Democratization and State Dissolution in the Communist Federations

On February 7, 2017, Professor Carol Leff gave a lecture titled “Democratization and State Dissolution in the Communist Federations,” to help answer whether partition can be a solution to ethnic violence. Using the examples of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR, she discussed how the collapse of communism contributed to the dissolution of these countries, and how free elections in tandem with ethnic grievances brought about separationist attitudes that shaped the countries we see today.

Dr. Leff began the lecture by considering the relationship between definitions of partition and secession. Partition, she said, is “the creation of an international dividing line between two or more antagonistic groups,” which can be drawn based on identity, ideology, or politics.

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