The foundation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918 changed significantly ethnic relationships in the country. Ethnic Latvians became not only the numerical but also the political and cultural majority, and thereby the concept and status of ethnic minorities were created. This article examines the visibility of ethnic minorities in the newly established state, focusing on the case of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, founded in 1924, as one of the core institutions that strengthened national cultural values. The ‘folklore of other ethnicities’ category was introduced and discussed at the archive during the first years of its existence. Volunteer folklore collectors played an active role in the discussions, revealing the bottom-up aspects of the implementation of the archive’s policy. However, rather than pointing to the ethnic affiliation of the involved people, the archival records reflect more often the blurred linguistic boundaries in Latvian society.
The aim of this paper is to analyse the growing concern over the treatment of multilingualism in the main cities of Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda) with the focus on the population’s national identity and self-consciousness identifying the prospects of preserving the language-related national identity. The main problem seems to be deciding on which language of instruction would be most beneficial to balanced communication. This is a task requiring thoughtful planning and is surrounded by debate. Somebody prefer instruction only in the official language, but some aim to foster linguistic and thus social diversity by encouraging teaching in several languages, emphatically amplifying the English.
The article discusses the politicization of language, ethnicity and nationality issues in a border region between Estonia and Russia. The region’s recent past as part of the Soviet Union has a strong bearing on local peoples’ attitudes towards languages and language users in the neighbouring country and among the minorities. Russian-Estonian relations on all levels continue to be affected by the language situation of the former Soviet Union: the dominant status of Russian and the threatened position of Estonian. I discuss the debate around the altered status of the Estonian-language school located in the Russian Pskov region which borders with Estonia. This border region is interesting because of a very long-term co-existence and common history of both Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking populations. The transformation of the Estonian school in Pechory from a minority language school into a foreign language school can be understood on one hand as a straight-forward response to pressures from declining numbers of pupils that schools in peripheral rural areas are facing everywhere. On the other hand, the case of this particular school can also be seen as an example of the increasing politicization and political use of language and ethnic issues in the Russian Federation.