Resident Aliens? Explaining Minority Disaffection with Democratic Politics in the Baltic States

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Commentators and scholars alike recognize the important role political dissatisfaction plays in the process of regime change. A considerable body of literature has used dissatisfaction with a regime and distrust in political institutions to explain political dynamics during democratization's initial phase, yet these indicators are rarely used to assess disaffection with politics in established democratic regimes. Recent research on the post-communist region has established that citizens demonstrate high levels of political alienation, and that ethnic minority communities in particular are widely dissatisfied with democratic politics, institutions and regimes. This paper uses the 2004 data from the New Baltic Barometer to analyse individual-level disaffection with politics among the minorities in the Baltic States and explores the structural roots of such disaffection. The paper draws upon interviews with political representatives of minority communities in order to understand their perceptions of opportunities to participate in decision-making. Building on quantitative and qualitative analysis, the paper concludes that disaffection with politics among both the mass of ethnic minorities and their elite groups is best explained by the misrepresentation of minority interests in post-communist Baltic polities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-351
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2013

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