“Wars for the Motherland” in the Post-Soviet Space: Ethno-Demographic Consequences (Based on Materials from Abkhazia and Donbass)

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Abstract. The article uses materials from Abkhazia and Eastern Ukraine to analyze the ethno-demographic consequences of post-Soviet armed conflicts that occurred in Russia’s near abroad. It is concluded that the negative demographic result significantly exceeded the amount of combat losses and casualties among the civilian population. The inevitable consequence of such wars was a large-scale depopulation. The main reason for this depopulation was the outflow of population. The population of Abkhazia decreased by 2,5 times as a result of the war, and the Donbass lost 10–20% of its inhabitants. The negative effects of depopulation were not limited to demographics. They had an impact on the main aspects of society’s life, significantly reducing its ability to implement a dynamic scenario of socio-economic development. Shifts in the ethno-demographic structure of the population of warring societies correlated with the causal basis of the war. Conflicts related to interethnic contradictions led to rapid and very significant changes in the ethnic composition of the population (the scenario of Abkhazia). But even in the post-Soviet wars caused by other causes such shifts were inevitable. However, they occurred gradually. A stable ethno-demographic trend was formed, the results of which became apparent only in the medium term (the Donbass scenario).

Keywords: post-Soviet society, armed conflict, interethnic contradictions, ethno-demographic dynamics, migration processes.

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