The Political Foundations of Secession, Stability and Chaos: Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Political Science


After the Soviet Union’s collapse, ethnic minorities in ten countries called for secession, but only five resorted to war. Why did some Soviet successor states experience secessionist wars following independence in 1991, while others experienced minimal resistance? This project answers the question through multi-method comparative historical analyses of ethnic-group-parings across the former Soviet Union from 1905-1994. It explains the role of identity and resources in shaping how rebellious ethnic minorities formed, why they coordinated and collectively acted, and why only some seceded. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the formation of national group coherency and how it helped shape organizational capacity and the power relationships that determined the likelihood of secession.