Role of Identity in International Relations Case Study: Russia-Estonia Relations and Role of Russian Speaking Minority in Estonia

Topics: Russia, Estonia, Soviet Union Pages: 12 (4293 words) Published: October 25, 2012
Allahshukur Seyidov
Baltic Sea Region Studies



The concept of material issues is no longer dominating in the international relations. Non material construction of the international relations can be a referent object of for the foreign policy and can form international relations. One of the main aspects of the nonmaterial is the notion of identity which became as the one of the major issues in the formation of the relations. Many states faced to reshape their identity in the end XX century to form their foreign policy goals. The attempts to split usage of the identity from the international relations are very difficult. Main theoretical aspect which reflects the notion of the identity is mainly based on the social constructivism idea. Wendt mentions the importance of the socially construction of the international relations “International Relations is a social construction rather than existing independent of human meaning and action” (Wendt 1996). Though, I agree with that identity does not directly affect foreign policy but held it that identity led understanding of the interests and interests drive to the political actions. Identity appeared to have importance in international relations. Thought at the end of the XX century identity became as one of the referring points in foreign policy. Construction of the identity affects the needs of the state which tend to pursue politics according to this needs. Selecting the topic as the “Role of identity in Russian-Estonian relations and how Russian speaking minority plays role in this relations” my aim is to discuss the importance of the identity issue in international relations and further I will examine the identity narratives in Estonia and Russia also will determine the role of the Russian speaking minority in Estonia and how it may become as conflict inter-state relations. Narratives which construct Russian foreign policy are mainly referred as the liberalists, centrist, and nationalist. The shift in the Russian foreign policy happened with the shift in the narratives of the identity perception. Also Estonian case role of identity grew importantly after gaining independence. Having occupied by the USSR and also holding Russian speaking minority in their narratives construction also have high importance in the relations with Russia. Further the role of the Russian speaking minority will be analyzed particularly one intra state conflict removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet War monument led to the inter-state conflict. The riots of the Russian youth in the Tallinn after reaction of the Russian government will be examined. The narrative of Russian identity and Estonian identity has great importance in relations with Russian speaking minority.


Identity always has been an important sociology studies. Beside the study of the sociology entrance of the identity to international relations mainly related to the social constructivist approach. In the following paragraphs I will examine the identity in the international relations theory concept by issuing social constructivist approach. While giving theoretical framework to the particular issue I chose social constructivism as the referring theory. Main focus of the social constructivism is on human awareness or consciousness and its place in world affairs. (Jackson: 2007: 162) Generally, the classical international theories are mainly based on the argument of the materialist aspect of the politics. The idea of the materialism which is covering the material power, conventional military forces and economic aspect of the politics explains the states’ behavior. According to the Alexander Wendt: International Relations is a social construction rather than existing independent of human meaning and action (Wendt et al: 1996: 33-35)....
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