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Liquid Nationalism and State Partitions in Europe

Stefano Bianchini

This timely book offers an in-depth exploration of state partitions and the history of nationalism in Europe from the Enlightenment onwards. Stefano Bianchini compares traditional national democratic development to the growing transnational demands of representation with a focus on transnational mobility and empathy versus national localism against the EU project. In an era of multilevel identity, global economic and asylum seeker crises, nationalism is becoming more liquid which in turn strengthens the attractiveness of ‘ethnic purity’ and partitions, affects state stability, and the nature of national democracy in Europe. The result may be exposure to the risk of new wars, rather than enhanced guarantees of peace.
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Chapter 12: Living in the past or tackling the future: the Baltic experience from the partition of the USSR to EU integration

Stefano Bianchini

Extract

This chapter describes the trajectory of the Baltic republics from the incorporation within the USSR to the second independence and EU integration. In particular, some peculiar aspects that mark this historical experience are discussed: among these, the characteristics of the Soviet rule and the events that led to independence; the legality of the “continuity issue” and its impact on the relations with Russia; the ethnic priority and, then, the ethnic polarization after independence, and the citizenship laws; the role of the EU conditionality and the post-enlargement behaviors of the Baltic governments toward their minorities. The chapter includes considerations about the growing search for ethno-national homogenization, despite demographic decline due to mass emigration, and the tense relations with Moscow, especially after the 2010s. Since then, the changing international atmosphere has encouraged a new wave of historical revisionism, directly connected to the national question. This contentious issue has been widely debated and compared with other similar trends in Ukraine and in the Balkans.

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