Multinational state | Wikipedia audio article

Multinational state | Wikipedia audio article


A multinational state is a sovereign state
that comprises two or more nations. This is in contrast to a nation state, where
a single nation accounts for the bulk of the population. Depending on the definition of “nation” (which
touches on ethnicity, language, and political identity), a multinational state might also
be multicultural or multilingual. Present-day examples of multinational states
are Afghanistan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia,
Iraq, Madagascar, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname,Turkey,
and the United Kingdom. Examples of historical multinational states
that have since split into multiple sovereign states include Austria-Hungary, British India,
Czechoslovakia, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. Some analysts have described the European
Union as a multinational state or a potential one. Many attempts have been made to define what
a multinational state is. One complicating factor is that it is possible
for members of a group that could be considered a nation to identify with two different nationalities
simultaneously. As Ilan Peleg wrote in Democratizing the Hegemonic
State: One can be a Scot and a Brit in the United Kingdom, a Jew and an American in the
United States, an Igbo and a Nigerian in Nigeria … One might find it hard to be a Slovak
and a Hungarian, an Arab and an Israeli, a Breton and a Frenchman. A state may also be a society, and a multiethnic
society has people belonging to more than one ethnic group, in contrast to societies
that are ethnically homogeneous. By some definitions of “society” and “homogeneous”,
virtually all contemporary national societies are multiethnic. The scholar David Welsh argued in 1993 that
fewer than 20 of the 180 sovereign states then in existence were ethnically and nationally
homogeneous, if a homogeneous state was defined as one in which minorities made up less than
5 percent of the population. Sujit Choudhry therefore argues that “[t]he
age of the ethnoculturally homogeneous state, if ever there was one, is over”.==History==
According to Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, the Cyrus Cylinder written
by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, was “the first attempt we know about
running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths—a new kind of statecraft.”==
Modern multinational or multiethnic states==
The CIA World Factbook provides a list of the ethnic makeup of every country in the
world.===Americas=======Canada====Whether Canada should be described as “multinational”
is an ongoing topic in academia and popular discourse. The current policy of the federal government
is that Canada is bilingual—English and French are both official languages—and multicultural. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada voted
in favour of Government Business No. 11, which states that the Québécois “form a nation
within a united Canada”.====Bolivia====
Since 2010, under the presidency of Evo Morales, Bolivia has been officially defined as a plurinational
state, which recognizes the national distinctiveness of various indigenous peoples.===Asia===
Many Asian countries recognise multiple ethnic groups:====India====India has more than 2,000 ethnic groups and
over 80,000 subcultures, and every major religion is represented, as are four major language
families (Indo-European, Dravidian, Austroasiatic, and Sino-Tibetan) and a language isolate (Nihali). Each state and union territory of India has
one or more official languages, and the Constitution of India recognizes in particular 22 “scheduled
languages”. It also recognizes 212 scheduled tribal groups,
which together constitute about 7.5% of the country’s population. India has a Muslim-majority state (Jammu and
Kashmir) and a Muslim-majority union territory (Lakshadweep); three Christian-majority states
(Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland); and a Sikh-majority state (Punjab). Most of its states are based on ethnicity,
including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhatisgarh (Hindustani), Tamil Nadu (Tamil),
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Telugu), Karnataka (Kannadigas), Odisha (Odia), Jammu and Kashmir
(Dogras and Kashmiris), Goa (Konkanis), Gujarat (Gujarati), West Bengal (Bengali), Maharashtra
(Marathi), Punjab (Punjabi), Haryana (Haryanvi), and Kerala (Malayali). Furthermore, several Indian states are themselves
ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse. Bihar and Jharkhand are home to the Maithils,
Santalis and the Hindustani language speaking people. Karnataka is home to the Tulu and Kannada
people; Jammu and Kashmir consists of Hindu-majority Jammu, Muslim-majority Kashmir, and Buddhist-majority
Ladakh; and Assam includes the Assamese, Bodo, and Karbi people.====Indonesia====There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia====Nepal====Nepal does not have a majority ethnic group,
and its society is multiethnic, multireligious, and multilingual. Aside from the country’s indigenous people,
most Nepalese are descendants of migrants from Kashmir, Greater Nepal, Tibet, India,
and parts of Myanmar and China’s Yunnan Province. Khas and Mongoloids populate the hilly areas
