Monday, April 15, 2019

Region-Nations aren’t Small Versions of the ‘Super-Nations’ They’re Parts, Kotsyubinsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 15 – A major problem in contemporary political science, Daniil Kotsyubinsky says, is that there is no adequate definition of and thus understanding about the nature of regional movements, which are often viewed only as groups aspiring to gain the same status “the super-nations” already have.

            In fact, the instructor at St. Petersburg State University says, “the regional nationalism of Catalonia and the state (in essence imperial) nationalism are two completely different political phenomena,” based on different values and pursuing different agendas, a reality that is all too often ignored (

            This reflects the fact, Kotsyubinsky continues, that there is no political science term “which would distinguish regional civic communities from communities of the next so-called ‘nation-state’ level.” And as a result, some scholars are insisting that national populism is one the rise while others are equally insistent that national identities are weakening.

            Most regionalist movements in Europe, the St. Petersburg analyst says, are not pursuing the kind of “national rebirth” that led to the formation of major European countries “but exactly the opposite” – “the pursuit of a separate path and the dismantling” of such states.  For them, independence when it is a goal is a means not an end.

            It is indicative of this reality, Kotsyubinsky argues, that “certain regionalist movements of the Federal Republic of Germany which are usually characterized as ‘national-populist’ such as the Civic Movement for Cologne and the Civic Movement for Nordrhein-Westfalia “usually don’t seek to take part in all-national political life” and focus on the regional level.

            To comprehend this phenomenon, a new term is needed both for the expert and the publicist communities. Such a new term could be “region-nation’ which allows for distinguishing regional nations from ‘second-tier civic nations’ and from ‘super-nations’ which include several nations of a regional level.”

            It should be clear, Kotsyubinsky continues, that “certain relatively small states, such as for example, Iceland, Luxembourg, and possibly even Belarus – are at one and the same time both region-nations and nation states.”

            What is taking place now is then not the dividing up of old nations into new nations of the same kind, he suggests, but “a process of the uninterested political emancipation of region-nations, new potential subjects of sovereignty which in the foreseeable future will come to replace the present ‘monster nations’ as they are traditionally understood.”

            (For Kostyubinsky’s views on ethnicity and regionalism more generally, see his remarks at  and

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