Date of Award

Spring 5-1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Philip S. Gillette

Committee Member

Donald J. Zeigler

Committee Member

Austin Lee Jersild

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45 A32


Which ethnic groups are more likely to secede is a debated question among scholars. One view, as proposed by Immanuel Wallerstein, holds that ethnic groups living in economically advanced regions are more likely to secede. In contrast, other scholars like Donald Horowitz claim that backward groups in backward regions are more likely to secede. One aim of this thesis is to explore which view has better explanatory power for two republics in the Russian Federation: the Republic of Chechnia and the Republic of Tatarstan. In 1992 they were the two most separatist regions in the Russia. Later they diverged, and this thesis seeks to understand the different paths they pursued. First the republics' geographical, historical, and socio-economic backgrounds will be explored. Then five major factors that may explain this divergence will be analyzed: ( !)primordial factors, (2) the territorial basis of the claim, (3) uneven development, (4) bargaining power, and (5) leadership. The thesis concludes that Horowitz's model has greater explanatory power in the cases of Chechnia and Tatarstan. At the same time, a full understanding of why they chose divergent paths necessitates consideration of the five factors mentioned above. The analysis of these factors may help scholars to predict which of the model (Wallerstein' s or Horowitz's) has better explanatory power in a particular separatist region.


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