of Nepal, while the Madhesis, a diverse group live in the southern plains. The indigenous Tharu people are also among
the early settlers of the Terai region. The Himalayas are sparsely populated above
3,000 m (9,800 ft), but north of the mountains, in central and western Nepal, ethnic Sherpas
and Tamangs inhabit high, semi-arid valleys. The Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region,
constitutes a small fraction of the nation’s area but is the most densely populated, with
almost 5 percent of the nation’s population.====Sri Lanka====Sri Lanka is inhabited by Sinhalese, Sri Lankan
Tamils, Indian Tamils, Moors, Veddas, Burghers, and other small ethnic groups.====Afghanistan====Afghanistan has no ethnic majority, although
the Pashtuns are estimated to account for over 45% of the population. Under the sovereign governance of Pashtun
rulers, the term “Afghan” was changed from an ethnonym for Pashtuns to a demonym for
any citizen of Afghanistan, regardless of ethnic affiliation. This change was incorporated into the constitution,
making it resemble that of a multinational state. However, irredentist disputes over Pakistan’s
Pashtun lands have continued. Other ethnic groups in Afghanistan include
Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, and Balochs. The government gives equal status to Pashto
and Dari as official languages.====Pakistan====Present-day Pakistan arose out of the Pakistan
Movement, which demanded a separate state for the Muslims of the British Raj. The movement was based on the two-nation theory
put forward by Muhammad Ali Jinnah: the idea that Hindus and Muslims in British India represented
not only different religious communities but also distinct nations, and hence that, in
the event of Indian independence, they should be divided into two nation states. Jinnah (known in Pakistan as “Quaid-e-Azm”,
meaning “the great leader”) outlined the theory as follows: It is extremely difficult to appreciate why
our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense
of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream
that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception
of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise
our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different
religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor interdine together
and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting
ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans
derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes,
and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the
other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a
single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to
growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government
of such a state.” This movement culminated in the creation of
Pakistan in 1947 through the partition of India. Urdu was then promoted as the national language
of all South Asian Muslims. However, Pakistan remains ethnically diverse. Punjabis are the largest language group, but
at 45 percent of the population, they do not make up an absolute majority. Furthermore, only 8 percent of Pakistanis
speak the national language, Urdu, as their mother tongue. As a result, many nationalist movements that
oppose the two-nation theory have emerged, arguing that Pakistan is not only a linguistically
diverse state but also a multinational one, and that, therefore, each ethnolinguistic
group of Pakistan is a distinct nation. Common grievances of these movements include
the idea that Punjabis dominate Pakistan politically and economically, thus marginalizing other
groups, and that the establishment of Urdu as the country’s sole official language is
a form of cultural imperialism that ignores the heritage of Pakistan’s diverse peoples. The most successful of these movements was
Bengali nationalism, which led to the creation of the Bengali-speaking nation-state of Bangladesh. The movement asserted that Urdu’s official
status gave an unfair advantage to Muhajirs (most of whom speak Urdu as their mother tongue)
and Punjabis (whose mother tongue, Punjabi, is similar to Urdu, and many of whom were
educated in Urdu under British rule). Bengalis feared they would be marginalized
despite their demographic strength as, at the time, the largest ethnic group of Pakistan. These grievances culminated in the secession
of East Bengal (which had been part of the administrative unit of East Pakistan) and
the creation of Bangladesh. Today, nationalist movements within Pakistan
include those of the Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochs, Mohajirs, and Kashmiris. The members of these movements assert that
Islam cannot be considered the sole basis for nationhood, and that Pakistan is therefore
a multinational state. Their demands range from increased autonomy
or the transformation of Pakistan into a federation, to the recognition of language rights for
non-Urdu-speaking populations, to outright secession. Despite the fact that Punjabis are widely
seen as the dominant ethnic group in Pakistan, both economically and politically, there is
also a small Punjabi movement that asserts that the Punjabi language has been unfairly
subordinated to Urdu and supports the reestablishment of cultural and economic links with East Punjab
in India.====Malaysia====
