• Article Series
  • The Extreme Right in the Baltic States: Introduction

  • Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat | 27 May 20 | Posted under: Baltic States , Κεντρική και Ανατολική Ευρώπη , Ακροδεξιά
  • The positions of far-right forces in the Baltics show the differences between these countries. Looking at them as one whole turns out to be a simplification, making it difficult to understand the internal specifics of each nation. Read our article series on the different approaches, successes and failures of far-right forces in these countries.

    Ideas and groups classified as far-right have been existent in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia practically from the moment they regained independence. In 2013, extreme right parties from the three countries signed a declaration in Bauska (Southern Latvia), the so called Bauska Declaration, on cooperation in combating "cultural Marxism", multiculturalism, globalization, and Russian imperialist ambitions. It’s hard to imagine the political scene of each of the three republics without nationalist slogans, right-wing historical politics and the occasional debate about the internal threat generated by ethnic minorities. And yet there are more differences than there are similarities in the functioning and position of the extreme right wings in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

    In these three small countries with a similar history, due to differing demographic structures and different economic conditions, the far right currently finds itself in differing positions; only in the field of historical politics and memory has the far right managed to succeed in all three. In Lithuania, the renaissance of local nationalism has been rather discounted by the more moderate right wing, and the remaining slogans and issues from the extreme right’s repertoire fail to trigger emotions. In Latvia, nationalists have gained a stable but not prominent position; their activities trigger emotions and fuel conflicts, but it seems that these parties have already reached their maximum mobilization. Only in Estonia is the extreme right systematically expanding its electoral base and "modernizing", supplementing its initial catalogue of national and anti-Russian slogans with subjects exploited by the new American or Western European right or using typical PR techniques – scandalous statements, aggressive language even when addressing generally respected individuals such as the president of the state. Worryingly, this strategy has so far brought the extreme right nothing but success.

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    This article series was first published in Nasze Argumenty 1/2019, the magazine of the Naprzód Foundation.


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