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ETHNIC MINORITY POLICIES AND POLITICAL PARTIES’ APPEAL TO ETHNIC VOTERS: A CASE STUDY OF ESTONIA’S RUSSIANS

Leonas Tolvaišis
Keywords: Ethnopolitics, ethnic voting, ethnic minority politics, ethnic minority political participation, electoral politics, Estonian Russians ,

Abstract

Focusing on a case study of Estonia’s major political parties’ relations with the ethnic Russian electorate, the article examines the role of ethnic minority policies in the electoral appeal of nation-wide parties towards the ethnic minority electorate, attempting to assess whether pursuing efficient minority-related policies is a necessary precondition for a nationwide party achieving electoral success among ethnic voters, and whether the migration of an ethnic minority electorate from ethnic parties to mainstream parties can be considered a sign of successful accommodation. Applying the theoretical concept of “informational shortcuts”, the article assesses persuasion strategies employed by Estonian political parties in their appeal towards the minority electorate, exemplifying the ways in which mainstream political parties can consolidate their monopoly over ethnic voters without prioritizing special minority-related policies.