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Title: Explaining the policies of the Baltic States towards Russia, 1994-2010
Author: Baranauskaite Grigas, Agnia
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Despite their similar size, material resources, shared geopolitical conditions and common history, the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have pursued remarkably different policies towards Russia in the 1994-2010 period. Complex patterns of differentiation are evident across issue areas and over time. Given the static structural similarities between the Baltic states, how can we explain their divergent policies towards Russia and the change in these policies over time? This puzzle informs the central research question of this study: Why did Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian foreign policies towards Russia diverge in the 1994 to 2010 period? This work analyses the foreign policy of the Baltic states using typologies based on two axes: cooperative/adversarial and pragmatic/principled. Relying primarily on the liberal approach to international relations, the theoretical framework identifies six independent variables: the left/right political orientation of the government, instrumental usage of principled policies, the ethnic factor, business interests, membership in the EU and NATO, and, finally, Moscow’s own policies. It suggests that these factors played causal roles in determining Baltic policy towards Russia. Three case studies on the oil and gas sectors, as well as historical tensions, provide the empirical evidence to trace and explain the differentiated pathways of Baltic foreign policies. The empirical analysis provides evidence to argue that due to domestic political differences Lithuania pursued the most adversarial and principled policy towards Russia. Estonia, by way of contrast, pursued cooperative and pragmatic policies regarding energy issues. On political questions, however, it maintained a principled and adversarial stance, though this was less pronounced that that of Lithuania. Finally, Latvia pursued moderately principled and relatively adversarial energy policies placing it in between Lithuania and Estonia. With regard to history, Estonia’s and particularly Latvia’s policies experienced a notable evolution from adversarial and principled to more cooperative and pragmatic policies. In sum, this work demonstrates that the typologies of Baltic policies differed across sectors and experienced both divergence and at times convergence in rhetoric if not policies.
Supervisor: Pravda, Alex Sponsor: CEELBAS ; ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political economy of markets and states ; Transnationalism and diaspora ; Transition economics ; European democracies ; Political science ; International studies ; Political ideologies ; Public policy ; Baltic states ; Russia ; energy ; foreign policy ; security