nstitutions of autonomy3in ethnically heterogeneous states have been conceived as a compromise between a desire to safeguard state unity and to partially accommodate the grievances of ethno-linguistic minorities. However, in practice, the institutions of autonomy often turn into a nucleus of a proto state of the ethno-linguistic minority. Instead of resolving the minority issue and stabilising the central state, they strengthen the local nationalism and secessionism, acting as centrifugal forces, or “subversive institutions”. Recently these processes have been noticed in several ethnically heterogeneous, developed Western democracies. The purpose of this paper is to analyse whether, and how, the institutions of autonomy influence the rise of peripheral nationalism and secessionism.