No. 35




Movements and protest in Estonia after regaining independence

08 June 2017


RiTo No. 35, 2017

  • Rein Ruutsoo

    Rein Ruutsoo

    Tallinn University, Professor of Political Theory

Two main layers can be clearly defined in the participation of citizens in the public politics of Estonia. In the 1990s, the citizens’ initiatives in Estonia were structured by the post-colonial context that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The main source of motivation was the division of a significant part of the society into “winners” and “losers” as a result of the restoration of the nation state, and the property reform.

By the turn of the millennium, modern protest culture developed. The low ebb of citizens’ initiative was passed. But the protests of the Estonians remained conservative. The movements of the decade were characterised by manifestations of post-modernism in civic culture. The increasing roles of left-liberal and liberal-democratic values enriched the ways of participating in public life. But Estonia still lagged remarkably behind Europe by the radicalism of protests and the extent of movements.