Case Study Title:
A Tale of Two Conflicts: Transcending Macedonia’s Ethnic Divide Disarms a Political Cartel and Allows for a Democratic Reset
Case Study Abstract:
Macedonia’s wide divide between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians ultimately caused a violent conflict in 2001 with the potential to escalate into further violence and disarray. The Ohrid Framework Agreement ended that conflict by creating a power-sharing system, as is often prescribed by conflict management and resolution tool kits. However, the results of that agreement helped entrench a kleptocratic elite, based on a trans-ethnic political duopoly. Civil resistance was essential to transcending the ethnic divide among majority Macedonians and minority ethnic Albanians to a degree that a political conflict with the Nikola Gruevski regime ultimately resulted in its ouster, despite efforts by the embattled government to spark ethnic conflict. This case study demonstrates the interplay between the imperatives to end and prevent further inter-ethnic violence and the cross-ethnic demands for political accountability.
About the Author:
Kurt Bassuener is co-founder and Senior Associate of the Democratization Policy Council, where he has published numerous policy briefs, papers, and studies. These include two security risk analyses on Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011 and 2015. He has worked professionally on Bosnian and Balkan policy since 1997 and resided in Sarajevo in 2005-2016.
With Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman, he co-authored The Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the Community of Democracies. The third edition was published in Summer 2013. As the project’s Research Director, he authored or co-authored case studies on Belarus, Burma, Chile, China, Egypt, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.
He is currently a Fulbright scholar and Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Andrews. His ongoing research focuses on the functional dynamics of postwar power-sharing in Bosnia and Macedonia and focuses particularly on how warlord politics are entrenched by such arrangements. His most recent academic publication is “A Durable Oligarchy: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s False Post-War Democratic Transition,” a chapter in Sabrina Ramet, Christine Hassenstab, and Ola Listhaug’s Building Democracy in the Post-Yugoslav States, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2017.