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In this paper, I have examined the forms of control used by the central Ukrainian government to defuse an autonomy movement in Transcarpathia, Ukraine, with an allusion to similar controls exerted to prevent separatism in Crimea. Transcarpathia is a remarkable example of government controls at work. After a December 1991 referendum in which 78 percent of the region approved a proposal for Transcarpathian autonomy, the issue disappeared from the political agenda within the space of a year. Rather than relying on a use of force, the Ukrainian central government exerted controls on regional officials. Regional movements were defused via a brokerage mechanism, in which local officials beholden to the center via patronage utilized local resources to quiet voices demanding autonomy. The dynamics of the brokerage mechanism could be exercized within a particular network control structure. As outlined by recent work on empires in International Relations, a center can exert controls on a periphery via networks that require approval by the center – a hub-and-spoke isomorphic form. An examination of these center-periphery dynamics illustrates that actual control structures within a state may be far more important indicators of the ability to defuse separatist or autonomist movements than the structure of institutions that is the focus of many prior studies. While policymakers may not wish to recommend patronage states as a potential means to defuse such conflicts, these insights can serve as a useful starting point for the design of control mechanisms that serve as an alternative to violent intervention.

1A third vote was held in the Berehovo county on promoting the county to the status of a “Hungarian Autonomous District” (Magyar autonóm körzet), approved by 81.4 percent of voters there Vote results from Novini Zakarpattya, December 4, 1991, and Beregi Hírlap, December 5, 1991. For an excellent analysis in English, see Alfred A. Reisch, “Transcarpathia’s Hungarian Minority and the Autonomy Issue,” RFE /RL Research Report, February 7, 1992.

2 The Ukrainian word used is: sklad.

3 Because Transcarpathia featured a border between the Soviet Union and the West, many ethnic Russians with military, police, or border-related professions were moved to the region.

4 The choice of term used has political implications. As the Carpathian mountains separate the region from the rest of Ukraine, Transcarpathia is the term most often used by Russians and Ukrainians, as it denotes a perspective from the East. Hungarians, Slovaks, and Czechs use the term Subcarpathia, to reflect their opposing geographic perspective.

5 Notably, regions to the east and north were part of the Austrian portion of the Empire. The border changes affecting Transcarpathia are well-summarized in map form in Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of East Central Europe (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995).

6 These changes took place with a significant degree of local resistance. Narisi istorii Zakarpattya (1918-1945), I. Hranchak, E. Balahuri, I. Hritsak, V. Ilko, and I. Pop (Uzhhorod: Zakarpattya, 1995) pp. 50-53, 65-58, and 74-93; V. I. Hudanich, “Mizhvoiennii period v istorii Zakarpattya,” in Ukrainski Karpati (Uzhhorod: Karpati, 1993), p. 539; František Němec and V. Moudry, The Soviet Seizure of Subcarpathian Ruthenia (Toronto: William Anderson, 1955), pp. 18-20..

7 V. Yu.. Hanchin, “Autonomistichni tendentsii na Zakarpatti v XIX sh XX st,” in Ukrainski Karpati, p. 150, and Joseph Rothschild East Central Europe between the Two World Wars (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992 ed.p. 132; M. Boldizhar, Zakarpattya mizh dvoma svitovimi viinami (Uzhhorod: 1996), pp. 26-35; Němec and Moudry, pp. 52-53; Narisi istorii Zakarpattya, pp. 467-73.


8 Hans-Joachim Heintze, “On the Legal Understanding of Autonomy,” in Markku Suksi, ed., Autonomy: Applications and Implications (Cambridge: Kluwer Law International, 1998), p. 7.

9 A useful discussion of these dynamics in the Russian context appears in Elise Giuliano, “Secessionism from the Bottom Up: Democratization, Nationalism, and Local Accountability in the Russian Transition,” World Politics 58, January 2006, pp. 276-31.

