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UK and Russian MinoritiesTerm Paper

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National Minorities

The shifting of global demographics in the past few decades have created unique situations across the world as countries deal with an influx of minority populations that create difficult circumstances for societies and governments alike. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the situation of national minorities in the countries of the United Kingdom and post 1991 Russia. These two situations will be explained in terms of how immigration and the creation of new social and racial classes has disturbed the natural order of things. Additionally, the difference between Russia and the UK will also be highlighted to demonstrated the unique circumstances of each situation. The essay will conclude with remarks on the overall success of the addressing of these problems.

United Kingdom

The UK has played a larger role in the development of Western culture and economics in the last century or so. The island nation is home to a powerful monarch, a collection of semi-sovereign nations or states and wields great political control throughout the world. The UK at one time ruled most of the world during their imperial existence. The state of the UK is flipped from those times, as the influx of many new types of people of varying races and cultures has created a very significant minority that has disrupted the UK and the British government many problems with how to deal with such issues.

Applying Minority Status

The term 'minority' denotes many ideas in relation to the United Kingdom's acceptance of these peoples. The idea of minority status is fairly new, and the results of cross global immigration and the leadership encouragement of diversity and cross-culturalism has only developed in the past two or three generations. The unique circumstances of the UK's history and place in the world has provided a significant example to study the results, causes and alterations the immigration and minority integration efforts may have on a group or country.

The current status of the UK's minority problems originate from the acts of immigration to the UK from poorer 3rd world countries. McKinstry (2013) wrote "The vast new influx of eastern European migrants will be the next step in the revolution that has engulfed our country in recent years. A relentless flood of arrivals, running at a rate of more than 500,000 a year, has already transformed the very fabric of our society. As a result of our open borders Britain is now the most overcrowded nation in Europe. By 2015 our population density will be twice that of Germany and more than four times that of France." The changes of this magnitude and of this pace, suggest that any country that wishes to open its borders up in such a way risks being exposed in this manner.

As a result of this massive immigration inflow, minority groups have developed demanding rights for their particular group. Assimilation and cooperation with the people that were there before is generally avoided and these national minority groups feel entitled to power regardless of their stature within that society. In some ways these minority groups are an invading force, that literally threaten the way of life to the citizens of the country in many ways.

The problem has been recognized and the current government has seen the problems it has created and solutions now are needed to help remedy the causes of this problem. "All of the major parties now recognise that immigration has, in recent times, been too high and that it needs to come down. The disagreement now is how to achieve lower levels of net migration and what measures are acceptable. The significant increase in immigration during the previous government's 13 years in power was not the result of globalisation but was instead a result of deliberate policy changes. Such changes included abandoning the primary purpose rule for marriage, expanding the system of work permits and expanding the student sector." (MigrationwatchUK, 2013).

The UK's situation represents a deliberate effort from policy makers to create national minorities within the borders of its nations. Regardless of the intent, this is a destabizing effort that has created chaos and confusion. National minority status has now become a protected group of people for no other reason than they were not born in this country. The lack of reason applied to this situation has exacerbated the situation into violence and struggle for mostly unknown reasons.

The strife that is created between those within the majority and those within the minority have been increasing throughout the recent years as frustration and failure hallmark these efforts from the UK. Morris (2014) wrote "hostility to the current scale of immigration is increasing among the public, with more than half of the electorate wanting a heavy cut in numbers of foreigners allowed to settle in Britain." The current status of national minorities within the UK is essentially in a state of flux where most of the conflict associated with the issues have been raised in non-violent means. That could soon change as the problem grows worse and resources begin to vanquish.

More importantly is the impact on culture. The UK's varying array of cultures within its borders suggest that it should be more accommodating to such immigration efforts, but it is not. The racial, ethnic and geographical qualities of the national minority status do not reflect traditional cultural values within that region, causing panic, fear and an unstable landscape for growth and development.

Post 1991 Russia

The issue of national minorities as it relates to Russia since the end of the Cold War is much more complex, diverse and violent. The circumstances that led to the breakup of the Soviet Union into an array of fractured nation-states set off a trend that lasted many decades which saw different national minorities struggle for their ideals and understood rights.

The division in Russia is also more subtle that seen in the UK or elsewhere. Minority status is given to those with certain qualities. According to Minority Rights.org, "Minorities that have been granted territorial recognition can be broadly divided into two categories: religious and linguistic minorities. This distinction does not reflect any official division between groups based on religion or language, but rather the primary element around which group self-identity is formed in each case." The qualities of religion and language are very unique and subjective to local groups or individuals. The governing of such divisions and sects creates a significant challenge for those wishing to maintain some form of national identity within the country.

Russia's pure size also affect the way national minority issues are handled within this region. The nearly 150 million people making up nearly 160 different ethnic groups underlies the massiveness of the diversity of the region. Ethnic groups include such peoples as Tartars, Bashkirs, Mordovans, Avars, Ukrainians Chechens and Armenians. Ethnic minorities make up nearly 20% of the entire population. Within these ethnic groups lie religious affiliations as well. The majority of Russia is Orthodox Chrsitian, but the rise if Islam within the country in recet years has placed a direct focus on this national minority. The global terrorism events that have also been experienced in Russia and elsewhere also suggest that the violent tendencies that are explicit in Islamic Jihad have placed additional pressures on managing the problem of national minorities and securing peace and order.

Zakaria (2011) explained how Islamic religious zealots are providing all sorts of social and economic problems for Russia. He wrote " It's now conventional wisdom that Moscow faces a brutal Islamic terrorist movement, bent on jihad, unwilling to compromise and determined to inflict pain on Russians almost as an end in itself. In fact, one could argue that the Russian government, far more than Osama bin Laden, has managed through its actions over the past two decades to create the largest and most active new center of Islamic terrorism in the world today."

The Muslim communities that are present in Russia today originated from the ex-Soviet States mostly with some immigration. Russia is essentially geographically surrounded by these nation-states providing a constant physical threat resulting in violent conflicts and political standoffs. The recent violence in Ukraine suggests that this struggle is based on the ideals minority recognition in these areas. In many of these areas such as Ukraine, there is general confusion as to who ethnic populations should ally themselves with in current times. The mixing of political factions and religious factions has created chaos and the processes of political and strategic alignment in the regions has led to many deaths and violent conflict.

The Ukraine crisis does provide an excellent example of how the struggles for national minority recognition is problematic and offers new ways of approaching these problems with useful and practical solutions Liechtenstein (2014) wrote "The Ukraine crisis can be interpreted partly as such an inter-state conflict involving national minorities between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It should be clear that the Russian minorities living in eastern and southeastern Ukraine are entitled to minority… [END OF PREVIEW]

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