Critical Trust in European Institutions: The Case of the Russian-Speaking Minorities in Estonia and Latvia

Licia Cianetti, Ryo Nakai

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This article looks at Estonia and Latvia to investigate how minority activists understand and respond to changing opportunity structures at the European level after their countries joined the European Union and conditionalities pressures faded. Using a combined quantitative–qualitative approach, we show that minority activists have no illusions about the EU’s capacity (and willingness) to intervene in their favor, but at the same time they are not likely to abandon the European arena. Rather, they display what we call “critical trust” towards the EU – a change in the quality of trust rather than only in its quantity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalProblems of Post-Communism
Issue number5
Early online date28 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • minority ethnic
  • Europeanization

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