Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Societies: Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in the North Caucasus of Russia

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Louisville]On: 21 December 2014, At: 00:48Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Annals of the Association of American GeographersPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/raag20

    Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Societies: MultilevelModeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in theNorth Caucasus of RussiaKristin M. Bakke a , John O'Loughlin b & Michael D. Ward ca Department of Political Science , University College London ,b Institute of Behavioral Science , University of Colorado ,c Department of Political Science , Duke University ,Published online: 10 Nov 2009.

    To cite this article: Kristin M. Bakke , John O'Loughlin & Michael D. Ward (2009) Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Societies:Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in the North Caucasus of Russia, Annals of the Association ofAmerican Geographers, 99:5, 1012-1021, DOI: 10.1080/00045600903260622

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  • Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Societies:Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual

    Factors in the North Caucasus of RussiaKristin M. Bakke, John OLoughlin, and Michael D. Ward

    Department of Political Science, University College LondonInstitute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado

    Department of Political Science, Duke University

    Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in reconciliation in societies emerging from conflict.The North Caucasus region of Russia has experienced multiple and diverse conflicts since the collapse of theSoviet Union, and violence continues, although at a lower level than a decade ago. We examine willingness toforgive members of other ethnic groups for violence that they have perpetuated as an indicator of the potentialfor reconciliation in the region. Using data from a large representative survey conducted in five ethnic republicsof the North Caucasus in December 2005, we analyze responses to the forgiveness question in relation to socialpsychological models of reconciliation, and we add a key geographic measure, distance to violent events, to theusual theories. Using the survey data (N = 2,000) and aggregate data for the eighty-two sampling points, we usea multilevel modeling approach to separate out the effects of individual and contextual factors. We find littlesupport for the social identity theory expectations as ethnic hostility is not an important factor, except for inthe case of the Ossetians, a mostly Orthodox minority disproportionately affected by multiple conflicts and theBeslan school killings. Instead, personal experiences of violence and terrorism, the impacts of military actionsagainst communities, differences in general trust of others, and the extent to which the respondents life has beenchanged by violence negatively influence the willingness to forgive. Conversely, respondents in ethnic Russiancommunities and those relatively close to violence are more willing to engage in postconflict reconciliation.Key Words: contextual effects, multilevel modeling, North Caucasus, postwar reconciliation, Russia.

    Durante las dos ultimas decadas ha surgido creciente interes por la reconciliacion en las sociedades que emergende conflictos. La region del Caucaso Norte en Rusia ha experimentado multiples y diversos conflictos desdeel colapso de la Union Sovietica y la violencia continua all, aunque con niveles de intensidad menores delos de hace una decada. Examinamos la condicion de buena voluntad de perdonar a miembros de otros gruposetnicos por la violencia que ellos han perpetuado, a ttulo de indicador del potencial de reconciliacion dela region. Con datos de una encuesta representativa amplia realizada en cinco republicas etnicas de CaucasoNorte, en diciembre de 2005, analizamos las respuestas a preguntas sobre perdon en relacion con modelossocio-psicologicos de reconciliacion, agregando a las teoras usuales una medida geografica clave, la distanciaa sucesos violentos. Utilizando los datos de la encuesta (N=2.000) y datos agregados para los ochenta y dospuntos de muestra, aplicamos un enfoque de modelaje de nivel multiple, para separar los efectos de factoresindividuales y contextuales. Hallamos poco soporte a las expectattivas sobre la teora de identidad social por

    Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(5) 2009, pp. 10121021 C 2009 by Association of American GeographersInitial submission, September 2008; revised submission, January 2009; final acceptance, February 2009

    Published by Taylor & Francis, LLC.

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  • Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in the North Caucasus of Russia 1013

    cuanto la hostilidad etnica no es un factor importante, con la excepcion del caso de los osetios, una minora conpredominio ortodoxo afectada de modo desproporcionado por multiples conflictos, y la masacre de la escuela deBeslan. Por el contrario, las experiencias personales de violencia y terrorismo, los impactos de acciones militarescontra comunidades, las diferencias en el nivel de confianza general en otros, y el grado con que la vida delentrevistado ha sido cambiada por la violencia, influyen negativamente en la voluntad de perdonar. A la inversa,los entrevistados en comunidades etnicas rusas y quienes viven relativamente cerca de la violencia, estan masinclinados a comprometerse en reconciliacion posconflicto. Palabras clave: efectos contextuales, modelaje de nivelmultiple, Caucaso Norte, reconciliacion de posguerra, Rusia.

    Restoring peace in postconflict and conflict-affected societies is a complex process. The war-ring parties need to lay down their weapons,

    agree on an institutional division of power andresources, and begin the material reconstruction ofproperties and infrastructure damaged during thefightingwith or without the help of the internationalcommunity (e.g., Roeder and Rothchild 2005; Collier2006). Our study focuses on an equally importantelement of postwar reconstruction, conflict reconcili-ation that involves the emotional and cognitive pro-cesses that help former adversaries to live together inpeace. We investigate why some individuals in conflict-affected societies are more inclined to forgive the per-petrators of violence than are others. We do so byexamining individual and district-level indicators likelyto affect reconciliation in the North Caucasus regionof Russia, employing survey, census, and violence data.Since the end of the Cold War, the North Caucasusregion of Russia has been the scene of different typesof violent conflict: interethnic, religiously motivated,and separatist struggles. Based on a large public opin-ion survey carried out in December 2005 and originaldata that pinpoint the locations of violent incidentsin the region between 1999 and 2005, this is the firststudy that systematically examines intergroup forgive-ness in the North Caucasus. Unlike much previousworks of this genre, we specifically examine whetherthere is a geography to reconciliation, beyond thatexplained by variations in the characteristics of thepeople in conflict zones. Does it matter in which com-munity a person lives in understanding the ability toforgive? Does the communitys relative level of vio-lence produce a climate of forgiveness or of blame andaccusation?

