A cat’s lick

Democratisation and minority communities in the post-Soviet Baltic


The research on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has pointed out some controversial social and political developments since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Crucially, there is a discrepancy between the governments’ commitment to creating democratic political regimes, to ensuring harmonious social relations and to accommodating the ethno-cultural diversity of the resident communities. In reflecting on the legacies of the Soviet past, the book addresses the role non-titular populations have played in the process of democratisation and the relation between the states, societies and minorities in the post-Soviet Baltic states. The argument proceeds along three lines. Firstly, the book examines the institutional dimension of democratisation in the region, thereby addressing the processes of state- and nation-building as reflected in various policy-developments. Secondly, it compares the impact of ethno-cultural diversity on the development of the respective Baltic nation-states. The discussion makes clear that the framework of Baltic political communities was designed to suit the interests of the titular groups and thus resulted in the marginalisation of the minority communities. Thirdly, the book assesses the participation of minority communities in the development, criticism and improvement of state institutions and policies since independence. The analysis points out that, two decades after independence, the post-Soviet Baltic states and societies are seen by many members of the majority groups as primarily serving the interests of their ethnic community. In this situation, the members of the non-titular communities need to adapt to the majorities’ perceptions in order to benefit from the achievements of democratisation.

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Timofey Agarin is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. His work focuses on Centre Eastern European states and their relations with local minority populations. His interests include cooperation between civil society groups and governments across the post-socialist states, as well as multilingualism and multiculturalism.
Foreword by David J. Galbreath
Explaining post-communist democratisation
Ethno-territorial proliferation in the Soviet Baltic
Baltic perestroika and nation-building
State-building and framing of non-titulars
Titularisation of Baltic education
Minority cooptation in the Baltic societies
The Language of alienation
Minority representation in social structures
Minority engagement in civic initiatives
Baltic democratisation: A cat’s lick?
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