Group Cohesion and Minority Bargaining: the Case of Estonian and Latvian Russian-speakers After 2004

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesisTheses


This thesis examines the repertoire of bargaining measures employed by the Estonian and Latvian Russian-speaking minorities to improve their position in the post-2004 era. Ever since the re-establishment of Estonia and Latvia as independent states, Russophone minorities have suffered from restrictive policy measures stemming from the majority elites' monoethnic state and nation building projects. According to the literature on minority mobilisation and ethnic bargaining, Russia's interest in promoting the causes of its compatriots abroad that has been clearly pronounced in recent years should translate into increased bargaining leverage and radicalisation of the minorities that suffer from the policies of the "nationalising" state. However, as the cases of Estonia and Latvia demonstrate, group cohesion among both the minority and majority is an important variable affecting claim-making efforts. In the case of a fragmented minority, competing interpretations of bargaining opportunity that emerge within different sub-groups can decisively hamper effective claim-making – especially if the minority is trying to challenge a majority that is united in opposition to the minority's demands. Drawing from both theoretical frameworks of ethnic bargaining and political opportunity structure as well as descriptive quantitative data and elite statements, this thesis demonstrates that external support does not thus automatically translate into intensifying minority claim-making. Instead, group cohesion among both the ethnic majority and minority can significantly affect minority behaviour across time.
Translated title of the contributionRyhmäkoheesio ja vähemmistön neuvotteluvoima: Viron ja Latvian venäjänkielisten vähemmistöjen asema vuoden 2004 jälkeen
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBudapest
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science

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