Browsing by Subject "national identity -- Estonia"

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  • Uljas, Laila Irene (2007)
    The Estonian national and collective identity is heavily affected by a history of foreign intrusion and occupation. During the Soviet era a large population of Russian-speaking immigrants migrated to Estonia in hope of a better life. Now after independence, there has been tension and difficulty in creating a collective identity, which encompasses both the ethnic Estonians and Russian-speaking minority. My research shows that there are three main challenges that are present in the Estonian society. The three issues that need to be addressed are the citizen and language issue, the self-confidence and identity of the Estonians and the restructuring of civil society which has been weak after independence. These challenges are also the keys to a realistic model of solution which includes creating a stronger civil society that allows both ethnic Estonians and the Russian-speaking minority to participate in. My research shows that language is a very important part of Estonian identity and part of the barrier that exists between the two groups. Resolving the language issue and boosting the Estonian identity would improve joint participation in the civil society. This in turn would reinforce self-confidence of both groups and help build their collective identity. These three key aspects offer an avenue for helping the two groups live together, and not separately. The EU brings new perspectives to the issue, adding a new layer of identity but meanwhile also strengthening the Estonian identity. It allows Estonia to clearly belong to the west, cutting its umbilical cord with Russia.