Relative Deprivation versus System Justification: Polemical Social Representations and Identity Positioning in a Post-Soviet Society
This research explores the ways that Russian and Estonians view inter-ethnic tensions and looks at the adaptation difficulties of Russian-speaking minorities in Estonia. It focuses on the societal factors in Estonia that influences people’s understandings of history, beliefs about power, and justifications of current political system. This research is important because it highlights the role that history plays in the creation of identities and beliefs. It can be used to improve inter-ethnic relations.
Findings show that opposite views of history are used to create current ethnic identities and inter-group beliefs about the fairness of political and economic agendas.
- Both Russian and Estonians believe that the way Estonia’s history is represented causes inter-ethnic tensions between the groups and that they do not share a common understanding of their histories
- Many Russians view themselves as ‘second-class’ citizens in Estonia. They experience discrimination, are not satisfied with their work opportunities, and feel economically disadvantaged
- Some Estonians acknowledged the Russian decline in political power as a source of unhappiness, but most viewed Russians as being content and did not think that they were of a lower status than Estonians. Most Estonians emphasized personal responsibility for positive outcomes
- Russians believe that citizenship and language policies are unfair and give Estonians advantages, while Estonians believe that they are fair and justified.
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