Still 'treading air'? Looking at the post-enlargement challenges to democracy in the Baltic States

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Within the post-Soviet area, the Baltic states have been far ahead of any other former Soviet republic. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have done amazingly well in terms of political, economic, and social transition. Yet, like many other new members of the European Union, the Baltic states still face varying degrees of challenges to this perpetual transition that every state faces. The author identifies two problems that affect the three states in varying degrees: corruption and social integration. Whereas Estonia's political class has become rather transparent and accountable, Latvia and Lithuania have recently encountered serious corruption scandals that have the potential to undermine democratic progress. At the same time, the Slavic minority communities in Estonia and Latvia continue to face political and social alienation, prompting the riots that followed the "Bronze soldier" incident in April 2007. Overall, the author asks the question taken from Estonian author Jaan Kroos's literary work: "Are we still 'treading air'"?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalDemokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Baltic states
  • Estonia
  • corruption
  • minority integration
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia


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