The Conservative Peoples’ Party of Estonia (EKRE) presents a unique case in the study of far-right parties for two reasons. First, the ‘others’ to which they juxtapose Estonians to are the Russian-speaking minority, who are white, historically Christian and to a large extent, share many of the socially conservative values as EKRE. Second, there has been a trend for European far-right parties to look towards the Russian Federation for support due to shared socially conservative ideological positions, and an opposition to the EU and NATO. EKRE takes a different stance towards the Russian Federation than many other far-right parties in Europe. Interviews were conducted with members of EKRE, as well as members of other political parties in Estonia, primarily focusing on the post-migrant crisis relationship between EKRE and the Russian-speaking population in Estonia as well as other core issues related to EKRE.
The talk argues that EKRE is open to Russian-speakers becoming party members, but will not extend their reach to them as Russian speakers. Rather, they would welcome Russian-speakers as party members provided they self-identify as Estonian nationalists who adhere to the party constitution and view Estonia as a sovereign nation which they seek to protect.
The presenter is Louis Wierenga, PhD Fellow at the University of Tartu and UCRS Visiting PhD Fellow.