Ethnopolitical Legitimacy and Ethnic Conflict Management. The Case of Russian Federation in the early 1990s

The author addresses several aspects of the problem of ethnopolitical legitimacy in its relation to the management of centre-periphery disputes in present-day Russia. The structure of this paper includes four major sections. The first discusses theoretical implications of ethnopolitical legitimacy. The second provides an overview of the dynamics of ethnopolitical conflict and federalization processes in post-Soviet Russia in the early 1990s. The third section reports the data of a sociological survey conducted in four ethnic republics within Russia in 1994-5 and the results reflect cross-republican and ethnically-relevant variations in the perceived level of trust in central vs republican levels of political authority as an important dimension of ethnopolitical legitimacy. The concluding section discusses the linkage between the issues of ethnopolitical legitimation and constructive conflict management in today’s Russia as underlying the agenda of federalism.