When it was formed on 16 September 1963, Malaysia comprised four independent, self-governing
nations: Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak. In 1965, Singapore seceded from the federation. Today, Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak each have
their own ethnic majority. Generally, however, Malaysia is considered
to have three major ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese, and Indians. The Iban people are the majority in Sarawak,
while Sabah is dominated by the Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, and Bajau peoples. Malay is the primary national language, followed
by English. In Sabah and Sarawak, English is the official
language, although many locals speak a dialect of Malay.====People’s Republic of China====Although the population of China is dominated
numerically by the Han Chinese, the government recognizes 56 ethnic groups. Fifty-five of the 56 groups together account
for less than 10 percent of the population.===Europe===Montenegro is the only European state with
no ethnic majority, but many others have ethnic minorities that form a majority within a province
or region (see multilingual countries and regions of Europe).====Russian Federation====
Russia has more than 160 ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. The largest population are the ethnic Russians,
who are Slavs with Eastern Orthodox religious traditions, while the Tatars and Bashkirs
are predominantly Muslim. Russia is also home to Buddhist populations,
such as the nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks; the Shamanistic peoples of Siberia and the Far
North; the Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian Northwest and the Volga region; the Korean
inhabitants of Sakhalin; and the peoples of the North Caucasus.Out of a total of more
than 100 languages spoken in Russia, 27 have the status of official languages, the most
widely spoken being Russian. More than 3 percent of the population speaks
Tatar.====Belgium====The territory of Belgium is almost equally
divided between the two nations of Flemish Flanders and Francophone Wallonia. This led to political unrest throughout the
19th and 20th centuries, and in the aftermath of the difficult 2007–08 Belgian government
formation, the Belgian media envisaged a partition of Belgium as a potential solution. There is also a German-speaking minority in
the east.====Bosnia and Herzegovina====Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to three ethnic
“constituent peoples”: Bosniaks (50.11%), Serbs (30.78%), and Croats (15.43%). The country’s political divisions were created
by the Dayton Agreement, which recognized a second tier of government comprising two
entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly Bosniaks and Croats) and the Republika
Srpska (mostly Serbs), with each governing roughly half of the state’s territory. A third region, the Brčko District, was governed
locally. Today, all three ethnic groups have an equal
constitutional status over the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country has a bicameral legislature and
a three-member presidency composed of one member of each major ethnic group.====France====
In order to maintain a nation state, France does not recognize any national identity or
language other than French in its territory. However, many of its current and former territories—Alsace,
Brittany, Corsica, Flanders, Moselle, Northern Catalonia, Occitania, Savoy, and the Basque
Country—were not culturally French until they were francized in the late 19th century. According to WikiLeaks, former Prime Minister
Michel Rocard told the American ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, in 2005,
“France created itself by destroying five cultures: Breton, Occitan, Alsatian, Corsican,
and Flemish.”====Montenegro====Montenegro is a multiethnic state in which
no ethnic group forms a majority. The preamble of the Constitution of Montenegro
identifies numerous nationalities—Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians, Muslims, Croats,
and others—as citizens of a civic and democratic state. The largest ethnic groups are Montenegrins
(45%), Serbs (28.7%), Bosniaks (8.6%), Albanians (4.9%), and Muslims (3.3%).The official language
is Montenegrin, but Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Croatian are also in official use. In the 2011 census, Serbian was the most common
mother tongue (42.88%), Montenegrin the second (36.97%), and Bosnian the third (5.33%).====Norway====
Official policy states that Norway was founded on the territory of two peoples, Norwegians
and Samis. In addition, Forest Finns, Kvens, Jews, Romani,
and the Norwegian and Swedish Travellers are recognised as national minorities.====Serbia====Nineteen ethnic groups are officially recognised
as national minorities in Serbia. Serbs are the largest ethnic group in the
country, constituting 83.3 percent of the population (excluding Kosovo). The largest national minorities are Hungarians,
Roma, and Bosniaks, and there are also significant populations of Croats, Montenegrins, Albanians,
Slovaks, Romanians, Vlachs, Rusyns, Gorani, Macedonians, and Bulgarians. Since 2002, minorities have been entitled
to organize their own national councils. Through those councils, members of national
