Ethno-Politicial Conflicts in the Post-Soviet Space: the Role of Foreign Policy Factors

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-12-92-103
V. Lapkin, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (,
V. Pantin, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (



The article discusses the role of foreign policy factors in the emergence, escalation and management of ethno-social and ethno-political conflicts in the post-Soviet space. One of distinguishing features of such conflicts is that they have both ethnic and socio-cultural components, and are not only conflicts of interests, but also conflicts of values, norms, traditions and identities. It is shown that in the modern era of globalization and regionalization, the analysis of domestic escalation factors and management of various types of conflicts with an ethnic component has to be interconnected with investigation of foreign policy factors in such conflicts. In the post-Soviet space, the most serious ethno-political conflicts emerged in the south-east of Ukraine, Transnistria in Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as in Central Asian countries (in the latter case, an active role is played by international terrorist organizations, including Taliban and the “Islamic State”, which are banned in Russia). The conflict dynamics in all these cases is determined to a large extent by foreign policy factors: by involvement of the United States, the European Union countries, Russia, and in some cases Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other major regional players. The authors argue that none of ethno-political conflicts in the post-Soviet space can be effectively resolved without Russia's participation. It is shown that effective management of ethno-social and ethno-political conflicts in the post-Soviet states as well as prevention of their catastrophic development scenarios can be achieved by nation-building in these states based on civic rather than ethnic identities. The resource of civic (public-civic) identity could be a great asset in this regard. However, in practice, the choice of the nation-building and identity formation direction is often determined by the influence of global and regional players: the U.S., the EU, Russia, China and several other countries. In general, effective management of ethno-political and ethno-social conflicts in the post-Soviet space requires consideration of a number of factors: on the one hand, history, mentality and values of peoples and ethnic groups living in these countries, and on the other hand, – the impact of diverse and rapidly changing foreign policy factors.


ethno-political and ethno-social conflicts; foreign policy factors; post-Soviet states; nation-building; conflict management; USA; Russia; EU countries 


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For citation:
Lapkin V., Pantin V. Ethno-Politicial Conflicts in the Post-Soviet Space: the Role of Foreign Policy Factors. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, No 12, pp. 92-103.

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