Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (xxiii, 367 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Victor Asal

Committee Members

Victor Asal, Cheng Chen, Brian Early, Kathleen Deloughery


Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Secession, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Regional Uniqueness, Russian Sphere, Secession

Subject Categories

Political Science


ABSTRACT: During the twentieth century, the Russian sphere has seen no less than 60 attempts of ethnic secession. The diversity of ethnic groups along with the oppression of successive authoritarian governments have produced two distinct waves of secession. The First Wave (1917-1925) followed the fall of the Russian Empire, while the Second Wave (1989-1995) occurred after the Soviet Union disintegrated. The strength and distinctiveness of the region's secession attracted numerous scholars and investigations. Yet, key elements of general secession theory appear to have little in common with the region's secession. Even more astonishing, the exact opposite of several cornerstones of secession theory appear to influence the decision to secede. A perceived disagreement with general secession theory has produced a concept of regional uniqueness that does not resemble a unified proclamation but rather a cacophony of individual assessments. Why is there disagreement between the general literature and analysis of secessionist movements in/around the Russian Derivative States? The numerous cases of secession in this region is clearly too high to be relegated as unique, and if general secession theory cannot account for the motivations of secession in the region, its generalizability requires reassessment.