Power, politics and participation: the Russian Federation’s national minorities and their participatory rights

Prina, F. (2012) Power, politics and participation: the Russian Federation’s national minorities and their participatory rights. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 30(1), pp. 65-96.

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Participatory rights are essential in the formulation of effective minority policies, but they are probably the most complex rights to delineate and regulate. Difficulties in implementing participatory rights exist in all countries: there are logistic difficulties in the establishment of effective mechanisms enabling the involvement of the whole spectrum of stakeholders in decision-making. This article reveals obstacles to Russia’s implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, with a focus on participatory rights (Article 15). It is argued that Russia does not meet the requirements of Article 15, owing to the fact that the form of participation offered to minorities is devoid of guarantees that it will be ‘effective’. An analysis of the two forms of participation – representation in elected bodies and consultative mechanisms, with a particular reference to National Cultural Autonomy – reveals an over-reliance on informal networks and practices in the management of majority-minority relations. Mechanisms for participation are locked into a system that has features partly originating from the Soviet period and partly from policies introduced by former Russian President Vladimir Putin. The article concludes that international standards on minority participation are unlikely to induce a substantial shift in minority policies in Russia given the international standards’ own flexibility and the Russian leadership’s commitment to its own approach to nationality issues in the context of its plans for a ‘managed democracy’. Despite this, it is argued that international standards should not be dismissed as irrelevant in Russia.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Prina, Dr Federica
Authors: Prina, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Publisher:Netherlands Institute of Human Rights

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