In recent years the themes of nationality and ethnicity have come to assume increasing importance and interest to students of political science. This is especially true for those who study European politics. Since the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 Europe has witnessed some truly starting events. Not only has the Soviet Union dissolved, but other avowedly multi-national states, namely Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, have taken the path of disintegration. Many of the successors to the three aforementioned multi-ethnic states have been created in accordance with a view of nationality which seeks to equate it with membership of a particular ethnicity, and which sees national self-determination as being coterminous with a sometimes ill-defined notion of democracy.