Estonia and Latvia: International Influences on Citizenship and Minority Integration

Vello Pettai

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244096
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600371 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Estonia and Latvia: International Influences on Citizenship and Minority Integration

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Argues that the Baltic states, mainly Estonia and Latvia, represent examples of the complicated sequence of endogenously derived transition and exogenously influenced consolidation. These democratic transitions set certain parameters for their subsequent democratic consolidation. In particular, Estonia and Latvia opted for a nationalist, ‘legal restorationist’ view of independence. This interpretation of transition represented a somewhat problematic combination of two paths towards redemocratization—‘society‐led regime termination’ and ‘internal restoration after external reconquest’. The first section of this chapter examines this apparent contradiction. The second part examines the Estonian and Latvian cases, focusing on the major international actors involved in these transitions and the mechanisms of their engagement up to early 2000. In conclusion, it is argued that international influences (mainly from the European Union) have increased as the two countries have integrated more closely with the West. Overall, this case study of Estonia and Latvia argues that the specific path a country chooses towards democratic transition is likely to create certain path‐dependent problems that it (and the rest of the democratic community) will ultimately have to face during democratic consolidation.

Keywords: Baltic states; democratic consolidation; democratic transition; Estonia; international influences; Latvia; nationalism; path dependency; redemocratization; restoration

Chapter.  9811 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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