minorities can exercise their rights in the spheres of culture, education, information,
and the official use of their own languages and scripts.Vojvodina is a multiethnic autonomous
province in northern Serbia, with more than 26 ethnic groups and six official languages.====Spain====Definitions of ethnicity and nationality in
Spain are politically fraught, particularly since the transition from Francoist Spain
to the Kingdom of Spain in the 1970s, when local regionalisms and peripheral nationalisms
became a major part of national politics. The term Spanish people (Spanish: pueblo español)
is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 as the political sovereign, i.e., the
citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. The same constitution, in its preamble, speaks
of “peoples and nationalities of Spain” (pueblos y nacionalidades de España) and their respective
cultures, traditions, languages, and institutions. The CIA World Factbook (2011) describes Spain’s
ethnic makeup as a “composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types”, instead of the usual breakdown
of ethnic composition. This reflects the formation of the modern
Kingdom of Spain by the accretion of numerous independent Iberian realms: Andalusia, Aragon,
Asturias, Castile, Catalonia, Galicia, León, Majorca, Navarre, and Valencia. Thus, today’s Spaniards include Andalusians,
Aragonese, Asturians, Basques, Cantabrians, Castilians, Catalans, Galicians, Leonese,
and Valencians, and individual members of these groups may or may not consider them
distinct nations.====United Kingdom====While the Office for National Statistics describes
the United Kingdom as a nation state, other people, including former Prime Minister Gordon
Brown, describe it as a multinational state. The term “Home Nations” is used to describe
the national teams that represent the four nations of the United Kingdom: England, Northern
Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.The Kingdom of Great Britain was created on 1 May 1707 by
the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. This unification was the result of the Treaty
of Union, which was agreed to on 22 July 1706 and then ratified by the Parliament of England
and the Parliament of Scotland in the 1707 Acts of Union. The two kingdoms, along with the Kingdom of
Ireland, had already been in a personal union as a result of the 1603 Union of the Crowns,
in which James VI, King of Scots, inherited the Kingdoms of England and Ireland and moved
his court from Edinburgh to London. However, until 1707, all three had remained
separate political entities with separate political institutions.Prior to the Acts of
Union, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland both had minority populations of their own
that could themselves be called nations. Wales and Cornwall were part of the Kingdom
of England (Wales had been officially incorporated into England by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535
and 1542, although it had been a de facto English territory since the 13th century;
Cornwall had been conquered during the Anglo-Saxon period). The Northern Isles, with their Norse-derived
culture, were part of Scotland, having been pledged by Norway as security against the
payment of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark and then integrated in 1471. When the Kingdom of Great Britain was created,
many of its inhabitants retained a sense of English, Scottish, or Welsh identity. Many of them also spoke languages other than
English: principally Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, and Norn. Almost a century later, the Kingdom of Ireland
merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland under the 1800 Acts of Union. The United Kingdom thus became the union of
the kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Eventually, disputes within Ireland over the
terms of Irish home rule led to the partition of the island: The Irish Free State received
dominion status in 1922, while Northern Ireland remained part of the UK. As a result, in 1927, the formal title of
the UK was changed to its current form, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland.Political, ethnic, and religious tensions between Irish and British groups in Northern
Ireland culminated in The Troubles. This period of armed conflict erupted in 1966
between loyalist paramilitaries, seeking to maintain the country’s position in the UK,
and republican paramilitaries, seeking to unify Ireland as a 32-county independent republic. The British Army also played a key role. Following the deaths of over 3,500 people,
a peace treaty was reached in 1998, although divisions remain high in some areas and sporadic
violence still occurs.The end of the 20th century brought major governing changes, with
the establishment of devolved national administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
following pre-legislative referendums.The Scottish National Party, the current party
of government in Scotland, is committed to the goal of an independent Scotland within
the European Union, but this is opposed by the leadership of the next three largest parties
in the Scottish Parliament. A referendum on Scottish independence was
held in September 2014, and the electorate rejected it. Plaid Cymru, a Welsh party, has a similar