10 Beregi Hírlap, December 5, 1991, and Alfred Reisch, “Transcarpathia’s Hungarian Minority and the Autonomy Issue,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Research Report, February 7, 1992. It is notable that as Hungarians constituted only 63 percent of this county in the census, either relatively few members of other ethnic groups voted, or some of them voted for the Hungarian district: see Stroschein, “Measuring Ethnic Party Success in Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine,” Problems of Post-Communism 48, no. 4, July/August 2001, pp. 59-69. Similar referenda have occasionally been used during the last century for groups to determine who should rule them; see J. A. Laponce, “National Self-determination and Referendums: the Case for Territorial Revisionism,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 7, no. 2, Summer 2001, pp. 33-56.

11 Robert Jackson and Carl S. Rosberg, “Why Africa’s Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood,” World Politics 35, no. 1, October 1982, pp. 1-24; Stephen Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).

12Patrick Thornberry, “Images of Autonomy and Individual and Collective Rights in International Instruments on the Rights of Minorities,” in Suksi, Autonomy, esp. pp. 105-6.

13Omar Dahbour, “Self-Determination in Political Philosophy and International Law,” History of European Ideas 16, no. 4-6 (pp. 879-84).

14 Ruth Lapidoth, Autonomy: Flexible Solutions to Ethnic Conflicts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1997), pp. 12-13; Thornberry, pp. 111-12.

15Lapidoth, pp. 13-14. The 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, however, gave a nod to the notion of collective rights a move that was quickly adopted by minorities as evidence for their claims. Thornberry, pp. 108-9.

16Jennifer Jackson Preece, “National Minority Rights vs. State Sovereignty in Europe: Changing Norms in International Relations?,” Nations and Nationalism 3, no. 3, 1997, pp. 345-64, esp. p. 362.

17 Thornberry, p. 113; Preece, p. 359.

18 Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, meeting of January 19, 1999, “Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities.” Available at www.cm.coe.int/dec/1999/656/41.htm. In spite of its strange status, Recommendation 1201 was incorporated into the basic treaties between Hungary and Slovakia in 1995 and between Hungary and Romania in 1996, taking a watered-down version in the Romanian treaty. A more complete discussion appears in Stephen Deets and Sherrill Stroschein, “Dilemmas of Autonomy and Liberal Pluralism: Examples Involving Hungarians in Central Europe,” Nations and Nationalism 11, no. 2, April 2005, pp. 285-305.

19 Especially since the devolution process beginning in 1997.

20 Lapidoth, pp. 5 and 37; Ashjorn Eide with Vibeke Greni and Maria Lundberg, “Cultural Autonomy: Concept, Content, History and Role in the World Order,” in Suksi, pp. 251-76. These ideas are linked to notions of collective rights (vs. individual rights) in political theory, and in Hungarian thought are referred to as rights to collectively held goods, such as culture or language, rather than individuated. goods. Hungarians use the terms “collective” versus “privatizable” goods: “Kollektív” and “nem privatizálható.”Vilmos Huszár, “Kollektív jogok - kollektív javakat illető jogok,” Magyar Kisebbség II, no. 3 (Cluj, Romania, 1996).

21 For a conceptual discussion of non-territorial autonomy, also often called national cultural autonomy, see especially John Coakley, “Approaches to the Resolution of Ethnic Conflict: The Strategy of Non-territorial Autonomy,” International Political Science Review 15, no. 3, 1994, pp. 297-314, and Ephraim Nimni, “Introduction: The National Cultural Autonomy Model Revisited,” in Nimni, ed. National Cultural Autonomy and Its Contemporary Critics (New York: Routledge, 2005). Discussions of its potential applications appear in Stephen Deets, “Reconsidering East European Minority Policy: Liberal Theory and European Norms,” East European Politics and Societies 16, no. 1, 2002, pp. 30-53, Bill Bowring, “Austro-Marxism’s Last Laugh?: The Struggle for Recognition of National-Cultural Autonomy for Rossians and Russians,” Europe-Asia Studies 54, no. 2, 2002, pp. 229-50; Dirk Jacobs and Marc Swyngedouw, 2003. Territorial and Non-territorial Federalism in Belgium: Reform of the Brussels Capital Region, 2001,” Regional and Federal Studies 13, no. 2, 2003, pp. 127-39; Stroschein, “What Belgium Can Teach Bosnia: The Uses of Autonomy in ‘Divided House’ States,” Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe (JEMIE) 3, http://www.ecmi.de/jemie/, 2003, Deets and Stroschein 2005, Deets, “The Hungarian Status Law and the Coming of Neomedievalism in Europe,” Forthcoming in Ethnopolitics, and Stroschein, “Making or Breaking Kosovo: Applications of Dispersed State Control,” manuscript, 2008.

