No. 19




Estonia’s Political Culture: Political Styles and the Political Process

18 June 2009


RiTo No. 19, 2009

  • Leif Kalev

    Leif Kalev

    Professor of Political Studies, Tallinn University

  • Ott Lumi

    Public Affairs Special Advisor, Meta Advisory

  • Tõnis Saarts

    Tõnis Saarts

    Tallinn University, Lecturer of Political Science

The authors state that the palette of political styles incited by core values in Estonian politics is variegated and does not stand in the way of further development.

The authors feel there are two primary reasons that the quality of policy-making suffers. These are the post-communist history and the low level of institutionalization. For example, secularism, low power distance and the national ethos as the core values of Estonian political culture should allow the entire political environment to be targeted much more to a long-term approach. Unfortunately such typical qualities of post-communist policy – such as a political party landscape that is not completely institutionalized, relations between political groupings that are emphatically of the “majority-rules” nature, and products of low institutionalization such as zero-sum games and the central government’s low capacity for coordination – prevent Estonia from fully realizing values characteristic of the Nordic political sphere. Ultimately the development of civic culture proves crucial. How do people see their roles as citizens and how actively are they prepared to take part in public life – this largely determines the possibilities for shaping policy.

Full article in Estonian