Small Navigation Menu

Primary Menu

Realising Minority Rights in Independent Estonia and Latvia: Lessons from Effective Public Participation of the Russian-speaking Minority

Citation: Alijeva, Lilija (2021) Realising Minority Rights in Independent Estonia and Latvia: Lessons from Effective Public Participation of the Russian-speaking Minority. Doctoral thesis, School of Advanced Study.

30.3.25 ICWS L Alijeva_PhD Thesis_December 2021.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Restricted to Embargoed until 30 March 2025.

Request a copy

This thesis examines the minority right to effective public participation through a systematic socio-legal analysis by comparing two most-similar country case studies of Estonia and Latvia. The two states have a large Russian-speaking minority who experience a number of obstacles when accessing public participation opportunities. Considering the increased efforts of International Organisations (IOs) in promoting minority rights, of which both states are members, the broader question this thesis asks is how has the right to effective public participation been realised for the Russian-speaking minority in independent Estonia and Latvia? In order to answer this question, the thesis deploys the social constructivist approach used in International Relations theory. This approach offers important hypotheses on the non-uniform outcomes of norm implementation, namely Checkel’s Type I and Type II internalisation or socialisation, and insights into the actors and factors influencing the two types of socialisation outcome. By using the process-tracing method, which consists of an analysis of 90 official documents and 11 interviews conducted with Russian-speaking minority elites, this thesis identifies several important findings. Firstly, this thesis identifies the importance of domestic actors in achieving key elements of effective public participation opportunities in both states. Furthermore, this thesis identifies the problematic nature of the demands from key socialisation actors, in particular the relative silence on effective public participation rights for the Russian-speaking minority and the inconsistent use of framing strategies by IOs. The contribution of the research is twofold. Firstly, it contributes to the existing body of legal research on minority rights norms through an empirical investigation of the two case studies. Secondly, it contributes to extending social constructivist debates by identifying operational obstacles of norm implementation through an in-depth analysis of Checkel’s theories on the types of socialisation outcome.

Creators: Alijeva, Lilija and
Subjects: Law
Keywords: Minority, rights, Russian-speakers, Estonia, Latvia, effective public participation, international organisations, international norms, implementation
Divisions: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • December 2021 (accepted)


View details