Based on interviews conducted in the late 1990s with local nationalist leaders, the present article compares ethno-political situation in two republics of the Federation of Russia, Bashkortostan and Adygeya. Arguing that local level is essential to escape macro-analysis, the author focuses on national movement actors standing between society and state institutions. After some statements on local authorities and their more or less ability to counter central power, she describes their changing relations with ‘non-titular’ ethnic groups living on the republic’s territory. As far as Bashkortostan is concerned, the local policy of ‘ethnic exclusion’ is not detailed but general assertions are made for instance on the fact that “non-titular populations have seen deterioration of their political, social and cultural status in the nationalising polities .” Without providing any fact supporting her demonstration, the author misses the historical background of these features, satisfying herself with the application of theoretical frameworks on a complex reality. One can only be disappointed by such simplistic a conclusion that “nationalist ideology became central to Rakhimov” , or by such mistakes such as those considering ethnicity as a recruitment criteria in Bashkortostan, or asserting the absence in Russia of “social networks autonomous from the state” .
Xavier Le Torrivellec, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations, Paris