Minority Response to Ethnic Democracy
Poles in Lithuania after EU Accession
This article focuses on the evolution of Polish minority responses to Lithuanian minority policies in the post-EU-accession period. State-minority conflicts in Lithuania have not generated violence or minority radicalization, despite continuing discontent among members of the state’s Polish minority (which constitutes Lithuania’s largest ethnic minority population) and the failure of the Lithuanian state to resolve the causes of discontent. Employing Smooha’s concept of ethnic democracy, the article addresses this puzzle through an ethnographic exploration of the views held by members of the Polish minority about the Lithuanian state’s policies of nation-building. The findings reveal a diverse set of critical perceptions among Poles in Lithuania, which emphasize the ineffectiveness of state policies in addressing minority needs. However, a shared perception of threat from Russia, generated after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, helps to sustain the regime’s stability and its strategy of stalling the resolution of minority concerns.
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