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Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet LatviaDiscursive Identity Strategies$
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Ammon Cheskin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748697434

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748697434.001.0001

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Latvian State and Nation-Building

Latvian State and Nation-Building

Chapter:
(p.36) Chapter 3 Latvian State and Nation-Building
Source:
Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet Latvia
Author(s):

Ammon Cheskin

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748697434.003.0003

This chapter examines Latvia’s state and nation-building policies that have been pursued in the late Soviet and early independence periods. The main discourses and national narratives that have been used in order to justify Latvia’s new, post-Soviet order are examined and studied in relation to the status of non-Latvians–primarily Russians and Russian speakers. Attention is paid to the discourses of the Popular Front, though analysis of their official newspaper Atmoda. Memories and historical interpretations are singled out as especially significant in Latvia’s nationalising project. As such the ‘memory war’ between the Baltic states and Russia is examined in detail.It is demonstrated that discourses which revolve around memories and historical myths are of prime importance in the Baltic states and especially in Latvia. Gramsci’s concept of organic crisis is employed to highlight the importance of the late Soviet and early independence periods in forming hegemonic identity blocs in Latvia. Based on this understanding, this chapter specifically analyses discourses which emerged in these periods of time. The practices of state and nation-building are examined which have attempted to (re)define the Latvian nation and the inhabitants thereof.

Keywords:   State-building, Nation-building, Latvia, Memory war, Organic crisis, Popular Front, Myths, Memory, Nation, National Narratives

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