What can be learnt from the various guises of federalism, particularly ethnic federalism, which have arisen in Russia following the dissolution of the Soviet Union? This chapter argues that the less the hegemonic discourses support a normative federal culture, the easier it is to undermine basic federal institutions. The thesis is discussed against the backdrop of changed perspectives on post-Soviet federalism. It is additionally argued that the recent changes in federal institutional arrangements affect the behavioural incentives of actors. As evidence of this thesis I provide an overview of federal arrangements, particularly the status of ethnic rights and ethnic regions, and their impact on conflicts with non-dominant groups. Finally, I argue that recent Russian experience demonstrates that the survival of a federation depends on the functioning of democratic regimes and federal parties. I examine patterns of interaction of federal arrangements with other segments of the political regime, particularly the concentration of powers in the central executive and presidency. This study is part of a wider project, which examines the effects of ethno-

federal arrangements on conflictual behaviour in Russia, India, Nigeria, and Spain. It is based on open and standardized interviews with the permanent representatives of ethnic republics in the central government; with deputies of the State Duma and the Federation Council, legal experts at the Constitutional Court, members of the presidential administration and the federal Ministry of Regional Affairs; with party officials of seven national parties, and thirty-one interviews with non-Russian deputies of regional legislatures in the republic of Bashkortostan, Adygeya and KabardinoBalkariya. The interviews were conducted between December 2005 and November 2006.