International organisations’ role in Estonia’s policies towards minorities
In this article, I will concentrate on the role international organisations play in the minority policies of states, using the example of Estonia. I use the model of so-called quadratic relationship, where the minority issue is seen from the perspective of four poles: the nationalising state, the national minority, the external national homeland, and international organisations. This model originates from the work of Rogers Brubaker, while other scholars, notably David J. Smith, added to the “triadic nexus” the fourth pole of international organisations. The interaction of international organisations with the states is dual. First of all, they play a normative role while ensuring checks and balances on the nationalising state. Secondly, the international organisations are influenced, in their turn, by the external national homeland; in the case of this article: Russia, which seeks to ensure the protection of the national minority. The main findings of the analysis show that the issue of minority in Estonia was seen as a security threat by international organisations, and that both conditionality and normative pressure were applied to avoid violent ethnic conflict. After the accession to the European Union in 2004, the issue of minority in Estonia gradually became an issue of normal politics and regular monitoring. The crisis of the Bronze Soldier in 2007 brought the realisation that the issue of minority is important to Estonian society as such, and not for external reasons. Russia, for its part, continues to internationalise the issue of minority in Estonia by putting it on the agenda of international organisations, accusing Estonia of violations of human rights and a glorification of Nazism.
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