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Diversity Management in Post-Soviet Russia: "Ethnicizing" the National, "Culturalizing" the Social

“We, the multinational people of the Russian Federation…” the opening words of the Russian Constitution. Russia is (and has always been) a country of diversity. This diversity which is not necessarily a problem but is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. What strategies of diversity management are employed in post-Soviet Russia? What understanding of the social reality underlies and predetermines the choice of these specific strategies? In what way are these strategies related to (and inherited from) the Soviet past? I will try to answer these questions by focusing on the “fostering tolerance” strategy of diversity management implemented in Russia since the early 2000s: its elaboration, implementation, outcomes. I argue that the approach to diversity management adopted in modern Russia is grounded in the specific conception of the phenomena of nation (deemed to be collective body that possesses a “mentality”) and culture (considered to be a static homogenous “substance”) as well as in the understanding of individuals as separated by “cultural distances” (regarded as something that can be observed and measured according to objective criteria). 
Being embedded in a broader social context that consists in “ethnicizing” the national and “culturalizing” the social, this way of managing diversity results in institutionalizing ethnicity. It forms part of the Soviet heritage and derives from the paradox of the USSR “policy of nationalities” which involved constructing ethno-national boundaries within the “supra-national community of Soviet people.”
Ekaterina V. Klimenko is a Senior Lecturer at the Saint Petersburg State Institute of Culture. She received her PhD in Cultural Studies from the Higher Attestation Committee of the Russian Federation in 2009. Her research interests include ethnicity and interethnic relations; interethnic tolerance, intolerance and acceptance; migration, migrant-phobia and migrant integration; diversity management and multiculturalism. The results of her research have been published in a number of recognized scientific journals, presented at a variety of scientific conferences. The research she is currently executing is concerned with the way the public policy of migrant integration introduced in Russia recently has evolved over political debates. The research will allow examining the role that ideas play in public policy elaboration under the specific socio-economic and legal-political conditions constituted in modern Russia. It will also provide the analysis of the tendency towards “culturalization” of the socio-economic and legal-political issues — that involves defining various “problems” and legitimizing the choice of “solutions” to these problems in terms of culture — prominent in Post-Soviet Russia.



Friday, April 29, 2016. 12:00 PM


Encina Hall Central, CISAC Conference Room (second floor)


CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies




Open to Stanford affiliates.
RSVP requested.