Democratization and Ethnic Peace: Patterns of Ethnopolitical Crisis Management in Post-Soviet Settings

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 1 April 2000

Keywords

Citation

Shaw, A. (2000), "Democratization and Ethnic Peace: Patterns of Ethnopolitical Crisis Management in Post-Soviet Settings", European Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ebr.2000.05412bab.011

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited


Democratization and Ethnic Peace: Patterns of Ethnopolitical Crisis Management in Post-Soviet Settings

Book reviews

Democratization and Ethnic Peace: Patterns of Ethnopolitical Crisis Management in Post-Soviet Settings

Airat R. AklaevAshgate1999294 pp.ISBN: 1 84014 972 8£42.50

Keywords: Democracy, Ethnic groups, Russia

Democracy, ethnicity and peace: these three words create the major theme which Airat R. Aklaev discusses. Indeed, they are all separate words with distinct definitions but Aklaev puts these words together to discuss those all important issues that affect us, from a political point of view. He introduces his book by expressing the recent political progress that has been made by our governments, in that democracy has become more of a reality, but does not ignore the fact that many problems have been created as a result of the growth of a multiethnic society. He says that "Ethnic conflict has become today's most pervasive and dangerous expression of organised strife", and that today most conflicts takes place nationally rather than internationally. However, it is necessary at this stage to point out that he is not suggesting that a multiethnic society is a bad thing.

Although Aklaev is a Russian national and has written his theories from a "post-Soviet" perspective, they can still be applied to the world at large. Throughout his book he discusses the role that ethnic peace plays in a democracy, how democratic peace has been achieved and the negative effects that could manifest themselves if the conflicts arising from ethnicity continue to be mismanaged. He explains that in order that this problem may be dramatically reduced within a state, democracy must extend to the ethnicity principle. He reaches this conclusion by observing that states that boast a democratic policy very rarely engage in violent conflicts against one another. Battle is more of an internal affair rather than an external one.

One thought that comes to mind from reading this book is that disharmony, conflict and war usually result from a desire to control. Nonetheless the successes of despotic rule are only temporary. One only needs to look at examples such as the Nazi rule to understand why; democracy was far from Hitler's plan, but that agenda was short lived. Aklaev quotes Horowitz who also adds the point that power obtained by respect is permanent as long as it is used to achieve positive benefits.

It may also be correct to say that when changes take place in society, whether they are for the better or for the worse, it is almost inevitable that new problems will arise. One classic example would be the ever-growing problem of the National Health Service in Britain. A doctor, being interviewed on a news programme established that the problem could be slowly eliminated if people in employment were to agree on paying more income tax, which would, of course, create a whole new set of problems.

Overall, Aklaev's book is not to be viewed as a series of simple issues. The points covered are complex and focus on difficulties that have seldom, if at all, been examined. However, for those students wishing to find solutions to, and expand on national peace, this book will be a useful and informative read. It is also a book that world leaders would do well to read objectively in order to lighten the conflicts amongst their citizens.

Angela Shaw