Vadim Ogoev

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Rhoda Howard




This dissertation examines the causes and essence of the Ossetian-Ingush ethno-territorial conflict. The disintegration of the Soviet union is viewed as a main factor of two interrelated phenomena: the crisis of legitimacy of the internal administrative borders of the national territorial units of the Russian Federation, and the rise of nationalism in the autonomous republics in the North Caucasus. This study focuses on the logic of numerous violations of borders and administrative territorial belongings in the North Caucasus by the Tsarist and Soviet state as a key instrument to strengthen its imperialist domination in this region. These violations of territorial and national rights of the North Caucasian peoples form the basis for conflicting national ideologies: each of the parties chooses those historical arguments that are most favourable for its political aspirations and territorial claims. The thesis argues that constant changes of administrative borders which have taken place throughout the history of the North Caucasus can hardly serve as a self sufficient foundation for the contemporary determination of territorial belonging.A methodology of interview in combination with archival research and documents analysis is used. The study analyses the phenomenon of nationalism as an inevitable by-product of the process of search for anew, post-Soviet national and civic identity of North Caucasian peoples. It also attempts to demonstrate that the OssetianIngush conflict could be considered as an example of the emerging 'civilizational stand-off'(Huntington, 1993) between the Muslim and Orthodox Christian cultures. The dissertation concludes that being placed in its cultural and geopolitical context, this search for a new ethnic identity and non-Soviet symbolism among the Ossetians and their Muslim neighbours will determine the direction of socio-political changes in the North Caucasian region.

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