Nationalism in post-soviet Lithuania: New approaches for the nation of "innocent sufferers

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Most scholars argue that, in contrast to many of the states of the former Soviet Union, Lithuania has had few difficulties with its national minorities.1 Much of this owes to Lithuanians constituting over 80 percent of the population, while the two largest national minorities comprise approximately 8 percent (Russians) and 7 percent (Poles) respectively. Given these demographics, the new Lithuanian state, unlike its Baltic neighbors, exercised the so-called zero option-granting citizenship to all individuals on its state territory at the time of restoration of independence irrespective of their national identity. This was a major factor in the relatively tranquil relations between national communities in the country.2 The argument for comparatively tranquil relations between national communities, however, is not the same as making the case that nationalism as a phenomenon does not exist in the political system. This chapter argues that nationalism has existed in one form or another since the late Soviet era. While it has not led to conflict of the sort seen in the other Baltic republics or parts of the former Soviet Union, it has nonetheless contributed to social difficulties and unrest, particularly in the period leading up to and immediately following the restoration of independence. But, since the immediate postindependence period, nationalism has also been both weakened and transformed. While the Lithuanian national myth remains, its effect on Lithuanian politics and daily life today is not what it had been at the end of the Soviet period when the country's independence was restored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAfter Independence
Subtitle of host publicationMaking and Protecting the Nation in Postcolonial and Postcommunist States
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780472068982
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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