The political elite recruitment in the Baltic: the role of the ethnic factor
The role of the ethnic factor in political processes in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia has been rather significant since these countries’ independence. The author investigates the assumption that after the completion of major Eurointegration procedures, the ethnic factor — which became especially important in the Baltics after independence — relegated to the periphery of political life. After a period of ‘independence-induced euphoria’ faded, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian power groups had to tackle the problem of civil society formation and the development of a political regime based on democratic procedures. In these countries the processes of elite recruitment were largely affected by the factor of ethic homogeneity of the social structure. This article analyses the process of elite group formation in the Baltics through the lens of the ethnic factor. By applying the ethnopolitical approach, the author concludes that the de facto barriers to non-titular population groups entering power structures, which exist in Latvia and Estonia, “freeze” the system of elite recruitment. In the conditions of increasing social unrest, it may have an adverse effect on the overall political stability in these countries. The results obtained can be used for research, educational, and practical purposes. In the field of research and education, they can be employed in further research on the transformation of the elite structure in the Baltics in view of the ethnopolitical factor, including comparative analysis of the elite re-grouping processes, as well as in developing corresponding university courses. As to the practical aspect, the results obtained can be used by the authorities of the Russian Federation in making decisions regarding interaction with the representatives of Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian political elites.
2. Nacional'nyj sostav naselenija SSSR (po dannym Vsesojuznoj perepisi naselenija 1989 [The national structure of the population of the USSR (according to the Soviet census of 1989)], 1991, Moscow, Finansy i statistika.
3. Rozenvalds, Ju. 2012, Russkojazychnoe men'shinstvo v politicheskoj elite Latvii i Estonii: perspektivy «(de)germetizacii» [Russian-speaking minority in the political elite of Latvia and Estonia: Perspectives "(de) sealing"]. In: Gaman Golutvina, O. V., Klemeshev, A. P. (eds.) Politicheskie elity v staryh i novyh demokratijah [Political elites in old and new democracies], Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, p. 215.
4. Ruus, Ja. 2012, Elity etnicheskih men'shinstv v postkommunisticheskih stranah. Sluchaj Estonii [The elites of ethnic minorities in post-communist countries. The case of Estonia]. In: Gaman Golutvina, O. V., Klemeshev, A. P. (eds.) Politicheskie elity v staryh i novyh demokratijah [Political elites in old and new democracies], Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, p. 226.
5. Tishkov, V. 1997, Ocherki politiki jetnichnosti v Rossii [Essays on politics of ethnicity in Russia], Moscow.
6. Tishkov, V. 2004, Etnologija i politika: Nauchnaja publicistika [Ethnology and Politics: Science publicism], Moscow.
7. Tishkov, V. A., Shabayev, Yu. P. 2011, Etnopolitologija: politicheskie funkcii etnichnosti [Ethnopolitology: the political functions of ethnicity], Moscow, Moscow University Publishing House.
8. Furman, E. D. 2009, Stanovlenie partijnoj sistemy v postsovetskoj Litve [The formation of the party system in post-Soviet Lithuania], Moscow, Knizhnyj dom «Librokom».
9. Kalev, L., Ruutsoo, R. 2009, Citizenship policies between Nation-state building and Globalization: Attitudes of the decision Makersin Estonia, Studies of Transition States and Societies, Vol. 2, no. 1.
10. Kasatkina, N., Beresnevičiūtė, V. 2010, Ethnic Structure, Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Lithuania, Ethnicity Studies, Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Eugrimas, no. 1—2.
11. Kasatkina, N., Leončikas, T. 2003, Lietuvos etninių grupių adaptacija: kontekstas ir eiga, Vilnius: Socialinių tyrimų institutas, Eugrimas.
12. Kruusvall, J., Vetik, R., Berry, J. 2009, The Strategies of Interethnic adaptation of Estonian Russians, Studies of Transition and Societies, Vol. 1, no. 1.
13. Misiunas, R. J., Taagepera, R. 1989, The Baltic States: Years of dependence, 1980-1986, Journal of Baltic Studies, Vol. 20, no. 1.
14. Norgaard, O. (ed.) 1996, The Baltic States after Independence, Cheltenham.
15. Rozenvalds, J. 2004, Latvia After Twelve Years of Renewed Independence: the Search for Normality, Latvijas Universitātes Raksti, 663, sēj, Rīga.
16. Shtromas, A. 1994, The Baltic States as Soviet Republics: Tensions and Contradictions. In: Smith, Gr. (ed.) The Baltic States. The National Self-Determination of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, London.
17. Smith, G. 1994, The resurgence of nationalism. In: The Baltic states: the national self-determination of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Basingstoke, Macmillan.
18. Vihalemm, T. 2008, Crystallizing and Emancipating Identities in Post-Communist Estonia. In: Kanet, R. E. (ed.) Identities, nations, and politics after Communism, Routledge, p. 77.