Kinship, ethnicity and religion in post-Communist societies: Russia's autonomous republic of Kabardino-Balkariya

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Among the consequences of perestroikait and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 has been the rise of ethnic nationalism. In the non-Russian parts of the former USSR this process has been accompanied by the reactivation of clan and other primordial social networks which under Soviet Communism had been in abeyance. This article, based on extensive field research material, examines political and social transformation in post-Communist Kabardino-Balkariya, a Russian Muslim autonomy in the North Caucasus. In particular, it analyses the nature of the nation-building policies of the ruling regime, and its relationship with the clan system. It is also concerned with Islamic revival and Islamic radicalism in the region and their correlation with the Islam-related republican and wider federal policies. The article reveals some grey areas in the current academic debate on ethnicity and nationalism and injects more conceptual syncretism into the study of post-Communist societies.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-82
Number of pages32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005