National Elites in the Post-national Era: Ethno-politics and Internationalization in the Baltic States

To what extent has westernization of the Baltic states led to acceptance of ethnic inclusion and a liberal order of citizenship? This paper evaluates the attempts by NATO and the EU to promote such a development in its recent member states and considers why institutions and elite attitudes have been persistent to change.

ARENA Working Paper 06/2005 (pdf)

Anton Steen

After the Baltic states had become candidate members to EU and NATO these organizations exercised considerable efforts to bring the political institutions of these countries and their elites’ orientations into correspondence with international liberal democratic standards of including minorities into the polity. The paper investigates to which extent institutions and orientations did adapt to the international requirements; and discusses how the national responses to including the Russian minority may be understood as national elites’ rational adaptation to insecure environments. A main finding is that internationalization resulted only in moderate liberalization of laws and did not affect the elites’ orientations in any substantial ways. A high threshold forachieving citizenship as advocated by the national elites contrasts the liberal notion of creating state identity by ‘thin’ integration procedures, but opens an alternative way of generating more fundamental trust by ‘thick integration’. The element of ethnicexclusion seems to be a necessary political cost of the sad experiences of the past.

Tags: fundamental/human rights, minorities, Lithuania, internationalisation, nationality, Estonia, Latvia
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM