This paper considers the ethnic, ideological, and geopolitical crises that have engulfed the Crimean peninsula since 1991 and provides a preliminary explanation for the region's success in averting violent conflict to date. Focusing on the role of political entrepreneurs in mobilizing key social constituencies, it argues that the failure of competing elites to correctly identify and skillfully manipulate existing ethnic, ideological, and geopolitical cleavages in society significantly limited the effectiveness of their mobilizational appeals. The existence of cross-cutting cleavages and the failure of political entrepreneurs to bring these cleavages into alignment have played a central role in deterring violent conflict in the region.

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