Current State of Interethnic Communication in Latvia and Estonia

Current State of Interethnic Communication in Latvia and Estonia

Volkov V.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia, Professor of Baltic International Academy, Riga, Latvia

Poleshchuk V.V.

Master Sci. (Law), Advisor, Legal Information Centre for Human Rights, Tallinn, Estonia

ID of the Article:

The paper is funded by project No. NFI/R/2014/06 and group ALDE (European Parliament).

For citation:

Volkov V.V., Poleshchuk V.V. Current State of Interethnic Communication in Latvia and Estonia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 2. P. 59-67


The article shows the nature of inter-ethnic communication in modern Latvia and Estonia in the areas related to the implementation of identity of ethnic minorities. For the authors it was important to determine whether ethnic majorities (Latvians in Latvia and Estonians in Estonia) are ready to discuss the related issues. It was also important to realise whether Russians as the largest ethnic minority in these countries are ready to accentuate these issues in their communication with Latvians and Estonians. The authors relied on materials of two research projects, one in Latvia and one in Estonia. These research projects revealed a mixed assessment by the respondents of the values of ethnic minority identities in Latvia and Estonia, and thus the significance of inter-ethnic communication on the issues directly affecting the preservation and development of ethnocultural identities of ethnic minorities. The recognition of equality of people with different ethnic identities in various spheres of social life coexists with the recognition of different roles that collective ethnic and cultural identities of Latvians/Estonians and ethnic minorities play in the society. The current state of inter-ethnic communication in Latvia and Estonia suggests differences in the status of identities of ethnic majorities and ethnic minorities in public and political life and absense of policies to accomodate these statuses through an active interethnic diaolgue. There is a clear evidence of the collision of the proclaimed liberal principles and the existing ethnic division in Lativa and Estonia.

interethnic communication; ethnic minorities; ethnic majority; ethnocultural identity; Russian-speaking population; Latvia; Estonia


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