    Conflict in the North Caucasus

    Our study region in the North Caucasus is an eth-nically diverse area of the Russian Federation, consist-

    ing of six republics (Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan,Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia, NorthOssetia) and the large Russian-dominated territory ofStavropol (see Figure 1). The most destructive conflicthas taken place in Chechnya, where civil war broke outin 1994 when Moscow responded to Chechen separatistdemands with military force. In 1992, North Ossetiawas the scene of a violent interethnic conflict, wheninformal militias representing the Ingush populationconcentrated in the regions Prigorodnyy rayon clashedwith North Ossetian militias, both sides laying claimto the territory. The violent phase of the conflict, al-though short-lived, resulted in a large outflow of Ingushsettlers from North Ossetia. Although unresolved andstill a very sensitive matter (OLoughlin, O Tuathail,and Kolossov 2008), this conflict has not resulted inlarge-scale violence since November 1992.

    By 1999 the Chechen conflict began to spill overinto the neighboring regions, in particular Dagestan,Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria, each of which alsofaces its own internal domestic conflict(s). Althoughfighting in Chechnya has diminished since 2002 asthe rebellion has been quashed by Chechnyas newpro-Moscow president Ramzan Kadyrov, violence isincreasing in other parts of the North Caucasus. Byone estimate, at least seventeen insurgent organiza-tions of varying sizes (502,000 members) were activein the Northern Caucasus in 2005 (Lyall 2006). Readilyavailable weapons, unemployment, radical Islamistforces, and religious discrimination are contributingfactors to the violence (Matsuzato and Ibragimov 2005).Overall, the North Caucasus has been characterized byviolence directed at Russian military targets, local po-lice, and government officials rather than at civilians(Lyall 2006; OLoughlin and Witmer forthcoming), al-though there has been a considerable number of civiliankidnappings, both at the hands of the Russian securityforces and the militias under the control of local lead-ers. Perhaps the most well-known of these attacks wasthe tragic Beslan (North Ossetia) school hostage crisisof September 2004. Estimates of the total killed in the

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  • 1014 Bakke, OLoughlin, and Ward

    Figure 1. Modal responses to (a) theforgiveness question and (b) stan-dardized residuals from the General-ized Linear Latent and Mixed Models(GLLAMM) model with locational in-set of the North Caucasus region.

    various intermeshed North Caucasian conflicts over thepast fifteen years range from 75,000 to 100,000.

    Reconciliation After Conflict

    Conflict reconciliation is distinct from conflict set-tlement and resolution. Central to reconciliation is theremoval of the negation of the other in peoples iden-tities (Kelman 2008). As such, reconciliation goes be-yond conflict settlement, which concerns the interestsat stake in a conflict, and conflict resolution, which

    concerns pragmatic changes in the relationship be-tween former adversaries. Reconciliation is about in-ternalizing and integrating the changed relationshipsinto ones identity. More generally, social psychologistsdefine intergroup reconciliation as a process that leadsto a stable end to conflict and is predicated on changesin the nature of adversarial relations between the ad-versaries and each of the parties conflict-related needs,emotions, and cognitions (Nadler, Malloy, and Fisher2008, 4). Although reaching and implementing a set-tlement are critical for lasting peace in conflict-affected

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  • Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in the North Caucasus of Russia 1015

    societies, such formal steps might not be sufficient inthe absence of empathy, trust, understanding, and for-giveness among the former adversaries. Indeed, truthand reconciliation commissions in South Africa andelsewhere begin by hearing personal testimonies andapplications for amnesty in societies characterized by aviolent past through reconciliation and truth telling(e.g., Gibson and Gouws 1999; Ross 2004).

    A critical step toward reconciliation is intergroupforgiveness, which is not about forgetting the past butabout trying to come to terms with the past and creat-ing a shared vision of the future by learning new aspectsabout oneself and ones own group and exploring theworld from other groups points of view (Noor, Brown,and Prentice 2008). Forgiveness can help prevent col-lective memories of violent events feeding into a re-curring cycle of violence. Forgiveness is often thoughtabout in terms of interpersonal relationships, but in so-cieties where members of different ethnic groups havefought one another, a growing body of research in socialpsychology suggests that forgiveness is conceptualizedas a group concern (Hewstone et al. 2008). We as-sess intergroup forgiveness based on a question asked ofrespondents in the North Caucasus in December 2005that (indirectly) probed whether they could forgive peo-ple of other nationalities for the violence they havecommitted in the post-Soviet years.

    Social Psychology and Intergroup Forgiveness

    Several of the empirical findings on intergroup for-giveness are based on studies of Catholic and Protestantcommunities in Northern Ireland. There, researchershave found that identity with ones own group (in-group identity), trust in members of other ethnicgroups (outgroup trust), and contact with members fromother ethnic communities (the contact hypothesis) arekey determinants for intergroup forgiveness (Hewstoneet al. 2006; Noor, Brown, and Prentice 2008). Thesestudies draw on social identity theory, which views iden-tity as central to both conflict emergence and reconcil-iation. Social ide...