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The External Relations of Tatarstan: In Pursuit of Sovereignty, or Playing the Sub-Nationalist Card?

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This article deliberates on the effects of sub-nationalism on the profile of a region in external relations. The questions under consideration in the present contribution are: (1) does nationalism make the external relations of a region conflictual vis-à-vis the federal centre?; and (2) to what extent can its alleged ill effect be counter-balanced by the well-elaborated mechanism of centre-regional coordination? This article aims to contest the assumptions of mainstream thinking in the literature on paradiplomacy, which suggests that sub-nationalism might have a negative effect and that strong institutions are indispensable for a positive outcome. Relying on an analysis of external relations in Tatarstan, a republic in the Russian Federation, this contribution illustrates the crucial role of the ‘manipulative’ form of nationalism as a key factor shaping the functional character of paradiplomacy.

Affiliations: 1: Ph.D student, KU Leuven, Institute for International and European Policy, Leuven, Belgium Post-doctoral fellow, Université du Québec, École Nationale de l’Administration Publique (ENAP) 555, boulevard de Charest Est, Quebec G1K 9E5, Canada, Email:


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