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Balkan vortex: states, territories, and minorities

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With the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the unravelling of centralized Communist controls, numerous points of conflict over territories, minorities, and resources were regenerated in the Balkans. In some instances, former Communist forces have adopted nationalist programs and tried to exploit social and ethnic cleavages to preserve their positions and privileges. In other cases, radical populists and ultra-nationalist groupings have endeavored to capitalize on deteriorating economic conditions and continuing political instability by deliberately exacerbating cultural, religious, regional, and nationality frictions. Simultaneously, minority communities in several countries have raised their political aspirations for cultural autonomy and territorial self-government. Such demands have, in turn, heightened tensions with majority populations and with some neighboring states concerned over the fate of their co-ethnics.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, U.S.A.


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