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Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet Latvia

Discursive Identity Strategies

Ammon Cheskin

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A theoretical and empirical study of discourse among Russian-speakers in Latvia

The political shocks of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis have been felt in many former Soviet countries, not least Latvia, where over 35% of the population are native Russian speakers. At a time when analysts and commentators are unsure about Russia’s future plans to intervene on behalf of their ‘compatriots’, this study provides a detailed political and cultural analysis of Russian-speaking identity in Latvia.

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1: Introduction
2: Discourse, memory, and identity
3: Latvian state and nation building
4: Russian-language media and identity formation
5: Examining Russian-speaking identity from below
6: The ‘democratisation of history’ and generational change
7: The primacy of politics? Political discourse and identity formation
8: The Russian Federation and Russian-speaking identity in Latvia


About the Author

Ammon Cheskin is Lecturer in Nationalism and Identity in the Department of Central and East European Studies, the University of Glasgow


Cheskin’s book is a valuable contribution to the burgeoning literature on discursive approaches to identity formation. The author convincingly shows how Russians in Latvia have managed to carve out an identity space between nationalizing Latvian discourses, and Moscow’s "compatriot" discourse. This space has gradually opened up since Latvian independence, making room for a variety of hybrid Russian-Latvian identities.

Pål Kolstø, University of Oslo

An excellent attempt to shed light on the complex relationships between Russian speakers, the Latvian nation-state, and Russia. It is one of the most thorough and accurate studies of the various discursive strategies that Russian speakers appropriate within the public space in Latvia.

- Ksenia Maksimovtsova, KULT online

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