Post-imperial diversities – majority-minority relations in the transition from empires to nation-states (ImpDiv)
Matthias Koenig and Artem Galushko
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The ImpDiv project, externally funded through the EraNet-RUS program, brings together researchers from the Institute, The Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, and the University of Eastern Finland. The overall aim is to examine the governance of ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity at times of transition from imperial to national polities in the Eurasian space. The project investigates domestic and international influences on conceptions of the status of minorities, as well as actual legal implementation of those concepts in a multidisciplinary and comparative manner. Conducting an in-depth analysis of the situation at the end of Empire, the project aims to draw conclusions regarding the influence of earlier legal institutions on the situation of minorities in post-imperial contexts. The project embarks on systematic comparisons across empires, historical time, and markers of cultural boundaries. The Russian Empire in the early 20th century and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s make up the core case studies. These are supplemented for comparative purposes by involving scholars working on the Ottoman, Habsburg, and British Empires. International documents, including those associated with the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the monitoring mechanisms attached to them, are also included. Analysis of historical approaches to conflicts involving linguistic, religious, ethnic, and cultural minorities at times of intense political change, coupled with quantitative scrutiny of coded constitutional texts, are used to inform the interpretation of current conflicts over the status of minorities. The collaborative research project not only facilitates capacity-building and international cooperation between high profile research institutions, but also provides background knowledge for key issues of public policy-making in the contemporary period.