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This book deals with the institutional framework in post-socialist, after-empire spaces. It consists of nine case studies and two contributions of a more theoretical nature. Each of these analytical narratives sheds some light on the micro-politics of organised violence. After 1990, Serbs and Croats were competing over access to the resources needed for institution building and state building. Fear in turn triggered ethnic mobilisation. An 'unprofessional' riot of Serbs in the Krajina region developed into a professional war between Serbs and Croats in Croatia, in which several thousand died and several hundred thousand people were forcefully expelled from their homes. The Herceg-Bosnian style of resistance can be surprisingly effective. It is known that most of the heroin transported along the Balkans route passes through the hands of Albanian mafia groups; that this traffic has taken off since summer 1999. The concept of Staatnation is based on the doctrine according to which each 'nation' must have its own territorial State and each State must consist of one 'nation' only. The slow decline and eventual collapse of the Soviet and the Yugoslav empires was partly triggered, partly accompanied by the quest for national sovereignty. Dagestan is notable for its ethnic diversity and, even by post-Soviet standards, its dramatic economic deprivation. The integrative potential of cooperative movements at the republican, the regional and the inter-state level for the Caucasus is analyzed. The book also offers insights into the economics of ending violence. Finally, it addresses the question of reconciliation after ethnic cleansing.

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Potentials of disorder in the Caucasus and Yugoslavia

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book deals with the question of how conflict potential was either defused or transferred into organised violence, taking into account the relatively similar environment of Yugoslavia and the Caucasus. It provides a detailed account of the organisation of violence in the Krajina. The book sheds light on the process of restraint and eventual escalation of violence, focusing on the organisational potential of the local population and the state in place. It shows that the key actors in the ethno-political conflicts in post-Soviet Caucasus are not ethnic groups, but instead patrimonial networks with particular interests. The book focuses exclusively on Albanian organised crime and omits the political context of the Kosovo conflict.

in Potentials of disorder

This chapter argues that institutions perform three functions which are relevant for the organisation of stability and violence. First, institutions are accepted, trained and sometimes enforced patterns of interaction which 'embed' conflict. Secondly, in general the institutional framework provides the incentive structure for actors. Thirdly, institutions have distributional consequences. The chapter identifies four different stages of the conflict process: 'dis-embedding conflict', 'markets of violence', 'ending violence' and 're-embedding conflict'. The chapter argues that violence and stability in post-socialist societies cannot be explained without considering the hybrid institutional framework of the locality, since it is the local 'traditional' institutions that account for the remarkable variance. This remarkable variance is revealed by comparing the potential hot spots in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus. In the Caucasus, the success of the breakaway territories may be explained by the weakness of the newly independent states.

in Potentials of disorder
Weak empire to weak nation-state around Nagorno-Karabakh

The conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh offers an insight into the rules and processes that governed the transformation of a weak empire into even weaker nation-states. More than other conflicts escalating into collective violence during the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Nagorno-Karabakh had connotations of civil and interstate war, heavily involved official central and local Soviet institutions and led to the creation of new local institutions. This chapter deals with the interdependence of institutional weakness of states and the organisation of conflict. Institutional weakness of statehood is at the same time both cause and consequence of violent conflict. On the one hand, the escalation of conflict into violence is connected with the local exploitation of organisational voids in the official Soviet institutions. On the other hand, re-institutionalising non-violent conflict after war and forced exchange of population has proven to be a formidable challenge to weak post-Soviet statehood.

in Potentials of disorder