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Small-state realism in speech-acts: the question of Estonian citizenship in the United Nations and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe from 1993 to 1997

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Title: Small-state realism in speech-acts: the question of Estonian citizenship in the United Nations and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe from 1993 to 1997
Author(s): Eskelinen, Roy
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master 's Programme in Society and Change
Specialisation: Political History
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
Abstract:
This thesis studies the discussion over the Estonian citizenship issue in the United Nations (UN) and in Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from 1993 to 1997. The citizenship question refers to a case, where Estonia, according to its state-continuum paradigm, restored its pre-Soviet citizenship legislation. As a consequence, all people residing in its territory, besides people eligible for citizenship according to the pre-Soviet law, became stateless. The case of Estonian citizenship is part of the bigger paradigm change in minority questions in post-Cold War world. The thesis’ primary sources are gathered from public online archives of the aforementioned organisations. The sources consist of correspondences and other relevant documents related to the topic. The sources are analysed by small-state realism and strategic culture theories, which help to analyse the internal factors, i.e., the long-term ambition of politically allying with the West and the trauma of Soviet occupation, that had an effect Estonia’s use of language in diplomatic arenas. This framework is then combined with speech-act theory and new rhetoric’s audience centricity, which reveal the external factors that determined the factors that had to be considered in manifesting the national-strategy. Comparing the speech-acts from two separate forums reveals how a big state affects the use of language of a small-state. In the UN, Estonia mainly defends its citizenship policy against Russia’s torrent of human rights accusations related to mainly Russian speaking non-citizens in Estonia – even though the UN found no signs of arbitrary deprivation of citizenship nor human rights infringements. In the OSCE the lack of contestation results in mutually cooperative relationship aiming to integrate non-citizens via the framework provided by Estonia. In the end, Estonia is able to defend its citizenship policy on both fronts.
Keyword(s): Estonia Russia United Nations Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe small-state realism strategic culture speech acts new rhetoric citizenship non-citizens minority


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