Left Behind? A Critical Study of the Russian-speaking Minority Rights to Citizenship and Language in the Post-Soviet Baltic States. Lessons from Nationalising Language Policies

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Lilija Alijeva School of Advanced Study, University of London, London, UK

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Minority rights protection is widely discussed in relation to diversity management stability within a state. Yet the case of Russian-speaking minorities in the post-Soviet Baltic States has been a challenging example to analyse because of the sensitivity of language issues. This article discusses Baltic States’ language policies that impact the Russian-speaking minority’s language rights, argued here to be the focal point for minority identity formation inclusion into society. While international law continues to be mostly silent regarding minority language rights, kin-states, in this case Russia, direct their interest towards its supposed kin-nationals abroad, which leads to rising levels of concerns for Baltic States’ governments because this interest has led to conflict in other post-Soviet states. This article argues that the situation in the Baltic States is unique, recommends amending domestic language policies to achieve effective minority integration, inclusion, accommodation, generating stable democratic rule.

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