In this episode, Professor David Smith at the University of Glasgow discusses the minority aspect in the history and politics of the Baltic States. David suggests that the ‘commonality of fate’, rather than ethnic and demographic character, has made this region seem so culturally uniform in the popular imagination. Nowhere does this seem more apparent than in their modern history: having formerly been part of the Russian Empire until 1918, all three countries proclaimed and preserved their independence between the wars, only to be occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Despite these similar historic trajectories, however, following the restoration of independence in 1990, widely differing demographic challenges have seen extensive divergence when it comes to determining contemporary minority policies on the ground.
‘Eastern Europe's Minorities in a Century of Change’, a podcast series on the history of minorities and minority experiences in twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe prepared by the BASEES Study Group for Minority History to mark the Institute for Historical Research’s centenary.