant, who was talked about more often at home, but about whom it was impossible to write a thesis at Moscow State University. Russian culture, which rose to international fame, has again become the property of Russian citizens. From the standpoint of interdisciplinary scientific approaches and ethno-sociological point of view, the 1990s can be called the era of ethnic mobilization and ethnic nationalism. Analyzing the types of ethnic activity in the republics (primarily in Russia, but the experience of the former Soviet republics is also taken into account), we will try to formulate the lessons learned from the experience that are significant for managing the cultural diversity in different periods of the country's life. In our study, we took into account the theoretical elaboration of the events of the 1990s by scientists who then took a real part in the work of imperious institutions and regulation of conflict situations [Tishkov, 1997; Pain, 2004], the vision of the occurred transformations by government representatives [Abdulatipov, Mikhailov, 2016] and, of course, the work of national sociologists, conflictologists and ethnic psychologists, Yu. V. Arutyunyan, Zh. T. Toshchenko, A. G. Zdravomyslov, M. N. Guboglo, G. U. Soldatova, I. M. Lebedeva, etc., as well as our colleagues from the republics. 1. Internationalism was then understood as the priority of proletarian and then public interests and equitable friendly relations between people of different nationalities.
2 The ethno-sociological studies organized by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Tuva, Sakha (Yakutia), North Ossetia-Alania in 1994, 1996-1997 and 1998-1999, were the empirical basis of the analysis.2 In addition to mass surveys, 230 in-depth interviews were conducted with the leaders and specialists3, whose names were determined during population surveys by answering the question "Who expresses the interests of your people?" In addition, the speeches of politicians and ideologists were also studied. Comparison of the research results for different years allows us to trace the dynamics of the attitude of political actors and residents of the regions to the sovereignty of the republics, ideas of separatism, nationalism, self-determination and federalism. 2. In each of these republics, the sampling included 1000 people (the random error ranged within 4-5%). The respondents included both Russians and ethnic groups which gave names to the republics. Head L. M. Drobizheva

3. 110 of them were published in [Drobizheva, 1996].
3 Of course, within the framework of the article it is impossible to highlight all the complex processes mentioned above. For this reason, we decided to focus on the following three issues: 1) what can form the basis of ethnic mobilization; 2) how the nationalism was transformed in the 1990s during the strengthening of the federal state; 3) what makes it possible to effectively retain the escalation of conflicts and contradictions.
4 The basis of ethnic mobilization both in the Soviet republics and in the Russian autonomies in the 1990s was the demand proclaimed by national (ethnic) activists to preserve their ethnic languages. Language is the most sensitive ethnic integrator, perceived by people as a value. Moreover, the language requirements then had a social basis reflecting the social and political interests of local ethnic elites. Knowledge of the ethnic language became an advantage when taking up the managing positions. The head of the republic, for example, was obliged to speak the ethnic language, which, consequently, deprived the representatives of other ethnicities who did not know the language of the republic, including Russians, of access to the top echelons of power in the region. Often, not only the administration employees, but also service employees had to know the ethnic language.
5 Answering the question "What do you have in common with people of your ethnicity?", 82% of urban and 85% of rural Ossetians, 77% of urban and 83% of rural Tatars, 72% of urban and 83% of rural Sakha, 78% of Tuvans in cities and 84% in villages answered that it is the language. About 70% of ethnic Russians in the republics then wanted their children to know the language of the so-called titular ethnic groups. The republican newspapers in the mid-1990s paid a close attention to the language topic. The ideological pressure was felt quite clearly: "...the Tatar language is seriously ill"4, "if it dies, then we will perish as a nation" [Khakimov, 1993]. At the same time, answering the question "What conditions are now necessary for your people to revive?", just over 40% answered the language support [Drobizheva et al., 1996: 265-266], while 80% of Tatars, more than 90% of Ossetians, up to 90% of Yakuts and 79% of Tuvans wanted their children to speak Russian. 4. See: Tatar territories. 1995. October. No. 38.

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