Research Seminar by Piret Ehin “Security threat or a trustworthy partner? How views on Russia structure political competition in Estonia”.

Event details:

The seminar is based on the paper that examines the question of how perceptions of the Russian Federation structure political competition in Estonia.


The paper uses a unique battery of questions included in post-election surveys in Estonia in 2011, 2014 and 2015. Respondents were asked to place themselves as well as the major parties on a scale ranging from the position that Russia represents a security threat to the opinion that Russia is a trustworthy partner. The paper contrasts voter and party positions on the Russia dimension with voter and party positions on the left-right scale, and attempts to predict vote choice based on voter-party distances on both scales. The results suggest that views on Russia are a highly salient political issue in Estonia: more voters are able to position themselves and the major parties on the Russia dimension than on the left-right scale and views on Russia are more strongly polarized than left-right positions. Voter-party distances on the Russia dimension are statistically significant predictors of voting behavior, although effect size varies across parties.


Piret Ehin is Senior Researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu and founding Director of the Centre for EU-Russia Studies at the same institution. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona (2002). Her main research interests include democracy, legitimacy and political support, European integration and Europeanization, and international relations in the Baltic Sea region. Her works has appeared in the European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties and the Journal of Baltic Studies. Since February 2016, she is acting as the coordinator of a Horizon2020 Twinning project entitled “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent.”


Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English.
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