22 Examinations of the Crimean structures appear in Susan Stewart, “Autonomy as a Mechanism for Conflict Regulation? The Case of Crimea,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 7, no. 4, Winter 2001, pp. 113-41; Gwendolyn Sasse, “Conflict-Prevention in a Transition State: The Crimean Issue in Post-Soviet Ukraine,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 8, no. 2, Summer 2002, pp. 1-26, as well as Sasse, The Crimean Question: Identity, Transition, and Conflict (Cambridge, MA: Ukranian Research Institute of Harvard University, 2007).

23 Donald Rothchild and Caroline Hartzell, “Security in Deeply Divided Societies: The Role of Territorial Autonomy,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 5, no. 3-4, Fall-Winter 1999, pp. 254-71, esp. p. 257.

24 The International Crisis Group reports on Kosovo continually refer to the “frustration” of Albanians in Kosovo in this vein – see especially reports from 2005 and 2007. While the ICG was making a case for Kosovo’s independence, the same mechanisms are often posited for groups pushing for autonomy.

25 Philip Roeder, “Soviet Federalism and Ethnic Mobilization,” World Politics 43, no. 2, 1991, pp. 196-232; Valerie Bunce, Subversive Institutions: The Design and Destruction of Socialism and the State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Dimitry Gorenburg, Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

26 Svante E. Cornell, “Autonomy as a Source of Conflict: Caucasian Conflicts in Theoretical Perspective,” World Politics 54, January 2002, pp. 245-76, esp. p. 252.

27 Stewart.

28 Shaheen Mozaffar and James R. Scarritt, “Why Territorial Autonomy is Not a Viable Option for Managing Ethnic Conflict in African Plural Societies,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 5, no. 3-4, Fall/Winter 1999, pp. 230-53, esp. p. 238 and 244-45. For a similar argument, see Jack Snyder, From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000).

29 See Mark Beissinger, Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Giuliano.

30 Mozaffar and Scarritt, pp. 242-44.

31 Such was the case among the Russians in Crimea: Sasse, “Conflict Prevention,” p. 17.

32 James Hughes and Gwendolyn Sasse, “Conflict and Accommodation in the FSU: The Role of Institutions and Regimes,” Regional and Federal Studies 11, no. 3, Fall 2001, issue on Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union, pp. 220-40, esp. p. 229.

33 Rothschild and Hartzell, pp. 266-67.

34 This population should be an outright majority, at least 20 percent more than the next largest group. Henry Hale, “Divided We Stand: Institutional Sources of Ethnofederal State Survival and Collapse,” World Politics 56, 2004, pp. 165-93.

35 Cornell, p. 250, Stewart.,p. 138, and Sasse.

36 For an outline of this procedure with regard to qualitative research, see Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).

37 An outline of some of the problems with the philosophical orientation of variable analysis appears in Andrew Abbott, Time Matters: On Theory and Method (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001), Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), in James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), particularly essays by Peter Hall, Paul Pierson, and Kathleen Thelen, Paul Pierson, Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), and, with regard to the unfolding of events in the former Soviet context: Mark Beissinger, Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Yoshiko Herrera, Imagined Economies: The Sources of Russian Regionalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), and Giuliano.

38 This insight is well-developed in the historical institutionalist school in comparative politics. James March and Johann Olsen, “The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life,” American Political Science Review 78, 1983, pp. 734-48, Paul Pierson, “When Effect Becomes Cause: Policy Feedback and Political Change,” World Politics 45, no. 4, 1993, pp. 595-628, Kathleen Thelen, How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, The United States and Japan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), Beissinger, and Giuliano.

39 This approach differs from the effort to identify covering laws that occupies many social scientists; the generalizations in this approach are focused on the causal mechanisms. For more on a process-based methodology, see Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, The Dynamics of Contention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). A good application also appears in Roger Petersen,
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