Rusland
Rusland

Russianness and loyalty in Europe

Several EU countries harbour a significant Russian minority. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the position of these Russian-speaking minorities has again been the subject of debate. In this project you will consider the role of national language politics and EU legislation, of identity and loyalty, and of press freedom and democracy.

    General

    Several EU countries harbour a significant Russian minority. In Latvia and Estonia for example, about a quarter of the population is Russian-speaking. Russian is also spoken in countries on the nomination list for EU membership: in Moldova, Russian is the preferred language for 15% of the population.

    Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the position of these Russian-speaking minorities has again been the subject of debate. Central to this is the supposed link between language and loyalty. Are Russian speakers loyal to the country where they live, or to Russia after all?

    In Latvia, for example, a change in the law was passed fairly soon after the invasion that linked a permanent residence permit for Russians to knowledge of the Latvian language. Since the beginning of this year, the situation has been on edge: for the first time, residents of Latvia with Russian passports who do not meet the language requirements are threatened with deportation.

    The fate of this group is thus at the center of a fierce political struggle that is straining relations both inside and outside the country's borders. After all, Russia likes to cast itself as the protector of Russian-speaking minorities abroad. In addition, EU legislation obliges all EU member states to take care to protect the language and culture of minorities.

    Client
    The client for this project is Raam op Rusland, Oekraine, Belarus (RAAM). This is a platform, established in 2016, with the goal of deepening the knowledge of journalists, politicians, policymakers, entrepreneurs and interested citizens about political, social and cultural developments in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Especially in the last ten years the developments in these countries have profound influence on the European democratic rule of law, which is the fundamental basis of RAAM’s mission. RAAM tries to stimulate knowledge with publications of journalists, scientists and experts and by organising conferences and seminars. 

    Assignment
    In this project you will consider the role of national language politics and EU legislation, of identity and loyalty, and of press freedom and democracy. Which language policy promotes national unity, and which, on the contrary, increases mutual tensions?

    It is an issue for students from a variety of academic backgrounds to consider. Insights from political science, international relations, public administration, law, history, language and literature, sociology, (political) philosophy, etc. are relevant perspectives. But also students from other study backgrounds are more than welcome.

    During the year, you will work with the Project Impact team on some analytical articles for RAAM. The form of the final product (a photo reportage, debate, documentary, etc.) depends on the expertise of the participants and will be determined in consultation with the client. 

    Kick-off weekend
    The kick-off weekend of this think tank will be on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 October 2024. The kick-off weekend is a mandatory part of the think tank.

    Weekly meetings
    The weekly meetings start after the kick-off weekend and will take place on Wednesday evenings from 18:30-20:30, unless the group decides otherwise in consultation with the supervisors. The supervisors attend the meetings once every three weeks. 

    Study trip
    A study trip of three or four days is also part of this think tank. The dates and location will be determined in consultation with the group.

    Supervisor
    Evert van der Zweerde, political philosopher and expert in Russian studies.

    Starting date

    To be announced
    Costs
    Free
    Main Language
    English

    Factsheet

    Type of education
    Practicum

    Contact information

    For more information, please get in touch with the programme director:

    Casper Kirkels
    casper.kirkels [at] ru.nl (casper[dot]kirkels[at]ru[dot]nl)