Comparing the attitudes to a question on preferences for ethnic separatism for two zones of conflict ― Bosnia-Herzegovina and the North Caucasus ―, this article reveals large differences both between and within the regions. In both locations, the most convincing explanations for separatist sentiment are geographical location and the respondents’ levels of general trust. The authors’ overall findings are that Bosnia-Herzegovina has a much higher level of acceptance of ethno-territorial separatism in comparison with the north Caucasus ― with the very significant reserve that Chechnya and Ingushetia were not included in the North Caucasus survey. The explanation given for this discrepancy is the fact that in the North Caucasus the conflict is localised and sporadic, instead of the widespread ethnic cleansing and the imposition of a cartographic fix by the international community in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The authors also insist on the significance of personal circumstances and personal beliefs, if compared with ethnic group membership, in the explanation of separation preferences. Their most salient conclusion is “the power of regional circumstances, cultural distinctions, demographical weight and political opportunity structures in determining the strength of that sentiment.”

The Redaction
CER: II-7.3.B-597