Cultural Autonomy of National Minorities in Estonia: The Erosion of a Promise

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Mikko Lagerspetz
Publisher: Routledge
Place: London
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Journal of Baltic Studies
Journal acronym: JBS
Volume number: 45
Issue number: 4
Start page: 457
End page: 475
eISSN: 1751-7877


After a debate lasting several years, Estonia enacted a law of non-territorial cultural autonomy for national minorities in 1993, echoing experiences from the country’s previous period of independence. In international discussion, the law was initially cited as a promising way of dealing with minority issues in Central and Eastern Europe. With time, however, its applicability in contemporary Estonia has been questioned; in practice, the law has failed to be implemented. This paper inspects possible reasons for its disuse, and argues that the law could still play a role in Estonia’s minority policies, especially with regard to education. The paper is based on an analysis of legislation, parliamentary records and media.


cultural autonomy, Estonia, minorities, Russian speakers


Last updated on 2019-21-09 at 03:00