The End of an Empire: Russia's Failure to Influence Policy Outcomes in Post-Soviet Latvia

Title: The End of an Empire: Russia's Failure to Influence Policy Outcomes in Post-Soviet Latvia
Authors: Tétrault-Farber, Gabrielle
Date: 2013-05-13
Abstract: This major research paper examines the extent to which Russia has maintained its political, economic and social influence in Latvia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It argues that despite its economic and cultural importance for the region, Russia either has been reluctant - or at times unable - to manipulate policy outcomes in Latvia. The first chapter demonstrates that Russia remains a key economic, investment and energy partner for Latvia, and thus has been reluctant to compromise its own economic interests in the region through ideologically-driven foreign policy. In addition to addressing Russia‟s new pragmatic, profit-based approach to foreign policy, this paper also assesses the Russian Federation‟s relationship with Latvia‟s large Russian-speaking population. It concludes that Baltic Russian identity is incompatible with Russia‟s statist vision of nationalism, thus preventing the Russian Federation from “infiltrating” Latvian society. This analysis will debunk the myth that Russia still “pulls the strings” in all former Soviet republics, its ambitions and influence falling short of its neo-imperialist foreign policy doctrines and self-portrayal as a “great power.” This major research paper will also demonstrate that Latvia‟s discursive qualification of Russia and Russian-speakers as “threats,” which has led to a series of exclusionary domestic policies, has been exaggerated to justify the very existence of the Latvian state.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers