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Transformation of Regimes of Governing Diversity: Minorities in Empires and Nationalizing States

Priority areas of development: humanitarian
2019
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research

Analysis of legal, political and administrative practices of managing ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural and social diversity at the time of transition of the historical empires of Eurasia to post-imperial structures.

Methodology

Methodologically, the project is based on the theoretical framework that takes historical empires as modes of managing diversity and combines it with an understanding of historical empires as key actors in the formation of international order. The issue imperial transformations are connected to the historical contexts of the birth of mass politics and mass society, the emergence of social movements and the actualization of the issue of internal and external boundaries and the redefinition of the grounds for drawing such boundaries, associated with the emergence of a new political principle of nationalism.

The project proceeds from the latest constructivist interpretations of the historical phenomenon of nationalism, focusing on historically sensitive models of the development of nationalism in the imperial context, “non-national politics” and hybrid politics. At the same time, methodological tools of political hegemony criticism were used to approaches alternative political canons of regionalism, autonomy, and federalism, which could incorporate the discourse of nationalism, and also could overcome it in the part in which this discourse postulated the inevitability and necessity of forming an independent national-state. In the part of the project related to the analysis of draft constitutions, literature was used to study the forms and types of post-imperial imagination, which allows us to consider constitutional projects as part of identity politics and as a negotiation field among political actors in a culturally divided political space.

Empirical base of research

Written sources and data on the management of small social groups in the pre- and early imperial period of Russian history; text sources related to reforms of the political space and projects of these reforms, with emphasis on projects based on alternative political imaginations including regionalism, autonomism and federalism; materials of public, party and intra-governmental discussions; literature on intellectual history and the history of ideas; documents related to constitutional processes in historical empires in times of crisis and transitions.

Results of research

A large amount of empirical material was studied to explore federalist projects; the ambivalently hybrid nature of federalist projects is argued as those influential scenarios of the postimperial political order bridged the seemingly insurmountable gap between imperial and national principles (with the effect of producing an original form of composite polity). In the part of the project devoted to intra-imperial discourses and practices of managing a heterogeneous socio-political space, an analysis of cases related to economic discussions, as well as practices of self-organization and mobilization of the population in industrialized urban areas, was carried out. The conclusion is drawn about the politicization of economic discourses in the rapidly modernizing empire, both from nationalist and alternative regionalist projects aimed at empire's space redescription. Another conclusion is made about the continuous search and construction of political languages for mobilizing the population and the continuity of self-organization practices over extended periods of time.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The results can be used by the authorities of the Russian Federation for policy-making purposes.

Publications:


Kotenko A. Рец. Kelly O’Neill, Claiming Crimea: a history of Catherine the Great’s southern empire. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017 // Harvard Ukrainian Studies. 2019. Vol. 36. No. 3–4.
Зіґріст П., Котенко А. Глобальна історія українського ХІХ століття: листування Михайла Драгоманова // Спадщина: Літературне джерелознавство. Текстологія. 2019. Т. 13/14. С. 473-483.
Зіґріст П., Котенко А. Листи Михайла Драгоманова до Фєлікса Волховскоґо, Макса Нетлау, Ґастона Парі та Валєр’яна Смірнова // Спадщина: Літературне джерелознавство. Текстологія. 2019. Т. 13/14. С. 484-532.