Professor, Moscow State Institute of International
Ph. D. (History)
Multiethnic states in the modern world demonstrate a conflict of two equally recognized principles of international law - on one hand, the right of every nation to self-determination, and on the other hand, the principle of territorial integrity of the state. This collision may develop in different ways and lead to diametrically opposed solutions. In this respect, the experience of multiethnic Spain is of definite interest. In its transition from authoritarian rule to democracy (which many experts consider a model one), Spain has been able to avoid repetition of atrocities of the Civil War in the 1930s. Nevertheless, there has been bloodshed. The main source of violence has been terrorist activities of the Basque separatist organization ETA. For almost 40 years already, it has been keeping up tensions in the country. The conflict between ETA and the
Spanish state is one of the most intractable problems in the world.
Roots of the "Basque problem"
ETA's ethnic separatism is deeply rooted in the ethnic and cultural specifics of the Basque provinces. There is still controversy as to the origin of the Basque people. Some researchers consider them descendants of the mixed Celtic-Iberian tribe, while others present evidence of kinship between the Basques and Georgians in the Caucasus. The specific character, customs, traditions of the Basques make them distinct from other peoples inhabiting Spain. They have their own unwritten literature, musical folklore, holidays and games, their own cuisine. Since the times of the Roman rule (the late 3d century B. C. - early 5th century A. D.), when the tribes inhabiting Spain were subjected to a profound Romanicization, the Basques who lived in isolation in their mountain regions, remote from major trade routes, retained their native tongue, euskera , which is not like any other language. The severe nature of ... Read more