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The (Re-) Creation of Latvian Citizenship: Questioning Ethnic and Liberal Democracy
Södertörn University College, Baltic & East European Graduate School. Södertörn University College, School of Social Sciences.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis is foremost dealing with the process and the consequences of the restoration of the Latvian republic after 1991.

It was examined what liberal and ethnic democracy can tell about the assessment of citizenship in general and about the restoration of Latvia in particular. Further, it was analysed how the Latvian legislation defines the citizenry and if preference to a certain ethnic group is given. The change over time of the relevant legal documents was subject to this study as well.

It was evaluated, which impact the exclusive approach to citizenship (initially purely based on state-continuity) that in 1991 disfranchised 30% of the population, had for the rights of these people.

The method of ideational analysis was used to scrutinise the law texts.

In order to gain information on the effects for the population in question, the method of effect analysis was used. This was enriched with interviews conducted by the author on two occasions with governmental representatives, researchers and members of NGO´s in Riga 2008.

The legal documents here, encompass the Latvian Constitution (1922), the Resolution on Restoration (1991), the Law on Citizenship (1994, 1995, 1998) and the Law of the Republic of Latvia on the status of former USSR citizens who have neither the Latvian nor another state’s citizenship (1995). The literature read for the purpose of this study spans generally from 1992 to 2006.

The conclusion drawn here is that the strict application of the state-continuity thesis and the denying of state responsibility for the changes of population in 50 years time are inconsistent with liberal democracy. Rather this citizenship policy resembles features of an ethnic democracy.

The changes in the Law on Citizenship of 1995, where ethnic Latvians and Livs were given the possibility to come to Latvia and receive citizenship automatically (even if they were not citizens of interwar Latvia), while children born to non-citizen (all of them non-ethnic Latvians) after 1991, were not automatically conferred citizenship, made the preferential treatment for one ethnic group obvious.

Due to the fact that large parts of the minority population were disenfranchised, they were not able to contest important governmental decisions. As a result, laws directed against the interest of the minority population were introduction.

As a whole, a marginalisation of the minority population took place.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 98 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-1931OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-1931DiVA: diva2:128103
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2008-12-15 Created: 2008-12-12 Last updated: 2009-01-19Bibliographically approved

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Baltic & East European Graduate SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

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