From ethnic to legal and economic separatism
in Federalism and democratisation in Russia

This chapter turns to a study of the ethnic make-up of the Russian Federation and the prospects for ethnic secessionism. For those who stress the positive side, federalism functions as a form of empowerment for regional groups and protects minorities from the tyranny of the majority. For those who stress the negative side, federalism is the problem rather than the solution, particularly in multinational states where ethnic boundaries coincide with boundaries of the federal subjects. The outright disintegration of the Russian Federation remains highly unlikely given the ethnic makeup and geo-political status of Russia's thirty-two ethnically defined subjects. Local democracy is surely a necessary pre-requisite for democratisation at the national level. And the provision of certain basic democratic procedures should, in a democracy, be universally available to all citizens across the federation regardless of their place of residence.

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