Informal ethnopolitics and local authority figures in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

TitleInformal ethnopolitics and local authority figures in Osh, Kyrgyzstan
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsFumagalli, M.
Journal titleEthnopolitics
Pages211 - 233

The contribution examines local-level ethnopolitics in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the southern city of Osh, in 1990 site of one of the bloodiest inter-communal conflicts of the late Soviet era. First, instruments of managing multi-ethnicity are briefly introduced, with particular attention being paid to territorial autonomy, also a pillar of Soviet ethnofederal structure. Next, the contribution focuses on Uzbek ethnopolitics in Osh as a case study which illustrates how formal and informal politics shape state-minority relations in an ethnically mixed and post-conflict setting. The contribution argues that local authority figures and patron-client relations are key to understanding how Uzbek ethnopolitics unfolds and violence is prevented from re-occurring. A combination of informal and formal institutions accounts for preserving inter-ethnic stability in post-Soviet Osh.


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