Research Centre for the Study of Parties and Democracy

Baltic Exceptionalism: Russian Minorities as a Blessing, Rather than Curse

Hybrid event
Wednesday 26th October 2022 (15:30-17:00)
Registration URL

Tõnis Saarts (Tallinn University) explores how ethnic diversity in the Baltic states may be the key to its sustained democracy.

Wed, 26 October 2022, 15:30 – 17:00 BST
Hybrid: Monica Partridge D11 and Online

Please join us for a research talk with Tõnis Saarts (Tallinn University).
Ethnic diversity is often seen as a serious impediment to successful democratisation and maintaining healthy democratic regimes (e.g. Rustow, 1970). However, regarding Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), one can see that democratic backsliding has rather affected monoethnic societies like Hungary and Poland, but not the Baltic States, with a sizable Russian minority. Why so? The seminar attempts to provide an answer to that “why” question. The main argument is that the Russian-speaking minority, the geopolitical threat posed by Russia and the excessive party system fragmentation or under-institutionalisation have saved the Baltic democracies from backsliding.

Tõnis Saarts is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at Tallinn University. He has his background both in political science and sociology. He has been focused on comparative politics, political sociology, but also on historical sociology. More specifically, his research interests have been concentrated primarily on political parties, party systems, social cleavages and on the multiple challenges contemporary political parties have in modern democracies (the rise of populism, party system cartelisation, etc.).

Speaker: Tõnis Saarts (Tallinn University)
Discussant: Licia Cianetti (University of Birmingham)
Chair and Convener: Fernando Casal Bertoa (University of Nottingham)

All welcome. This seminar will be held as a hybrid. Please indicate in your registration whether you wish to take part via our online platform or in person. The in-person event will take place in Monica Partridge D11 on the University Park Campus at the University of Nottingham.

Please register at:

Research Centre for the Study of Parties and Democracy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD