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Article

Trends in Russian nationalities policy: a Structural Perspective

Problems of Post-Communism. 2017. Vol. 64. No. 6. P. 311-328.
Scherbak A. N., Sych Kristina.

If the Soviet nationalities policy was one of the most popular topics among students of Soviet history and politics, Russian nationalities policy became one of the least explored topics in Russian politics. Some scholars even claimed about the absence of Russian nationalities policy.  The paper explores Russian nationalities policy and argues that certain trends can be traced from the Soviet period. To show the difference between Soviet and Russian perspectives, the distinction between structural and actor levels of nationalities policy is suggested. It is argued that in the Soviet period the structural level (formal status in the administrative hierarchy, recruitment policy, and cultural-language policy) was the priority; in contemporary Russia the policy focuses mostly on the actor level. The structural level should not be neglected. The evaluation of the potential of structural changes for the rise of latent nationalism is based on quantitative assessment of structural elements using a structural equation modeling approach. We construct indices of political and cultural nationalism for 21 Russian republics and use conventional statistical methods to show that accumulation of latent cultural nationalism might be observed in Russian ethnic republics.