Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

The current article focuses on a study about Estonians and Russians living in Estonia. As a method we used Identity Structure Analysis (ISA) to investigate their patterns of identification with 'Estonians', 'Russians in Estonia', 'Russians in Russia', and 'Estonian Government'. The themes embraced constructions of the past, including the context of the Soviet Union's role in WWII. Findings suggest that alarming events on the streets of Tallinn (April 2007) appear to be related to the role of the Soviet Union in WWII inter alia, where its construction as 'occupier' of Eastern Europe (as opposed to 'liberator') forms a 'core evaluative dimension of identity' for the Estonians, together with the Bronze Soldier having no symbolic salience or relation to the Estonian identity. Findings, such as Estonian Russians expressing much stronger idealistic identification with 'Estonians' than with the “own parents" group, also demonstrate ISA etic concepts that incorporate emic values and beliefs in contemporary Estonia. All Estonian people have experienced life in the EU for six years and this has deepened both Estonians’ and Russians’ emotional credit towards the EU. The most notable factor in this process has been rapid economic growth, although personal well-being has mostly been experienced by younger generations.

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