Reviews

This relatively technical article is the follow-up of a prior analysis (Poppe E. & Hagendoorn, L., “Types of Identifications among Russians in the Near Abroad,” Europe-Asia Studies 2001/1: 57-71) bearing on types of identifications by Russians in the former periphery of the Soviet Union.  In this study, the authors apply a cross-national comparative design in which the effect of contextual-level factors, such as characteristics of the republics and the strength of Russians’ titular identification can be determined, in addition to the effect of individual-level factors.  They emphasise three things in particular—prior instances of assimilation, feelings of interethnic competition, and threat—which they refer to two levels of analysis (individual and contextual).  The hypotheses have been tested among Russians in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Kazakhstan in 1995-6.  From this work, it emerges that the titular identification of Russians is particularly strong in the countries where the proportion of Russian-speaking titular citizens is higher, in which titular citizens perceive less competition between Russians and themselves, and in which titular citizens perceive less threat from the “fifth-column intentions” of Russians.  So the most important aspects of the context are not, as might have been expected, the economic situation or the relative proportion of Russians in the various republics, but rather the position and perceptions of titular citizens themselves.  This shows how important inter-group factors are in understanding interethnic relations in former Soviet states.

Sébastien Peyrouse, Woodrow Wilson, Washington, DC
CER: I-7.1-612