Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 10, No 1 (2017)

Conflict Resolution Strategy As Political Integration Resource: Theoretical Perspectives On Resolving Ethnic Conflicts In The North Caucasus

Maxim Popov


Abstract. This article explores the different approaches to study of conflict resolution strategy from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. It argues that conflict resolution strategy as political integration resource is a necessary tool for overcoming deep-rooted ethnic conflicts in instable North Caucasus. The author considers structural factors of protracted conflicts and emphasizes a destabilizing role of the re-politicization of ethnicity in crisis regional society. The concept of ethnic “identity-based” conflicts is the heuristic theoretical model of exploring causes for increased ethno-confessional tensions in the North Caucasus. The article focuses on the ability of conflict resolution theory to de-escalate growing ethno-confessional tensions and transform protracted ethnic conflicts. Interdisciplinary approach to analyzing conflict resolution strategy as political integration resource, while combining conflict theory and neo-functionalistic paradigm, is the methodological basis of this research. The need to stimulate political integration is caused by moral and structural causes: from the ethical point of view, the creation of an inclusive society is the fundamental societal goal; structural factors are related to the need to reduce inequalities and differences leading to social fragmentation and escalation of ethnic conflicts. Among the socio-political conditions of the North Caucasian conflicts, the author calls social inequalities, civil identity crisis, authoritarian and ethnopolitical “renaissance”, economic polarization, “ideological combat” between the secular modernization and fundamentalism. Discussing conflict resolution strategy as political integration resource, it is necessary to consider the following: 1) North Caucasian integration is a macro-political project, the content of which is determined by issues of social security of multiethnic Russia; 2) development of the North Caucasus after the end of armed ethnic conflicts shows the inadmissibility of structural demodernization, fundamentalism and cultural isolationism. Today, the North Caucasus remains a crucially geopolitical macro-region, as it forms the southern volatile frontier of Russia. In this case, conflict resolution strategy must serve as preventive tool on the conflict environment by way of providing structural solutions for deep-rooted socio-cultural problems, transforming and rationalizing regional ethnic contradictions.


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