ambition for Wales. Several parties in Northern Ireland, including
the second- and third-largest, seek to establish an independent United Ireland, and have repeatedly
called for border polls. The d’Hondt system used here means that either
the First Minister or Deputy First Minister will be from one of these parties.===Africa===
Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are former colonies and, as such, are not drawn along
national lines, making them truly multinational states.====Ghana====
During its colonial time Ghana was imperialized by many countries and empires including the
British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, the Danish Empire and the German Empire. Ghana has also seen a large mass of Chinese,
Malay, European, Lebanese, and other multinational immigrants.====Kenya====
Kenya is home to more than 70 ethnic groups, the most populous of which are the Kikuyu,
at about 20 percent of the population. Together, the five largest groups—the Kikuyu,
Luo, Luhya, Kamba, and Kalenjin—account for 70 percent of Kenyans.====Nigeria====
The largest nation in Nigeria is the Hausa-Fulani, which accounts for 29 percent of the country’s
population. However, the group actually encompasses two
distinct ethnicities: the Hausa and the Fulani (or Fulbe). While both ethnicities are found in large
areas of West Africa, it is only in Nigeria that they are classified as a single ethnic
group for political expediency.====South Africa====
Present-day South Africa is the successor state to the Union of South Africa, which
was formed from four British colonies in 1910. South Africa has eleven official languages
(Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu)
and formally recognises several other languages spoken by minority nations. Speakers of each language may be of a different
nationality—for example, some members of the Ndebele and Tswana nations speak Zulu,
and groups such as the Thembu and Hlubi speak Xhosa. As is the case throughout Africa, the nations
of South Africa mostly correspond to specific regions. However, large cities such as Johannesburg
are home to a mixture of national groups, leading to a “melting pot” of cultures. The government has continuously attempted
to unify the country’s various nationalities and to foster a South African identity. Many of the nationalities found in South Africa
are also found in bordering countries, and in some cases, more members live in South
Africa than in the country where the group originated. For example, there are more Sotho, Tswana,
and Swazi people living in South Africa than in the bordering nation states of Lesotho,
Botswana, and Swaziland, respectively. In the past, this has led to conflict. Lesotho still claims large swathes of South
Africa, and attempts have been made to cede some South African territory to Botswana and
Swaziland. All three states were intended to be incorporated
in the Union of South Africa, but those plans never came to fruition because of power struggles
within their apartheid governments.==Former multinational states=====Austria-Hungary===Austria-Hungary, which succeeded the Austrian
Empire, was a historical multinational state. The centrifugal forces within it, coupled
with its loss in World War I, led to its breakup in 1918. Its successor states included the First Austrian
Republic, the Kingdom of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs,
which later became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Parts of Austria-Hungary were also incorporated
into Poland, Ukraine, the Kingdom of Romania, and the Kingdom of Italy. The principal languages of Austria-Hungary
were German, Hungarian, Polish, Czech, and Croatian, but there were also many minor languages,
including Ukrainian, Romanian, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, Rusyn, Italian, and Yiddish.===Ottoman Empire===
The Ottoman Empire was the dynastic state of the Turkish House of Osman. At its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries,
it controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the
Horn of Africa. In addition to Turks, the ethnic groups of
the Ottoman Empire included Albanians, Amazighs, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Bosnians, Bulgarians,
Circassians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Laz, Macedonians, Romanians, Serbs, Tatars,
and Zazas. Through millet courts, confessional communities
were allowed to rule themselves under their own legal systems: for example, sharia law
for Muslims, Canon law for Christians, and halakha law for Jews. After the Tanzimat reforms from 1839–76,
the term “millet” was used to refer to legally protected religious minority groups, similar
to the way other countries use the word “nation”. (The word “millet” comes from the Arabic word
“millah” (ملة), which literally means “nation”.) The millet system has been called an example
of pre-modern religious pluralism.===Soviet Union===
The Soviet Union was a state composed of the Soviet republics (of which there were 15 after
1956), with the capital in Moscow. It was founded in December 1922, when the
Russian SFSR—which formed during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and emerged victorious
in the ensuing Russian Civil War—unified with the Transcaucasian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian
SSRs. Addressing the Extraordinary Eighth Congress
of Soviets of the Soviet Union on 25 November 1936, Joseph Stalin stated that “within the
Soviet Union there are about sixty nations, national groups, and nationalities. The Soviet state is a multinational state.”In
the late 1980s, some of the republics sought sovereignty over their territories, citing
Article 72 of the USSR Constitution, which stated that any constituent republic was free
to secede. On 7 April 1990, a law was passed allowing
a republic to secede if more than two-thirds of its residents voted for secession in a
referendum. Many held free elections, and the resulting
legislatures soon passed bills that contradicted Soviet laws, in what became known as the War
of Laws. In 1989, the Russian SFSR—the largest constituent
republic, with about half of the USSR’s population—convened a new Congress of People’s Deputies and elected
Boris Yeltsin its chairman. On 12 June 1990, the Congress declared Russia’s
sovereignty over its territory and proceeded to pass legislation that attempted to supersede
Soviet laws. Legal uncertainty continued through 1991 as
constituent republics slowly gained de facto independence. In a referendum on 17 March 1991, majorities
in nine of the 15 republics voted to preserve the Union. The referendum gave Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev a minor boost, and in the summer of 1991, the New Union Treaty was designed
and agreed upon by eight republics. The treaty would have turned the Soviet Union
into a much looser federation, but its signing was interrupted by the August Coup—an attempted
coup d’état against Gorbachev by hardline Communist Party members of the government
and the KGB, who sought to reverse Gorbachev’s reforms and reassert the central government’s
control over the republics. When the coup collapsed, Yeltsin—who had
publicly opposed it—came out as a hero, while Gorbachev’s power was effectively ended. As a result, the balance of power tipped significantly
toward the republics. In August 1991, Latvia and Estonia declared
their independence (following Lithuania’s 1990 example), while the other twelve republics
continued to discuss new, increasingly loose models for the Union. On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia,
Ukraine, and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union dissolved
and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place. Doubts remained about the authority of the
Belavezha Accords to dissolve the Union, but on 21 December 1991, representatives of every
Soviet republic except Georgia—including those that had signed the Belavezha Accords—signed
the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the dissolution of the USSR and reiterated the
establishment of the CIS. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev yielded, resigning
as the president of the USSR and declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers vested in the Soviet
presidency over to Yeltsin, the president of Russia. The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the
highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, dissolved itself. Many organizations, such as the Soviet Army
and police forces, remained in place in the early months of 1992, but were slowly phased
out and either withdrawn from or absorbed by the newly independent states.===Yugoslavia===The first country to be known by this name
was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, known until 3 October 1929 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats,
and Slovenes. It was established on 1 December 1918 by the
union of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs and the Kingdom of Serbia (to which
the Kingdom of Montenegro had been annexed on 13 November 1918), and the Conference of
Ambassadors gave international recognition to the union on 13 July 1922.The Kingdom of
Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers in 1941 and abolished as a result of World
War II. It was succeeded by Democratic Federal Yugoslavia,
proclaimed in 1943 by the Yugoslav Partisans resistance movement. When a communist government was established
in 1946, the country was renamed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1963, it was renamed again, becoming the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). This was the largest Yugoslav state, with
Istria and Rijeka having been added after World War II. The country consisted of six constituent “socialist
republics” (SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Slovenia,
and SR Serbia) and two “socialist autonomous provinces” (SAP Vojvodina and SAP Kosovo,
which became largely equal to other members of the federation after 1974).Starting in
1991, the SFRY disintegrated in the Yugoslav Wars, which followed the secession of most
of the country’s constituent entities. The next Yugoslavia, known as the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, existed until 2003, when it was renamed Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006, this last vestige separated into
Serbia and Montenegro, but only to go further in 2008 after Kosovo unilaterally declared
its independence.==See also==
Multiculturalism Multiracial
Nation state Stateless nation
Polyethnicity==References==

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