The seminar will be based on a study that assesses the impact of the Russian-Estonian and the Russian-Latvian information wars on the identity-perceptions within Estonia’s and Latvia’s ethnic Russian communities. Particular attention is paid to the younger generation. The authors demonstrate that pro-Kremlin media exerts some impact upon younger ethnic Russians’ identity-perceptions, mainly as far as the unfolding antagonism between NATO and Russia inside the broader post-Soviet space is concerned. Nevertheless, this influence remains strongly conditional on socio-economic realities, the internal fragmentation within the ethnic Russian communities, and the external opportunities granted by Estonia’s and Latvia’s membership of the EU. One should also take into consideration the uniform impact of major external catalysts across the two societies, such as the refugee crisis and the virtual politics of anti-immigration.  The study was based on semi-structured expert interviews with researchers, journalists, politicians and political activist, and individuals working in the NGO sector.

Vassilis Petsinis is a political scientist with expertise in European Politics and Ethnopolitics. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham. Vassilis Petsinis is currently a Marie Curie Experienced Researcher (Horizon 2020) at the University of Tartu in Estonia (Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies).